I thought it would be fun to re-write my birth story, a year later without looking back at the story I wrote a few weeks after my son was born. Then I want to compare the two and see what I remember the most a year later.
Warning: This is a long one!
It was a monday, I was exactly 38 weeks pregnant and there was a snow storm covering the state of Wisconsin. I woke up feeling like I was going to go into labor that day. The baby felt much lower than he had felt for the past weeks. I remember commenting to my husband that the baby felt so low it was going to fall out of me. I got ready for work and continued about my day like it was any normal day. At work, I commented to my manager that I felt like the baby was really low, and she made the comment that it meant something was happening. I shrugged it off since I had been having Prodromal labor since 33 weeks. The whole office was waiting for the baby to come since they all had bets on the date, time, weight and gender of the baby. I had surpassed most of the guess dates.
I continued about my day, occasionally staring out the window and the beautiful snow globe effect created by the courtyard in front of my cube. I had been loosing pieces of my mucous plug for a couple weeks, so when I continued to loose pieces that day I didn't think too much of it. I had increased bowel movements and still, it had been happening for awhile, so I didn't think anything of it. Though secretly, I was hoping it meant my baby was going to meet us soon. I knew deep down labor was coming, but I felt terribly stupid for thinking that. Afterall, I had been dealing with prodromal labor for the past 5 weeks and thought I might be in labor a few times, but it never progressed. There I was thinking about it when I wasn't not having any contractions. It didn't make sense.
At around 1pm I started having Braxton Hicks contractions. They were 10 minutes apart, and since my husband liked to stay in the loop, I sent him a text letting him know I was contracting every 10 minutes but that it wasn't anything worth getting excited about yet, and that he should continue about his day. He immediately called and started asking questions. I told him I would keep him updated and hung up to get back to work. The contractions stayed at the same intensity until about 4pm when they faded away completly. They never hurt, they never got more intense, and they never got closer together. They were textbook Braxton hicks contractions.
I left work around 4 to pick my daughter up from daycare since the roads were getting worse and worse with the snow piling up. The snow storm was peaceful, without howling winds or slushy snow. Regardless, I hate to drive on slippery roads, so I left work early, but I felt peaceful.
When I hit a stoplight on the way to daycare I called my mom. I asked her if she had plans that night, just in case something were to happen. She asked if I was contracting. I told her no, but that I just wanted to make sure she was free to watch my daughter if something happened, and that something just felt different. Looking back, my instincts must have been kicking in. I knew all along that birth was close.
My daughter and I arrived home at around 5:30pm. The roads were horrible so it took us awhile to get back from daycare. My husband arrived around the same time and we made pasta for dinner. I remember thinking I needed to eat a good amount, becuase hospitals won't let you eat while you are in labor. After dinner, my husband and I decided to encourage softening of the cervix with good old fashion intercourse. Afterwards, I felt an immediate need to rest. He took our daughter to take a bath and I relaxed.
Around 8-8:30pm I started to feel contractions. I didn't think anything of them since they didn't feel any different from the contractions I had felt days earlier. Of course, I wasn't timing them. I relaxed through them and had no concept of time. I was in labor land. By about 9-9:30 I started having to pee everytime I had a contraction, my husband was bugging me that I needed to tell him when each started so he could time them. I brushed it off and told him it wasn't worth timing them yet. I should have realized that he could tell how far apart they were because I got up to pee at the start of each one. I was coming back to the bed after having to pee at the start of a contraction and instinctually leaned and rocked holding on to the edge of the bed as another one started. My husband hopped out of bed and didn't say a word to me, but I knew he went to go pack the car. It was somewhere around 10:30pm at this point.
I decided it was time to look at the clock. After a few contractions, I couldn't believe they were 4 minutes apart. I would have guessed they were farther apart. I called my mom to come and watch my daughter so we could head to the hospital. I believe I said "Hey mom, want to come hang out with your grandaughter?" She asked how far apart my contractions were, and scolded me when I said 4 minutes. With the snow, it was going to take my mom awhile to get to my house. The doctor told me that because I was a VBAC, I needed to be at the hospital as soon as I knew I was in labor and that I should call when they were 10 minutes apart. According to my husband, they were never more than 4 minutes apart.
I got off the phone with my mom and called the hospital to let them know we were coming. The on-call doctor was a bitch. Regardless, I apologized for waking her, as I could hear that she must have been sleeping. She asked if I wanted another c-section. I said no, and she said okay, I will let them know you are coming and you can try a VBAC. Instead of getting discouraged at her tone I relaxed in the dim light. I then changed my outfit a few times, which I know is strange, but I wanted to wear an outfit I could wear back home so I didn't have extra "stuff".
My husband was waiting downstairs. By the time I got downstairs I was contracting every 2 minutes. I had to breath through them and started to get a little worried that we wouldn't make it to the hospital in time. I was still in good spirits so I didn't worry too much until my husband started to panic a little. Panic is contagious! We got into the car knowing my mom was minutes away. When she pulled in, we left for the hospital.
