Here is the story of my 3rd labor and delivery of our 2nd son! The amazing Rebecca Laurel Photography captured it all, and I am so thankful for these priceless photos!
Sunday, April 19th, I had strong contractions wrapping around towards my back for 5 hours every 5 minutes. This was finally it! Then they stopped. I was so overwhelmed and emotional at this point. This had happened so many times, and I was passed the dates I had Tessa and Josiah. Honestly, I had no good reason to be this bent out of shape. I was not overdue. I wasn’t even 39 weeks. But we had Crockett’s mom come a week early after my dehydration episode and hours of contractions that day. We just KNEW it would be that week. And it wasn’t. And it wasn’t the next. I was taking her from the rest of her family, it had been 2 weeks, and he still had not come. I was feeling so much guilt.
At my appointment on Tuesday, I had progressed from a 3 to a 4! This lifted my spirits, and I asked her to sweep my membranes. It did not hurt at all, and she said she had to be careful not to break my water because it was bulging. This was all very encouraging to me, and we left hopeful he would come within in 24 hours!
But he didn’t.
Not one contraction that day. I did squats and lunges, used the breast pump…and nothing. Then on Wednesday morning, I had bloody show. I never had this with Tessa or Josiah, so it again gave me a lot of encouragement! I had contractions that day too. I continued with squats and lunges during the day, and using the breast pump for nipple stimulation, but contractions again stopped after a few hours of regularity.
That brings us to Thursday morning. I woke up at 5, and was unable to go back to sleep. I was hoping once more that maybe, just maybe today would be the day. Contractions began at about 8am. They were 5-7 mins apart and were staying regular. Since we already had this happen on Sunday for 5 hours, I knew I couldn’t get excited until they began to get stronger. They pretty much lasted until 3, so 7 hours, and then began to get further apart. I had done everything possible at that point to keep them coming. I had Crockett call my office to see if I could go in to be checked at least after having them that long. They said to go ahead and go into triage-I knew since they were not super strong, I would have to keep them coming close together in order for them to keep, and I would have to have progressed some.
After Crockett got home, we did what we could to keep them coming, packed up our stuff, and headed to the hospital. I hadn’t really told anyone because of the disappointments we had already had. Thankfully, on the way to the hospital, they were coming regularly again every 3-5 minutes. They accepted me at Triage because we had already talked to my office (otherwise they probably wouldn’t have since I was obviously not in much pain). They checked me fairly soon, and I was still a 4. They hooked me up to the monitor and said they would be back in an hour to evaluate the contractions and check for progress.
So we had an hour to make sure they kept coming! Laying down on the bed is definitely not the best way to encourage contractions, so I would sit up, rock, lay back down, and stand up every now and then. Every time I changed positions, one would come right away. Because of this, I was able to keep them showing up on the monitor every 3 minutes. And a few of them were getting stronger. After the hour, a different nurse checked me. She decided to say I was a 5 =) It was funny because it really seemed like she was being a little optimistic for our benefit. But we were admitted! All of this took quite some time. I got back to a room around 8pm (we had got to the hospital around 6).
Since I was Group B Positive, I had to get a saline lock put in and my first dose of antibiotics. She had it diluted for me, so it would take a full hour for it to finish up instead of the 20 minutes I had experienced with Tessa and Josiah, but it was so much less painful! There were a few moments of intense burning, but it would pass and the entire process was much easier than I had anticipated. Rebecca arrived during that time, about 9pm. She had already been in town so decided to come though I wasn’t sure how long it would be at that point. My contractions were same as they had been ALL day. Nothing to complain about, nothing that I felt like would progress me. Crockett and I walked the halls and bounced on the birthing ball. They stayed the same. In fact, they seemed to get farther apart. After another hour, we hooked up to the monitor again for 15 mins to check on baby and the contractions. I told our sweet nurse Devon that I was fine with having my water broke to progress things if Dr. Nett would allow it (she was sleeping at the hospital for me).
There is some background for me reasoning here. I would have LOVED to experience a birth where my water broke on it’s own. It would be amazing for it to have happened right as I was pushing, and I know it would have helped the contractions be cushioned a bit. But my body had never experience labor without a broken water. With Tessa, it was broken for me. I had been 5cm with her with hardly any contractions. We were sent to the hospital because of low fluid, my water was broke, and labor took off. I made it 4 hours after that, with lots of vomiting, lots of “nos” from my doctor, and lots of crying. I was only a 6 after those 4 hours, and that led me to get the epidural.
