*side note: I had thought about going natural with this pregnancy since the beginning. I had epidurals (and interventions galore) with my first two deliveries and always thought about “what if…” afterwards. I had attempted to contact a few local doulas, but everyone’s schedules were always full and I really didn’t want to be put on a backup list. So, I nixed the idea of a doula. The weekend I went into labor, I finally decided that I wanted to go as natural as possible to avoid a c-section. I told myself that if I was able to get past 7 or 8 cm naturally, it would be safe to get an epidural. (With my two previous labors, I went in in early labor, (caved) and was put on pitocin and AROM, then got an epidural at 7 & 8 cm hours later) This time, I planned to labor as long as I could at home, and then go in. I was banking on the fact that this labor would be way shorter than the last two.
My due date was Monday, April 28th. I had my 39 week appointment on Tuesday, April 22 and I was 4cm dilated, 75% effaced, baby still floating. I started losing my mucus plug the next day (which I never did with my previous labors) and I started having prodromal labor at 3:30am on Thursday. I had painful contractions 5-6 min apart from 3:30am to around 10am and then the contractions slowed down to about 1 or 2 per hour. I totally thought I was in labor (until they slowed down, of course), especially since I was losing chunks of mucus plug the whole time. These contractions were painful! The prodromal labor I had before was uncomfortable, but not a big deal. I had to stand up during these contractions and it took concentration to get through them. Thursday night and early Friday morning was the same thing with the contractions, started at 3:30am and stopped when the sun came up, then hourly contractions throughout the day. My doctor told me to go to L&D that Friday afternoon to get checked. I knew I wasn’t in labor, but to be honest, I wanted to hopefully hear that I was progressing. I was 4 cm and had one measly contraction while being monitored at the hospital. I was given the choice to stay and be induced or to go home and come back when I was in active labor. (I was told that if I decided to stay and be induced, I would have whoever the doctor was that was on call for the weekend (which happened to be a doctor from another practice); but, if I came back in active labor, my doctor would come and deliver me (nice, huh?). We chose to go home. The rest of the weekend was full of nightly contractions, and sparsely spaced ones during the day. I had to stand up through every one. It’s not like I was screaming with them or anything, but if I wasn’t standing, they hurt a whole heck of a lot worse. I have to admit, I became frustrated, tired, and disappointed with my body – getting up from sitting resulted in contractions, sitting down resulted in contractions, going to the bathroom resulted in contractions…it was getting old. Instead of being excited about feeling a contraction, I just tried to ignore it. We spent the weekend buying groceries, hanging out with family, and I tried to do clean the house a little and I got a pedicure Sunday afternoon (I had been putting it off because I was afraid my water would break during it or something crazy…”to heck with it!” I thought as I went into the shop). Sunday night, my husband and I laid down to watch a movie around 9pm and I noticed that the contractions were happening quicker than usual. I started to time them and they were 5-6 min apart. After an hour, I got in the shower to see if they would slow down or taper off…my husband asked if he should alert the sitter and family, I told him not to…meanwhile I would call out when contractions started and stopped….they jumped to 2 minutes apart. I actually thought, “oh crap, these are coming too quick, how am I going to get out of the shower and dry off and dress? I am trapped!” I did eventually get out and get dressed and my husband basically drug me to the car - I still wanted to time a few more to make sure this was the real deal. Thank goodness for my husband – he also decided to alert everyone anyway when I was in the shower.
I had some uncomfortable contractions in the car, but it was bearable, they slowed down to about 5 min apart. I was also just fine between contractions, no big deal. I actually told him between contractions that I would be so mad if I was still 4 cm when we got to the hospital. We got to the hospital and I wanted to walk from the parking lot (I felt dumb being dropped off at the door when I knew I wasn’t that far along into labor). We had to stop walking for 3 contractions and we didn’t park that far from the door, lol. I got checked in to L&D at 11pm, answered questions, changed into a gown and they started an IV at 11:45 (I was GBS+). I would stop talking or doing what I was doing for contractions, then carry on once it was over. The contractions were only a little worse than the ones that I had been having for days…they were just more frequent. One nurse checked me, had an odd look on her face, then asked another nurse to check me. I was checked again and the nurse said, “do you feel any urges to push?” lol. I said, “no.” And he (yeah, a male L&D nurse) said, “Well, you’re 10cm with a bulging bag of water, you’re ready to go. I need to call your doctor.”
I kind of panicked…lol. I asked about an epidural frantically – nope, no time. I asked about IV narcotics – nope, too close to the baby coming out – don’t want to compromise baby’s breathing. My husband and nurses were very supportive and encouraging and basically cheered me on about doing it naturally. Honestly, I sat there like a deer in the headlights frantically thinking of a way I could get out of it….while white-knuckling the bed rails with contractions (I was sitting on the side of the bed – I wanted to stand. I kept asking to stand, but no one was listening…I should have just stood up). My doc came in (in shorts, tank top, and flip flops), and somehow I ended up laying back down and he broke my water and said “let’s push.” They never even broke down the bed. The pain was dramatically worse after my water was broken and it hurt to push. I was pushing tiny tiny pushes and was still trying to think of a way (in my head) of how to get out of labor, I remember thinking about asking for a c-section..hah. Everyone was telling me that if I started pushing, it would be over quicker. I finally realized in my head to suck it up and push, and I did. Then, I was told to stop pushing because he was crowning (which is a big fat joke – my body was pushing whether I wanted it to or not). I actually screamed out in pain at this point….then baby boy basically shot out. He was 6lbs 11oz, 20 inches. He was born an hour after us walking into the hospital doors. Thankfully my recovery was uneventful, only a “skid mark” without any repairs (I had repairs with previous two deliveries). It was actually the best recovery out of the three deliveries – I am not sure if it was because it was natural, or I had already been through this twice. Honestly, if we have another, I am not sure I would go natural again. If you asked me right after, I would have said hell no. But, now, I would say maybe
. I am proud of myself for doing it naturally, but I really didn’t have a choice.
I am very happy and thankful that everything turned out great in the end.