It all began on Sunday, March 3rd, 2013 – Aiden’s due date. David and I had taken Otis to the dog park and had gone about our usual Sunday activities and relaxed. I was sure that his due date was here and gone. Around 8 pm, we decided to lay in bed and I started feeling minor cramps. I felt like something was happening, but I knew that if it was anything, it was extremely early. I fell asleep until 10:00 pm and realized while going to the restroom that I had started bleeding. I figured it was the mucus plug, but the blood was unlike anything I had read before. After deliberating for 30 minutes, I decided to call the midwife on call to reassure myself. When I talked to her, she remembered that I had had high blood pressure the previous week, so she asked that I come into the hospital so they could check me out. David and I grabbed the hospital bags and the car seat just in case we would be coming home with a baby, but we thought it was unlikely.
Once arriving at the hospital, I was escorted by nurse Amy to the labor and delivery floor to a delivery room. It was very surreal and unlike anything I had expected because I thought I would have labored at home for hours before actually going to the hospital. I was still having minor contractions at this point. The nurses and midwife checked my blood pressure and took some blood to check for preeclampsia. My blood pressure was about 120/90 (the same as the previous week) and all blood work came back normal. Since I was dilated to 2 cm and 70% effaced when I arrived and an hour later, I was 3 cm 80% effaced, she said we could stay overnight and see if it amounted to anything. She suggested that since it was so early in the game that we rest as much as we could. We finally went to sleep at about 3:30 am and woke back up at 5 am due to being asked continuous questions and being monitored by the nurses. Nothing had happened in terms of progress in this time. In the morning, the new midwife came in and checked me again and I was still 3 cm 80% effaced. The new midwife also said that since the floor wasn’t busy at this time, we could stay and see if we could get something going. It was our decision, but she suggested that we might as well. My mom started driving to Denver at 3 am and my sister found out at 5 am that I was in the hospital (although I really shouldn’t have been) and she wanted to come as well, so she booked a 10 am flight from Minneapolis to be there. I made no promises to anyone that Aiden would actually arrive on Monday. Throughout the day, my labor stalled. I really wasn’t having many contractions most of the day. We walked and walked, did hip circles on the exercise ball and I was literally running in place a few times. My midwife swept my membranes slightly at about 11 am to try to get things moving as well. Finally at 3:15 (with everyone in the room – my doula, mom, and sister), we decided that they should go home because nothing seemed to be happening. I did 45 minutes of acupuncture to myself in the hospital totaling 3 needles. Right after that, my midwife, Sherry, came in and checked me again and swept my membranes. I was 4 cm and 90% effaced. Immediately after she left, I went into active labor. I was in pain instantly. David and I labored in the room for about 1.5 hours before he told everyone that they could come back because I was in labor. We labored on the ball, on the bench in the room, on the floor, on my hands and knees, swaying into him and pretty much any other way we could get through each contraction. At this point, they were lasting anywhere from 1-2 minutes with about 3 minutes in between each one. David pushed into my back and butt for each one because I was having some back labor due to him being sunny-side up. It helped immensely. About the time everyone got back into the room, I decided to try out the jacuzzi. That was a God-send as well. I stayed in there for about 1 hour and 45 minutes with each contraction getting progressively worse. They were about 1 minute apart lasting about 1 minute 20 seconds. I violently threw up about 6 times while in the jacuzzi (thankfully my doula was there to help me!). After that, I decided that my side was cramping up from how I was laboring, so I got out and went back to the exercise ball.
This is when things really started to hurt. In the room, I started violently throwing up again. My nurse asked me if I wanted some zofran for nausea and I gladly accepted. At this point, the contractions were about 1 minute apart lasting about 2 minutes. We labored this way for a couple of hours and the contractions eventually got to the point where they were lasting 2:30 or so and giving me only 10-40 seconds in between them. I literally did not get a break!
I started having the urge to push slightly, so I had the nurse check my progress at about 9:50 pm. I thought that after laboring as hard as I had for the past 6 hours it had to amount to something. I still had a fear that nothing would have happened, but everyone in the room reassured me that surely I had. Right after the nurse checked me, I asked “okay what is it?!” She looked at me and her response was “it doesn’t matter… you’re doing great and getting closer to the end.” I knew at that point that I hadn’t progressed and became very discouraged. Everyone was shocked, but tried to comfort me and tell me that things can happen very fast and those numbers really don’t mean anything anyways. Then the worst thing happened… I got this uncontrollable urge to push. It was unlike anything I can possibly describe. There was absolutely no way I couldn’t push. My midwife came in and told me that I couldn’t push this early or my cervix would become swollen and then the baby wouldn’t be able to pass through the birth canal at all. I was still trying to breathe through each contraction, but it literally was impossible not to push. The pain of the contractions had actually gotten better (and I think at a little more regular time increments, but still exceptionally close together), but this urge was unbearable. The midwife told me to pretend that I was blowing out a candle. I tried as hard I ever have at anything to do this, but it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I was lying on my side in the bed at this point and at each contraction I would cross my legs and tighten them like you’ve never seen before. I finally asked Sheryl if an epidural would help me to not feel the urge to push and I would be able to let my body progress as it wished and not ruin my cervix. She said that the epidural would help and then I’d be able to rest a little bit and thought that was a good idea. I finally told David and Megan (our doula) that this is what I needed to do. David knew this was what needed to happen as well. They called the anesthesiologist and started pushing fluids through my IV. They told me I had to wait 20 minutes for everything to get done and I’d have the epidural. That seemed like an eternity to me, but I had absolutely no choice. I made it through several more contractions and with each one asking how much longer until the anesthesiologist would be there.
Then… the absolute most incredible thing happened! I sat up to get into position to get the epidural and I felt his head inside me. I immediately told my midwife and she checked me again and announced, “Oh my gosh, it’s a 10. PUSH!” I’ve never seen nurses run so fast in my life and get things prepared. They had everything ready for me to start pushing in about 20 seconds and with that there was no need for the epidural. I pushed as hard as I could for about 15 minutes. I actually needed an oxygen mask during this part because I was having to push so hard and fast that I couldn’t catch my breath between each one. Sheryl was just directing me to push 3-4 times and then take a deep breath and do it again. There was literally no break between each one. The pushing felt great though. It was really intense mostly due to the fact that I couldn’t breath and was dying of thirst. I asked for a mirror so I could see him crown and be delivered because I needed something else to get me through. They told me at the very end that his heart rate was dropping and we needed to get this baby out immediately. I have never been more motivated in my life to do something. In probably another 3 pushes, he was out and placed on my chest. I was panicked for about 10 seconds because he didn’t cry right away and then with time, let out the biggest wail. I melted into the bed and took him having never been so relieved in my life.
He was absolutely perfect! I only had a few 1st degree lacerations my midwife stitched up right away. This part wasn’t particularly comfortable, but at least I had my little peanut to stare at. The nurses, my doula, my family and David were all celebrating and it was the best moment in my life!
And just like that… I’m not pregnant anymore and have begun the journey of motherhood.