Sorry this is so horribly long and probably boring!! But I love to read birth stories so I thought I would just put the whole thing out there for you guys!
The story starts on Wed 3/30. I was going to see my midwife for my 39 wk appt. I was technically 38w5d. I was planning on getting checked to see if I was dilated and planning on her stripping membranes if I was dilated. My second daughter was a perfect delivery but a large baby and 41w3d. I was hoping to not go quite so far this time but was okay with it if it happened. When the midwife checked me I was 2/50%/-1 and she said she could get all the way through if I wanted her to strip and I said yes. We finished up the appointment and made one for the following Thursday and I went and ran some errands. I got home a few hours later and when I went to the bathroom there was quite a bit of bleeding. I thought hmmmm maybe that exam did something after all. I continued to have some light bleeding/spotting through the day and then started losing some of the mucus plug. occassional contractions but nothing more than I had been for a week or so. I figured it still probably meant nothing. Then just before 7p I was sitting on the couch and my belly get tight and then a warm gush of fluid. i stood up and it stopped. I went to the bathroom and there was a small amount of clear fluid it didn't seem like pee but it didn't have that smell of amniotic fluid. I put on a clean pad and waited to see. It happened like that 2 more times. just a tight belly and a small gush. I called the midwife and let her know. We decided to wait a little while and see since it wasn't super obvious and there were no real signs of labor. I called her back about 45 min later to give an update (nothing much had changed) and when I was on the phone I had a large gush that saturated a pad and ran down my leg. I said this must be it and she said she would come over to give me a dose of ampicillin (GBS+) and we'd see what happened. Well, after the gush nothing happened. No more leaking, occasssional contraction not painful. When she got there I told her. no more fluid at all and asked her to do a speculum exam to see if she could see fluid before we started antibiotic. She didn't really see any. So she went ahead and checked me. 2-3/70/-1 but no obvious fluid with exam or after. We waited a bit and talked it over and ultimately decided to wait through the night, see if anything happened on its own and make a decision in the morning, hopefully things moved along on their own. I contracted a lot after she left but nothing too painful, I was frustrated. Clinical signs pointed towrds not being ruptured but I knew what happened. And the midwife had checked the pad I saturated and saw that it was soaked with clear fluid. I had a glass of wine, went to bed and woke up the next morning with a dry pad (only a little bit of bleeding). I texted the midwife and said can't we just pretend that it never happened because I am obviously not in labor! She said yes, but she would like to have some type of documentation that I wasn't obviously ruptured, mostly because of the GBS status. I suggested an ultrasound to check fluid level around the baby. If that was good we could wait and see what happened. Maybe I was crazy and peed myself- although we both suspected the amnion ruptured and chorion was intact. I went in for the ultrasound and the fluid level was found to be low but within normal range. I was expecting to just wait it out and was a bit freaked out when my midwife called me and said that she wanted to start to get more aggressive about getting me in labor. I wasn't completely sure about it- I really hate pushing things to happen- interventions lead to more interventions. But I picked my midwife because I trusted her medical judgement and here she was telling me that her gut says we need to do this now. She felt as though it wouldn't take much to get me into labor and once I got going things would move along well. She also said that she called 2 other midwives and her back up doc just to review the situation with them. All of them recommended that we get delivered. She gave me the option to wait until morning but I opted to just do it right away.
At around 4pm 3/31 I drank 4oz of castor oil. I didn't mix it in anything- just chug, chug. To be honest, it truly wasn't the worst thing I have ever ingested. I chased it with a frosty. Between 5:30 and 6 I was starting to feel the effects of the castor oil. It wasn't horrible. My husband has had to do preps for colonoscopies and that seemed much more aggressive than this. I called the midwife to let her know it was working and she said she would head over to start the antibiotic. The midwife got there just before 7 and checked me over, listened to baby, gave me the 1st dose of ampicillin. then we just chilled out for a bit. I had to make a few bathroom trips and noticed I was having some pretty good contractions about every 3-5 min. We discussed our plan. Break water about 9. labor another couple hours at home and get 2nd dose of antibiotic in and then head to birth center. At around 9 pm we broke what was left of the rest of the bag of water and I was 3/70/-1. After the rupture I was about 5cm. I texted the 'team'. My best friends, my SIL and MIL to let them know what the plan was. My doula was already heading to the house. Almost immediately contractions got really intense. We decided by 9:30 to forget the original plan and head to the birth center now. I still felt okay between contractions but they were super intense when they came. We texted everyone to let them know the change in plan, loaded up the car, the girls and headed out.
