Wednesday, July 1st
My mother, who has been staying with us on and off to help with the kids, was gone for the morning at a doctor's appointment. I had a chiropractor appointment and then needed to stop for a few things at the grocery store. Both kids were thankfully pretty well behaved for both errands. . though maybe a bit more excitable than usual.
We got home and had lunch. The weather was lousy, rainy with some thunder and lightning. DS has not been liking thunder lately. . he comes really close to fully freaking out. So we all cuddled up in my room with the shades drawn and windows shut and put in a movie (Babe). DS got in a nice nap and I took a little snooze. My mom showed up before the movie was over. At some point that afternoon I realized I was having occasional contractions. A couple of them seemed to radiate into my back. I did some sitting on my birth ball and some other positioning techniques in hopes of taking some of that ache off my back. It seriously helped.
On one of my many trips to the bathroom I noticed a little blood tinged mucus on the TP. That made me excited to think that my body was doing something. . productive. Although I then didn't see any more for the rest of the afternoon.
My mother and I made supper together. Burritos by the request of DD. I was feeling not really up for eating. DH got home from work just as we were getting everything to the table. We all sat and had a nice supper. I didn't eat much and really just wanted to take a shower. I left DH and my mom to finish up supper with the kids to take a quick shower. My contractions were coming more frequently but certainly not regular. They weren't painful, I was easily able to talk and do things through them. I did decide to lay down for awhile. Mostly thinking that they might peter out and then I'd know if it was the real thing or not. Soon after I needed to go to the bathroom again and there was more blood tinged mucus and my bowels emptied themselves. I took another quick shower and decided to get comfy to try to watch a movie. For whatever reason I chose to put in Galaxy Quest. I also grabbed a watch because it seemed that the contractions were coming at least more regularly.
At approximately 7:30pm I was lying down on my bed, my mom came in for a bit and we chatted and I was sort of half watching Galaxy Quest. The contractions were happening every 5-8 minutes and lasting 30-40 seconds. I timed them for a little over an hour. By 8:45pm they were every 3-5 minutes. I decided that this was probably the real thing and called the off hours phone service for my OB. The midwife on call phoned me right back. After telling her what was going on, that this was my 3rd baby and that I live about an hour away from the hospital she suggested that I come on in.
DH was just finishing getting DS off to sleep. I threw some last minute things together and he shoved a couple of things into a bag. DS was put into the co-sleeper and DD and my mom cuddled up in my bed to watch a movie and then go to sleep. (DD was pretty wound up when she knew we were headed off to have the baby)
We packed up the car and headed out at some time between 9:30-9:45pm. Because I wasn't all that comfortable in the car I put on my Ipod to listen to some of the hypnobirthing stuff. The contractions continued every 3-5 minutes. They were only bad when they occurred at the same time as a major turn or when we had to come to a stop (which seemed to happen frequently). Those quick movements while having a contraction were not pleasant.
We got to the hospital and found a close parking space at about 10:30pm. I was happy to get out and walk in. I first went to the wrong door, the nurse at the desk thought it was pretty funny. We found the maternity center admissions desk and checked in (I made a quick pit stop in the bathroom) and were then brought into L&D. Triage was closed for the night so our nurse, Jen, brought us to a room for intake. She took my vitals, let me get into a comfortable position and hooked me up to the monitors while she went through all the intake questionnaire stuff. After 15 minutes I said I had to go to the bathroom. She looked at the monitor output and said it was good enough (they usually like to do 20 minutes) took me off the monitors and said that from there she would only need to do intermittent checks of the baby with a Doppler unless there was an issue. Also because my contractions were regular and growing in intensity she started doing the official admission because even though I was still able to talk through contractions it was obvious I was in labor.
I went to the bathroom, had some more bloody show and then came out and walked slowly around the room. It quickly got to the point where I needed to lean and sway during each contraction. The room was set up with a few side tables each set to different heights. It was nice having those options, sometimes I wanted to be more or less upright. For a few contractions I sat on the birthing ball and bent over the end of the bed. DH helped with rubbing my back and outer thighs. Jen kept telling me that I was doing a great job. The call to the midwife was made so that she could come up and see how I was doing. I said that I would probably like to be checked to see how I was progressing.
I then had a contraction where I felt the need to bear down, not push but bear down a little. The midwife wasn't around so Jen said that she'd check me. I got on the bed and she said I was fully effaced, bulging bag of water and 5-6cm. Seeing as this was my third birth she knew that I could progress very rapidly from there so she started setting up the room for delivery. I had definitely hit transition and was feeling the intensity in my buttocks and outer thighs. I'd really pulled into myself. . focused on swaying and breathing. The contractions began to feel like one wave right after the other.
