On Tuesday afternoon I decided to listen to the Hypnobabies CD. I didn’t really think it would do anything, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to relax. As soon as it started I felt a little sick. I got progressively more uncomfortable and by the end, I thought I really had bad indigestion. I went and took a warm bath and it went away almost immediately.
Later that night I had the idea that I’d better call my mother in law and tell her to keep her phone on, because I wasn’t feeling well. I made a note to call at 9:30. Just before 9:30 I stopped to stretch and as I squatted down, I felt what seemed like a kick, but when I stood up, my water broke in a big way! I tried to change and clean up, but the more I did, the more it leaked all over. I called my mother in law to let her know. We had a debate about whether to call Alex or not. I knew that broken water with no contractions and no dilation could be a really long labor, and probably end up with augmentation if I insisted on going to the hospital immediately. I finally called him, but suggested he wait until they triaged me, thinking he might get another day of work in tomorrow. He wanted to come home right away, so I told him not to hurry, and to stop for something to eat and to pack. We arrived at the hospital at about 11 pm, and I still hadn’t felt what I thought was a real contraction. They admitted me to triage, where my water continued to gush all the floor and the table. They told me the OB resident on call would check me. He took one look at the soaking wet room and told the nurse to get started admitting me. Then he checked and the look on his face was great - 5 cms! I was so shocked! So was he! All I could think of was, I already got to 5, and you can’t take them back! He looked at me all surprised and said “Do you want your epidural now?“ I said no because I didn’t think I was even in labor really yet. Still, I thought that I was probably stalled out and would go rest for awhile. The nurse helped me into a room, and as soon as I got into the bed I started to have unpleasant feelings that I wouldn’t call a contraction. It was easy to relax and breathe through each one. After a while the nurse kept asking me, “Did you feel that contraction?” She looked really puzzled, which puzzled me, because I thought this was the very beginning. The medical student there also tried to talk me into an epidural, telling me that after a certain point it would get too intense and I wouldn’t be able to have one because it would be too late. I really didn’t feel like it was unmanageable so I said no but secretly I thought maybe I should have taken their advice, because maybe they knew more than I did! The nurse kept looking at the contraction monitor and feeling my stomach to see if I was really having them. After awhile the feeling got so uncomfortable I started to kneel through each one.
About two hours went by but I didn’t notice the time at all. After awhile I thought that I was getting pretty nauseated and started shivering and shaking. It occurred to me that I might be in transition, but I didn’t believe it because I had only been there such a short time. I think transition lasted less than five minutes. Suddenly, at the end of a contraction I had a totally involuntary push that was totally out of my control. It was like an exclamation point! I told the nurse what happened and she said “Don’t push!” I remember thinking that I was going to anyway! There was no helping it. They ran to find the midwife. She came in and checked and I couldn't believe it when she said I was complete (that was a great feeling to hear it). I told her I couldn’t help it and after that, it was so unreal, everything just happened! Alex arrived right then, and the midwife, and everyone started doing things. I couldn’t get out of that kneeling position. They kept telling me to change and I kept saying no. Finally they got me to move into a semi-reclined position and this actually really did help. I told them that nothing was happening, the baby wasn’t coming out. Alex said he could see him coming. I told them each time a contraction was coming, and thankfully, no one counted at me or coached me at all other than helping me hold back my legs. My body just did what it wanted to do and pretty soon I heard the midwife say that his head was 75% out. Everyone said that labor was the bad part and pushing was the good part, but that was so not true for me! Pushing was the worst part and it kept happening whether I wanted to or not! After awhile I thought that maybe I could just stop pushing, and he would eventually ease out, but I was afraid of it hurting that I just went for it. I remember crying and telling them that I was afraid to do this part and I didn’t want to do it, but they didn’t care. Suddenly he was out! I remember thinking that his cord was really beautiful - a perfect spiral. I told Alex “You have NO IDEA what a relief that was!” It seemed like everything happened so fast then. I thought they were trying to cut the cord right away and I kept telling them to stop, but they told me it had stopped pulsing awhile ago, and Alex told me later that he got to cut it. I had no idea. They took the baby to the warmer right away next to the bed, and he got to spend some time with his grandmother and Alex. The placenta followed him out in about two minutes which I was very relieved about. I had a few small tears which needed stitches, and even that was worse than labor. I was so overwhelmed and miserable and shaking by then that they had to give me a shot of Nubain to do the stitches. Finally they let me sit up and I asked the nurse if he was okay, and if he only had ten fingers and toes. I asked them to let me see the placenta and it was really pretty with a HUGE hole in the sac where it broke. After the Nubain wore off, I felt more like I was back on Planet Earth. We held him for awhile and he nursed well. His first pictures within ten minutes of his birth show him with his eyes wide open and alert just quietly looking at his family - what a blessing and confirmation for me that an unmedicated birth was WORTH IT!!
The birth experience was great. After that, the hospital experience wasn't! The next day the staff pediatrician was angry that we refused the erythromycin, and made us sign a form stating that he could have ruptured eyeballs, infection and/or death. They were also very upset that we refused the Hep B. They wanted to give him rubella as well, since my titers were equivocal, and were not happy that I refused that as well. I just did not function well there, and once I got home, there was a 100% improvement in how I felt and how I could interact with my baby.