*This blog post contains real life details that may gross some readers out so please read with caution. However, it may also serve to be educational.
When the month of April finally came I felt everything was ready. We had all the baby stuff, I was done working, and everything was ready to go pretty much. The predicted due date was April 21st. However, I was thinking about the potential that our baby boy could come early, because sometimes that happens too! So, right at about 37 weeks I was thinking everyday how I could just go into labor at any moment. Little did I know that it would be another 4 weeks of this waiting and guessing business…
As each day progressed I became more and more impatient and more and more sick of being pregnant. I have a real heart to those women who go past their due date, some even 2 full weeks past and have to be induced. That situation really, really stinks!
So, I began trying some of the old wives tales that people hear about – how to induce your own labor. I am very suspicious that some of them are pretty ridiculous, but at that point I might as well try them because what else was I going to do?
I took some comfort in this video and it brought me a few laughs, knowing I was not alone in the stir-crazy state of being full-term and just waiting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAElF17Tj94
So the week leading up to my due date, the week of my due date, and the week after, I was taking long walks outside and at malls (which do cause contractions by the way!), trying to massage pressure points on my feet, and just hoping and praying that it would happen soon.
Thursday April 26th (40 weeks and 5 days pregnant)
I had a prenatal appointment at 10:00am. At that point I was about 1-2 cm dilated and my cervix felt very soft (a good sign). I also suspected that I had been gradually losing my mucous plug (which seals the cervical opening, protecting what is inside). They did a stress test on the baby where I had to sit in a reclining chair, drink juice, and push a button every time I felt the baby move while they monitored his heart rate. I made another appointment for Monday to talk about induction if I did not go into labor over the weekend.
In the afternoon I took a walk outside by myself. Then, when Nick came home from work we decided to go to the park and play tennis. Yes, just like in the video…Nick and I played tennis for a good hour. Of course, my “playing tennis” was really just hobbling around trying to fetch the tennis ball and maybe hop a step or two in one direction to hit the ball back if it came close enough to me. At one point Nick said, “I feel like I am abusing you…” but it was my idea! I stopped and stood still every time a contraction came. After an hour though I was exhausted and wanted to go back home and rest.
The rest of our evening was laid back. However, I noticed that my mucous plug had what health professionals say is bloody show (another sign that labor is on it’s way). Later at night, I started having contractions. I began timing them, about 7 minutes apart. I tried to go to bed but couldn’t sleep through them so after a few hours laying in bed I got up and stayed awake. I sat on the couch and kept timing the contractions, nodding off to sleep in between. During the night I did become alarmed because I didn’t know how much bloody show was normal, it seemed to me I may have been bleeding too much. I called the after hours answering service from my clinic to talk to a midwife. She assured me that it sounded like my experiences were normal and to keep timing contractions and wait till they were closer together, so I did. Finally, at about 8 or 9 am I fell asleep and awoke about 20-30 minutes later realizing that I hadn’t had any contractions in those last 20 minutes. As the morning went on more and more time passed without any more contractions. What I thought might have been early labor just completely vanished and disappeared. I was so disappointed.
Friday April 27th
I was so exhausted from being up all night that Friday I slept all day long. I just rested and did nothing, I honestly don’t remember anything about that day other than how mad I was that the contractions stopped. Nick even stayed home from work in case anything was going to happen.
At midnight, on the dot, I started having contractions again and I was getting more excited. At the same time, I didn’t want to get my hopes up so I went to bed.
Saturday April 28th
2:00am: After 2 hours of tossing and turning in bed I finally just decided to get up and sit on the couch because it was too uncomfortable laying down in bed during the contractions.
This time, I had my laptop next to me and typed the times that each contraction came, which was easier to monitor. I also played my instrumental and light piano stations on Pandora.
