Our baby is here, and he’s a boy!
The night of my 41 week appointment, Thursday April 2nd 10pm I began feeling contractions. I was putting Declan back to sleep and moaning through one!
I thought it was possible that I was having gas from the refried beans we made that night, and Dave was gassy too, but after breathing through about four and being in quite a bit of pain we concluded it was real. I spent time in the bathroom, in the kitchen, in the living room. Tried timing them but my phone died and the places I could plug it in weren’t comfortable to labor in!
We asked the doula to come around 2:30am to help manage the pain and give us some ideas of positioning. She suggested trying the shower and that worked wonders for as long as the hot water lasted.
The midwives came closer to 6am and found I was at 3cm. It became a waiting game of unknown endings for me. Try this position, that position, this movement, maybe baby needs to turn and this position will help. Contraction after contraction, some with excruciating back pain.
Some of the positions they wanted me in were to continue the contractions and turn baby, like a side laying one with my bottom leg straight and my top leg bent. These brought on some really strong ones that were difficult for me. I was doing well with my deep breathing and moaning, but I was getting really tired. Physically and mentally. And after finding that I was still 3cm at 11:15 when my water sprung a high leak I couldn’t help but feel discouraged.
The midwives reminded me that a lot was happening besides dilation, and that dilation was kind of the last of the process. This was also the longest of the laboring too… I knew all of this, but still hated not knowing just how far each one was taking me, if anywhere. I laid down in the side position again to rest in between and the midwives went to another appointment leaving us with the doula. After 30 minutes or so I woke with a HUGE contraction and screamed for Dave to come help me through it.
Suddenly this fear kicked in. I began to panic. I was afraid to move from the bed, afraid to even move an inch. I felt like if I moved i would bring on more pain and I didn’t want any more pain! I begged and cried for them to fill the pool thinking maybe if it were filling my mind would let things move forward enough to get in. I later found out I wouldnt have been let in until I was ready to push….. Yikes.
Halfway full, we decided shower might be a good idea. So I somehow got out of my safe haven bed and into my luke warm shower for 10 minutes or so. The midwives came back and continued to encourage me, but my fear was building. What if something was wrong again? The pain was in my back, this baby was not in optimal position. I couldn’t pee again, just like my last labor. My mind was going crazy, “$4000 we paid for this home birth, I can’t just walk away from that! But this doesn’t feel right! I don’t feel safe, I hurt, I’m scared.” It took some tears and convincing myself, but I finally looked at Dave and told him, “you’re my only hesitation on going to the hospital… I don’t want you to be mad at me.” Of course that was a silly thing to tell him, how could he be mad?! We had been doing this for 16 hours and all he wanted was a healthy baby and mom, no matter how it happened! And he reassured me of this. They ALL did. They were so kind and supportive and loving.
I was crying and feeling ashamed and guilty and like a failure and they kept reminding me this was my birth and my choice and that I would be right where I need to be. That I could do it if I wanted to at home, that I was strong enough. But that it was beyond okay to choose another way. And so we loaded up at about 2pm.
I texted my mom from the car and Dave called his dad to get him on his way to our place to take over for the doula watching Declan. The midwives followed us down. She told me, “think 5” and that another mom she had transfer a couple weeks ago fully dilated because of the car ride! My goal in my mind was “DO NOT HAVE THIS BABY IN THE CAR” lol. I sat sideways with no seatbelt holding on to the open window and the arm rest trying to lift my body so it didn’t feel the bumps.
We got in and the nurse at the counter was on the phone having what seemed like a humorous conversation while I was contracting waiting for her. I felt like every second wasted was a second longer of waiting for what I came for… Pain relief!
Once we got a room things picked up. Every single person we worked with was wonderful and attentive and kind. The first nurse, Susan, took my request for the epidural seriously and did her absolute best to get me relief as soon as she could. Overall it took about an hour to get one. How I survived that hour I don’t know. It was SO HARD.
Once the epidural was in, my perspective was completely changed. I was back in the game, relaxed, and ready to still rock my VBAC. I was a 5 when she checked me (yahoo! All by myself!!) and we began discussing options for keeping things going. Labor stalled once my epidural was working and I napped a little.
