My birth story really started the afternoon of Monday, July 14 when I started noticing timeable contractions at 36 weeks pregnant. They weren’t painful, but they were 3-5 minutes apart and lasted around 45 seconds. We decided not to go to the hospital because it just didn’t feel like it was time. I also didn’t want to be that pregnant lady who came in thinking she was in labor when she wasn’t.
I continued having contractions all night, but was able to sleep through some of them. When my husband woke up on Tuesday, he asked if he needed to get ready for work or to go to the hospital. I still didn’t feel like I was in labor, but I figured since I had been having consistent contractions for over 12 hours, we should go just in case.
We arrived at the hospital around 7:00am. I’m pretty sure the ER nurses thought I was crazy for coming in because of how easily I could walk and talk, but they took me back anyways. When we got to Labor & Delivery, I put on a gown and was strapped to the monitors. My nurse checked me and said that I was still 2 cm dilated and about 50% effaced, like I was at my appointment the week before.
The monitors showed that I was having contractions, which made me feel reassured that I wasn’t imaging them. My OB came in and said that she didn’t feel like I was in labor, but she’d let me hang out for a few hours to see if anything changed since my contractions were coming every 5 minutes.
Around 11:00am, my nurse checked me again and said I hadn’t progressed, so we decided I would be discharged. L&D got busy right after this, which stopped my nurse from getting my discharge papers. During this time, my contractions started to increase in frequency and pain. I had to focus on breathing through them and they were showing up more intense on the monitor.
Around 1:00pm, my OB came in and said that she had noticed my contractions were increasing and she was worried I was going into actual labor. Since I was 36 weeks, it would have been okay for my son to be born that day, but my OB wanted to stop things if possible. She suggested giving me IV fluids in case my contractions were caused by dehydration, as well as a shot of pain medication with the thought that if we could get my body to relax through the contractions, they might slow down and stop.
The pain medication was a trip. I was warned that it might make me sleepy, but it made me feel like I was tripping on something! I would focus on a spot on the ceiling, but everything else in the room would continue to move. My words were slow and slurred, even though I consciously tried to speak clearly.
Around 5:30pm, my OB came in to check me. I still hadn’t progressed, so she allowed me to go home and rest with a request that I take the next day off work and decrease my hours from there on out.
For the next four weeks, I had steady contractions that were 5-10 minutes apart. Activity made them pick up, so I did a lot of lazing around when I wasn’t at work. Around the 38-week mark, I resumed normal activity since I was so close to my due date. At 39 weeks, I actively started to induce labor. I would walk every night and we had more sex in that week than we had the rest of the pregnancy. Even though K was so eager to make his entrance four weeks early, I actually ended up making it to my due date…and a few days past.
After four weeks of consistent contractions, my husband and I went to my last OB appointment at 40 weeks and 2 days where we decided to induce the next day due to my son’s projected size (he was measuring 8 lbs 6 oz at an ultrasound two weeks prior).
The next morning, we got up at 6:00am to head to the hospital and begin the induction process. Unfortunately, L&D had experienced a very busy night, so there wasn’t a room immediately available. We were instructed to wait in the L&D waiting room until a room became available.
Around 7:30am, my husband and I were brought into a L&D triage room to begin monitoring. Baby and I had to be monitored for 20 minutes before they were willing to start the induction process.
At 8:15am, we were brought into the labor room. I changed into the hospital gown, had my vitals taken, and had an IV started in my left wrist. We decided to do a Pitocin induction because I was already dilated between 3 and 4 cm, thus making any cervix-based inductions useless. Pitocin was started at the lowest dose and set to increase every 10 minutes until my contractions were steady.
The contractions I had from the Pitocin were manageable, but I had intense back pain. Around 11:30am, I asked for my first dose of IV medications which made me feel as loopy as they did in our early labor scare.
At 1:05pm, I felt a pop and a huge gush of liquid as my waters broke. The next few contractions were the most intense feeling of my life. I remember rolling onto my left side, clutching the side of the hospital bed, looking my husband in the eyes, and begging him to let me get an epidural. My nurse checked me and said that I hadn’t progressed and was still at 4 cm.
We waited an hour and a half for the anesthesiologist. As he walked in, my nurse checked me and announced that I had progressed to 8 cm! I figured that if I had progressed that quickly, I could go the rest of the way without an epidural, so we sent him away. There was a flurry of excitement; the nurses brought in a large table with all the equipment needed for delivery because everyone thought I would be delivering within the hour!
I labored another 1-2 hours, during which my body started spontaneously pushing. Everyone was telling me not to push, but it wasn’t something I could control. I would get a contraction and feel the muscles in my abdomen contract and push down.
My OB came in to check me and said that I was back at 6 cm, which was the most heartbreaking thing to hear. She said that my cervix was swelling from my body pushing, so she suggested getting an epidural to let my body relax. While we were waiting for the anesthesiologist, I got another dose of IV pain medications which let my body relax enough to labor to 7 cm.
I was so nervous about getting an epidural because I’d had four rough spinal taps in the past, but everything went perfectly. As much as I had hoped to have a medication-free birth, I had to admit that the epidural felt amazing and let me relax.
Around 9:00pm, my nurse checked me and I was dilated to 9 cm with only a bit of cervix lip left. She announced that we were ready to push, so we did a few practice pushes and the cervix lip moved. During this time, my epidural started to wear off, so the anesthesiologist was called in to give me a second dose.
I ended up pushing for over two hours. We got close enough that the nurse could see my son’s hair, but he got stuck behind my pubic bone. Around 11:00pm, my OB came in to check on our progress and started studying the printout of my son’s heartbeat. She told us that his heartbeat had started decelerating at the wrong time which was a sign that he was in distress. She checked me one more time and said that my son’s head was too big to fit through my pelvis. We decided that a c-section was the best course of action.