I had an NST and u/s on January 22nd, at 41 weeks, and while everything looked healthy, the staff really pressured me to schedule an induction right away since they don't like for pregnancies to go past 41 weeks. It was a difficult decision, but we chose to decline the induction and schedule another NST and u/s for 4 days later, even though we were informed that our baby could DIE within hours of our leaving without a SCHEDULED INDUCTION APPOINTMENT.
I was so frustrated and ready to go into labor. That night when DH got home from work, we started some natural labor inducing techniques, just hoping something would trigger what I was hoping was on the verge of happening.
We went for a long walk (about 2 miles, with a hill!). I did curb walking. I did an inversion technique that required me to place my knees on the stairs about 12 to 20 inches above my head since Dahlia appeared to be in a less than optimal position to trigger labor and dilation (posterior). I hit the breast pump. I even had a glass of wine.
I had a fitful night's sleep and even put my pillow on the opposite end of the bed to try to cool down and get comfortable. As usual I was up to pee every few hours, and I had to get up and grab some Rolaids to be able to continue sleeping.
I thought at one point that maybe I was having contractions, but I was really tired, and decided it was my imagination. I couldn't go into labor, right?
I slept in a little bit after Adrian went to work and spent my morning being lazy. I noticed I was having contractions, but every time I had them before, they were always just pre-labor and eventually fizzled out. I didn't want to get excited just to be disappointed again.
I took a little nap on the couch because my back hurt. I had a few contractions during my nap, but the sensations were still mild and definitely didn't set off any "impending labor" signals.
Around 10:30 am I realized the contractions were not only continuing, but moving closer together. I called Adrian and told him not to get excited but something *might* be happening.
He waited it out until lunch time before coming home -- we didn't want to jinx it! By that time, I was becoming more optimistic about it being "time". My contractions were coming around 4 minutes apart and lasted for about a minute each. They felt like a belt being tightened around my hips and down below in my very lower abdomen. They kinda sucked, but I was able to easily relax through them.
Shortly after he got home the contractions spaced out a bit so I threw on a tank top and some yoga pants and we walked down the block a little bit with me doing curb walking. I felt like such a dork, but I was desperate to help the contractions along.
Back at the house he rushed around picking up and making lunch. He decided not to return to work. As the contractions picked up in intensity and frequency we began to feel like we might be getting ready to have a baby!
The night before I had spoken to my doula about my disappointing experience with the staff after the NST and she had told me she had been in with another client (due 2 weeks after me) and that the hospital had been PACKED. Women were laboring in the waiting room due to lack of availability of beds in triage and one women was very close to pushing in the hallway. Her client had actually been sent home because things were just so crowded.
Adrian decided to call and ask how crowded things were. He talked to someone at L&D and she told him we should come on in.
I was hesitant because I didn't want to come in too early. I really wanted to be at home and comfortable as long as possible. As my contractions began coming closer together, he got more excited and was ready to head in to the hospital. I didn't want to experience transition in the car, so I agreed.
We took about 20 minutes online to look for a middle name. We decided to honor his heritage with a middle name of Hispanic origin. I loved Damita, LOL, but he thought two Ds would not be good. He really liked Alise, which was very close to Elise, which had been my favorite before, so I agreed. I decided to let him make the final decision.
When we finally got around to leaving for the hospital my contractions were close enough together and intense enough that I was having difficulty getting ready to go. I had a hard time deciding on pants, LOL. I did manage to kind of make the bed before we left and we finished packing the L&D bag. It felt like a bit of a panicked scramble, but it was fun.
In the car my contractions were 2 to 3 minutes apart. He forgot to drop me off at the front and instead parked in stork parking. He felt bad and wanted to take me to the front which made me laugh because I was perfectly capable of walking and it would be good for labor progress.
I had to stop and concentrate right by the doors of the hospital because of a powerful contraction, and the people around us jumped to offer us a wheelchair. I didn't feel like I needed it but it was a really cute moment. I felt really special and excited.
