Since I documented my whole pregnancy on my blog, I figured it only made sense to write about Will's birth. I don't plan on getting too graphic with the details, but there will probably be some TMI-type information related to childbirth included in this post. So, if you're not into that, you might want to skip this one. Now let's get to the story (it's kind of a long one).
My labor story starts a week before my son was actually born. So, I'm going to back up to my 40-week appointment (which was actually in the afternoon on the Thursday I was 39 weeks + 6 days). My doctor checked me and I was dilated to two centimeters (that was the same as the week before). She did another membrane sweep that I hoped would work to put me into labor in the next day or two. While I was at that appointment we also discussed the game plan for induction. I was scheduled for a non-stress test (NST) for Monday morning at 10 am (that was standard protocol at the hospital for anyone over 40 weeks) and my next appointment was scheduled for Wednesday (that would give us enough time to schedule my induction for Friday when my doctor would be the provider on call).
I left that appointment pretty optimistic. I had made it to 40 weeks, and I knew if nothing else happens I would be induced next week. I felt pretty normal the rest of the day on Thursday and went about my day as usual. That night I got what I thought was my typical nighttime back pain, and went to bed to try and relax. The next morning I woke up with another really uncomfortable backache around 6 am. If you read my last few pregnancy updates, then you know that I've had bad back and hip pain most of this pregnancy. So, I didn't think anything of it and took a shower. Up to this point, showers and regular-strength Tylenol were the best way I had found to cope with this type of discomfort.
While I was in the shower I realized that the ache also radiated into my lower abdomen, and felt like very mild mensural cramps. I thought, "this has to be it", and proceeded to Google search my symptoms for about an hour after I got out of the shower just to make sure. Then, I texted my mom to see what she thought. To her, it sounded promising.
So, I did my typical housework, but they continued to get stronger and closer together as the day went on. I kept taking warm showers and Tylenol to cope, but they started to get too uncomfortable for that to help me relax. However, I never felt like the pregnant ladies you see in the movies who have to stop moving and breathe through every contraction. So, I thought it wasn't quite time to go to the hospital, yet. Jason went to work that day, and when he got home he saw how poorly I felt and we started timing them. They were 45-90 seconds long, three minutes apart and had been like that for a couple hours. My hospital says if they're a minute one and five minutes apart for at least an hour, then you needed to come in. So, he loaded up the car, we called his parents to have them pick up Buddy, and we went to the hospital.
This trip to the hospital was by far my worst experience. The nurse who took care of me in triage seemed to blow me off as your typical first-time mom and really didn't explain anything while I was there. She checked me again and I was still at a two, but they hooked me up to the monitor for an hour. If I progressed from a two, I could stay. If not, they were going to send me home. Those contractions were so uncomfortable. At that point, they were still regularly 2-4 minutes apart and would peak off the chart at times. I thought that even if they didn't keep me for that visit, there was no way I wasn't going to have this baby in the next 24 hours. They sent us home and by 4 am the contractions died down enough I could go to sleep.
Sadly, that's when I learned just how terrible prodromal labor was (which is loving called "false labor" even though it technically feels exactly like early-active labor). It was like Groundhogs Day every day after that. Contractions so uncomfortable they'd wake me up between 6 and 6:30 am. I would get so tired around 2 pm and would try to take a nap only to have the contractions get so strong by 2:30/3pm that I physically couldn't be comfortable laying down anymore. They would progressively get worse and be only a few minutes apart around 9 pm and would continue like that until 2-4 am. Then, I could go to sleep just for it to start again in a few hours. I was miserable.
Monday came around for my NST, and I was so exhausted I was having dizzy spells (I felt like I was super drunk for almost half a day). Because I felt so terrible, Jason took the day off and took me to the hospital for my appointment. During the NST they hooked me up to the monitors like when I was in triage and watched how baby boy handled the contractions. He did great. My doctor was the provider on call the day of my NST and said my contractions were more regular, stronger and closer together than the lady who was there in active labor... It was good to hear that these contractions looked as real on their monitors as they felt to me. However, it sucked that they weren't doing anything.
After that appointment, my mom took time off to spend the rest of the week with me so Jason could save his time off for after the baby was born. Everyone was pretty worried because I was feeling so terrible. Plus, it made me feel so much better knowing there was someone always right there and ready to take me to the hospital.
On Tuesday I thought my water broke, and my mom took me to the hospital. It was a false alarm... Then, Wednesday came around, and I had my 41-week appointment. The doctor said I was at a 2.5 this time, and we decided to schedule my induction for 6 am on Friday. My prodromal labor continued Wednesday night and Thursday. Those two days my mom said she was certain that she was going to get up the next morning and we would be gone, because of how bad the contractions would get at night. Nope! When she woke up, I was sitting in the Lazy-Boy drinking my morning cup of coffee.
