For a few weeks, the doctor had been telling me that Andrew would arrive early. We weren’t sure how early, but he most likely would not make it to full term. At my last appointment (37ish weeks), I was 3cm dilated and 70% effaced. The doctor said she would probably see me at the hospital before my next appointment. I tried not to think about him coming early because I didn’t want to be waiting for a baby.
On Monday, August 31, I was getting ready to go on a date with Chris when a small gush of water came about 4:30. It took me a second to realize that I hadn’t peed on myself and that it had to be my water breaking.
I wasn’t having any contractions so Chris and I decided to go ahead and go on our date and then head to the hospital. Throughout dinner I continually leaked water (you couldn’t tell thanks to giant hospital pads that a friend sent me for postpartum). Contractions started about 5:30 while we were at dinner. They were only lasting about 30 seconds and were not coming regularly.
After dinner we came home so we could pack and hopefully give my body a bit of time to figure out what to do. I showered, packed, walked, bounced on the exercise ball, and rested — and nothing happened. At 9 we decided that we would get more rest at the hospital rather than waiting around at home to go to the hospital. I called my doula and told her to hold off on joining us until something happened.
We arrived at the hospital at 9:30 and entered triage. I changed into a gown and they immediately tested me to see if it was really amniotic fluid that I had lost (apparently many people pee on themselves and think their water broke). The test was negative. I was not happy. They checked dilation and I was somewhere between a 4 and 5 and 90% effaced. They said they’d do a more accurate test but it would take a while. Basically I had to get more water to come out or I would be sent home if I didn’t want Pitocin.
I walked, jumped, and sat in extremely awkward positions hoping something would come out. Finally, about 11:00, more water came and they confirmed what I had been telling them. We were admitted pretty quickly and tried (unsuccessfully) to get a short nap.
Our doctor was not on call so we saw a different one- and immediately there were talks of Pitocin. I absolutely did not want Pitocin because I knew I would ask for an epidural. My mom arrived at 2:30 and we started our walks around the hospital. I had minimal contractions. Some of which I had to stop for but most were pretty minor. I was definitely getting frustrated with my lack of progression.
At 4 a.m. they checked to see if there was any progress. I was a six and fully effaced. The nurse convinced the doctor to let me go a little longer without Pitocin. At that point I text my doula and told her to go ahead and come because I needed ideas on how to make progress. She told me to get in the deep knee to chest position and that she was on her way.
I definitely should have called her earlier because labor seemed to get started about that time. The nurse came back at 5 to check and I was still 6cm, but since contractions were intensifying they let me continue naturally.
Contractions were coming every 4 minutes at this time. The ball seemed to intensify them (which I knew was good but wasn’t a fan of). I swayed through the contractions and Chris pressed on my hips.
As with Ruth, when transition began I threw-up and experienced pretty intense temperature changes. I ended up taking all of my clothes off… and then getting incredibly cold… and then hot again. My doula held a rice pack on my back to help during contractions. I remember our doula putting candles in the windows and getting peppermint oil out- both of which were lovely. Then the jackhammers at the construction site right outside of my room started going. I was able to completely ignore them and focus on getting through contractions. Things went on like this for what seems like forever. I requested an epidural if at the next check I wasn’t ready to go. I was tired and I was in pain. And I swore this would be the last natural birth we would ever have. (I currently feel as though I would still prefer an epidural but am not as opposed to unmedicated as I was in the few weeks after labor.)
Between contractions I was pretty oblivious to what was happening around me. I remember people coming in the room and asking questions and talking to me but I didn’t have it in me to communicate.
My doctor arrived at 8:15 to check me. I was fully dilated and fully effaced. She mentioned that I had a fore bag that had not ruptured and was not allowing the baby to descend, which is why labor had progressed so slowly. She asked if she could rupture it and I was more than happy for her to do so, considering I could have been holding my boy already if they had noticed before.
After taking care of the bag, I got back to laboring. I leaned over the bed/ ball and contractions became even more intense. I remember the nurse requesting a warning when I felt like pushing, but again, I didn’t say much to anyone and started pushing through contractions. I remember exactly how long to push from Ruth’s birth to make baby come. Luckily Chris and the doula saw I was pushing and crowning so they got the doctor. She asked me to lie on my back and I politely said that wasn’t an option. I ended up pushing Andrew out on my hands and knees on the bed- which was a beautiful sight for all, I’m sure.
I was able to hold him, snuggle him, and nurse immediately. We got plenty of skin-to-skin and I am so grateful.
We had a wonderful birth experience and a wonderful hospital stay!