So many people have been asking me to write up my birth story, so even though I rarely post on my blog anymore, here it is. Birth story for our beautiful Annie.
I was a week overdue and utterly convinced that my body would never go into labor when I went in for my 41 week appointment with my doctor. He and I discussed induction options, but since I was going for a VBAC and so desperately wanted to go into labor on my own, we decided that we wouldn’t induce until I hit 42 weeks. So one more glorious week of being the size of Germany. Oh joy.
But, just because what the heck, I asked him to strip my membranes for me to see if that would help move things along. It wasn’t going to work, though. My son had stayed in until my induction at 12 days late, and we all saw how that ended up (see c-section birth story here). I was pretty sure my body didn’t know what the heck it was doing when it came to labor.
So I went home and while my son napped, bounced the crap outta my birth ball and ran up and down the two flights of stairs to our apartment 20 times (yes, I looked ridiculous. No, I didn’t get it on tape.) If that wasn’t gonna get baby girl to come out, nothing would.
No mucus, no bloody show, nothing. I was even having fewer Braxton hicks than normal. Curse you, labor gods, and how much you hate me. You guys are dumb.
So that night I went to a friend’s baby shower and then turned in for the night, already resigned to the fact that my baby wasn’t going to vacate my uterus any time soon.
In my dreams, I was feeling these steady pains that kept coming and going. But one of those pains finally woke me at 3:28am. I rolled over and closed my eyes. There was no way I was in labor.
But then at 3:36 I had another one. And then at 3:44. And holy crap, ow.
Finally after the contraction at 3:48, I had had enough of trying to take these lying down. I got up and moved into the rocking chair in the corner and tried to relax with some hypnobabies tracks.
But relaxing wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped it would be as the contractions got more and more painful. Pretty soon I was mooing like a cow through them and wondering how the flip my husband was still sleeping through all the noise I was making.
Somewhere around 5am after a particularly painful contraction, I started yelling at him to wake up because if I had to be in all this pain, the least he could do was not snore at me while I was doing it. ;)
He started timing contractions for me while I hopped in the shower. Pretty soon he said, “um, hon? The last few have been a minute long and only four minutes apart… maybe we should call the doctor.”
So I called and got connected to the on-call doctor. I tried to explain what was going on and that we had a 15 minute drive to drop off our toddler and then a 45 minute drive after that to get to the hospital when a huge contraction hit and I doubled over the bed and tried not to moo in her ear but failed miserably. When my contraction was over, she told me to head in now.
I hung up and we ran around stuffing last-minute things into our hospital bag. Then I went in to wake up our son and before I could lift him out of his crib, I got hit with another hard contraction. I moaned my way through it while my son giggled and started mimicking my horrendous noises. Award goes to him for being the only person to make me laugh during a contraction. J
By now, the contractions HURT and I wanted to be at the hospital NOW.
We loaded up the car and took off to my parents’ house. Contractions were absolutely unbearable sitting down, so I turned around and knelt in the seat with my arms wrapped around the headrest.
Then we hit traffic. It was around 7 in the morning at this point so… rush hour. Yip-freakin-ee. It was a total parking lot. Not moving at all.
After about ten minutes and only moving maybe a quarter of a mile, we finally reached an area where there was a shoulder to drive on, and my husband pulled out and booked it down the side of the road to the next exit.
We dropped off our son and sped out on our way to the hospital. Finally. I was going to get my epidural soon. I could make it.
But then before we even were able to get on the other highway headed toward the hospital, we got caught in ANOTHER traffic jam. For almost an HOUR!
We waited not so patiently until we finally got onto the highway. Luckily, my contractions were still holding steady at 4 minutes apart, so I was confident we’d make it to the hospital in time.
At this point, it was pretty silent in the car. I’d gotten into a rhythm of just whispering “peace” to myself over and over with each breath during the contractions, so my husband was spared all the livestock sounds I’d been making earlier, and then resting in between to gear up for the next one. With each contraction, I chanted to myself that we were almost to the hospital and then I could get my epidural and everything would be okay. I watched the miles pass by on the GPS, counting down how many contractions I had left until I’d be at the hospital.
We finally arrived and they got me into triage. They were saying things about monitoring the baby and checking my cervix and completing my check-in paperwork, and I lost it. I started crying and hyperventilating about how much time all of that was going to take. I just wanted my epidural!
So with my first labor, I was kind of pathetic. When the contractions got hard, I was a crying, blithering mess. It was pitiful. This time, I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was because my sleep hadn’t been very good and then I’d been up since 3:30am, but I was very irritable. I spent the whole time in triage plotting the demise of every stinking nurse or doctor that came in there and DIDN’T give me an epidural. Which was probably like eight people.
Two hours later, they finally declared me a 6 and sent me down to labor and delivery. At this point it was around noon.
My L&D nurse came in and started preparing things for my room. I breathed through a few contractions with her there, trying to be patient, before I finally blurted, “how soon can I get that epidural?”
She blinked at me. “Oh, did you want one?”
That nurse, bless her heart, she was such a nice nurse and I ended up loving her… but at that moment I wanted to punch off her face. But I did the whole self-control thing and said, “yes, please” instead.
“Okay, I’ll go get that figured out for you then,” she said, and then she left the room.
My husband turned to me and asked, “are you sure you even need one, babe?”
If looks could kill, he would have been deader than Derek Shepherd (woops... too soon?) Had nobody heard me begging for the epidural for the last two hours since we got to the hospital?! I just gritted my teeth and said, “yes, I’m sure" and promised myself I could pulverize him later where there would be fewer witnesses.
Sometime around noon, they checked my cervix, said I was at a 7, and then gave me that blessed epidural. All was right with the world. I instantly was no longer the wanting-to-punch-and-cuss-out-anything-that-breathed woman and was now blissfully numb. Aaaaah, the epidural. Hands-down man's greatest invention second only to peanut butter.
I was checked a few more times and then around 3:15, my doctor came in and announced it was time to push. Three contractions later, my little Annie girl was born.
7 lbs 7 oz of perfection, she was the most beautiful little girl I’d ever seen.
As she lay on my chest, I couldn’t help but feel like I’d cheated because this labor had been so much easier than last time. With the last one, I was in so much pain. We fought tooth and nail for each measly centimeter of dilation, and then I pushed for four hours after the epidural wore off. Then I’d been wheeled into an OR where I got sliced open. I didn’t get to hold my baby for hours, and I spent the first twelve hours of my son’s life in a total fog of pain medication. I don’t even remember the first time I breastfed him. The whole thing had been SO hard.
This time was completely the opposite. I’d gone into labor on my own, and my body progressed the way it was supposed to completely Pitocin-free. My epidural worked this time. I pushed for three contractions, and out she came. The second degree tear I got was absolutely nothing compared to the pain of the cesarean.
I was shocked. Was this really what childbirth was like for most people? It was amazing.
Now, at six weeks old, our little Annie is a joy. She smiles easily and loves to kick around and aaaah her cheeks! We just adore her and can’t imagine life without her.
(PS VBAC? I totally recommend it.)