Wow, I have been away for a long time. But this sweet face is the reason why.
Over time, and who knews in how many parts, I will tell my birth story. Hopefully fewer parts, but life with a newborn is a new kind of normal for me.
I had read a ton about birth and preparing as best as you can for birth, and had a pretty good idea of the type of birth setting I would like. As natural an environment as possible. I didn’t want to feel like I was in a hospital having a medical procedure done. I wanted to be as free as possible to do what comes naturally for the healthily birthing woman.
At 3:30am on January 31st (his due date), I went to the bathroom for the umpteenth time and for some reason thought I should turn on the light (which I never do when using the restroom in the middle of the night for the umpteenth time) and make sure I didn’t see any spotting. Just in case since it was officially my due date. Stinkin’ lo and behold there was spotting. I was officially losing my dang mucus plug. Thank You, Lord, it was finally beginning.
I woke Matt up to tell him and to reread information about prelabor signs and the mucus plug, but was quite devastated to see that labor could still be days off, that celebration may not be as near as I thought. At that point Matt tried to listen to the baby’s heartbeat with a stethoscope but was unable to find it. So at 4:30 in the morning he got dressed, went to work, borrowed the Doppler, came home and immediately found our baby’s heartbeat. I love that man.
At that point I was experiencing mild period-like cramps, nothing major and nothing regular. So we went back to sleep. Or at least I tried to. The next morning I let Matt and my mom sleep as long as possible, since I just had this feeling that today was THE day, and I wanted them to be as rested as possible. At around 11am we all started to stir, Matt made us breakfast, and I simply laid around on the couch watching HGTV, trying to time my contractions, which were becoming a little more regular at that point. I was feeling pretty moody and starting to get uncomfortable. My sweet mother constantly reassured me that she was there if I needed anything but that she didn’t want to bother me. I didn’t know what I needed at that point, except some answers.
WAS today the day? WAS this real labor? Was I making things up? Was I even pregnant???
At around 1pm, I decided that I needed to get out and walk to at least help the process if I truly were pregnant and this truly was labor. So we decided to drive up to our local ski area, since we’d heard the night before that significant elevation changes can expedite labor as well. So we bundled up, and drove our Jetta in snowy weather on snowy roads with no snow tires to our local ski area. Or I should say we tried to drive our Jetta in snowy weather on snowy roads with no snow tires to our local ski area. We got about halfway up and promptly got stuck on ice and snow. Three other vehicles, in their attempt to help us, also got promptly stuck.
Meanwhile, I was now having regular contractions. Halfway up to our ski area, in the snow and ice, with a vehicle that’s stuck and now friends with the three other stuck vehicles, and at least a half hour’s drive away from our hospital. Long story short, involving lots of panic and sweat, we did eventually get unstuck. Much to Matt’s near anxiety-attack-ridden relief.
We drove back into town, and decided that we should get some lunch. Let me back up to say that I had talked to my midwife early that morning and explained to her the symptoms I was experiencing. I had continued to “spot” except for at that time the spotting was becoming quite regular and more period-like. That was a concern to her, but she said as long as I was not soaking pads, I should be ok.
Back to our lunch. I had officially entered the soaking pads category. And I was still having regular contractions. We decided that we’d better head to the hospital to at least have it checked out, if not more for our peace of mind. We stopped back by our house, picked up my suitcase (just in case this was the real thing) and our box of supplies and headed off to the hospital.
As soon as I checked in the nurse checked me and was immediately concerned at the amount of blood I was losing. She said it was definitely not normal. She also informed me that I was dilated 4 centimeters and 100% effaced (thank You, Lord!). She said I would definitely be staying and called in the doctor immediately to examine me and figure out the cause for the loss of blood. After an examination, he said that it definitely appeared to be a placental abruption and with that my plans for laboring as naturally as possible were shot to the ground. Rather than intermittent fetal monitoring, I was to have continuous monitoring AND have an IV due to my severely increased risk for an emergency caesarean and potential need for a blood transfusion AND was not going to be allowed food.
ALL giant bummers. My desire for intermittent monitoring and food were so that I could have the freedom and energy to move about while in labor, and to utilize the tub as well. Which I was still able to do after all. Utilize the tub that is.
Within a very short time of arriving at the hospital, around 4pm, I had transitioned into active labor. The contractions began to get very uncomfortable. Very. But not unbearable. I stayed walking about, trying to move as much as possible. I was holding off getting into the tub until I was at least dilated 5-6 centimeters. I had read that getting in sooner could slow down the process. Once I was dilated to 6, I was definitely needing the tub. We had transitioned from uncomfortable contractions to very painful, though still not unbearable.
While in the tub, the contractions began to become excruciating. Within an hour in the tub I had dilated from a 6 to an 8. Pain had taken on a whole new meaning.
And for all those people that say that fill-in-the-blank is worse than the pain of childbirth, they’re full of crap.
Part 2 to come soon.