By the time we got there and got settled in I was contracting less than 2 minutes apart. We filled out paperwork, listened to the resident and nurses talk about the procedures and I got changed. They tried to give me a pamphlet on pain management (which is stupid for a women who is contracting every two minutes. I couldn't read anything!) I told her not to offer me anything and that I didn't want anything. They hooked me up to monitors and checked me. I was a whopping 2.5 cm dilated, but around 80% effaced (which I had been for the past week). I tried not to get discouraged as the contractions got more intense. The nurse told me to wait an hour and they would check me again. I should progress a cm per hour, she told me. At about 1-1:30 am I was at 3-4cm dilated. It was then we called our immediate families to let them know that the baby was on the way. I wish I would have known the baby was so quick to come because I would have allowed more family to be there. We thought we would call them when it got close...
The nurse told me if I wanted to walk around or get in the tub, I had to do it right away because once I was a full 4cm, procedures stated that I needed to be continuously monitored. I asked to walk. The nurse wanted to check my blood pressure. It was up, so I had to lay down for 15 minutes. I had the lights dimmed and I relaxed on my side. 15 minutes later, my pressure was fine and I opted for the bath tub. The tub was incredible. I could open my eyes through contractions and continue talking to my husband without a problem. after 20 minutes the nurse came in to get me out and asked if I wanted to stay longer, since she could see I was enjoying it. I said yes and she told me I could stay in for 10 more minutes. Somewhere between 10-20 minutes later I started to get really uncomfortable and warm so I decided to get out of the tub. My husband helped me out and with one strong contraction, "pop" my water broke.
I walked back to the bed and called the nurse to let her know my water had broken on the floor and that I was sorry I made a mess. She told me not to worry and laughed at the fact that I was apologizing. I layed on my side and she came in to check me again. I was at 5cm. I started to wonder whether I could do it naturally. It was getting so intense all of a sudden, but I gave myself a little pep talk and remembered that women were made to do this. I asked my hubby for a pillow to put between my legs while the nurse typed the information about my water breaking into the computer. It was my job to relax completely and let my body flow with the contractions.
Within 5 minutes of laying down, I was immediately overcome with an intense urge to push. I looked at the nurse and said "I have to push!" She told me to relax and said she would check me, but it was too late, My body was already pushing. She checked me and told me I was complete and the head was low. She literally ran out of the room. There was not a doctor or anesthesiologist in sight (both should be present when a VBAC mom hits 4 cm because of potential complications according to our hospital). My husband flipped up my blanket to make sure no baby was coming out since we were alone in the room. My body continued to try and push through contractions while everyone told me not to. It was extremely painful to try and stop my body from doing what it knew it needed to do.
All of a sudden there were two nurses and a resident surrounding me telling me not to push. One nurse, who I loved, was rubbing my belly and talking in calming tones to try and help me relax. Regardless my body was trying to push. I got really hot all of a sudden so the nurses cooled me down with wet rags. My husband held my hand as I struggled not to allow my body to do what it was meant to do. My contractions were coming almost one on top of the other and I started to feel panicked.
Finally the doctor arrived and still in her normal clothes told me I could bear down with the contractions and we would see what would happen. She explained it could take an hour or two since I haven't delivered vaginally before. I beared down with my next contraction and the room went into a flurry. All of a sudden the bottom of the bed dropped out and there were stirrups and a trash can beneath me. My doctor rushed into scrubs and her gown. She didn't even get shoes on. She just wore scrub booties. I pushed again while the room was being prepared. My doctor scooted up in time for me to push again. By the third contraction my baby's head was coming out. My doctor told me not to push and to slow down because the baby was going to come to fast. Another contraction came and I tried to slow it down, but my son was ready to come out. He came out at the beginning of the 4th contraction. I felt no pain when he came out. I was off in a different world, only coming back to look at him as his head delivered and coming back again once he was being placed on my chest. He didn't cry right away, and the umbilical cord was short so my doctor advised my husband to cut the cord right away, though I would have preferred delayed clamping and cutting. Regardless, I was so in love with the little boy that just came into the world that I was in a state of euphoria. The high that you get from a natural birth is unlike anything I have ever felt in my life. It was beautiful.
I immediately got a shot in the leg and at the time had no idea what it was. I now know it was pitocin. My OB was trying to get my placenta out quickly, thought I wasn't having any bleeding issues, and there was no medical reason to force it out so soon. Within minutes I was delivering the placenta. Which again, I didn't feel. I was so curious about what the placenta would look like so I watched myself deliver it. The doctor explained all of the different parts of it and I was fascinated. It made me realize how amazing childbearing and delivery really is.
So that's how I remember the story a year later. Part of me almost thinks I remember more. I think it's because I am not as emotional and that I have had time to reflect. What do you think? Have you told your birth story and compared it with how you told it when you first delivered?