So I know this was almost two years ago, but I wrote this out a long time ago and just wanted to post it now. I have been thinking about it lately and the more I read through this birth story the more frustrated I get at how certain things went but I guess it gives me lots of ideas for next time! I welcome any comments anyone wants to make too. So here it is...DS's birth story!
I had finished my hours for the week so I had Friday, June 22 off. I was 37 weeks 1 day. I spent the morning taking care of some odds and ends. DH was coming home from a three-week business trip, and I had to pick him up from the airport shuttle at 12:30 pm. He was a little late but he was there by about 1:00 or 1:10. He was very tired and feeling “out of it.”
We went home and had some lunch. My mom had been visiting the previous week and I guess I had been nesting. I had been sewing diapers, set up a little nursing corner, my mom had painted a dresser for the baby and some other stuff, so I was excited to show DH all these things. We had also just had our new queen-sized bed and a new futon delivered while DH had been gone too!
In the evening (about 7:30-8:00 pm) we “christened” our brand-new queen bed, and then DH basically rolled over and went to sleep. I wasn’t sleepy, so I stayed up, waiting for the after-sex crampiness to die down (I don't know if it's just me or everybody, but I got crampy for hours after DTD all throughout my pregnancy). But it didn’t die down and I soon realized the crampiness was very rhythmic, radiating into my lower back, and occurring about every 2-3 minutes for about 45 seconds each. I kept track of them for a little while as I surfed the Internet (I wasn't on MDC back then or I probably would have started an "Am I in Labor" thread, lol). The contractions weren’t really painful at all, although they were strong, and if it had been constant it would have been much more painful.
Finally I woke DH up and told him that the cramps weren’t going away, and in fact they were getting stronger. DH looked mildly worried and woke up a little. The problem was that they just felt like cramps, not contractions. I couldn’t even feel my belly getting hard, and neither could DH when he placed his hand on me. I was sure that it was prelabor, and I was hoping that it wouldn’t go on for days. I called the clinic at about 9:00 pm wondering if I could possibly be in labor. After listening to the description of my symptoms, the after-hours nurse told me that it sounded like early labor and advised me to get some sleep and call or go to the hospital in the morning.
I followed her advice – I put on pajamas and got into bed next to DH. I brought out the waterproof crib pad we had bought for the baby in case my water broke all over our new queen bed. Then I tried to sleep but between the contractions and DH’s snoring I was not getting any rest, so finally I took the crib pad and a pillow and blanket and went to sleep on the floor of the baby’s room. There I was able to get some sleep – probably from 10:00 until 5:00 or so. The contractions were getting progressively stronger and they started to wake me up more often around 2:00 or 3:00 am. Sometimes I had to breathe deeply in order to get through a contraction and get back to sleep, but I was still half asleep. I still don’t think I would describe these contractions as “painful.”
Around 5:00 am I woke up and the contractions were further apart and much milder. I thought it had all been prelabor or a “false alarm.” I went into the bedroom and told DH that the contractions had died down quite a bit. He felt my belly and we laid there for a while wondering what was going on. Then I felt like I had to poop so I did, but hardly aything happened and only a few minutes later I felt like I had to again.
At about 6:00 I was on the toilet trying to poop when my contractions came back with a vengeance. I guess this was transition and it was very quick. My focal point turned out to be a reclining tub chair SIL had bought for the baby, with dolphins and crabs and other sea life all over it. I just stared at that and braced myself against the toilet and vanity and basically suffered.
Everything seemed to be happening at once. The second or third time I sat down on the toilet (right before those awful contractions started) I realized I was having bloody show. DH called the clinic to tell them we were coming in to the hospital. While he was on the phone I had an overwhelming urge to crawl into the bathtub and have the baby there. As he hung up I shouted “I think I’m PUSHING!” I think I was a little bit panicked at that point, wondering where this baby was going to be born. DH came into the bathroom and I pushed him up against the wall during a contraction. The contractions were excruciating and right on top of each other.