I still felt 'mostly' in control when we got there- although I think my timeline must get skewed now. It seemed like and eternity but in reality we must have gotten to birth center just before 10. I labored as I waited for the tub to fill- my doula got there as we did and was helping to keep me some what sane as Jon got the girls set up and everyone arrived. They all hung out in the kitchen and played with the girls. I wanted the girls to be able to come and go through the birth but I was scaring Josie with all the vocalization (okay- I was screaming) and she was driving me nuts with her freaking out and Sada I don't think really cared. So it was good that they had people to hang out with them. Once the tub was full enough, Kaleen said I could get in. Things were getting super crazy in my head at this point. I was contractiong every 2 minutes and felt like I wasn't getting much break. I was starting to lose it and kept thinking what if I'm not progressing. I can't do this much longer. At some point- I started bearing down a little and Kaleen checked me and said I was 7. That wasn't enough progress for me- I wanted to be done! Even though I did look at the clock and think I was 5 around 9 and its before 11 and I'm 7 so I'm progressing appropriately. UGH! to be a labor nurse in labor. The next hour was not good for me. I don't have a whole lot of memory of much except saying "I can't do this anymore" and "somebody please help me" The nurse part of me knew I was probably hitting transition but the laboring lady part of me didn't want to get my hopes up. They kept telling me that I wouldn't make it to April 1st (I had been saying the whole pregnancy I wanted an April Fools Baby) and at one point Kaleen pointed out that if I could wait 1/2 hour it would be April 1st. I'm pretty sure I gave her a dirty look because I was thinking if I have to do this another 1/2 hr I will surely DIE! There was a point that I got a little longer break between contractions and Michelle was able to get me to really relax and was able to count me down with the hypno- When this happened I had a brief mental chat with myself and had a little attitude adjustment. I reminded myself that I was the only one who could do this work and the only way out of it is through it. I also told myself that I had to stop saying I can't do it and start saying I can. At this point I breathed through about 2 contractions really well and stayed in control. I felt him move down at this point and knew it would be over soon. I quickly went back to being an out of control nutcase but the brief moment of control helped. Just after that I started bearing down a bit and reached down to see if I could feel his head. I felt him in about the distance from finger tip to 1st knuckle. I also felt a little bit of cervix there and told Kaleen. I wanted to push and be done but it hurt to push. I am so jealous of the people who say it feels good to push. I never have gotten a strong urge to push- it just sort of involuntarily starts happening for me. I pushed this time because I needed it to be over. Kaleen reached in with the next contraction and reduced the rest of the cervix and said 'you're complete now' This was probably the worst time- I know they had to yell at me and I wasn't really being a good patient. I was pushing w/o contractions and struggling to hear anything anyone was saying. Finally I got it together a little and he started to crown. I wanted to just reach down and pull him out (I think I tried!) and they kept telling me just let him stretch me, so I wouldn't tear. It seemed like an eternity. Then I thought- oh no, the girls need to be here and yelled out for them to get the girls who were in the other room. They ran in but I think that they missed the actual delivery but I am pretty sure they were there as we were pulling him up out of the water. It was such a relief when he was born. The pain just goes away. He looked so tiny. and he had SO much hair- neither of the girls had much hair but he had a ton of dark hair. He had a short cord and I couldn't lift him up too far. Everyone came in and got to see him and the girls seemed very happy. I hope they remember that part more than the screaming before hand although thats not likely. He was born at 1152. Less than 3 hours of labor. Jon and the girls cut the cord a few minutes later and then we delivered placenta really easily. They helped me out of the tub and over to the bed and got baby latched on while Kaleen checked me over. Everything was good and we were home by 3am. The girls had a sleepover at my friends house (which wasn't planned but a HUGE help!) and Jon and I got to spend Luke's 1st night alone with him. Recovery has been a breeze- other than a little sore I feel great. He's a superstar breastfeeder and my milk is already coming in. He gets a bit fussy in the evening but not too bad. I just need to figure out his cues and what he likes. I think he will be more like Josie- he likes to be held and cuddled and not put down much. Sada needed space even as a baby.
In hindsight- I probably wish that I hadn't had membranes stripped. I wanted it done and asked for it but in hindsight it probably weakened the bag and caused me to rupture early. Would everything have been fine if we waited until spontaneous labor started on its own? maybe, but the chance of infection was also there and I couldn't have lived with it if something happened to baby because I chose to wait. Although- I wouldn't have been happy if I'd had to go to the hospital as a result of trying to make things happen too soon. I could live with it. My second baby was by far the easiest and best, I was hoping for that this time but unfortunately, that was not in the cards. However, I can definitely say if its not going to be easy then I will take fast!! If I was going to have another baby, which I am NOT- I think I would choose not to have any cervical exams until 41+ weeks. It was so much more gentle to just allow things to happen and it was a much easier birth. But I don't regret any of the steps I made this time. You live and learn from experience and I certainly am thrilled with the outcome.