I'm 41, so it's been an interesting, albiet uneventful pregnancy. Interesting b/c i've been treated as "high risk" with repeated ultrasounds and biophysical profiles to make sure all is well. even though i had no risk factors. doctors' group paranoia. there was talk of not "letting" me go past 40 weeks. i was a little stressed about that. as it turned out, i need not have worried.
i have a very active and attached three year old daughter. she and i enjoyed a summer full of activities. i really didn't slow down too much. what turned out to be the final weekend of my pregnancy with her brother, we took her to the minor league baseball game on saturday, and i "ran the bases" with her afterwards, and did all of the activities. on sunday, at my husband's labor day picnic there was a "mini train" for kids. parents could walk beside as it went around a grassy field (uneven surface). i walked it once, then a second time when she wanted to go, i had to sorta run along side it. it was then that "something changed" and i believe the baby dropped.
afterwards i began contracting. i drove home with them, and they continued into the night. all night. i was having them for 45 seconds, every five minutes or so. i quickly packed a hospital bag -- we were 10 days from due date, and i wasn't really prepared. our daughter had come kinda quickly from the onset of labor so i didn't want to get caught off guard. i woke my husband at 4 am and also called my doula. both were prepared to go, but i wasn't quite ready as i wanted to labor at home as long as possible and get to the hospital right at transition. i laid back down and found myself falling asleep through the contractions. i slept off and on from 5 am till 9 am.
but the next morning, labor day morning, the contractions continued. DD was being a real monkey and it was tiring to be contracting every five minutes, and try to keep up with her. i asked my mom to come over and help entertain her while i laid down. i still wasn't sure it was the real thing. i had called the doctor on call, and he told me until there was bloody show, broken water or if i didn't feel the baby move, to just stay home. that's what i did. i couldn't sleep much though. later in the afternoon, my mom and i decided to try to take DD out for a walk (she rides her trike) and we wound up going to the neighbor's house where there are two little boys and a trampoline. DD played there for awhile, and i talked with the neighbors, contracting all the while. then my mom and i went to the grocery store to get some food to make a fresh salad and sandwitches for dinner. at the store, i continued to contract, quite frequently. we came home, and i had my mom timing some of the contractions -- the length between them was dropping to three to four minutes. i quit eating and tried laying down. this spread out the length between them to as much as nine or ten minutes. but the intensity was growing.
my doula had called to check in, and when i called her back, i told her what was going on. she said it could be braxton hicks, which can continue and especially if it was caused by overexertion. she also mentioned that nursing my daughter could bring them on. and if it's real labor, laying down won't stop them. we got ready for bed. it wsa 9 pm on labor day. my mom decided to spend the night just in case. my husband was wondering if he should call in to work or not. technically he had until about 10 pm to make the call. he went to bed. we all headed upstairs, and i said goodnight to my mom. i was about to get DD into the shower with me, when i stopped to pee. guess what: bloody show.
i told my mom, she said call the doula, then call the doctor. the doula said it could be the mucus plug, but she asked how i was feeling, she said i sounded so calm, she couldn't tell. i said don't let that fool you, the pain is getting pretty intense, in fact i'm starting to second guess the whole natural childbirth plan. she said: that makes me think it is labor. call the doctor. so i did, and he said come on in.
now, i had requested that the practices' midwife be the one with me for delivery. i had my doula lined up as well as her student doula, who had been with us in lamaze class. i woke up my husband, and we got ready for the hospital. i had decided to give my daughter a benadryl, which she has sometimes taken in the past for her itchy eczema. we all drove in together, DH and me, DD and my mom in the backseat. DD fell asleep on the way to the hospital.
to my great surprise, the hospital was *so* accommodating. DD was alseep in her carseat, and they said she could just come in to the labor room. so everyone got to be there -- the midwife was there, and she stayed with us the *entire time*. (can't imagine a doctor ever doing that.) i had my doula and her student doula, who is a professional massage therapist. my husband was there, my mom was there, and my daughter was there, asleep in her car seat.
they checked my cervix -- 7 cm! so it was real labor, and it was "go time."
it turned out i had only a couple hours of labor ahead of me (baby was born at 12:55 am). as it started to get harder, the two doulas gave me massage with every contraction. i had them concentrating on my lower back as it gave me something good to focus on to counter the pain. we walked the halls at transition, and came back. i mostly labored standing up, leaning on the bed with contractions, the student doula leaning into my lower back with massage. i did let the midwife break the water a little after 12 am. i guess this speeded up labor a bit. it might have made it a little harder, too. i'm not sure...
i was pretty in control but the last 45 minutes or so hurt quite a bit. i was moaning a bit. but DD didn't wake up. finally, finally, standing up, i could feel the baby pushing down to the point that i was sure he was crowning. i told the MW to get ready. i got back on the bed, and delivered laying on my back. (this was the position i had DD, also unmedicated, and i felt comfortable with it). i tore a bit (2nd degree tear), but baby came out just fine, followed by the placenta.
the nurses brought him straight up to my chest, and didn't take him to weigh or measure or anything until i was ready (maybe a couple hours later).
DD woke up to hear the baby crying, and i invited her up to visit him just moments after he was born. my mom said as the MW was stitching me up, DD was pretty much jumping on me up top. she was pretty excited. DD got to stay with me for the duration of the hospital stay. we were never separated. DS also never left our room without me. i recovered pretty quickly. i did experience some pretty severe after pains -- didn't have those with DD at all. i did take motrin for pain relief from that. those were as bad as hard labor.
we are home now, and DS is a pretty content child. my milk is coming in good (i started leaking last night) and his latch is good. DD is happy to share the milk, and seems to understand that baby gets first dibs. but i'm glad to have her around to clear out the rest. i'm hoping that i had *abundant* milk supply this time (went through low supply issues with her).
all in all, i really did get the natural birth i wanted. my MW said my doulas were the best she's ever seen, and my doulas said they've never seen a MW stay the entire time at a hospital before. so i really did have an excellent, supportive experience. my mom said she was very impressed, and with me too -- for holding up so well.
thanks for reading!