From 34 weeks on I had bouts of contractions strong enough to make me think it was the real thing, I tried everything to get them to quit, and just when I was thinking I should go to the hospital, they would quit.  I was having twice weekly appointments after spending a few hours in L&D with some painful contractions at 36 weeks.  I was dilated to 2 cm at 35 weeks, and progressed a little more each week before I actually went in to real labor to 4 cm.  Every appointment my doc would make our game plan for if I went in to labor before the next appointment.

I was so miserable with all night long contractions that I was getting desperate.  Monday July 20th I was 38 weeks and had a 9 am appointment, I asked my doc to strip my membranes, then went to the park with D, my husband, to do some serious walking.  We spent 2 hours there, but got nothing but a sore back and lots of contractions.  I gave up.  I tried my best to remember that he would come when he was ready.

The next couple days were quiet and uneventful.  I had my 10 year class reunion coming up on Saturday and figured maybe baby would wait till it was over.  I really wanted to be able to attend, huge belly and all.

He had other plans.

My water broke just before 1 pm on Thursday, July 23rd just as I was getting ready to take a shower with my now 3 yr old, L. He laughed at me and said “mommy you peed on the floor” it took me a few more gushes to realize that it was not pee. I called D, and my mom, both of them were at work, then took my shower. Because she was closer, Mom picked us up and we were at the hospital at around 1:45.  She was so afraid that I would have the baby at home that she made what would have usually been 45 minutes of driving take 30.

We got there and did the initial assessment.  I got hooked up to some monitors and the nurse checked me.  I told her my wishes for a natural birth, and no IV.  I was 3 cm, but I already knew that I was more than that because doc had checked me on Monday. This nurse only was with me for admit, then her shift was over. In walked the nurse from my 35 week L&D visit, whom I didn’t really like.

I wasn’t contracting, so the doc said I had an hour before we would discuss pit. I was disappointed, but then my nurse reminded me that I had the right to refuse any treatment that I didn’t want. I was instantly relieved because I felt like she already knew how I wanted this to go and was willing to help me get there. About 5 minutes later I got some pretty good contractions, so I was in the clear anyway.

An hour after admit, around 3, I was checked again and I was a 4 almost 5 and 75%, which is where my doc had me on Monday, but I didn’t say anything, it looked like progress to them, and allowed me to do what I wanted. I didn’t dilate much for the next couple hours, but baby was moving down pretty well. They also started talking about antibiotics, because my doc wasn’t sure how long the ped on call would want before starting them.  I had 24 hours, so I had no worries.

I had done a lot of reading of the Bradley method and some books by Ina May Gaskin, and felt really empowered  and calm during this labor.  I pretty much just joked around with Mom and D and walked the hall, sat on the ball, or leaned against the tray table watching tv and rocking my hips. Labor wasn’t too bad really, but I was comparing it to the pit induction that I had last time. I kept saying, ”this should be getting worse pretty soon”.

My nurse was awesome at coming to remind me to change positions, and I was able to keep myself pretty relaxed.  I found that making moaning noise during contractions really helped.  I only had to be in bed periodically for monitoring, but then could be back out.

Before I knew it I was 7 cm, only because of a little lip of cervix in the front, otherwise I was complete. I figured I could move this along if I got up and walked down the hall.  I got to the end farthest from my room and all of a sudden I felt this pop and baby moved down, I almost fell down it was such a weird, powerful sensation. The doc and a bunch of nurses came running because they thought I was about to have the baby in the middle of the hall. With them all holding me up, I made it back to the room and was happy to find that I was completely dilated, and we were going to set up to push.

It was shift change time so I had to change nurses, and that was kind of hard, you work with one for so long and get comfortable, then have to get used to someone else, but the new nurse was a sweetheart, and a good nurse also, probably better for this stage of labor anyway.

I kept saying all night that it should be getting worse and this is were it got hard.  By the time I got back into the bed I had the urge to push.  I started to push at 11:15. I tried sitting on the edge of the birthing bed, but my cervix would close up in this position. I moved around and tried laying back, and pushed for a little while on my side, but couldn’t get comfortable.  I finally pushed in a semi reclining, almost sitting position with Mom and D holding my feet. Baby did really well during this whole stage.   With my first son I only pushed for 15 minutes because the pitocin caused his heart rate to drop,  he was then vacuum assisted out, so I was happy that this baby was doing ok.

I felt really uncoordinated during pushing, like I just wasn’t doing it right or wasn’t in the right position, I thought it felt different with my first birth, but figured I wasn’t remembering right. The doc kept telling me how much he was moving down, and I kept saying, “that’s all?, he should be farther by now.” I kept forgetting that baby moves slowly to a certain point.  3 forward 2 back until they get under the pubic bone.

Finally, after about an hour, things started to feel more productive. I felt like my pushes were doing something.  I was getting really tired, and frustrated because I had not expected it to be this much work. I was also really hot, and stripped off my gown, my Mom laid it across my chest to cover me up some, but at that point I didn’t care.

I kept asking how much of his head they could see.  Mom and D were both watching, and I could see the excitement in D’s eyes, and hear it in his voice, when he could see the baby moving down.  One minute all she could see was his scalp, and the next minute, 12:50 am, July 24th 2009, he was crowning and slipping into her lap all at once. She had wanted my to stop pushing so my bottom would stretch, and she could have a chance to suction him once his head was out.  My body had taken over, and there was no way I was going to be able to wait for anything before I pushed him out. Because of this, I ended up with a 2nd degree tear, and broken blood vessels all over my face and neck, I looked like I had freckles for a week.

The most amazing feeling was seeing him slide out of me and into the docs lap. I still want to cry remembering it. D didn’t want to cut the cord, so my doc asked Mom to do it.  I wanted him on my belly right away, but the doc was concerned because he was kind of juicy and floppy, so he went to the warmer to get checked out and suctioned well.  I was yelling at my mom, “get your camera!” she was too excited to remember to get pictures.

His apgar was only 6 at 1 minute and the same at 5 minutes, so  I only got to hold him for a few minutes. This was something that bothered me, because the same had happened with my first son, and I didn’t want to spend any time apart. He and daddy went to the nursery while I got stitches and cleaned up. My uterus was tired out and not contracting and I was bleeding quite a bit.  I got a shot of pit, then methergen when that didn’t work.  Being massaged internally and externally was horrible, I wanted to kick the doc, even though I was a bit scared and knew she needed to do it.

Daddy and baby S came back about 20 minutes later and it was then apparent why it took so long to push. His head was molded and bruised badly on one side. He was trying to come out crooked. It was so badly swollen that his head measured over 16 inches at birth.  Otherwise he was perfectly healthy.   7lbs 2oz, and 20.5 inches.  I was too tired to remind D that I didn’t want them to bathe him and put that stinky J&J lotion on him, so he came back smelling foreign. It didn’t really matter any more, I had my beautiful little boy safe in my arms. As soon as I got him back we tried nursing, it was like he knew exactly what to do.  He latched on and nursed for 20 minutes.

I felt great after he was born, I joked that if my tailbone didn’t hurt so much I wouldn’t know I had a baby.

We had jaundice issues with our first son because of ABO incompatibility. We spent a couple extra days this time, because of the same problem.  We wanted to avoid a level of 24 like his big bro had. After a day under the lights he was doing great and we went home.

I am so surprised at the differences between births, and children.  I keep realizing how much this baby is nothing like the last.

S was born at 12:50am on July 24th 2009
7lbs 2oz 20.5 inches