Baby’s heart rate was looking low when they first checked him, and the midwives admitted they were thinking of transferring because of that themselves. Once my IV kicked in and the pain was relieved his heart rate was totally normal though and remained so the rest of the labor.
Anyway, they began pushing to use pitocin, but I really wanted to avoid that if I could so I messaged my friend who works in labor and delivery (who had her son at home 🙂 ) and she gave us some alternatives including nipple stimulation. We asked Dave’s brother to bring my pump to the hospital and the nurse, who also is a friend of mine, brought me some new flanges. Two minutes of pumping I brought on regular contractions 2-3 minutes apart and they lasted about an hour and half like that before I got tired and napped again.
Next check I was at 7 cm, the pump had done its magic and those contractions were what I needed to dilate. They convinced me at that point to allow a tiny dose of pitocin to pick the contractions up even more so the pressure would move baby further down and out of my hip, where he’d been stuck for a while giving me a little pain to work through despite the epidural.
I had a forebag of water still hanging on despite my water breaking officially earlier. They noticed a light meconium in the break, but when they used the hook for the last bit the meconium was much darker and we were warned this could mean breathing troubles and changes to our birth plan. We were happy to know in advance.
With more positioning changes and the pitocin, I was able to sleep through to 8cm and then just wait until baby moved and we were 10!
Then began the pushing. At this point it was 5:30am on Saturday April 4th. They set up a mirror for me to watch as I pushed, but I found staring at my belly button popping out when I pushed to be a better motivation, as nothing seemed to be happening down there. I say now, there’s a difference between “pushing” and “PUSHING”.
It’s strange. You can push really hard, feel the pressure of the baby moving down, but when you really give it your all and go into this second zone where things get quiet and you feel like your eyes are going to pop out of your head, that’s where the work gets done.
Anyway, 3 hours of pushing or so and the head was out. We slowed down for the head to avoid tearing. But, his shoulder got stuck in my pelvis. Suddenly everyone was screaming at me, “push! Push Michelle!!!” I was getting angry, what the hell did they think I was doing?! They put me down flat, and its so much harder to push that way, especially with an epidural slightly blocking the feeling. Dave was screaming with them to push and i screamed back, “shut up, i am pushing!” He continued to scream at me so i punched him in the chest i was so angry and confused. they were yelling, “15, 30 seconds, 45, 1 minute!”. The room was full of people suddenly and a doctor was on my stomach pushing him from that direction. Her hand was in me twisting the baby this way and that trying anything and everything she could to dislodge him.
Finally, a minute and a half later he was out. “Dad, tell us what it is!” Dave says emotionally, “its a boy!” And he was on my chest, then whisked quickly to the warming bed where they began suctioning out meconium from his stomach and lungs. He was grunting, never giving a good strong cry. It was terrifying!
I looked down to see why Dave wasn’t standing there with him and I said, “go see your baby!” He responded on his knees wiping away tears, “I… I can’t move…” He was beside himself. Watching all of that happening just took him to some other world of emotion that he still can’t quite describe to me. It was AMAZING. That reaction was what I always wanted to see when Declan was born. It was breathtaking, seeing my husband brought to tears.
Brendan was being well taken care of, despite my wanting so desperately to calm him. My midwives were reminding me to be patient, that it was all necessary and not to hurt me. It was still really hard emotionally to once again not be holding my baby in my arms right after.
The midwife who “caught” him began stitching me up. So much for slowing down at the head… I had a two degree tear from her hand and a 3rd degree in my rectum with a torn muscle. Probably at least 30 minutes of stitching me up. It was a crazy, crazy delivery.
And after all was said and done, I can say I am beyond happy with my decision to transfer. I got my VBAC, I got my pain relief, I got my support, and my baby who needed help in so many ways was so well taken care of.
I am just so overwhelmingly grateful for the amazing staff here at the hospital. We are planning to head home this afternoon and let Declan meet his new baby brother. I miss that little man so much!!!!