My pregnancy was pretty uneventful, until the end. I remember the first time I met my OB I told him that for the most part women didn’t need doctors to help them deliver their babies. I had a water birth for my first baby almost three years before and the midwife was pretty hands off. So I knew that my body could do it on its own. He told me that he knew right then that I would be a “difficult patient.”
At 34 weeks I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and put on medication. It was then that my OB told me I would have to deliver by 40 weeks because of the pregnancy hypertension. I was a little overwhelmed and didn’t push back but I knew that I wasn’t going to be induced easily.
At 37w4d I started to have contractions which turned into prodromal labor. There were times I would have consistent contractions for 7-15 hours and then they would just stop. I had been through labor twice before and knew what real labor contractions felt like and these definitely felt that way. I never went to the hospital during them because I planned to labor at home as long as possible. I had also hired a doula to help me and we planned for her to help me decide when to go to the hospital. With my second baby I had gone in way too soon and ended up having multiple interventions so I wanted to prevent that from happening this time around.
At my 39 week appointment my OB started talking about induction. I pushed back and questioned it. At that point my blood pressure was stable, the NST’s were perfect and everything was coming back normal. So I asked why induce and potentially cause problems when there aren’t any right now? He said he was willing to let me go past my due date if I desired as long as I came in for daily monitoring.
Having two young toddlers at home made daily monitoring very difficult. During the week I could go to my OB’s office but Friday-Sunday I had to go to triage at the hospital to be monitored. For 11 days I had a NST every day and had four ultrasounds during that time. But every time it came back that baby J and I were fine. All tests came back perfect.
At my last OB appointment we decided to schedule an induction. I was already 41w3d and so I was at the point he would induce normal patients. I had been having prodromal labor for 4 weeks and was kind of over it at that point. We agreed that we would break my water first and then wait for at least 12 hours before starting pitocin. We scheduled the induction for 6:30 Saturday morning which meant I had less than 48 hours to go into labor on my own.
About 6:30 pm Thursday, December 8 I started having contractions again. They felt like the normal prodromal labor contractions I had been experiencing for the last four weeks. They started to gradually build and by 9 they were intense but they were coming anywhere from 4-7 minutes apart. Because I had been experiencing contractions pretty consistently over a long period of time I was not confident in my judgement on if this was actual labor or not. I called my mom for the millionth time (at least it felt like that) to tell her I was having consistent contractions. She was convinced, because of the sound of my voice, that I was in very active labor. So I called in the troops just in case.
My husband got home from his second job and put the girls to bed. At that point I decided to try and take a shower. I knew if this was false labor a shower would stop it but if it was the real thing then at least I’d get some pain relief from the water. By the time I got out of the shower it was about 10. My dad had shown up to sit at the house with the girls and my doula was there. My contractions started to get further and further apart and were nowhere near as intense as they had been. After a couple hours my dad and doula went home and we just chalked it up to another false alarm. We did know that there was a possibility that it would start back up but figured we should all try and get some rest.
My husband and I went to bed around 1 and I hadn’t had a contraction of any kind in over an hour. I fell asleep quickly. Then at 4 I woke up with a jolt and could not stay in bed whatsoever. The contractions were intense! I went to the bathroom and started timing the contractions. Laboring on the toilet actually felt good so I decided I was going to stay there for a little bit. Once I realized that my contractions were less than 3 minutes apart and lasting a minute long I knew we had to get to the hospital.
I started calling my husband’s phone because I didn’t want to wake the girls. He didn’t pick up. At 4:18 I called my dad so he could come stay with the girls. His house is about a half an hour from ours. All I said was “Come back” then I hung up. I called my doula and apparently didn’t say anything. She asked if she needed to come back and I must have made some noise that translated as yes because she said she was on her way. At that point I knew I had to wake up my husband so I went into the bedroom (very loudly) and told him to get up now! I grabbed my pillow and headed downstairs.
I sat in my comfy chair and at this point I was moaning through contractions and very focused. He came downstairs to make our 14 month old a bottle because she had woken up when I stormed into the room. At that point I told him when we got to the hospital I needed an epidural. I was convinced that I still had hours to go and it was going to get more intense. I could barely handle how intense it was at that point. When he heard that he seemed to start moving faster (he had seen me labor twice before and knew that when I hit the “epidural” point then that means the baby is almost here). He mentioned just putting the girls in the car and heading to the hospital (which was half an hour away). I told him dad would be there soon and we still needed to call my OB and give him a heads up.
He called my OB’s pager at 4:38 and my OB called back at 4:45. At that point I had moved to kneeling and leaning over one of our dining room chairs while clutching my pillow. I had another contraction while he was on the phone and then I felt a pop. My water had broken. My OB told him to hurry. Again my husband said he was going to get the girls to put them in the car so we could go to the hospital. I told him there was no time. He needed to call 911.
He frantically told me not to push but I was past that point. My body was doing it for me. He called 911 at 4:51 and was put on hold. I then yelled out, “He is coming!” He once again told me not to push and finally 911 came on the line. All he got out was our address and that his wife was having a baby right then. I told him once again he is coming and pulled down my pants. All I heard was the terror in my husband’s voice when he said “Oh my God, his head is out.” He dropped the phone and delivered our son.
My first thought once baby J was out was “Is he breathing?” Thankfully he was and seemed to be perfectly fine. My husband picked back up the phone to talk to the dispatcher while I picked up baby J. We cleaned out his mouth with a paper towel and then my husband went searching for a clean blanket or something to wrap him in. At some point (maybe 5 minutes later) the EMT’s and firemen got there. Of course all men. They clamped the cord and asked my husband if he wanted to cut it. They then got me onto the stretcher and took baby J and I out to the ambulance. The entire active labor lasted 54 minutes.
I had never really desired a homebirth. I am not against them but it wasn’t something that I had really considered. Now that I have had one I’m not sure if I would want to deliver again at a hospital. But no matter what, if and when we have more babies in the future I know that I can trust my body.
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