Part, 3… (sorry it’s long! feel free to take a break while reading…)
Soooo, it definitely seemed like labor was actually happening. The contractions resembled pretty intense period cramps, and they kept getting stronger as the evening continued. Every time I was going to the bathroom I was wiping away more of the fabulously termed “bloody show” (why did it get named that?!).
Eating and drinking were on my list of priorities in these early stages of labor. Rather than worrying about sipping on a cup of water consistently, I would chug a glass of water about every hour. My snacks included: cheese, deli meat, grapes, berries, crackers, maybe a pb&j.
Matt was great (during everything, really, I won’t be able to say it enough). He kept me resting. Massaged my back. Brought me water and snacks. At some point, he took over talking with our doula, Gwen.
In the late evening time, circa 10pm (maybe? meh), I started offering each contraction for a specific friend’s prayer intention. Crucifix in hand, I focused on the person and offered up my suffering for their specific intention. As my labor progressed, I didn’t really get to focus too much on the specific intentions I was given by my friends (labor got r e a l), but I still held them very close to my heart.
And labor did feel like it was getting real. So much that Matt talked with our doula on the phone and Gwen arrived at our house around two in the morning. She watched Matt and me for a while to get a better sense of how my labor was going. It seemed that Matt and I kept going through the same routine, so she encouraged me to labor in different positions: in the shower, in bed, on the toilet.
I hated laboring on the toilet. I hated laying down. The shower was nice. Until I got too hot and needed out. We kept running through this pattern of labor waiting for things to really pick up (and here I thought things were getting rough!).
Friday, mid-morning it seemed like my contractions were slowing down a bit, and Gwen wasn’t very needed. She decided it would be best for her to go take a break, get some food, and re-energize while Matt and I went through the Miles Circuit.
Well, the Miles Circuit takes three hours to do, and one hour of that is spent laying down (which I hated doing but did anyway).
When Gwen came back to our house, things were definitely picking up again. To encourage that momentum, she had Matt rub some clary sage on my belly and feet, and I kept on laboring.
My goodness it really picked up! What does it feel like? P R E S S U R E, and a majority of my labor I was just trying to figure out how to handle that pressure. Once you get past the horrible awful no good very bad period cramps, contractions are really difficult. Like, seriously, how on earth am I supposed to deal with the feeling that a cannon is going off inside me but the ball just shoots downward on to my pelvic regions?
One little ritual I fell into was laboring at our table. I would lean against it between contractions, and then holding onto the edge squat when one came on. “OOOOPENNNNN” was what I kept chanting, Matt even joined in while he rubbed my back.
I remember Gwen massaging my butt during contractions and it feeling amazing. I highly recommend someone rub your butt when you’re having a difficult time relaxing your muscles down there. If I started feeling nauseated, she was ready with her peppermint essential oil for me to smell. Gwen was amazing. I suggest all pregnant women get a doula!
Gwen started talking with Matt about “when we go to the hospital”, and that really got my spirits up. She knew I wanted to wait as lonnng as possible to go to the hospital, and since she started talking about it, that must have meant I was getting close to having this baby!
Matt loaded up the car with our stuff, and I put on some clothes to wear to the hospital: long sleeve t-shirt, cotton knee-length skirt, tall socks (it was cold outside!), tennis shoes. Cutest outfit ever.
It might have been around 4 or 4:30pm that we were in our car on the way to the hospital. The fact that I had about 4 contractions during our 7 minute car ride really distracted me from being excited (but I was!).
Matt valeted our car, left all our stuff inside of it, and we started to make our way through the hospital doors. I had to stop and lean against a wall as soon as I passed the first set of doors, and a kind man loudly exclaimed “Oh, she’s in labor! You need to get her a wheelchair!”
And just like that, someone had a wheelchair for me to sit in. I didn’t stay in it very long because, not. comfortable.
The rest of the hospital happenings seem like such a blur. Everything really did move quickly.