The charge nurse then came in to do a blood draw for admission. I think she soon realized that the blood draw was probably going to end up happening after the birth and not before. There was still no midwife. I had been looking at the bed, worrying that someone was going to try to make me get in it to give birth. I felt really strongly that I needed to be upright. I also felt the strong need to be naked and stripped off the gown. I was having strong urges to push at this point. I grabbed one of the side tables and squatted. I think I said something about needing to push and not wanting to get on the bed. The charge nurse calmly said that I was doing great and to do what I needed to, she'd work around me. With that freedom I grabbed the bottom of the bed and stood/squatted there. She threw a chux pad and a pillow underneath me and must have been crouched down somewhere behind me. I can remember feeling that I wished my water would break so that she'd just be born already. I heard the charge nurse say that the baby was crowning and then felt my water break. I heard the charge nurse and Jen say something about calling someone. It ends up that there was meconium in the water so they rapidly called the neonatalogist and the pediatrician. As soon as my water broke she was born within 2 contractions. There is nothing quite like that relief of having that small body slip out of yours.
I was still standing at the foot of the bed, they quickly cut the cord (a little too quickly, it wasn't cut all the way through so the first time they tried to get her to the table there was a little uncomfortable tug). That was rapidly fixed. Someone apologized that they couldn't give her to me immediately, because of the meconium. I was fine with that. DH followed her over to the warming table. The charge nurse grabbed my "tail' (the dangling cord) and helped me get onto the bed. As I turned around I realized that what was once a nearly empty room (just me, DH, Jen and the charge nurse) had become very crowded (all the above plus the neonatologist, pediatrician, another L&D nurse and then soon 2 midwives). A midwife from one of the other practices helped me expel the placenta and checked me for tears. Jen had a shot of pit ready but the midwife said I certainly didn't need it. Then the midwife from the practice I went to came in and introduced herself. I thankfully didn't need any stitches. I had only one small tear and some road rash.
In the short time they had Prudence away from me, they cleaned all the meconium off her, suctioned her out and gave her a little oxygen to help pink her up. They quickly brought her over to me to nurse and have skin on skin time. Cuddling with her and nursing under the warmed blankets was so sweet. Thankfully they had all worked really fast and I was holding my sweet little girl less than 5 minutes after her birth.
The birth was all so hectic that no one initially knew her time of birth. It was the other L&D nurse who had come in at the last minute that had taken notice of the time of birth. . .12:19am on July 2nd. Not even 2 hours since we'd first arrived at the hospital. I figured that I couldn't have been in hard labor for more than 45 minutes, maybe an hour at the most. It all seemed very fast and rather surreal. For the rest of our stay at the hospital most everyone I met seemed to say, "hey, aren't you the one who. . ." Even the nurse from my OB's office had heard the story when I called to make my 6 week postpartum appointment.
After nursing Poppy for an hour or so we wrapped her up for her daddy to hold. Jen, my nurse said if I was feeling up to it (because I was looking so good) I could take a shower before moving over to my postpartum room. I was glad to have some warm water wash over me and get cleaned up a little. After my shower DH and Poppy went over to the nursery and Jen got me ready to go over to postpartum. Again, because I was recovering nicely, Jen gave me the option of taking a wheelchair or walking over. I chose walking.
We loaded a wheelchair with my bags and pillows and I left the L&D wing.
Jen brought me to my room, told me again how amazing I did and gave me a big hug. She really was an awesome nurse, I was glad she enjoyed having me in her care. It's was a pretty cool, low intervention hospital birth. Never once did I feel like a patient. . .I was given complete freedom of movement and choice of birth position. . .there was only the 15 minutes of monitoring. . only one cervical check (at my request). . .no AROM. It was all very very quick. After having 2 pitocin induced births it felt like a huge accomplishment to walk away with a truly natural birth.
My lovely Prudence Olivia (Poppy) was born at 12:19am on July 2nd after a brief labor. She weighed 8 lbs 2 oz and was 20 inches long. She is now a week old, nurses wonderfully, sleeps a lot (my other 2 never slept this well) and is very much loved by her family. She has regained her birth weight plus some (8 lbs 4 oz) and has lost her cord stump. There is nothing quite like a new little baby. I'm doing all I can to savor every minute as I know this is our last.