Adrian wheeled me up to L&D and we went straight back to Triage. The nurses scoffed and told me that I was "too smiley" to be in labor. After checking my information, they asked me if I had an induction on the books. When we told them no, they began giving me a speech about the dangers of going past 41 weeks, which I found ironic because I was coming in to have a baby!
They sent me back to a bed and hooked me up to some monitors and a blood pressure cuff. Even though the place was empty, they took their time getting back to me to assess my labor. I had already told Adrian that if I wasn't at LEAST 4 cm, I wanted to go back home.
We had called my doula earlier to let her know that we thought we *might* be in labor but that it could be a false alarm. Adrian called her again from Triage to let her know that we were at the hospital. Turned out, she was too! She was there with her other client, who was also in labor. What are the chances? LOL!
The nurse came back to check on me and watched me relax through a contraction. My doula was there beside me and when the nurse commented, "Wow. You should teach classes." I said, "She's great, isn't she?" The nurse who had previously thought I was too smiley to be in labor then said, "I was talking about you. Good job!"
It was so nice to be encouraged like that.
When the midwife got back to see me she immediately expressed concern over my blood pressure. It was 130-something over 80-something. Everything else looked great, but she was worried.
The day before at the NST my BP was picture perfect.
She ordered blood work and a urinalysis. She also decided I would need more fetal monitoring and blood pressure monitoring.
She asked if I would be ok with a saline lock. I had already decided I would be willing to accept a saline lock if they wanted me to have one, so I consented.
She also checked my cervical dilation. I was 90% effaced and dilated to a 4-stretchable to a 5. I was staying and the nurses brought me a gown.
I was taken to the birthing suite where I got to answer lots and lots of questions. I was on the fetal monitor and all the other junk. When one of the nurses asked my weight, I made Adrian leave the room. They thought that was hilarious.
The nurses were mostly respectful of not asking questions or doing things to me during contractions so I could focus. My contractions were definitely getting intense but I was still able to relax through them.
The blood work was seriously unfun. The first nurse blew out two veins and then gave up and turned it over to someone else. The second nurse also botched two sticks before finally getting some blood. She put the saline lock in at my wrist, which was really uncomfortable and inconvenient but after a enduring the long, long search for usable blood, I was able to relax.
Until the blood pressure cuff went off and squeezed a blown vein. The contractions I could handle. I just about lost it when I felt my vein trying to explode out of my arm.
Finally I was taken off the monitors and given privacy and freedom to labor with Adrian. I didn't really feel like walking around, so I just tried to relax. Adrian turned the lights out for me and gave me my Hypnobirthing CD to listen to. My doula was with the other client next door and stopped by help us. She did the most wonderful thing where she gently stroked the space between my eyebrows during a contraction. It really helped me to relax.
DH was also wonderful about reminding me to breathe and to relax my jaw. I felt very supported and loved by him.
The nurses came back in to do more monitoring. The midwife wanted to do monitoring every 20 minutes for 3 contractions. That was uncomfortable, but tolerable.
I also noticed later that the blood and urine samples were STILL on the counter and had not been submitted, which made me very frustrated.
When we were alone again, DH turned out the lights and I put the birth ball on the bed and leaned over it onto my pillow and listened to my CD. It was very nice and I felt like I was able to relax more.
Unfortunately, nurses came back in to ask questions and blah, blah. I decided to go back to sitting/laying in the bed. I thought I would want to be more active and walk around but I found myself just wanting to be still and comfortable.
At some point my doula came back to check on us, but my mental timeline is pretty fuzzy!
Alone again, and back in the dark I noticed my contractions becoming more intense and much longer. Previously I had enjoyed the way the contractions would loosen up at the end and just how fabulous it felt when one had ended.
Now things were just feeling very intense and the contraction length and pace meant that I was not enjoying that rest period as much.
I started feeling sort of nauseated and then I got all dizzy and hot and weird. I knew it was a sign that I was nearing transition but it still caught me off guard.