When they checked me in triage, I was about 6-7cm dilated. Oooh! Ooooh! (btw. I hated getting checked. Seriously, what are you supposed to do if you start having a contraction when their hand is up there? Sit calmly?)
I did have to get an IV because I tested positive for GBS. The nurse didn’t believe me when I said I was hard to stick with a needle, and let’s just say, the “vein queen” learned her lesson. We moved to our L&D room after I had the first round of antibiotics.
The hospital has two rooms with a labor tub (which I wanted so badly!), and we were lucky to get one of them! The nurse promptly started getting that ready, and Gwen was busy calming the mood of the room by dimming lights and diffusing lavender. (tangent. also as soon as we got in our room, we looked out the window and everything was covered in snow. literally, our baby was born in a winter storm)
The tub was nice for a while. I would get hot, but Gwen would magically appear with a fan. Matt fed me ice chips. My contractions were starting to get really uncomfortable, and I started making some grunting noises which apparently get the hospital staff really on their feet!
All of a sudden, I just wanted to get out of the tub. TOO HOT. And, I had to get hooked up to do some baby monitoring anyways. They checked me and I was getting more dilated (can’t remember specifics). I was excited because this whole laboring event was a lot of work, and I wanted that work to have done SOMETHING down there.
While hooked up for fetal monitoring, the nurse had me move from my back to my side (or something like that…) and baby boy’s heart rate had a little blip during the move. I wasn’t nervous, but that made the hospital people nervous and I had to stay hooked up to the monitor for another 45 minutes. Ughh. Those hospital beds are not comfortable for a laboring woman.
I suppose I started entering transition which really was the worst part of the whole labor thing. Hot. Cold. Nauseous. SO. MUCH. PRESSURE (yaaa even more than earlier). Stuck on a bed.
Baby boy seemed to be doing fine which kept our hopes at an all natural birth still in sight. At some point after the whole hot/cold/barf feelings episode, I really could not help but grunt with each contraction. Around 8pm I started pushing. I was on my side for a while. Then moved to my hands and knees.
Pushing was tough, but NOT AS BAD AS TRANSITION. I think it just got overwhelming for me. My doctor with her hands on my lady bidness would tell me to “push HERE”, and I tried to focus my energy to THERE but I don’t think I was very good at it.
Oh and my water broke while I was pushing! It kinda felt like if you drank 3 gallons of water and then you went to the bathroom. HUGE rush of liquid. And, it was all clear!
The pushing lasted a while (two hours 8[ )… I wish I had gotten a squat bar, but I was just too tired to care anymore. Some meconium started coming out with my water (which also meant the NICU team had to come in to our room), and my doctor said she was considering doing an episiotomy since it seemed like I was having trouble. I asked to do a few more pushes because I did NOT want that to happen.
Turns out, that was just the motivation I needed to get him out!
I was tired. I was stuck on the bed. I was getting oxygen because they were concerned for baby boy. There was a sea of people around me, but I just kept looking at Matt.
Those last few pushes I remember watching Matt’s face – all wrinkled up and confused (amazed?) at what he was seeing down there. Then I heard him say he was seeing hair… “so much hair”. I just wanted to keep pushing!
I guess I was successful because they told me to look down, but I didn’t want to. They said, “No really, Eva, look down!” I looked and I saw our baby boy. I guess that last painful push was the one! I could not believe it; our little man was actually here.
Since meconium was present, our little guy had to be taken to the NICU team first. I did see Matt starting to cut the cord, but I slammed my head back down on the pillow and just breathed for a few moments to gather myself. It’s amazing what a woman’s body can do, but it takes effort.
Little man didn’t have any meconium in his lungs, so before I knew it he was snuggled up on my chest.
He wasn’t a baby squirrel or a puppy.
He was a little baby boy.
Just as precious as ever.
Silas Jean, thanks for being such a good first baby.
TLDR; Natural childbirth, healthy baby boy born 4/8/16, 7 lbs 11 oz, 19.5 in