Friday, November 16th 2012 was my last day of teaching before Thanksgiving break and the start of my maternity leave. I was almost at 39 weeks (that Sunday) and was definitely glad that break had come. Baby girl’s due date was November 25th, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so I figured I had some time to get things in order and prepare myself and she would come sometime during the break. Little did I know she had other plans.
Break started on Friday night with a relaxing pedicure with my Aunt Janet. It felt good to be pampered and I was happy to get my toesies all pretty and ready for my trip to the hospital. I knew I would probably not get a chance to pamper myself for awhile once she was born. I went to bed that night with no inkling of what was about to happen the next morning.
Up until I went into labor (which I did not know was labor at the time) I had had no Braxton hicks contractions at all, I guess I was one of the lucky women who never have them. I had lost my mucous plug (sorry for the TMI) the week before, but had read that it could grow back so I did not get too worked up. At my OB appointment on Thursday the 15th I told her I didn't want to be checked for dilation. I figured it was better not to know, especially since it really is no indication of when labor will start. Basically, I started break with the idea that baby girl would be born on her due date or after, as first time babies sometimes are. I was warned she might be a big baby if she went too long, but I wasn’t worried.
Anyway, back to my labor starting…it was 2:45am on Saturday the 17th of November. I woke up with some weird cramping that sorta felt like period cramps. I wasn’t too worried and went back to sleep, or tried too. The cramps continued throughout the morning and at some point, maybe around 4 or 5am I got the idea that this may be the real thing, though I wasn’t sure. At around 6am I had been timing the pains and they were around 7 to 8 minutes apart or so, but some were longer. Matt’s alarm went off to go on his run with SacFit and I told him he probably wasn’t going running that day. He turned to me and asked me “why?” and then he got it. He asked me if I was in labor and I am pretty sure I said “I think so”. I really had no clue what was going on. At this point it wasn’t really painful, just annoying.
As the morning went on the pains became more time-able and I knew it was really happening. The contractions started off at about 6 minutes apart and would last for 45 seconds or so. Matt kept asking me if there was anything he could do, but I was handling things pretty well and didn’t really need much support. At one point he looked at me and said “are you really in labor, like really?” I said “yes, I am pretty sure I am”, and we left it at that. At some point I called the hospital and talked to the nurse who told me that if I wanted a natural birth that I should stay at home as long as possible so that my labor didn’t stall once I was hooked up to all the hospital machines and such. She told me that once my contractions were 2 minutes apart to head on over. That sounded like a plan to me, so I labored at home using my birthing ball to help manage the pain along with a heating pad.
At about 9am I turned to Matt and mentioned that we had almost no food in our house since we hadn’t planned to have a baby this soon into break. He said he would go to the store and get some things. I went upstairs and came back down dressed to go with him. I think he thought I had lost it at that point. LOL. He asked me if I was really going to go with him and I think I responded with something like “what else am I gonna do?” so off we went to Walmart. When we got to the store I was doing pretty good, but as we started shopping and near the end of the trip I was having to stop every 3 minutes or so to lean on the cart and breathe through the pain. Once we got home it was about 11am or so and things had definitely progressed. I knew it was time to head to the hospital when I tried to call to update the nurse and Matt had to take the phone because I couldn’t even talk to her. Matt gathered up the dog and cat so we could drop them off at the vet hospital, grabbed my bag and off we went.
We got to the vet hospital and my aunt was working. She came out to talk to me and I could barely speak a whole sentence and had started doing this moaning noise when a contraction came. Later she said she could tell I was pretty far along just by my behavior. We finally left the vet hospital and were on our way to the hospital at around noon or so. The drive to the hospital was horrible. It was rainy and I was in more and more pain. Matt said later that he almost didn’t breathe the whole way there. I was moaning and tensing up and basically super uncomfortable the whole way. Cars are not comfortable when you are in labor, or labor is just not comfortable period. LOL. We finally made it to the hospital 20 minutes later and the expectant mom parking spaces were blocked off for construction. Really?! So we parked a little farther away and walked towards the hospital. In hindsight I should have made Matt go get me a wheelchair, but I was being a warrior I guess.