That phase only lasted for 2 or 3 contractions, and after that the intensity died down a little bit but not much. DH ran around gathering stuff we needed to bring to the hospital. I used the 30 seconds or so I had between contractions to put my pants back on, tell DH what else I needed, and put a ponytail in my hair to get it out of my face. When I wasn’t doing that I was leaning on walls or the chair in the living room and breathing through the contractions. The pressure was very strong and I knew the baby was on his way in a hurry.
I asked DH if he thought it was a good idea to drive all the way into town when I was already pushing, but he said that yes, we were going. He put towels down in the front seat of the car and I somehow managed to get in. Sitting down like that was the last position I wanted to be in. I wanted to be leaning over with my head on a counter or something. DH raced in to town, running a few red lights (it was a Saturday morning, no traffic, so don't worry, we weren't in danger), and I held myself up with my arms during the contractions and breathed. I knew about how long each one would last and that then I would get a break so it wasn’t too bad, but it demanded every last bit of my resources and concentration. It was very very difficult for me even to tell DH when a contraction was beginning or ending (he was trying to time them). About halfway there my water broke, which was a very strange feeling, like I was peeing myself without realizing it.
At maybe 6:50 or 7:00, we were driving up to the hospital and DH was trying to remember which door we should go to. I said, “I think we can just go to the emergency room,” which was quite an understatement, so DH pulled up to the door and after the next contraction he helped me out of the car and inside. “She’s in labor,” he said to the staff and then left to park the car. I did not want him to leave. I was shaking at this point and probably looked pretty troubled. They plopped me in a wheelchair and I was astonished at how fast they got me up to the birthing rooms. Of course I was still having really strong contractions. In fact at this point they were starting to burn.
Everyone was smiling at me, trying to be reassuring and calm. They admitted me and wheeled me into the birthing room and helped me onto the bed. The nurses were getting some paperwork ready and wanted to take my blood pressure, and they wanted me to do this, and that, so I said, “I’m pushing,” and that got their attention. One of them ran to get the midwife and another one took off my pants. I was lying on my back but I think they raised the bed up a little. One of the nurses looked just like DH’s aunt, and I think she was the one who told me not to push. I thought, “What the hell, that’s impossible. How do I do that? If I knew how NOT to push, I wouldn’t have been pushing the whole way here!” The urge to push really was impossible to resist for me.
The midwife came and instructed me again not to push until DH got there. The head was already coming out. It seemed like forever but it was only a few minutes until DH came into the room. He quickly came around to hold my hand and said “I’m here, I’m here.” So then the midwife said I could try to push, even though I had been doing it all along. I couldn’t do anything but push. DS’s head came all the way out and I touched it, which was a strange feeling, just something hard between my legs. Then I actually tried to push (before it was involuntary) and the rest of him came out.
DS didn’t look at all like I’d imagined a newborn baby would look like. He wasn’t covered in blood like I’d pictured. I guess I should have watched more birth videos.
He was just wet-looking and really white. I was immediately struck by his hair, which was kind of all in curly-cues on his head and looked really dark to me. His eyes were almost black, which made him look a little like an alien, but he was without a doubt the cutest newborn baby I had ever seen. They handed him right to me as soon as he was out and I just cuddled him. I think he was wrapped in something but I don’t really remember, we might have both been covered. All I could see was his head and I remember noticing the little dents in his ears that it looked like someone had tried to pierce his ears. I also remember them saying something about “she” and I was like, “It is a boy isn’t it?” but I guess they were talking about me, not the baby, because yes, he was a boy.
I really don’t know what all was happening after that. I know I was shaking and DH was worried but the nurses said that happens all the time. At some point I delivered the placenta. They had to give me a shot of pitocin because I was bleeding too much or something. DH cut the cord. They had to do some stuff with the baby like weigh him, and they had to clean me up, and after all that we were transferred to our postpartum room.
The rest of the hospital stay kind of sucked, although it was nice to have breastfeeding help and to be in air-conditioning. They kept coming and bugging me all the time to take my blood pressure and try to give me ibuprofen. They really pushed that ibuprofen. Oh, I did tear a little and have some stitches. That was probably the worst part of recovery.
DS was born at 7:18 am on the 23rd, he weighed only 5 lbs. 15 oz. and was 18 1/2 inches long.