Let’s start from the beginning. I found out I was pregnant while taking the minipill, aka the progesterine-only pill, aka the pill to safe while nursing. Due to this I was pretty sure I was due at the end of April and found out at 15 weeks I was a month further along. Due to this I have often been uncertain about if it was my actual EDD.
My mom came to town two weeks before I was due. A few days before I was scheduled to take the GRE. So after I took the GRE I was eager to deliver the baby, since my mom was only scheduled to be in town for three weeks. When I hit my due date ( 3/25) I started to get nervous. For days I had been doing all of the “natural induction” suggestions. on 40 weeks 4 days I had walked approximately 4 miles, ate spicy food, etc. After weeks of unreliable contractions I was feeling pretty certain she would be coming with the next 36 hours.
My 40 week OB/GYN appt was scheduled at 40 weeks 5 days. The midwife I saw that day had never seen me before and was one of the first to ask about the accuracy of my EDD. Due to her uncertainty she was about to refuse to “sweep my membranes.” But after speaking with another midwife/doctor and looking up my file they determined my due date was accurate so they agreed to do a membrane sweep.
Almost immediately after the sweep I felt discomfort and having contractions. I came home and we planned on having more spicy food and went to the Thai restaurant. I had been keeping track of my contractions on an iPhone app. I drove to dinner and had a contraction during the drive that made me feel I shouldn’t drive home. By the time I got home the contractions were averaging 5minutes and I laid down for a few minutes but they slowed down. So I took a shower and monitored my contractions. Eric headed out and was considering going to a movie (since it felt like the birth might have been a while away). I got out of the shower and Eric came into the room to inform me he wasn’t going to a movie when I felt intense pressure and a “pop” noise. My water broke. 9pm.
We had intended on waiting as long as possible before heading to the hospital to avoid unneccessary intervention and as Eric made a “this is the night” phone call I felt that we couldn’t wait-that I had to head to the hospital without hesitation. The contractions were coming quicker and harder. 2-1minutes apart. We left for the hospital and came across a car accident that had just had the police and ambulance arrive. Eric got an opportunity to announce “Officer, no shit, my wife is in labor” and we got police guided through the car accident.
Throughout the car ride I kept unnecessarily keeping track on my iPhone and was having very intense contractions. (Eric told me later that the short period between contractions made him start thinking how he would clamp off the cord if I had her in the car). As we approached the gate to post I was anxious because I didn’t want one of these contractions while we were by the guard. The contraction stopped and I was happy I’d pass the guard without a contraction but another one started and the guard got to see me in full contraction mode. After getting through the gate I unbuckled and spun around to be as “on fours” as I could get in the car.
Eric pulled up to the hospital and brought me a wheelchair. I couldn’t make myself sit down in the wheelchair so I agreed to use it to push with. He left me with a hospital employee while he parked the car. In my head I thought that I couldn’t handle the intensity of these contractions for much longer and if I made it up to the hospital before Eric I could foresee myself getting the epidural. The woman walked with me and stopped with me as I waited through the contraction. At one point she informed me I had a puddle of blood beneath me. Eric made it back to us before I even made it to the elevator and I started to feel pressure, like the head was pushing out. I said “this baby is coming!” and during the next contraction, feeling the same pressure but more intense I told them “This baby is coming right now!”
We got on the elevator and the lady who pushed the button accidentally pushed the wrong floor. Once we got to the right floor Eric, without asking, “checked” and lifted my skirt where he noticed I was crowning (and I quickly said “No!”) The nurses guided me into a delivery room and asked me to lay down and I informed them I couldn’t. So they asked if I would get on all fours on the bed. My midwife arrived and with the next contraction I pushed. In three pushes/contractions Dorothy was born.
My intake time was 10:03pm. Dorothy was born at 10:06.
About a month later I’m finally getting to type our birth story. The entire pregnancy I insisted this baby would come when I wanted. She was to come on the 10th to allow Eric and I some time together but optimal time with the baby. I insisted this would occur, tongue in cheek, to everyone including my OB. Lo and behold, Helena came right when I wanted!
Eric came home on leave and arrived late morning of the 9th. We had a family get together that evening to welcome him home and the entire time I was having back pains. I think I was making some of my family nervous but Eric’s father returned to KY with the instruction to “call as soon as you start.” That evening I struggled to find a comfortable way to sleep. I slept on either side of my back, either side of the back, on the sofa etc etc. Eric and I were both up around 4am and I chose to get into the shower. I was starting to wonder if this was more than just back pains but back labor. I was occasionally on my hands and knees in the shower, dealing with the pain. I started to alert Eric that I didn’t think this was just back pain. I deliberated and moved in different positions until I decided to call the hospital. They instructed to come in and we ended up arriving at the hospital at 7am. I was 5cm dialated and had to call Eric’s father to come back to Indianapolis (they had arrived back in KY around 2am).
I had intended to have a drug-free birth so we set up a birthing tub in our [beautiful] labor room. I chose to use the shower to deal with the pain but had to eventually get out about 45min-hour later for monitoring. The monitoring was incredibly difficult because they could not get reads when I was on my side and so I had to lie on my back (which was incredibly painful with back labor). I got into the water tub and my contractions were intensifying. Very little time between contractions. At this time Eric, my mother and sis in law were in the room. At one point I heard a nurse say “Oh, I know her! We went to high school together!” Hearing that while naked in a tub, facing contractions, isn’t necessarily ideal but it ended up being Tara, a really nice girl from high school. After about an hour in the tub the nurses couldn’t get the water monitor to work so I had to get out and monitor on my back again. This time I could hardly stand with the contractions and was probably beginning transition. After monitoring me, lying on my back, my OB came in to give a cervical check. When I was told I was only at 6-7cm I was incredibly discouraged and scared that I’d be unable to do that for that many hours longer. So I apologized to Eric and gave in for the epidural. Unfortunately the anesthesiologist was backed up.
Around 2pm I received a fentanyl drip. The edge was killed but it was still a very uncomfortable and painful experience. After finally receiving the epidural (all I could fixate on was my anesthesiologist’s earrings. This is notable because I’ve seen her a few times since then and recognize her solely due to those earrings. Even a surprise interaction at the mall). After having some visitors the nurses checked me and found that the head was in position. I pushed once and her head was visible. They quickly got the OB and right before I had my last couple pushes I asked if Eric was able to catch the baby. He quickly got dressed in the appropriate robe and I pushed my final push (number four, maybe) and he caught her. She had a little merconium so she couldn’t be put immediately on my chest. But Eric was right up next to her to keep her company and maintain contact.
Eric was a wonderful partner in the experience. Asking a lot of questions, which in turn meant I learned a lot. I’m not sure if the back labor made the epidural more appealing/ “necessary” but I do feel a little frustrated. But now we have Helena, no matter how she came out, and she’s wonderful. And due to her prompt arrival, she had the full 2 weeks to spend with her daddy.