When I found out I was pregnant I wasn’t planning on sharing the details of the baby’s birth. I had read many other bloggers’ stories because I enjoyed reading birth stories. Everyone has such a different and unique story that it’s fun for me to read the different ways a birth can go. However, when it came to thinking about my son’s birth, I figured no one would want to read about a long labor and graphic delivery. It’s really something I’m not immediately inclined to share with everyone, strangers and friends alike, especially after my experience with my first labor. Labor and delivery just feels like a moment I would only care to remember, or perhaps forget depending on the outcome. However, Jacob’s birth turned out a lot different that I could have ever imagined. Because of that, I wanted to share it here. If birth stories aren’t your thing then please feel free to skip over this. I promise there are no gorey details or photos =).
Monday, September 7, I went to my weekly OB appointment. The OBs don’t usually do cervical checks until 39 weeks unless you request it. Given that I felt as though the baby had dropped even further down (how is that even possible?!), I asked to be checked. I was just so uncomfortable and needed the reassurance that it was due to my body progressing further for labor. Dr. Turner first asked if I’d be mad if I went into labor sometime that weekend. I told her I was more than ready considering how tired and achy I was. She proceeded to tell me that the checks sometimes trigger labor so to not be surprised if it happened. When she went to check progression, she was shocked because she immediately felt his head. It was that deeply imbedded into my pelvis. She told me I was 4 cm already and fully effaced. She also told me that if I had any regular contractions to head straight for the hospital. I was within admission criteria sans contractions and a second time mom (STM) so I’d be admitted immediately. I was happy to hear I had progressed but wasn’t getting my hopes up. At 37 weeks there was no way I was having the baby that week. Those would become my famous last words as a pregnant woman.
That afternoon and the next 2 days I lost my mucous plug and had a bloody show. I was starting to have real contractions as well, but they remained more than 15 minutes apart and only lasted an hour at most. I still wasn’t convinced I’d be having this baby anytime soon. After all, many women lose the plug weeks in advance before going it into labor. I did, however, mention to my husband that labor could happen given everything that was going on. If it was any indication of it happening soon I at least wanted him to be ready.
Thursday morning was pretty much like any other morning with one exception. I woke up at 0455 to click. It sounded like it came from deep in my pelvis. I had read previously that some women hear a pop when their water break. Concerned that this is what I might have heard, I didn’t move and waited to feel a gush. Nothing happened. I shrugged it off and got up to get ready for my run.
I half expected to feel the gush when I sat down to pee since I’d be placing some pressure on my abs. Nope. Then while I was brushing my teeth I felt a small gush when I leaned over the sink. I straightened and expected more to come out. When nothing happened I just went back to brushing. It happened again. I paused for a second, thought about it, then just shrugged it off as just some discharge that was coming out. There was no trickling so, in my mind, there was no way it was my water. In denial, I got dressed for my run and headed out the door.
I felt pretty good on my run. I was starting to write off the pop and small gushes as me overthinking the labor signs. Suddenly, at roughly 1 mile, I felt a big gush. There was no denying this one. I knew I hadn’t peed myself because I had voided my bladder before setting out. I stop for a second and noted the time (0520). I thought to myself that I had to get back anyway so rather than call my husband I ran back (stupid, I know). I figured I was okay since I hadn’t had any contractions leading up to my water breaking and still wasn’t getting any a few minutes later. More of my water gushed out during the run and I had what I considered a mild contraction about 9 minutes after my water broke. Finally, after finishing 2 miles on the dot, I texted my husband. I walked the 0.10 back to the house because I started getting contractions that were strong enough to make me stop and lean over. It was 0537 when I made it to the door.
I hopped in the shower quickly while my husband got our daughter ready and grabbed my bags. I had 2 painful contractions in that time. I was trying not to worry my daughter, who was confused as to why she was up an hour earlier than normal. She asked me what was wrong and I told her I had a boo-boo and needed to go to the doctor. She proceeded to run and get her Minnie Mouse band-aids and hand me one, saying “Here mommy. For your boo-boo.” That melted my heart. In her mind band-aids always make boo-boos better. Children are so freaking adorable. My husband came up and grabbed her to get her to the car. I got dressed and had him also phone the on call OB to let her know we were on the way. I had a few more contractions during this whole process. The timing was about 7 minutes apart. We then hopped in the car and hoped morning traffic won’t be bad. It was 0550 when we left.
In the car I tried to really focus and breathe through the pain, something I had learned after my first labor experience. I’m one of those mothers who never read about labor techniques or went to labor classes so I was clueless that time on how to handle the pain. That definitely didn’t happen this time, especially with my daughter present this time around. I didn’t want to frighten her with the amount of pain I was in. As we passed the Baltimore-Washington hospital, I wanted to kick myself for not using them for my OB care. I was in some serious pain and really wished I was at the hospital already so I could get my epidural and rest. We kept watching the clock to time the contractions and were surprised that they were getting closer together fast. I was a bit busy trying to keep the pain at bay but my husband realized immediately that this was bad. He sped like a mad man on the highway and through the streets leading to the hospital.