With Josiah, my water broke at home just like the movies, huge gushes and all! I had been a 3 and progressed to a 4 by the time we arrived at the hospital (around 5pm). Crockett and I were ready for our natural birth and anticipated hours of contractions. It was the most painful experience of my life, but amazing! I felt really connected to Crockett during all of it because I needed him. He was there every moment, and we did it. It is still my favorite birth experience.
Because of the process I had both with Tessa and Josiah, I knew what it was like for contractions to progress. I knew that mine were not. Laying down for the 15 mins did suddenly bring my contractions back to 3 minutes apart, and I had progressed to 5.5, so Devon decided to wait to contact Dr. Nett about breaking my water. I had a feeling it wouldn’t be that easy though…we walked the halls again, but they slowed down, so I went back to the ball. We had fun during this time, chatting with Rebecca and having such an easy time. I doubted greatly that anything had changed and really felt we were just waiting to get my water broken so we could get this show on the road!
After another hour, my new nurse had arrived, Molly. She hooked me up, and sure enough, the contractions had slowed down. Dr. Nett was called and said she was great with breaking my water. Woo-hoo! I knew this is what my body needed to have this baby. I also knew I felt very energized and ready to go…but it was midnight, so the chance of that lasting was slim! Sure enough, as soon as my water broke, I felt the first contraction and it was STRONG. The change didn’t happen this quickly with T and J, so I was a bit taken aback, though thankful. They were coming every 2 mins with little break almost immediately. The peaks were so high. And the exhaustion from being up since 5am hit me hard. I also had forgotten I had to get my 2nd dose of antibiotics, which although it would only take 20 mins, it was still fairly painful at points, adding to the pain of the contractions. I knew within myself that I would not be able to make it this time. My mental strength had faded completely within the first 15 mins, and knowing how intense things would get, it was obvious to me that I needed relief.
I feel like I was fairly calm in communicating to my husband that I would be needing the epidural. He, Rebecca, and Molly encouraged me and reminded me that I could do this and not to focus on what was ahead. Knowing what I know now, I think I could have stuck it out….but in those moments, the decision seemed clear to me. It was very different than last time. I wasn’t there mentally, and without mental strength, natural childbirth is impossible.
The epidural came at about 1am. As it was kicking in, I suddenly began feeling pressure. I didn’t think it was possible…the contractions HAD been intense, but how could I be feeling pressure after only an hour of them?? Molly checked me, and said I was a 9! She then amended that to 8.5, but still…if I hadn’t gotten the epidural, I think my body would have begun pushing very soon after that. However, since I was now pain free and not feeling the urge, we waited. By my check at 3:30, I was complete and ready to push! I knew my water breaking was key for my progression, and being ready to push 3.5 hours after it was broken seemed like proof.
I am so thankful for my nurse. While I was waiting for my husband and Rebecca to come back into the room, I confessed to her that I did feel guilty for getting the epidural. I hated that I wasn’t strong enough to endure this time and worried that it would negatively effect the baby. She was so encouraging, and after informing me I was almost a 9, I felt the weight of that decision lifted.
I forgot a couple of times that I couldn’t hold myself up very well because I was numb…I was sitting up in bed and rocking/swaying to hopefully keep the baby moving down and twice I fell backwards when I attempted to use my ab muscles (and calling out for Crockett to catch me). It had me laughing so hard!!
My amazing doctor was woken up and arrived at a quarter till. The environment was still super relaxed and calm. It was nice to be able to chat and smile in between pushing (though this isn’t a good reason to justify getting an epidural, just a nice factor). After only 18 mins of pushing, he arrived at 4:03am! He was completely purple-his umbilical cord had been wrapped around his neck, but it came off easily (my husband informed me), and he was perfectly fine! We immediately had skin-to-skin, just like with my last baby, and they didn’t come in to weigh him for another hour, allowing us to just have family time.
When we found out he was 7lb 14oz, we were shocked! Over 1.5 lbs more than our other babies, but my quickest push time. And I barely tore. I became even more grateful for that after the drama that followed…but that is for another post!
I love this photo. Birth still amazes me. It is so miraculous! This little guy had been inside of me for months, growing and developing. And then here he is, part of the outside world, just like that! And look how big he is!!!