My belly begin to tighten and the cramps begin to feel lower and more horizontal. I began to time the contractions at 8:00 pm and they were 4-5 minutes apart, 30 seconds long, and pretty weak. David and I started cleaning up the house, but without much hope since we had already scrambled to tidy and make arrangements before and been disappointed. As the contractions got stronger, I decided I wanted to get in the shower and let the hot water beat on my back while David finished cleaning up and called his mother. The timing had sped to 2-3 minutes apart, 45 seconds long, and much stronger. At this point, we started to believe that it was real labor. David would push on my hips during the contractions or I would lean on him. I couldnt stand unsupported any longer. I drank a bunch of water and took a half a pill of Dramamine to minimize the nausea. I was so nauseous when I was in labor with Adaline that I wouldn’t even allow David to touch me.
We finally decided that it time to go, and that David's mom could just meet us at the hospital because I was afraid to wait another hour for her to arrive at our house to watch Ada. We piled in the car around 9:40 and Ada quickly fell asleep. I got on my hands and knees with the front seat laid all the way back and tried to hum through each contraction to keep my mouth loose and keep from screaming and waking her up. I had come to a very serious place, unable to speak during contractions feeling very much in my own head. At one point, I had to ask David to pull over because I was feeling claustrophobic and afraid I would become nauseous. I stood on the side of the road through a few contractions. It was sprinkling on me and the water felt so good on my face. When I got back in the car I remembered that I had a cup of ice and I begun to chew on it to cool off.
We arrived at the hospital around 10:15. The drive took longer in the rain and since I had to get out. I checked in through the ER, and they made me ride in a wheelchair upstairs. Since I couldnt sit comfortably, I was anxious and had to sit on my knees. The nurse didnt seem to be in as much of a hurry to get me upstairs as I was. Once in our room, David immediately began to fill the birth pool while the nurses got me set up with an IV for my Group B Strep. I'd asked for an exam when I arrived, but it took them about 10 minutes to get to it. I was dilated at 8 cm. The antibiotics were portable, so I was standing in the birth pool as it was filling. The hot water felt really good on my feet.
As soon as the antibiotics were done, I was free from the machine and I lowered my whole body into the now full birth pool. I immediately felt a pop, like a balloon had burst under water. My waters had broken and the pool was full of slimy liquid. I stood through a few more contractions and Adaline was sitting on the floor next to me being very quiet and saying “Mama, ok?” David eventually had to pick her up and held her on his shoulders while she squirmed around on him and he was trying to help me.
David was standing behind me holding my hips or letting me lean all my weight on him. He begin to tell me that the baby would be here so soon and that we were almost there. I thought he was just reading lines out of the book we brought, The Birth Partner, from the page “verbal support.” As it turned out, he had heard the nurses talking on the phone with the doctor and knew that they all thought the baby was about to come. They had pushed in the cart with the scissors to cut the cord and set everything up for the baby to be arriving any minute. At this point, I thought I had at least 4 hours left of intense contractions.
I asked David to find out where his mother was because I wanted him to be able to be hands free and able to push on my hips together. He called her, and she was in the parking lot. After a couple more contractions standing in the birth pool, he ran Ada out the the waiting room. As soon as he got back I told him that I needed to use the bathroom. I knew I had been having the urge to push, but was afraid that I would start pushing too early as I had done in my first labor. I decided that if I could just go to the bathroom to relieve some of the pressure it would be better. I sat down and pulled out some toilet paper. It came out one measly little sheet at a time. I yelled for David to come and get toilet paper out but by the time he got into the bathroom and I had pushed once, I realized that I didnt need toilet paper. I needed him to get me off the toilet and move me to the bed because I could feel the baby crowning. There was no time, so David called for the nurses (who were in the room) and he lifted my hips up off the toilet and forward. The nurses came in and helped hold my legs up. Charlie was born with the next push, at 10:54, mid air, blue and with his cord wrapped all around him. David held him as they quickly untangled the cord and cut it off. David handed me the baby and he pinked up immediately and latched on. I held him there for a minute and then handed him to David as one of the nurses helped me to the bed. David took off his shirt and laid with Charlie on the chair skin to skin while I was delivering my placenta and being stitched. I had a small first degree tear that required three stitches. We measured and weighed him at 7 lbs even, 20 inches, and with a 14 inch head circumference.
The two weeks of practice labor prepared my body for the short, three hour labor I had. Charlie was born with just two pushes, less than 3 hours after my first contraction, only 35 minutes after arriving at the hospital, just 6 minutes after grandma had arrived to care for my toddler, and before the doctor could make it to the hospital. If we had waited for David's mom to come to our house to get to the hospital, he would have been born in the car. We are thankful to have had a healthy pregnancy, a quick labor and pleasant hospital stay, and a happy, healthy new baby.
Now, if I could just get my toddler to sleep at night....