Here is the birth story I typed up for friends, family, my local ICAN group and eventually posted on my family blog. I’ve added some revisions as I remember them (and as I’ve been told by my doulas and Zach).
I’d been having “real” contractions off and on for about a week before the “big day” (as with the first, I’d been having Braxton Hicks contractions for months on end). Thursday (8-14) I woke up to Keaton crying out around 345am. I went to the bathroom and came back to bed. After laying there for about 20 minutes or so, I realized that I had had 3 real, intense contractions. I looked at the clock and saw that it was only 405am. I waited until 420 (and 2 more contractions later) before telling Zach. The contractions were very short (15-20 seconds) but coming every 6 minutes. I called my mom to see if she could come down and help with Keaton (knowing if it wasn’t that day it would be the next). She agreed and got to work getting ready & heading down. I called my midwife to ask how long they needed to be (I knew they needed to last longer than 15 seconds!) and she asked me to wait until they were 60-90 seconds long.
Throughout the morning, the contractions stayed fairly regular, but after lunch, they “fizzled” out and became very sporadic. I talked with our doula, Faye, and she suggested I call my chiro and see if she could get things going again. I made an appointment for 430pm and Zach went with me. A good thing, too. Basically, as soon as she was done adjusting me, my contractions picked back up to 5 minutes apart and started to get a little longer (30-45 seconds) and even more intense.
We headed home with dinner and my contractions continued throughout dinner. I got a shower and they still continued. I called Faye and she encouraged me to rest, rest, rest. After a couple more hours, they were lasting between 45-60 seconds with a couple lasting closer to 90. I called the midwife she asked me to wait just a bit longer. I was getting antsy! I really didn’t want to be laboring at the hospital, but I wanted to be there SHOULD something go wrong. I wanted to be in the comfort of my own home, but, I knew we had a 45-60 minute drive! Faye came over, showed me a couple of things to get things going even more. So I’d do these things for a few minutes and rest (rest mainly between contractions).
At 930pm, I decided that it was time. I wanted to be 7cm when we got to the hospital (less time for me to “agree” to an epidural…closer to the finish line!) My contractions were starting to feel like they did when I got the epidural with Keaton (at 6cm) – which is what lead me to believe I was at 6cm or getting close! We called our second doula, Shanna, and she headed on over and our entourage headed to UNC hospital. On the ride to the hospital, my contractions went from roughly 5 minutes apart to 2-5 minutes apart (I won’t lie – at a few points, I thought we may not make it to UNC!) I was already having the urge to push with every contraction. I really did not feel that I was that far along and to suppress the urge to push, I would push my feet on the floorboard of Zach’s truck and lift myself up. I never told Zach I had to push until after we got to the hospital, I knew he’d freak!
We got to UNC and checked into triage and they started to monitor Benjamin and myself. I got checked and the nurse informed me I was at “a good 6cm” – I was bummed, but glad I was that far along. They got me a room with a tub – something I waited ALL day to get into! – and started to get me hooked up to the monitors. After some time, I finally was able to get in the tub. As SOON as I sat down, the midwife came in and informed me that they weren’t getting a good read on Benjamin’s heartrate and were picking up some “decels” (decelerations in his heart rate). She informed me that they were going to break my water (NOT what I wanted) and do internal monitoring on Benjamin (also, NOT what I wanted!) I was very irritated, but knew the monitoring was for the best. I got out of the tub (not after demanding 5 more minutes and not getting that!) and headed back into my room. The nurse tried to find my veins to start a hep lock for an IV if one was needed – took her two VERY painful tries and then she went to get another nurse to help her out, she eventually “got” it.
My midwife went to break my water which took a good 5 minutes atleast and then found Benjamin’s head and inserted/started the internal monitoring. I was still “allowed” to get up and move around, but at this point, I was getting frustrated and didn’t feel up to it. Faye came over and reminded me that this was for mine AND Benjamin’s good, birth‘s don’t always go the exact way we planned, but it’s more likely to go as planned with the internal monitoring. I labored a bit longer, alternating between standing and sitting. The contractions were getting more intense. I remember looking at Faye and apparently, I had “that look” (the look of I’m not really sure I can do this!)
