So, last we left this, I was spread eagle iin my bed in shit loads of pain after experiencing pretty consistent contractions 4-5 minutes apart, and then 2 minutes apart for about 4 hours. Doula had agreed to come and check my cervix, even though she was pretty certain I was in early labor and I was probably underestimating how long it takes first time moms to be dilated enough to warrant a trip to the hospital.
I should also preface that most doulas are not technically allowed to do cervical checks, but some will do them “off the record”. My doula is pretty much the most kick ass person in the world (seriously–I don’t think Hubs and I would have been able to go through what we went through without her), and she is also taking her tests to become a Nurse Midwife, so I was very comfortable with her checking me.
So. I’m lying on the bed, moaning through a contraction, open my eyes for a split second as doula’s hand is up my vajay jay and see her quietly mouth to my husband that we have to go NOW. I was 6 cm dilated.
Keep that number in your head as you read on.
Only 6cm? I’ve got pleeeeeenty of time to get to the hospital. Yay! Knowing that, I ask for one more soak in the tub. Doula laughs nervously and says, sure. At this point I’m not really lucid, and I’m kind of shuffling aimlessly. Who knows exactly what Hubs was up to…turns out he was frantically throwing things in the car. I soaked for 5 more minutes in the tub, and then wandered around looking for clothes and shoes. I was also still dealing with a ton of incredibly painful contractions which slowed me down considerably.
After about 15-20 minutes, I think I was ready to get in the car. Before we left, however, I had a really odd lucid moment where I realized we hadn’t turned off the air conditioner in the bedroom, and made HUbs do it before we left. Wouldn’t want our energy bill to go through the roof! He shook his head, and said, “Only you would be thinking about our energy bill right now.” It was about 4:45PM. Doula drove separately to the hospital, but warned us to pull over if I felt the urge to push in the car and call her immediately.
The car ride to the hospital sucked. I screamed through some contractions while we made the 15 minute drive to labor and delivery. I remember sweating profusely, feeling so incredibly hot and uncomfortable. To make matters worse, there were 4 or 5 HUGE speed bumps right before we pulled into the parking lot of L&D. Who the fuck designed those to be THERE? Speed bumps are not labor friendly.
When we arrived, we had to go through this waiting room area and I groaned through another contraction. There were a bunch of people waiting there who I’m sure were amused. Doula was there ahead of us, and got us ushered right through the check in because I was in “active labor”. I remember thinking it was odd that I was in active labor. Only a about 5 hours before I was baking a bundt cake! I cant quite remember the events that got me into the room where I would eventually give birth, but I remember it was a very big room with a bed, and there was no door, which meant that everyone on the L&D floor could hear my screams and groans. They had me change into a hospital gown and pee. Then I had to get strapped to the monitor so they could get a good “strip” on me and the baby. After being able to walk around and labor freely at home, the 15 minute strips were THE WORST. I had to remain relatively still and lay down. Laying down in active labor felt awful. During the “strip”, a very sweet British nurse came in to check my dilation. She was a nurse midwife from England, and was AMAZING. Unfortuantely, she left us during a shift change, but I credit having her there to the fact that I wasn’t made to get hooked up to an IV, or even a hep lock during my labor. She was much more opoen and schooled in the more natural ways of labor than some of the other nurses there. The baby and I were checking out fine, and she respected my wishes not to be hooked to an IV. I was evidently very lucky, as they usually make birthing moms get an IV as a precautionary measure.
So where was I?
Oh yeah. The cervical check.
British Nurse Midwife: “You’re 9cm, congrats!”
Me: “Excuse me? 9CM???? I was 6 cm about 20 minutes ago.”
Doula: “Wow! Well, that car ride must have helped!”
I was shocked. I couldn’t believe things went this fast! At this point, it was about 5:30PM I think?
My Ob came in to check me about a half hour later, and let me know I was fully dilated. Ready to push whenever I felt like it.
I know this sounds easy breezy, but keep in mind I was battling some of the worst contractions I’d ever experienced, coming about 2 minutes apart. I hung on to Hubs’ neck while doula pushed my hips together for Every. Last. One. Once I hit 10cm, I still didn’t have the urge to push. This went on for an hour. An agonizing hour. This was the only point in the birth where I contemplated asking for an epidural. I think I said something like, “I don’t know how much more I can take.” Doula assured me I had the strength to go on. I had specified in my birth plan that I didn’t want my water artificially broken, but doula talked some sense into me and said that if I did, I may speed things up a bit. The risk for infection at this point was basically nil.