Then, Friday morning came and we went for our 6 am induction. It took about an hour for them to get everything set up like the monitors, draw my blood for lab work, and insert my IV line. Around 7:30 am my doctor came in and checked me. I was at a three, and she inserted a special pill into my cervix to help it ripen (that would allow it to dilate and efface). She said the pill wears off in four hours and she'd be back after 11 am to check where I was. My nurse turned the lights off, and Jason and I took a nap.
A few hours later my mother-in-law stopped by with some snacks and we chatted for a little while. At that point, I was hooked up to the monitors long enough and they would allow me to get off my bed. I sat on the birth ball (just like I had done every night at home the past few days), and I could tell the contractions had started to get stronger. Around 10:30/11 am I was starting to get really uncomfortable, and the contractions started to feel more like they had the past few evenings. I looked at the monitor and they were 1-3 minutes apart, lasting at least a minute, and I even had some points where there were 2-5 contractions back-to-back without any breaks. I was really hoping that little pill was working, and these contractions were getting somewhere.
My doctor came back into the room shortly after 11:30 am and checked me again. I was at a 4/4.5! Finally some legitimate progress! However, my contractions were too close together for her to be able to insert another dose of the cervix ripening pill. So, she went ahead and broke my water instead. That was a strange sensation... I know everyone says it feels like you peed your pants, but to me, it felt I jumped into a warm swimming pool but only in my crotch region. Anywho. The doctor said my water was clear which was a good sign. She hung around for a few minutes to answer questions and left.
My nurse was still in the room documenting my doctor's visit, and I could tell the contractions were getting much more painful. I had heard that contractions after your water breaks are way more intense. So, I decided to ask for the epidural while the nurse was still there knowing it could be an hour or two before I got it. I know a lot of people talk about wanting an all-natural labor, but my biggest fear going into this was that my epidural wouldn't work in time and I would feel everything. So, I was hoping that by asking for it early on, I would get it and it would have enough time to fully work before things got real.
That was the longest hour and a half of my life! The contractions became extremely strong about 20 minutes after my water broke, and the back labor pain was INTENSE! I made Jason bring a chair over to the side of my bed so I could sit up and lean on him during the contractions. Remember how I said earlier that sometimes I would have 2-5 contractions back-to-back?! Welp, that kept happening after my water broke, too. So I would have up to ten minutes of contractions at a time. It was agonizing. Once the on-call anesthesiologist got to the hospital, she had to administer an epidural for another patient before me. Knowing she was in the building made me feel better, but boy did it feel like it took forever for her to get to my room.
Finally, she came in and was able to give me the epidural around 1:30 pm. The whole process took about 20 minutes, and the worst part was staying still while having a contraction. It worked almost instantly, so the anesthesiologist decided to give me a lower dose to start. My nurse checked me after I got situated in bed and I was at a 6.5! Thinking we had a few more hours the nurse turned off the lights so I could get some sleep while she finished charting. She noticed the baby had some decelerations in his heart rate shortly after that and she gave me an oxygen mask to wear for a little while. We didn't know it at the time that the few minutes after I got my epidural little man was ready to make his appearance, and that's why this happened.
While the nurse was still documenting I realized that I could still feel pain from my contractions. So my nurse was working on getting the anthologist back into the room to up the dosage. That's when I felt the urge to push, and I realized my worst fear was actually happening: I was going to have this baby without a fully working epidural. I kept pushing the little button they give you to get a boosted dose hoping it would work in time. However, it hadn't been 20 minutes since the last extra dose and it wouldn't give me more juice yet. My nurse came back into the room and I told her I felt like I needed to push. She checked me and I was fully dilated and he was even at a +2 station. So in about 15-20 minutes, I went from a 6.5 to pushing.
It was around 2:00 pm and that's when it got real. The doctor came back in, and I became one of those ladies you see on TV basically screaming through pushes. About 20 minutes into pushing I had really gotten into my own head and was doubting myself. I started worrying about what would happen if I couldn't do it and needed a c-section, as well as fearing the pain with each push. That's when I decided I needed to focus on our baby and the fact that the pain will end once he's here. After that the whole atmosphere of the room changed from telling me what I needed to be doing to rooting me on instead. Shortly afterward I realized he must be close because my doctor started putting on her throw away gown and the nurses took away the bottom of the bed and pulled up the stirrups. Then, at 2:40 pm on June 8 our little William Owen was born. He was 6 pounds 4 ounces, measured 20.5 inches long, and is 100% perfection.
**Photo credit for the images on this post go to my mom and mother-in-law**