Despite Months Of Contractions, Becca Had The Natural Birth She Wanted
My first pregnancy started out as textbook as can be. My due date was between January 19 and 23, 2000. I was very nauseous for the first trimester and very healthy and active for the second trimester. At six months, right as I began to show, I started having regular contractions. I was told to come in to be monitored right away. I was found to be having regular contractions every five minutes. I was only 28 weeks and scared to death my baby would be born way too early. He would struggle to breath, wouldn't be able to suck or swallow. I was given a shot of Terbutaline and kept for a couple of hours until the contractions stopped. They thought I was a fingertip dilated. The shot made me very jumpy and shaky. The next day the contractions started again. I went in and was told I hadn't dilated any.
This was great news, as the contractions were not putting me into true labor. I was put on partial bed-rest and they checked me once a week for the next month. Since there was no change I was told I would just have contractions all the way until I delivered.
Eventually I got used to the contractions and just began looking forward to a full term birth of a healthy boy. On Saturday January 8th at 38 weeks I went snow-shoeing with my husband and best friend from high-school, Teresa, who was visiting from Arizona. We were hoping for a somewhat early birth so she could be there and videotape it. Well, we had a couple of snowball fights and I fell in the snow a couple of times. When we got home I had lost what I thought had to be my entire mucous plug. I really felt like it would be within the next couple of day.
Sunday the 9th I woke up to more of my plug. My baby had also dropped low into my pelvis that day. I felt much pressure from the weight being so low. I went to church and did normal things that day. I was still having regular contractions (strong but not painful) every two to five minutes. I was so used to them by then that I knew I would just have to wait for pain or my water breaking to know when it was the real thing. As we got ready for bed that night, the contractions felt crampier. They were not painful but definitely different. I told Chad I wasn't sure I could just sleep through these like normal. He told me to try to ignore them and not get excited. We really hoped to start active labor on a full nights rest. So I went to bed at 10:00 pm and to my shock I didn't even wake to make my usual pee breaks that night.
Monday morning the 10th, at 6:00 am, right before Chad's alarm went off, I sat up to go to the bathroom, and "POP" my water broke. It gushed out so quickly! I yelled for Chad to grab a towel. He grabbed a hand-towel. Ha! He then got both of our bath towels and I soaked those as well. I waddled to the toilet and to my surprise I filled it too! When it finally stopped, we looked at my belly and could not believe how much smaller it was.
We got some breakfast and tried to relax. I really wanted a totally natural childbirth, so I did not want to go to the hospital too soon. I knew I would dilate faster in the comfort of my own home. I had no idea how fast I would go! We called the hospital and they told me to come in right away. I told them I was going to shower and finish packing and would leave. Since I was group B strep positive I really should have left right then. (With strep you are supposed to have an IV drip of antibiotics for four hours prior to delivery). But everyone I knew had taken at least 12 hours to deliver her first baby so I thought I had plenty of time. We called our doula, Jen, and told her to meet us at the hospital at about 11:00 am. I still planned on taking my time and the hospital was 45 minutes away.
So by the time I got ready it was 8:00 am and they just started to be uncomfortable. Chad was taking his shower and packing up the car when they really started to hurt at 8:30 am. I had been changing a big maxi pad every half hour since I was still leaking fluid and at this time I couldn't believe how much blood there was. I really had to try to relax. I called Teresa and told her we would pick her up on the way since she was visiting another friend who was really close to the hospital. Chad called Jen and told her to meet us at our house as he thought I would need her for the car ride over. How right he was!
She arrived at 9:15 am and they tried to get me into the jeep with little success. I just couldn't bear the contractions except on my hands and knees by this point. They were coming every minute (one minute long contraction, one minute rest). Finally they just had to shove me in, literally! We called Teresa and asked her to take a cab to the hospital. Jen really wanted to get to the hospital because I was bleeding so badly.
Halfway there I got so nauseous and told them I was ready to push. Jen said she thought I was probably only three to four centimeters dilated and to try to relax. Ha! I knew I had gone through transition. I could feel the baby's head! This was the longest car-ride of my entire life. It was horrible. I would moan on my hands and knees (no seat-belt, I still feel guilty!) and when it was over I would totally go inside myself for the rest. Once I said "Why the heck do women do this more than once!" Chad drove like a madman scaring Jen to death. I didn't care; I wanted out!
We arrived at the hospital at 9:50 am and Jen tried to go get me a wheelchair. I took off (practically) running to the Birth floor with Jen chasing after me. I stopped in the bathroom as I thought I had to go even though I knew it was the baby putting pressure down there. They tried to put me in triage since they didn't think I was that far along. I said "No, I am going to have a baby, now!" So they took me in and gave me a gown. My midwife was great and came in and checked me right away, saying, "You are ready to push!" Everyone laughed when I said, "I love you!" to her. No one had believed me.
It took 40 minutes to push him out. This was actually the most painful part for me. They were really great about doing all the things I wanted such as setting up a mirror so I could see him coming out. Chad was so sweet helping me push. Teresa made it about twenty minutes before he born and videotaped. No one counted to ten or yelled "push, push, push." It was completely quiet and this helped me relax. The weird part was that I didn't yell or scream during the worst of the pain. I said, "Something is wrong, pushing is not supposed to hurt this bad!" Everyone tried to encourage me. My midwife, who rarely gives episiotomies , said that she felt she had to. I felt the snip and then gave one more push -ouch. My midwife said his hand was by his head. At that point his head was out and I saw it in the mirror. On the videotape I am caught saying, "It's a baby!" when I saw his face. I guess I had gotten so caught up in labor that I just forgot what all the work was for! I definitely recommend the mirror. I wanted to totally pull him out and up myself but they said to give one more push, then I grabbed him. I pulled him up to my chest and I was in love. He was so big! Chad said "Hi Aidan Jacob." He had a lot of curly dark hair and two dimples just like his daddy. He looked into our faces recognizing our voices. Total happiness!
As my midwife stitched up the very small episiotomy, I held Aidan and Chad cut the cord. I could not believe how thick the cord was. It was like three cords intertwined, huge and gnarly. When Chad cut it, blood squirted six feet across the room hitting the wall, a nurse and my midwife. They think the size of the cord contributed to his size. My midwife also said that having regular contractions for 10 weeks caused my labor to go so fast. At two weeks early Aidan Jacob weighed 8 pounds 10 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. Four days prior on Friday they had told me the baby was 6 to 6.5 pounds tops. How could they be so off?
My hospital experience was so great. They never took the baby out of the room. Once I let them, they took him over to the warmer and cleaned him up and weighed him. Since I was group b-strep positive and did not get the antibiotics they had to keep up for 48 hours to monitor him. He was fine. He roomed in and Chad stayed as well. The food was great (I was so hungry!) and the nurses help with diapers, swaddling, and nursing was very helpful. Aidan nursed like a champ and we never had any problems. Chad ended up getting the flu really bad the next day so being at the hospital was helpful since our mothers were unable to come stay with us. Teresa stayed for two weeks and was an amazing help during the exhaustion!
I cannot tell you how amazing it is to birth your baby. I do recommend trying to do it natural as I felt so great afterwards and Aidan was so alert and healthy. It is never a failure to get drugs but it did feel so good to say to myself that I did it just like I wanted to. It is so empowering. I am now 10 weeks pregnant with my second and am planning on another natural birth. Thanks for letting me share my experience!