We had a baby, and he’s pretty fantastic. He’s the most easy-going child in the world, unless he’s decided it’s feeding time. He likes to hear a heartbeat, so I’m perfecting my baby-wearing skills. I’ve gotten nothing done in the last week and a half, so I’m enjoying baby newness. Baby R is still going to daycare full time so I’m in a blissful (but tiring) sleep-eat-feed cycle.
Here’s his birth story.
I had a very traumatic delivery with my first. It ended in a third degree episiotomy, forceps, and a resuscitation. As time came closer to deliver my second, I had to fight back fear. Fear that my body actually wasn’t designed to give birth. Like maybe birthing children is a talent you either have, or you don’t.
Once things got going, though, I didn’t have much time to panic. Imagine my surprise when I went from ‘maybe a fingertip dilated’ to 2 cm in a week. I started prodromal labor, which is a pain in the butt. I can’t tell you how many times I texted people close to me letting them know “it’s probably time!”
It wasn’t. I was in prodromal labor for two and a half weeks before anything happened. At my appointment, I was 3.5 cm dilated. They noticed I was having contractions but the baby was still posterior, which made it unlikely that I was in actual labor. I was still working but didn’t want to play anymore. I was almost completely caught up and had nothing to do. Kept falling asleep at my desk.
My husband had April 3 off and he suggested I take the day off, too. We’d spend a day together without kids, keep my mind off my growing frustration at not being in labor yet. The doctor wanted to induce on my due date, which was April 8. I’d been induced before and didn’t want to be again.
The day of April 3, I read that a posterior baby can cause prodromal labor. Basically, your body sends signals that it’s go time, but due to bad positioning, there’s not enough pressure on your cervix to go into full-blown labor. Sounded like a bunch of woo to me, but I figured it was worth trying to turn the baby myself. They recommended sitting on your hands and knees as long as you can stand it, then leaning back on your heels. I figured best case scenario, baby would flip. Worst case… I’d look like an idiot. I felt some movement in there but couldn’t tell a difference.
I did start painless contractions, but they had no pattern. We went out to breakfast and ran some errands. We took a break to have lunch. I told my husband that I wanted a keyboard to teach myself how to play piano. We went to a piano place, and the lady somehow convinced us to buy a full piano on consignment. I had no idea so much went into buying a piano, but it was like buying a car.
We went to pick up Baby R and decided to go swimming since we wouldn’t be able to take swim lessons for awhile. I had a really strong cramp while we were in the water, and about that time R wanted to get out, too. My husband took her after the baby was born, and one of the older ladies who swims a lot told him that she saw us that evening, thought I looked uncomfortable, and wondered if something was going on.
We went out for dinner and I had some more cramps. When we got into the car, I was pretty uncomfortable. I suspected either this was the start of labor or a UTI. It was late when we got home, so my husband got R into her bedtime routine. I started having contractions, and this time they were a bit more uncomfortable than before. I suspected this was it. I excused myself to take a shower since I’d labored in the shower the first time and it felt good.
I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I told myself the contractions would probably stop once I got in the water. They didn’t, although they felt better. We were under a severe thunderstorm warning and tornado watch, so I kept my shower short. I even blow dried my hair.
When I got out, I told my husband we’d be going to the hospital later that night. Then I texted my parents, who would be watching my daughter. I told them I wanted to labor at home as long as possible, but we’d probably be going to the hospital that night. I took another shower after the storm passed, and I had to meditate through the contractions at this point. Then I made my husband massage my back, which felt amazing. At this point, I was moaning through contractions, so he asked when we were going to the hospital.
I called the doctor on call and she thought it best that I go in and get checked. We dropped off R and headed to the hospital. The hospital was about 20 minutes away, but the interstate was backed up for miles. I joked that if we waited, I’d be in the news as the girl who gave birth on the freeway. Little did I know how that could very well have been in the case!
Thankfully, my husband knew a detour. It took us almost an hour to get there, and I had to fight some uncomfortable contractions. He kept making jokes, and I finally had to tell him to stop because it hurt too much to laugh.
We got to the hospital and as I waited for my husband to get everything together, I leaned against the car, moaning. The check in lady happened to be out in the parking lot moving her car, so she asked if I needed a wheelchair. I wanted to keep moving and walking, so I said no. As we checked in, she asked if I was sure I didn’t need a wheelchair. I refused again, and we walked up to triage. I was shaking, so I leaned against my husband on the way up. I recognized it as a sign of transition, but I wasn’t in that much pain so I figured I was 5, maybe 6 centimeters at this point.