Once we got inside the hospital I had to stop at a bench in front of the gift shop to make it through a contraction. I was on all 4’s on a bench, moaning and grunting. Sorry to all the poor people who had to see/hear me! We finally made it up to labor and delivery at around 1pm. We got put in the admitting room and I had to undress and put on a gown, which turned out to be difficult with all the contractions coming quickly. The admitting lady came in while the nurse was getting me hooked up to the monitors and asked me questions. I was so irritated with her for asking me things they should already know, but looking back I was probably nearing transition at that point which explains the annoyance. Our admitting nurse and the on call nurse were super nice. The on call nurses name was Jess Hart. How weird! She got me all hooked up and said the midwife would be in shortly to check my dilation.
A few minutes later the midwife walked in and she just happened to be the one we had really liked after our meet the midwives class. What luck! She checked me and told me I was already at 6cm. I had gone through all of early labor and most of active labor at home and in the car! She asked me what my pain plan was and I said I wanted to go natural but if this lasted much longer then I needed the drugs. Matt looked and me and shook his head. I told him not to let me get drugs, so he was doing his job. The midwife left to set up my birthing tub and Jess the nurse got me in the wheelchair to head to the room.
Once we got in the room Jess the nurse had me take 2 wet wipes type things into the bathroom and use them to clean myself in case I needed a c-section…or at least I think that was the purpose. No one ever told me and no one I have told has ever heard of that practice. Weird. Anyway, things started to get really painful at this point and I am sure I had at least 2 contractions while in the bathroom. Once I was done cleaning up I finally got sat down on the hospital bed in my room. Almost immediately after I sat down I got a weird look on my face and made an “eeewww” sound. The nurse asked what was wrong and I said “something gross just came out of my girl parts”, and yes that is a verbatim quote. LOL. She checked me and told me that it had been my water breaking. Less than a minute after that I doubled over in pain and held on to the side of the bed and said “I feel like I have to poo”, the nurse said that it was just the baby pressing on the area, but I told her that it felt more than that. She checked me again after a pretty bad contraction and said “well, I guess we are having a baby soon”. I was fully dilated! I had been admitted to the hospital around 1:30pm and this was around 2pm! Talk about fast forward labor!
At this point the nurse had not even gotten my hep-lock put in and so she had to do it quickly between contractions, which were pretty close together and super painful at this point. My first 2 sets of pushes were done on my side, holding onto the side of the hospital bed. Once the midwife got there, she had me lay down on my back and I put my feet in the stirrups. I told the nurse I couldn’t do it, but she told me I was already almost there and it was just a few more pushes. I pushed another 3 or 4 sets of pushes and the midwife told me to stop pushing for a few seconds; that my baby girl was almost here! At this point I am pretty sure I was screaming and I did not want to stop pushing, but I did as I was told and a few seconds later I felt pressure and a gush and Rosalee Joyce Hill was born on Saturday November 17th, 2012 at 2:26pm. She was 8lbs 15oz and 21.5 inches long; a big girl! She was born less than an hour after I was admitted to the hospital! They cleaned her off and handed her to me and it was love at first sight. I was so happy that we had made such a beautiful baby and surprised at how fast she made her entrance into the world! Matt was by my side the whole time and I could not have done it without him reminding me to breathe!
No one ever tells you that after you give birth naturally, the after parts are worse than labor. The midwife had to stitch up my 2nd degree tear and it was not pleasant at all. I was also losing more blood than they liked so the nurse had to keep putting pressure on my uterus and I think I screamed louder when this was happening than the whole time I was in labor! But of course all that didn’t matter because I had a beautiful baby girl who was alert and nursing like a champ!
I could not have asked for a better experience. From my first labor pain until birth it was only about 12 hours and the worst of it was really from 11am to 2pm, so only about 3 hours. I won’t say that it wasn’t hard, but I am glad I stuck to my plan and did what I knew my body could do!