The contractions seemed to be consistently 5 minutes apart for hours. The pain was excruciating. I couldn’t figure out why, for some reason, my low back was in the most pain. I remembered all the relaxation techniques and laboring positions I learned in the labor classes so I tried kneeling by the couch with my head in a pillow, swaying gently from side to side. That did not go over very well because at the peak of the contraction I immediately felt the urge to run to the toilet and vomit. That was at 3:00am. A very pleasant sound for Nick to wake up to.
So, trying different positions didn’t work for me. What I found to work was simply sitting on the couch, as still as I could be, while trying my hardest to breathe correctly.
I don’t think I was very good at timing the contractions accurately, but as the early morning hours went on they seemed to go from 7 minutes, to 5 minutes and stayed at 5 with a few here and there that were 4 minutes apart.
My midwife told me on the phone that the hormone which causes contractions tends to be more active at night which is why I may have experienced them at night and not during the day. I was not about to get my hopes up. I fully expected the contractions to stop again at about the same time of day.
Once Nick was up for the day the question was whether or not he should stay home from work. So I called the midwife at about 8 in the morning. I explained all that had gone on. I really didn’t know if I was in labor or not and I was worried it would all just stop again like it had the day before. My water hadn’t broken yet either. But after talking with my midwife we just decided it would be better for me to have the peace of mind to come in and get checked out.
It took over an hour to get to the hospital because every time a contraction came I had to stop what I was doing and sit down. Once I finally got in the car, Nick pulled out of the driveway and right as the car bumped from the driveway to the road I had a contraction. The movement of the car made it so much worse. So halfway down our street I made Nick stop the car right where it was in the middle of the road and I opened the car door and threw up again (in the rain with people outside watching).
At the Hospital
Once we finally arrived (which was about 10:30am), I was wheeled over to the maternity unit. After checking in the nurse made me get up and walk to my room because she didn’t think I was in labor. She had me get all ready in the hospital gown and everything while taking my vitals and asking some questions. To everyone’s surprise, when the nurse checked my progress, I was already 4 cm dilated. It was that moment we realized that we would not leave this hospital before having a baby! Nick started calling a few people and I attempted to text some close family and friends but it soon became very hard to concentrate on anything but the labor.
The nurse was alarmed because my blood pressure was really high. I hadn’t had any problems with my blood pressure through the whole pregnancy. Because of this, they brought in another nurse to do some lab work on me. My midwife arrived and they continued getting things ready. They had me lay on my side to help lower my blood pressure a little. That was the most uncomfortable position to be in while being in labor! My midwife checked me as well and discovered that our little baby decided to flip sunny side up and that was why I had such horrible back pain! I was having back labor.
Not very much time went by when I was starting to feel some pretty intense contractions. I even threw up again, one last time for that pregnancy. My midwife gave me a short lasting narcotic through an IV to help with my blood pressure and to help me relax, that was the only “pain” medication I ended up getting and all I remember about it was that it made me a little dizzy. I don’t remember much at this point except that they didn’t even do any lab work because I progressed so fast. All of a sudden it seemed I felt a very weird pressure and some pretty intense pain. So my midwife checked me and I was fully dilated. Everyone was surprised including myself! It seemed way too fast for me to start pushing. But that’s what I did.
With the direction of the nurse and midwife and the cheering on of my husband, I pushed. This was one of the craziest, wildest experiences of my life and I will never forget it. I pushed for about one hour and he came out at 1:02pm. I had one 2nd degree tear, but I didn’t care about that, just glad that he came out so fast! My labor ended up being 13 hours total.
During the pushing, Theodore did turn the correct way and my water gradually broke during the pushes. There was meconium in the water, but it must have happened during the pushing because it didn’t seem to affect Theodore at all. He came out crying and beautiful! Nick cut the cord and the nurses cleaned him off for us shortly thereafter. I started breastfeeding right away and we were overjoyed to see our beautiful baby boy for the first time.
Theodore was born at 1:02pm on April 28th, 2012
7 pounds, 9 ounces and 20 inches long