*Backing up, when we met to talk about what I did and not want during my labor, she asked if I’d like to be reminded to “vocalize” the contractions. I told her probably not as I just did not picture myself “being loud” during labor….
Faye came over and quietly suggested I moan deeply through the contractions. I kind of laughed and told her I didn’t want to. She informed me that keeping the noises long and low throughout the contractions would help immensely with the discomfort (not PAIN!) I was feeling. So two more intense contractions later, I finally gave in. I closed my eyes (I didn’t want to see the nurses staring at me like I had 18 heads while I was moaning!) and just moaned through the contraction….HOW much better that felt!!! It was amazing!
I continued to labor and after some time I was checked again and was told that I was “9 and a lip” (basically just about a 10) and if I felt the urge to push, I could GENTLY do so to get around the lip. I’d been having that urge for a VERY long time so it was nice to be “allowed” to!
The urge to push was much more extreme by this point and this is when I really began to doubt myself. Faye was very encouraging in “teaching” me how to get through these rough contractions. She continued to remind me of my goal and how close I was to holding our sweet boy! I would be lying if the thought of another c-section didn’t sound AMAZING at this point! However, I didn’t voice that concern and had to work really hard to push it out of my mind – I knew it was too late for an epidural and my only two ways out of this was a c-section or pushing this guy out!
That’s when things started to get scary. Benjamin’s heart rate began to drop during the contractions when I was pushing – the same point Keaton’s did. I started to really get discouraged by this. It didn’t help that the Attending OB was standing right there witnessing this (I could see dollar signs in her eyes as she was picturing my c-section!) ((The attending was there because the midwife had another patient who was pushing before me. She left to be with her and said she would return as soon as that baby was born – turns out, both our babies were born at the exact same time!))
I got on my side to push, then to my other side. After about 30 minutes of this and his heart rate continuing to drop, they told me my last resort was on hands and knees and oxygen between contractions (they gave me the option of squatting, but I didn’t have the energy to stand). As soon as this position/method started, I was wishing for more rest. If I didn’t need the oxygen, I could have relaxed a bit between contractions, but unfortunately, I had to continue to hold myself up with one hand and the mask with the other (I did have help from Zach, Faye & Shanna in holding myself, but things would have gotten worse if someone was forcing that mask against my face!) Shortly after being on my hands and knees, Benjamin started crowning and everyone yelling that they could see him encouraged me to press through!
However, at 3am, I was really starting to get tired. Also, hearing his heart rate drop in between contractions and take some time to rise again was not encouraging – I felt like I was doing something wrong to him by pushing. Shortly after 3, the attending said that I needed to get serious and get him out soon. I thought that I had been trying with all that was in me before, but when she said that, all I heard in my mind was, “Get him out NOW or it’s another c-section…” All I could think was how much I wanted to avoid that surgery, that recovery, those feelings/thoughts that still plague my mind…. I was screaming “GET OUT” in my head through the next contraction. For most of the contractions, I could get out 3-3.5 pushes (if there is such a thing as half!) For the last contraction, I got serious…5 pushes and then, before I could realize it, he was out & I heard his sweet screams!
I didn’t know what to do with myself once he was out! I just collapsed against the head of the bed and tried to catch my breath and wrap my mind around what just happened (and what I just did!) I remember looking at Zach seconds after I pushed him out and asking, “That’s it??” (WHY in the world I asked this, I’m not sure! I think it was because after his fat head, the rest of him just plopped out and I was not expecting that at all!)
I heard one of the nurses comment about his cord being wrapped around his neck twice (causing the “decels”). Zach said it had to have been loosely wrapped because when he came out, by the time he could realize he was here and look, there wasn’t anything around his neck.
I got some help turning over and finally got to see my sweet, sweet boy. It was so amazing to be able to see, touch and HOLD him immediately after birth (as opposed to stare at him from across the room for a couple hours, like I had to do with Keaton).
Join my next week for my recap of it all! 🙂