Sometime before we got to the hospital exit I started to enter transition. I didn’t realize what it was at the time because I had never experienced it before. I just realized that the contractions were making me extremely nauseous, the baby was moving like crazy, and I felt like I needed to poop with the enormous amount of pressure I had. Oh, man, I really thought I was going to crap my pants. Finally, the pain got to the point that I was needing to grunt out loud and arch my back in order to get through the pain. I tried so hard to stop my body from reacting to the contractions that I was getting worn out. Suddenly, I couldn’t stop my body from trying to push. The first time I allowed my body to push I felt instant relief. I then decided to let my body do what it needed to do. The next contraction I felt the pressure in my crotch. I knew what was happening. My husband freaked out and tried to pull into the hospital’s main entrance. I immediately cried out “NO!” and pointed him to the ER. The main doors are usually locked after hours and although it was almost 7 AM, I didn’t want to risk getting there and the doors being locked. Also, since I knew this baby was coming now, I would rather have immediate access to doctors rather than having it happen in a lobby. We finally pulled up to the ER driveway and my husband ran out to let the staff know my contractions were 2 minutes apart. Apparently they looked at him dazed and confused and slowly strolled out with a stretcher and wheelchair. He tried to make them realize that this was urgent, like “she’s about to have this baby” urgent. That didn’t hit them until I was helped out of the car and was asked if I could climb on the gurney or needed to sit in the wheelchair. I told the nurse I didn’t know so she helped me to the wheelchair. Right then a contraction hit, my last one, and in that moment I told her “he’s coming.” She insisted he wasn’t and before I knew I was sitting in the chair with my hand at my crotch holding my baby in my pant leg. Thank God I was sitting as I only shudder when I think what could have happened to him if I was standing. The nurse opened my pants and was like “Oh! Yep, there’s a baby there”. I feel bad for the poor security guard who was holding the chair for me. I’m sure he wasn’t expecting to see that. My husband said he was in good spirits, though, and was jokingly asking if he’d get some pay for helping with delivery.
Suddenly, once the realization hit everyone that I had delivered, everything got crazy in the ER and people were running around. I had no idea what was going on. I was just so relieved that the contractions and pain were over. I kept trying to tell the nurse to let me hold him as she was kind of sitting there trying to figure out what to do. That annoyed me. I just wanted to hold him close and keep him warm. Finally, she handed him to me and I was wheeled inside to a room in the ER.
I was moved to a bed finally and I heard a doctor ask what patient this was. My name was given and she said, “That’s my patient!” It was Dr. Kwong and I was so glad because I love her. She told me “You just couldn’t hold it, could you?” I laughed and shook my head. She checked the baby out and me really quickly then had me prepped to go to Labor & Delivery. I heard a few nurses chattering outside. I guess they had called a code and the delivery and NICU teams had come running. One of the nurses showed up 5 minutes after the others had rushed there and was informed that they’d missed the delivery. She laughed and simply said “I know. Why do you think I walked here instead?” I giggled at that. I didn’t realize how many people where there. To me it looked like maybe 8 people. My husband said there was well over 20 because everyone rushed over when they heard what happened. I found that a bit amusing.
As we headed up to L&D, another contraction hit me. At this point I was spent. I knew why it was happening. The placenta had to come out. I had heard horror stories about how much that part hurt. I was so beat after having delivered my son naturally that I almost lost it at that point. I clearly remember telling my OB that I couldn’t do this (deliver/contract) again. I wanted to sob. She was so kind and told me it would be out soon and then I could rest. We got to my room and she asked me if I would like to cut the cord. My husband was nowhere to be found (he was dealing with our daughter) so I said sure. It was kind of cool to cut it myself. I was especially pleased that delayed clamping had occurred anyway due to the nature of my delivery. It was something I wanted to happen this time around. After that she placed my son on my chest and I held him as we waited on the placenta. A second contraction hit and out it came. After that my OB surveyed the damaged and happily proclaimed that where was one very minor tear, probably didn’t need a stitch but she was going to put one in for safety’s sake. I was then cleaned up, given some pitocin to help the uterus contract to stave off the bleeding, and then left alone to get my admission paperwork done. I had pre-registered so a lot was already done. The nurse warned me that some of the questions wouldn’t make sense since they were for prior to delivery. They were kind of funny. One of them was if I wanted an epidural. Lol, I did originally…
After that it was smooth sailing, really. I did get a little lightheaded when I was escorted to the bathroom for the first time. Apparently all the color drained from my face. Other than that little blip, I felt great. I really did. The misery and pain I had experienced with my daughter’s delivery was nowhere to be found. Honestly, other than the painful cramping I had afterwards, it didn’t feel like I had delivered a baby. In fact, I was so jazzed that I had not only gotten a full night’s sleep, but I had also delivered in time to order and eat breakfast!
I was eventually moved to the maternal child unit where I got comfy and spent the next 24 hours. All the people that came to see me, the pediatrician, nurses, LCs, and OBs, kept commenting on how great I looked and how I didn’t look like I had just delivered a baby. I found that so funny because I was a hot mess after my first. The next on-call OB came to check in with me and it was Dr. Turner! She laughed and told me “I told you so! That baby was just too low.” We had a good laugh over the story.
I’m still kind of in shock that I had a natural, unmedicated delivery. That was definitely not my plan. However, after that whole experience, I realized that delivering naturally without medication wasn’t so bad after all. Then again, I think I only got through it this time because 1) Labor happened naturally (no water artificially broken for me and no pitocin drip), 2) I was so focused on just getting to the hospital so I could just get my epidural that I didn’t pay too much attention to pain, and 3) Labor happened so fast (it took about 1.5 hours to go from water breaking to delivery) that I didn’t get to fully register what was happening. It is kind of cool to say I delivered at least one of my children naturally, even if it was unintentional. It’s even cooler that I got a good birth story out of it. I know the staff at the hospital won’t forget that one for a while.
We’re all safe, home, and happy now. My daughter has transitioned well into the big sister role and my routine for dealing with a baby and a preschooler has been working well so far. Nursing’s going well and started off excellent compared to the first time. Most importantly, the anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed are not present. I am so in love with my son and happier than I’ve been in months. I truly feel blessed to have my family finally complete.
September 10, 2015