Adam arrived on 3/24 like it was a race to be born, going from no signs of labor (seriously, not a single contraction, no dilation, no nothing) to final push 6 hours later! My water broke after breakfast, in my kitchen. Jake was starting his car to leave for work and I was standing at the sink when I felt it; my first thought (TMI–for those who’ve been pregnant, you’ll know what I’m talking about) was “not again, this f’in’ discharge sh*t has got to stop, I’m running out of underwear” but then I quickly realized that about a quart of water had just run out of me. Why my first instinct was to drop my pants I’ll never know, but Jake came back inside to see me standing at the sink with my PJs around my ankles, water all over the floor, and a plate in one hand.
We knew from our hypnobirthing class that water breaking without contractions could mean 12-72 hours before you actually go into labor and we were very sure we didn’t want to be put on the hospital’s time line–you know, no labor yet, we’ll give you pitocin blah blah blah. We called the birth coach and she said to just stall them on any actions, buying an hour at a time. So we puttered around; I took a shower, finished the dishes, ate another breakfast in case they wouldn’t let me eat at the hospital.
We left for the hospital about an hour later, its a 45-60 minute drive, still nothing happening. I’d had some further water floodage and Jake made me sit on a towel with my pants around my knees on the way there, lest I ruin the seats and have to walk to maternity in wet pants. We stopped at McDonald’s: I’d been very good about the caffeine during pregnancy, one can of soda a day…but Jake said if there was ever a day not to worry about how much caffeine would or would not do to our baby today was it and he ordered me the tanker sized diet coke. Heaven!! We also stopped at the grocery to buy Guinness, for after, of course.
We parked in the garage at the hospital and left the bags in the car figuring it would be hours and I’d probably end up being sent to walk around to get labor started. I’d had two contractions at this point, 10 minutes apart, lasting for 20-30 seconds and really mild. They brought me into triage, made me pee in the cup, hooked me to the monitor etc. Turns out my blood pressure was super high; the whole nine months it was super low, so the doctor was very concerned about pre-e and explained that she was going to do an exam, take some blood and determine if I needed to be admitted to a high risk birthing room. The exam established that I was at 2cm. The blood test would take about an hour to tell us anything, so we had to just sit tight.
Jake was timing the contractions that had begun, I was doing everything I learned in hypnobirthing; had my ipod relaxation stuff going, breathing patterns, visualization, etc. For awhile it was very helpful, but the contractions weren’t quite what had been described in birthing class. I fully expected pain, I didn’t expect that my contractions would last 5-6 minutes at a time with 20-30 seconds in between. Basically I went from really mild cramps to stabbing pain that was essentially non-stop. I continued with the hypnosis stuff, but because my breaks were so short I couldn’t compose myself in between. All I could think was if this is what 2-3cm feels like, I can’t imagine what 9 and 10 will be.
And then the noises started.
I sounded like a mortally wounded cow or elephant or other really large animal that makes terrible braying sounds.
The nurses all have this look on their faces like I was going to be “one of those” patients; the girl who would scream and yell and be totally unable to handle labor. Jake is just holding my hand and trying to remind me to “visualize my muscles opening and squeezing the baby down…” Finally, the test results are back and they have decided to move to a high risk room for the remainder of labor. I’m wheeled on the bed through maternity, sounding for all the world like a herd of cattle lit on fire and telling Jake that natural childbirth is not happening for me, I want the epidural!
We get to the high risk room and as Jake tells it, the nurses are really looking like they don’t want to deal with me. Who can blame them, 60 minutes ago I was at 2cm, at average right now I should be 3cm, maybe 4. The doctor comes in to do an exam, very casual, the room isn’t set up for labor, the anesthesiologist has been called but isn’t in a hurry. She gloves up and checks my cervix.
That’s right, I went from 2 to 9 in 90 minutes or so, no drugs, no inducement, just a baby that wants to get the heck our of dodge now! That epidural? I’m not sure how they got it in me as fast as they did, but it worked. I guess (I’m fuzzy on this part) she gave me a spinal first, as it is instantaneous and then the epi, which takes 20 minutes or so to take effect. All I know is that in minutes everything was tolerable and I was feeling very much like pushing.
I had an awesome doctor (not my regular, but from the same practice) who allowed me to go slowly and push when it hit me, my epi was low enough that I could move my own legs and feel the urge to push, but pushing is a challenging thing. Its a coordinated effort of muscles you don’t normally use while trying to stop using muscles you do normally use–try pooping without tensing your legs or stomach or back anything else. Also keep your eyes open and hold your breath. And make sure its a super enormous poop that requires some work. That’s sort of it.
I was able to use the squat bar to brace my feet and a towel to pull on, but Adam was having some trouble getting his head to move. In the end that was good, the 2 hours of pushing (really, only 7 or 8 rounds of pushing) meant that I didn’t get cut or tear or need stitches or anything.
3PM on March 24 he was finally here. 8lbs, 12 oz, 21 inches long (that’s 80% percentile on weight and 90th on length, for those keeping score at home).
I was told by the doctor that I had an extremely atypical birth–broken water with no contractions, very fast labor with no drug intervention, and a giant baby with no damage to the goods. Whatever, he’s here, he’s super pissed off about leaving the balmy tropics of the land of uterus, and he has feet like flippers.
My parents are still promising to take him for four days in October. He’ll be 6 months old and I’m already looking forward to the uninterrupted sleep! But not looking forward to missing my baby boy!!
We had pictures done last friday and I will post the link when I get it.