Like every good birth story, we’ve got to start at the beginning. Thursday the 17th, one week before Van made his appearance I opted to have a cervical check and found out I was 2cm dilated and 60% effaced. I tried not to get my hopes up just in case Bubba decided not to come a week early like his sister. But I was still really hoping for a Memorial Weekend Birthday!
On Saturday the 19th, the day I turned 38 weeks, I had the first of many shooting pains along my left butt cheek and all the way down my left leg. It was excruciating and would basically cripple me for a few seconds. It was very embarrassing out in public especially when I was trying to wrangle Gemma. These pains lasted the whole week. Come to find out it’s because he had dropped… His head was so low and depending on how he moved would hit or crush my sciatic nerve. To say I was ready to have this baby was an understatement. I wanted him OUT.
Thursday the 24th was my weekly appointment. I opted for another cervical check and I was 3cm dilated and 60% effaced. She asked if I wanted her to strip my membranes to which I enthusiastically said yes. I left the office and immediately went to Target to walk and take my mind off having a baby. I had some mild cramping but nothing too significant.
After Target I splurged on Chick-fil-a then went home and basically crashed. I took a two hour nap accidentally. When I woke up my cramping and contractions were gone. I was very disappointed when I called my mother-in-law and told her most likely we’d have no baby today. So I was going to go ahead and pick Gemma up.
Before leaving to get Gemma I realized I was slowly losing my mucus plug. Again I had a glimmer of hope that baby would be here soon. But I tried to ignore it. You can lose your plug weeks before labor. It just grows back. Besides my contractions hadn’t returned.
After getting Gemma I came back home and put her down for an afternoon nap. Dallas arrived home shortly afterward and we decided to take advantage of the sleeping baby and have some grown up time. Shortly afterward I had my first contraction. Mild but very obvious. About 15 minutes later and I have another one.
I ignored them and we went about our evening. We cleaned a little bit and played outside with Gemma when she woke up. I continued to have steady contractions through the late afternoon and early evening. Finally I called my mom and told her we might be giving her a midnight call to come pick up Gemma. She told my dad so he brought us some La Madeleines for dinner. I ate through slowly increasing contractions. They were gaining in intensity and in frequency. I was confident when I finally told Dallas I was definitely in labor.
Dallas put Gemma to bed as I bounced on the exercise ball. Then he went on a walk while I hopped in the shower. The contractions were starting to take my breath away. I could still walk and talk but it was becoming more difficult. After my shower I tried to lay down to get some rest but every time I got a contraction I’d have to get up and walk. That’s when I knew I had to go ahead and call my mom back.
<RELATED POST: Gemma’s Birth Story>
At 9:30 pm I called my mom and told her to come and get Gemma.
By 10:30 pm when my parents were at the house I could no longer talk through the contractions. I could only sway and breathe, knowing they would pass soon. The car ride was short but intense.
By 11:00 pm we arrived at the hospital. We make it up to labor and delivery (walking from the parking lot) and get a room.
11:30 pm they check and I am 8cm dilated! I almost faint from shock. I’m sure Dallas and I looked ridiculous because neither of us could believe it.
That’s when they asked about my birth plan, most specifically pain management. I told them I planned to get an epidural when I felt I needed it. The only way I’d do it without an epidural is if I came in and it was “too late” to get one.
The nurse told me it wasn’t too late but we’d have to move quickly. Or they could see how I do with Nitrous Oxide gas, that you breathe in during the contractions. Dallas and I discussed it quickly and decided that we might as well give it a shot.
So I was given the gas which helped me relax during each contraction. Then my midwife asked if I wanted my water broken to speed things along. I said yes! I was so eager to meet my son and the contractions were so intense I could no longer think through them.
Once my midwife broke my water the contractions were excruciating. It was hard even to breathe in the gas. I don’t remember much honestly except crying out through each contraction. Feeling Dallas and my midwife applying counter pressure and holding up the gas to remind me to breathe it in. I started sobbing knowing I should have chosen to get an epidural. Dallas did his best to comfort me but I wasn’t there anymore. I was distraught with each contraction praying it would be over soon. That went on for TWO HOURS, and no need to push. Finally my midwife checked my cervix again and I was STILL a whopping 8cm. Nothing had changed. I was DONE.
I told them to get me an epidural immediately. With the help of an amazing nurse I was able to keep still through one excruciating contraction as they administered the epidural. Within minutes I felt sweet sweet relief. Again I cried because I could breathe. I could see my husband and I could understand what he was saying. I was no longer under this heavy weight of pain trapping me from everything around me.
Dallas made up a bed on the couch and we both settled in to get some sleep, knowing that epidurals usually slow things down. But as the nurse turned out the lights and left I was immediately awake. I tried to sleep and dozed off periodically… but not much. I’d feel for each contraction but they were almost non-existent. I watched the monitor as they slowed down. Each peak seeming to get lower and lower. This went on all night long.
It was brutal. I was no longer physically weary but emotionally weary. When they checked me again in the early morning and I was STILL at an 8, I couldn’t help but start bawling. Had I made the wrong choice? How much longer would I have labored if I hadn’t gotten the epidural? Dallas did his best to comfort me. What’s done is done and we can only move forward.
They offered Pitocin to get things rolling again and I gladly accepted. (Something that was definitely not in my birth plan) After two increases of Pitocin and I knew we were close. With my epidural I chose not to push the button to increase the medication. Meaning I had the lowest dosage. As we finally got the contractions peaking again I could feel each one but from a distance. I could breathe through them.
I was SO relieved when I finally felt the first urge to push. Urgently I called the midwife back in and she checked. Sure enough I was fully dilated and ready to push! It was a little past 9am. Everyone handles epidurals (anesthesia) differently and you should always take that into consideration when deciding to get one or not. I luckily do extremely well with them. I knew when to push, I could feel it all. It didn’t take any coaching. The nurse and midwife just let me push when I needed to with gentle encouragement. I could think but I could also feel what was happening.
When Ev was almost out my midwife asked if I wanted to feel his head. I did. I reached down thinking that feeling him would give me strength and empowerment… Instead I was just completely grossed out. I’m pretty sure the midwife laughed at the disgusted look on my face.
Again, I was able to feel everything with my epidural but just at an extremely low intensity. So I knew when we hit the “ring of fire” as I finally pushed out his head and then his body. Dallas was right there to catch our baby and pull him up to my chest. I was in heaven! My beautiful boy took my breath away 💙 Every one, gasped as they saw him and all exclaimed that he was a BIG boy!!
He was born at 10:37 am. He weighed 8lbs 6oz, and was 20.25 inches long.