We got to triage and the nurse was seriously an angel from heaven. She checked me and I joked that I’d probably gone back in centimeters so I was about to go home. “Well,” she said perkily, “You’re staying here tonight. You’re 6, 7 centimeters right now and the baby’s head is right there.” Then she asked me if I wanted an epidural. I said I’d like to go as long as I could without one.
So I was in transition.
As they walked me to my room, I shook. I got in there and felt cold. I told my husband I didn’t think I could do it anymore. I recognized this as classic transition signs, so I knew the baby was going to be there soon. I just didn’t know how soon.
They took my blood and set up my IV. I asked for the birthing ball, which was odd because I hated that thing when I was in labor with my first. I guess it just goes to show your body knows what it needs. The triage nurse suggested I swivel my hips and brace my arms on the bed. It would help push the baby further down.
She gave me a pep talk, walking me through how I’d feel if I opted for the epidural, and what I’d feel if I didn’t. I thought my contractions were spacing out, so I asked if it was normal. She said it was, but if I felt like labor was stalling I could get up and walk or ask the doctor on call (who was on her way over) to break my water. Then she told me if it felt like I had to take a giant bowel movement or if my water broke to call the nurse’s station immediately. My assigned nurse wasn’t there yet — I think she might have been on her lunch break or something.
She left and I decided to walk around the room for a bit. Well, I felt something huge FALL OUT. Of course, I panicked and screamed, “I NEED A NURSE!” I was too scared to look, but my husband told me later basically it was part of a head in a big bubble. (My water hadn’t broken so J crowned still in the caul.)
The nurse ran in and said, “I NEED A CART AND A DOCTOR!” The doctor who ran in actually was part of the practice behind the hospital. I’d never seen him before in my life, haha. I heard her from a distance say, “Okay, try not to push.”
I was still leaning over the bed, freaking out. I was sure I’d have to give birth standing up on the side of my bed. They finally helped me on the bed, and it took several nurses to do so. I was so scared if I moved the baby would just fall out. It hurt horribly bad. I really wanted the epidural now.
Apparently, the doctor broke my water as I pushed. The first two pushes didn’t go too well. I had trouble pushing him out, and I was still panicking and becoming more and more frustrated. The nurse coached me and told me one good push and the baby’s head would be out. Then that horrible pressure would go away. I remember thinking I wanted an epidural, but it was too late. She walked me through pushing. I held on to her arm and another nurse for dear life. I probably bruised their arms, but they were fine with it. This is why nurses are awesome.
Evidently, the doctor stuck his hand in there to help keep me from tearing. I wanted to yell, “LOOK, BUDDY. THERE ISN’T ROOM FOR YOUR HAND AND MY BABY’S HEAD IN THERE” but I kept it to myself. I also decided whoever was responsible for the orgasmic birth movement was a total jerk.
I felt another contraction deep inside, and imagined my uterus bearing down and pushing the baby out. Much to my relief, the baby’s head came out. The nurse was right. The pressure went away and it became much easier to push after that. He was out in two more pushes. I pushed five times start to finish, but I really believe if I hadn’t panicked it would only have been three.
Pushing out the placenta wasn’t very much fun, since the doctor had to order Pitocin and he kept pushing on my abdomen. My uterus was also clearly over excited, and my contractions were still really painful.
However, I was distracted by the beautiful sound of my baby crying. No resuscitation necessary for this little guy. They asked if I wanted skin to skin, and I said absolutely! I held him for a bit before they gave him a quick bath and eye drops. The doctor stitched me up (again not fun, but hardly the worst part — I’d only torn slightly and didn’t even feel it.)
They handed the baby back to me, and I held the baby was long as I could. I asked the nurse if it was okay to go on ahead and try to feed him. They encouraged it. Last time, I’d had trouble with breastfeeding, but he ate with gusto. In fact, his first feed was almost an hour! I was so relieved.
I held him and talked to him and sang him a lullaby until he fell asleep. It was the easiest labor and delivery ever. All that prodromal labor really paid off! He was born 4/4 at 1:46 am.
I had forgotten how challenging it can be to have a newborn, but we’re getting into a great schedule. He wakes up at 1:30 and 5:30 most nights, and feeds about 30 minutes or so. Between feeding, changing diapers, and cuddles, I’m up for about an hour, but can usually get him back to sleep.
And look– pictures!