My contractions rapidly became more ferocious and I found myself moaning through them instead of just relaxing and using my breathing.
I started getting loud!
Later my doula, who was next door, told me she thought I was listening to music, haha. I knew from reading that vocalizing could help keep my cervix loose and it just seemed like such an instinctual thing to do. It was not shrill, but more of a loud, moaning sing-song type vocalization. I felt a little embarrassed to be loud, but it was just me and Adrian in the dark and it seemed like it was ok to do it.
DH asked, "Did we ever come up with a code word for if you really do want medication?"
I knew I didn't want anything but I didn't have the patience to explain so I just said, "No time."
I think my being so loud made him want to "fix" it. Bless his heart.
Soon I started to feel that butt pressure and then POP! my water broke explosively. DH called the nurse and told her my water broke. They said they would be there to check me.
Then I felt her barrelling down and I told DH, "I think I need to push". He called the nurses again and told them what I said.
Then I told him, "I'm going to push."
It was the most forceful sensation -- both excrutiating and exhilarating and just absolutely unstoppable. I didn't feel a ring of fire because it happened so fast and with such undeniable force.
He quickly washed his hands, haha!
The nurse arrived to check my progress, LOL. She had told me previously that she would want to put the monitors on me during pushing.
I yelped, "I'm pushing!" and I did because I couldn't help it or stop it. It was just happening, period. She started to put the monitors on me but then looked between my legs and thought better of it.
She grabbed DH's hand and had him apply counter-pressure to slow Dahlia's exit. I had planned this beautiful, slow non-violent breathing down of the baby with minimal or no pushing.
That did NOT happen. She came rushing out of me light a freight train. It was amazing feeling her come out. I had about 5 pushes and it felt so odd and incredible and then there she was.
DH helped "catch her" -- then the midwife arrived!
They immediately put her on my chest. Where she had her first poop!
Our birth plan was very respected in regards to her care. They waited to wash her or apply drops or anything until we had had about an hour and a half of bonding and the opportunity to breastfeed.
When her cord had stopped pulsing they clamped it and DH cut it. It felt so strange to have her on my chest and the cord still coming out of me.
She was born at 6:56 pm, about 3 and a half hours after our arrival at the hospital.
This was the first birth where I've been aware of pushing out the placenta. I didn't have an urge to push and was no longer feeling contractions so it was strange, but I did it.
The placenta looked great and healthy. Dahlia's only sign of being post-dates is some peeling skin. She was immediately so alert and peaceful. She just looked at us with such thought. She took the the breast with ease and she has been a champion nurser. No difficulty at all.
After we'd had time with her they washed and weighed her and did the drops and all that. She was 8 lbs, 3 oz and 20 and 1/2 inches long. She looked so tiny when she came out that we really thought she would be 7 lbs.
I did have a tear that the midwife stitched up to stop the bleeding. I was given a shot to numb my perineum before she started stitching but it didn't take. Another shot didn't numb things up completely either. The stitching was really uncomfortable and I did not enjoy feeling that!
I had to sit through another blood draw and more blood pressure monitoring but then we were transferred to our room. Dahlia has been so wonderful and has a great temperament so far. One of the most adorable things about her is her hair -- it's dark but she has a streak of white-blonde locks on the left side. I don't know if it will stay like that but it's so cute!
We got to go home only 24 hours after her first feed, which was awesome! I just wish I hadn't had the unnecessary blood draws and saline lock.
It's a little sad knowing that my days of baby-making are over, but I am so happy with my little family!
UPDATE: My doula called me last Tuesday because she was writing up my birth timeline to give to me. According to her notes, she was in my room *just* before transition. She was there and she and Adrian and I were talking (I mentioned that the boys needed to vacuum the living room and that mom would probably dress the kids stupid when she brought them to the hospital, haha sorry mom) and I would just pause and close my eyes and be quiet during a contraction and then just jump back into the conversation.
From the time she left after that to the time Dahlia was born was about 20 minutes!! I went through transition and actually delivered within that short period of time. Is that crazy or what?!