V was due Thursday July 20th, and I had been dilated 2-3cm for a couple of weeks. According to our doctor, V’s head was really low and my cervix was “favorable” (I still get a kick out of that term). I had also been having Braxton hicks and occasional contractions for a week or so, so we thought he would come before his due date. BUT…all of that means nothing in labor world, especially for a first time mom, and of course V decided to stay in a little longer. Sunday night I had bloody show, so I thought maybe things were happening. I woke up early Monday morning around 0630 and had more bloody show, and I was having some contractions that were just mildly uncomfortable, but that was nothing new. I walked the dog about a mile and a half and came home and bounced on the exercise ball and watched The Office hoping things would pick up. At that point, my contractions were about 7-9 minutes apart and at times uncomfortable, at times just abdominal hardening. They continued on throughout the day, but I was able to go about normal activities and eat and do things around the house.
Around 1800, I tried to take a nap and could NOT sleep through the contractions, and that’s when I realized things were really happening. James and I walked Fenrir around the block a couple times, and I had to stop walking during the contractions. They were still about 7 minutes apart at that point, so I told James to take a nap, and I would wake him up when it was time. I also really was trying to wait it out until midnight, so we wouldn’t have to pay for an extra day LOL. Around 2200 I got in the shower for about an hour, and that felt so relieving. In retrospect, I wish I would have stayed in there a little bit longer, but I was ready to go to the hospital. I woke James up at 2230, and we loaded up the car. We plugged in my labor playlist in the car, and the first song on shuffle was Closing Time…SUPER appropriate, since the contractions were really hurting at that point. We stopped at QuikTrip so James could get some snacks and Redbull, and I had a contraction in the car that had me WRITHING.
When we got to the hospital (at 1204 Tuesday morning mind you), the nurse checked me, and I was dilated to a 3, 100% effaced, baby was at -1 station, and my waters were bulging. Contractions were 5 minutes apart and PAINFUL, but YAY… I was in active labor. I was so happy that V decided to pick his own birthday. I was a little bit ridiculously obsessed with not wanting to be induced and hoping I would go into labor spontaneously. In my mind there are just so few things in adult life that are unpredictable and unplanned, and I really wanted this to be one of them!
They admitted me to my labor and delivery room and I was able to stand and walk by the bed. After about an hour or two they brought me an exercise ball and I was able to sit on that with James supporting me. The ball REALLY helped and was the most relieving place to be. I was dilated 5-6, but the contractions were becoming unbearable for me. The pain in my abdomen and back was tolerable, but I had this awful (embarrassing and TMI) pressure in my bottom that I could not stand. I asked for the epidural, and the doctor came in around 0500 and placed it. He did a phenomenal job, and I felt AMAZING afterwards. It felt like a warm hug from my mid back down to my legs, and I felt so peaceful and happy afterwards.
Of course, the epidural came with a price, because my contractions slowed down quite a bit afterwards. I had read some birthing stories where the Mom relaxed after the epidural and dilated to 10 right away, and others where everything slowed down. Unfortunately I was the latter and dilated to a 7 after the epidural, but I was okay with waiting and felt great. Surprisingly my waters were STILL bulging and hadn’t yet broken, so at 0800 the nurse checked me pretty “vigorously”, and they finally broke. I still stayed at a 7 and contractions were still slowed down at that point.
At about 1100 I was sitting up high in the bed and frog legged, there was no contraction, no position changes, no apparent issues, but baby’s heart rate disappeared from the monitor. I tried messing with the monitor myself and couldn’t find his heart rate, the nurse rushed in the room and told me to turn on my left side and began manipulating the monitor. She had another nurse come in to help her and they placed me on a non-rebreather and began bolusing me with IV fluids. They finally found his heartbeat, but it was only 64, and they couldn’t understand what had caused it. It didn’t happen during a contraction, and I wasn’t even on Pitocin. I can’t lie this had me hysterical, and I was sobbing and hyperventilating at that point, which I knew was counterproductive to providing baby with oxygen. After being on my side for a couple minutes, baby’s heart rate came back up to around 130, and I was trying my best to take slow deep breaths, and telling myself that was the only thing I could control at that point. Their conclusion was maybe V’s cord was compressed with the way I was sitting in bed.
Dr. Shepherd came in and said they wouldn’t be tolerating any more episodes like that from baby. The game plan was to let me rest for about 30 minutes and make sure V’s heart rate stayed stable, if so they would start me on Pitocin and try to “augment” my labor to dilate me to a 10. If not, or if baby had any more episodes, they would do a c-section. They started the Pitocin at around 1130, and gradually increased it. I refused to budge from my left side, for fear of lying in a position baby didn’t tolerate, so I was starting to feel half of my body.
At about 1330 I was dilated to a 9, and the nurse said it was almost pushing time!!!! Baby’s heart rate was staying in the 130-140 range, and I was watching it like a hawk. The nurse had me lay on my right side with my leg up in the air because the lip of my cervix was stuck, but at 1400 I was fully dilated and effaced and so ready to start pushing! I told myself I was going to push as hard as I could, because I was terrified baby wouldn’t tolerate the delivery. At 1500, baby made his way out screaming, and I was in another world. The moment I saw his little body and heard his scream, I lost it and was crying uncontrollably. Nothing can ever compare to that moment!!!!!! Our baby was here, and he was alive, and he was okay. All of my fears were proven untrue, and God answered our prayers for V to be healthy, strong, and whole. Baby V was 8 pounds 3 ounces, 20 and 3/4 inches and born at 1500 on July 25th, 2017! My husband and our families were so supportive, and our nurses and doctors (we saw 4 different OB GYN’s during our hospital visit LOL) were all amazing. I definitely give St. John’s Women’s Center a 5 star review, they tolerated my 20 family members, and me, and they were so accommodating for everything we needed.
Looking back there are things I would change or have go differently, but at the same time I know everything worked together to bring our beautiful healthy little boy into the world. It was also a huge blessing to have my sweet friend Kaitlyn document so much of our birth story, and I will cherish these frozen moments for the rest of our lives!!!!