On Tuesday the 9th, I had contractions all day, very mild ones and not really regular but noticeable. They continued and by dinner time they had started to come about every 10 minutes, although still not strong at all. I happened to have a doctor’s appointment that afternoon and mentioned the contractions. I was dilated to 4cm and pretty happy, although I joked that maybe I would already be at a 7 and have to head right over to the hospital next door!?
After dinner we decided to go for a family walk around Walmart (where else do you go walking in February!?) to see if the contractions continued or decided to make any more progress. We came home and put the kids to bed, The Student cleaned up the house and about 9:30pm I felt sleepy enough to go to bed. I felt like this was it, but I didn’t know when exactly and decided to rest while I still could. Sure enough about 10:30 several contractions in a row woke me up and I said I’d like to head to the hospital. I had originally planned to stay home longer during labor but after a lot of thought we decided to go early enough that I could get very relaxed and used to the surroundings before contractions needed all of my focus.
So we called a nice friend of ours to come sleep on the couch, called our doula Sara and then my doctor, who had given me her cell phone number and also happened to be on-call for her clinic that night.
We arrived at the hospital with what one of the attendants later called “the biggest hospital bag I’ve ever seen” and got right into a room since I had already had an exam that day and our doctor was there when we arrived. I was thrilled to not have to wait around to be admitted!
In the room the nurses looked over my birth plan, I had a band put on my wrist (4 actually, ick!) and blood drawn (double ick!) and about 15 min of monitoring and then quiet. Joey, Sara and I were pretty much left completely alone in the dim room. We turned on my noise mask I sleep with at night, had a few drops of Rescue Remedy which really calmed me down, and happily walked around the room in my cheery pink night shirt. Things were very pleasant between contractions and they were much stronger although manageable unless I was strapped up the monitors again for 15 min of each hour. LB was moving around so much anyway that it hardly picked up any reading at all, ha ha. Oh well. The Student and Sara took turns taking a short rest and I even fell asleep for 7 minutes between two contractions (that must have been the little rest before transition!) I woke up feeling pretty refreshed and wondering if things would really pick up after that.
Sure enough, the contractions got longer and stronger and closer together. Before I knew it the doctor and nurses were in the room and I had them attach the squat bar to the end of the bed. I had been turned facing the back of the bed, kneeling and leaning on a pillow on top of the head of the bed. I turned around, a nurse checked my dilation (for the first and only time at the hospital). I was pleasantly surprised to find I was at 9.5 cm dilated after what seemed like only 5 or 6 contractions.
We decided to break my water even though before hand I had said I didn’t want to. At the time it felt like the right thing to do and I was glad because we discovered some meconium staining and the NICU folks came in to help out if needed. I used the squatting bar to lean on while I continued to kneel upright on the bed. The Student and Sara stayed on either side of me and continued to encourage me to stay calm and relaxed while I pushed. Just as I’d asked, the nurses and my doctor didn’t say a word while I pushed, just patiently waited while I alternated breathing between contractions and bearing down when I felt like it. I sat down on the edge of the bed just as LB came out. Whew! Pushing had been so intense, but only lasted 10 to 15 minutes. It was 4:38 am and I was thrilled to see my cute and blue faced little boy come out.
The Student went over with him to suction out the meconium while I tried to convince my legs to stop shaking! And as soon as they were done The Student brought him back over for some kisses and tears from his mom. For some reason I didn’t quite put it together that LB was posterior coming out, even though I saw his face come out first. A few days later it dawned on me that the few extra stitches I’d had and the bruise on his forehead were from coming out “sunny-side up!” Surprisingly I didn’t have any back labor and pushing went fairly smoothly considering his position, I’m very very grateful!
We cleaned up a little and got settled before The Student went home to wake up the boys. They came back with him, breakfast in hand, to meet their new brother, only hours old. They were very sweet and took turns holding him and kissing him. We snuggled, nursed and rested (sort of, as much as we could with a newborn) the rest of the day and night before we took him home the next afternoon.
In the midst of transition, I remember thinking "What!? Why did I think I wanted to do this again naturally". But only minutes later I was glad I had, and nearly 3 weeks out now, I think LB's birth was very satisfying and went perfectly for him. It's hard not to compare births, just like it's hard not to compare children. But each one is unique just like each of my boys and I'm grateful for the unique things each birth has taught me.
I'm especially grateful for my cheerleading team this time, The Student and I agree that having Sara there as our doula was a HUGE help, everything ran more smoothly with her there. The Student was a superhero, I'm thrilled to have such an amazing husband.