I agreed WHOLEHEARTEDLY. I was on a mission now to birth the hell out of this little girl.
OB came back in, and broke my water. I hobbled over to the toilet where Doula said I may try going to the bathroom and seeing if I felt the urge to push.
Holy shit. On my next contraction on the toilet, I felt an urge like I never understood until you get… “the urge”. It’s primal. That’s all I can say. There is no controlling it.
I believe I hobbled out of the bathroom at that point and said, “Oh God… I think I’m shitting on myself.”
They all said, “yaaay! That’s a great feeling!” It was the first time since being potty trained that I had been cheered for shitting!
And oh, did I poop. Not gonna lie. They always say that you won’t notice when you’re shitting during birth. I’m here to tell you that you do. At least, I did. I apologized profusely every time. Hubs said my turds looked cute, and it wasn’t messy at all. He’s such a dear 🙂
By this time, I was ready to push and thought that I would try the birthing bar to squat during the birth. That turned out to be a huge mistake. The bar was not positioned well, and Hubs and doula spent what felt like an eternity trying to adjust it. I had a bitch-out moment where I just said, “Ok. STOP. This clearly isn’t working.” I decided to try pushing in the more traditional legs in stirrups position that I thought I would hate, and it turned out to be a great way to get things done.
The pushing was certainly painful, but there was something satisfying about feeling another contraction surge and feeling the urge to push (and yes, shit all over the table). Eventually, there came a point where I could feel her head putting pressure in my lower vaginal canal. They put a mirror there so I could see the progress I was making, and holy hell, that was odd seeing my vagina start to bulge like that. After about an hour of pushing, they told me she was starting to crown, and the OB came in to assist in the final part of the delivery. He said that there was meconium coming out as I was birthing, but that it had already been filtered by the amniotic fluid and was not going to be dangerous for the baby at all. That was a relief!
The final part of pushing was the most painful, not gonna lie. This was the point where I had to be “stretched” and go slow or risk tearing. And oh boy… tear I did. I have two second degree tears, and hemorrhoids that are scary as hell. I felt the moment her head came out as an intense burning sensation, and I think I screamed. The doctor told me to try to control my push on the next contraction and I felt her shoulder rotate and bust out of me. It was an amazing, painful, feeling…and then she slid out into the world, pissed as hell.
That’s my girl! She has a set of lungs on her. Oh, and there’s my unpedicured toe in the foreground.
And that’s my wonderful OB holding her. He was absolutely amazing through the whole birth. I don’t think he gets to do many completely unmedicated births, and he was so respectful of my wishes. He let the cord stop pulsing before he clamped it, and I could see how just that little bit of extra pulsing helped turn Shira’s skin bright pink with oxygen. It was awesome.
What wasn’t so awesome? The fact that my uterus didn’t contract and stop bleeding after he massaged it. I knew this was going on, but was so blissed out with Shira on my belly that I didn’t think anything of the bleeding. Oh, my blood is just spilling onto the floor right now…no biggie. They gave me a shot of pitocin in the leg to try and stop the bleeding, and when that didn’t work, the doc had to physically reach up my vag, through my cervix, and start pulling out massive clots. THAT was painful. But I honestly think I blocked out most of it. I remember screaming in pain, but I don’t remember being physically in pain…if that makes any sense? They gave me one more shot of something called Hemabate, which stopped the bleeding, fortunately. I had lost a liter of blood when all was said and done, but fortunately didn’t need a transfusion or anything.
1 hour and God knows how many stitches later, I was being wheeled to recovery with Shira.
Doula let me in on a little secret after all was said and done.
I was 9cm dilated at home…not 6cm. When she discovered that I had gone that far, she lied to us to spare us a complete and utter freak out that we wouldn’t make it to the hospital on time. And for that, I’m very grateful. She had never seen a first time mom go that fast. Given the amount of pain I was in during each contraction, I am eternally grateful that I went this quick. If I had been feeling those contractions for 20 hours, there is no doubt I would have been begging for an epidural, and most likely would have got one.
And for this little bunny, I am more than grateful. No words can express.