It all started about 4:30 in the morning on January 7th. I sat bolt upright in bed because of a pain or heart burn or something. Maybe a little of both. It was pretty common for me to be up half the night with some kind of pain but in the back of my mind I thought this was different. I laid back down and dozed until 5am, when I was up feeling very uncomfortable.
I hoped this was it. See, my parents were in town and I really wanted to have him while I had lots and lots of help. I had an induction scheduled on January 11th, and I hoped that I wouldn’t make it to that day.
I didn’t have very regular contractions. Mostly I felt horrible cramps. Like menstrual cramps. No matter what way I switched positions, I still felt them. I got up and walked around. I took some pain killers. I kind of puttered in the bathroom. I started noticing a pattern to the cramps and started timing them. They were around 2 min apart and lasting about a minute or so. I had about 20 minutes of that and Juice woke up.
By this time, I knew this was different. The pain killers did nothing to touch the cramps. I felt awful. My doctor at my last appointment told me not to wait to call. If I had contractions for more than half an hour, to call them.
I told Juice that I thought he should stay home. I decided to take a shower and see if the contractions and the pain went away. It didn’t. I got dressed and put all of my stuff into the hospital bag while Juice got ready. Still not very painful contractions, but these horrible cramps. I started noticing that the tops of my thighs were started to ache. I called my doctor. He said to come on into the hospital and get checked out. It never hurts to be looked at.
I was 38 weeks and 3 days. I had Butterfly at 38 weeks and 4 days. And the boys, I had at 36 weeks and 6 days.
I had breakfast and said goodbye to the kids. I was going to stay and make sure that Butterfly got off to school around 9am but I really just wasn’t feeling well. Juice said we should go sooner rather than later so we left.
We got to the hospital (time unknown, I really wasn’t thinking about the time) and headed up to Labor and Delivery. They were expecting us. I signed a bunch of forms. I got my ID bracelets and they asked us to wait in the empty waiting room.
About 5 minutes later, a triage nurse came and took us to triage. I got undressed and they hooked me up to the monitors. One showed that the baby’s heart beat was good. And the other showed my contractions. Or my lack there of. I was sure they were going to send me home. I still felt pretty horrible, lots of cramping but nothing really showing up on the monitors as a real contraction.
I answered a bunch of questions, including how dilated I was at my last appointment. Which was Wednesday the 2nd. I was 2 centimeters. They checked me again and this time I was 4 centimeters! They said they were going to keep me and moved me into room number 2.
There, I had all my monitors hooked up again, and answered a bunch more questions. Mostly about the baby and what my plan was. They asked me about 3 times if I wanted the epidural and I said I would think about it. I got a few more bracelets and an IV. (I HATED this IV. They put it in the side of my wrist and it ached every time I moved my hand. Which was a lot.) They left me to labor a bit. The nurse came back in and adjusted my monitors so I would get credit for the contractions that I was having. Since they weren’t showing up on the monitor and I was feeling them. The cramping was getting worse but nothing I couldn’t handle.
My doctor came in (same one I saw on Wednesday! Yay!) and we discussed my plan for labor. My contractions were still very, very mild. And not terribly regular. I wanted the doctor to break my water and see what happens from there. I didn’t want pitocin. I wasn’t sure about the epidural still. She said she was fine with that and got out her stuff. It was about 10:40am by then. She broke my water (which hurt, not the water part but the getting the hook in there part) and frowned. Both her and the nurse looked at me and the doctor said she knows she broke it. No water was coming out. (Honestly, I had been wondering if I’d been leaking fluid for a few days…no conformation on that though.) She had to break it again and pushed on my belly after. A small gush came out. Followed by regular little gushes as I had contractions.
It’s game time. When I had Butterfly, the doctor broke my water and I had her only a few contractions later. They did the same with the boys. I was expecting things to start moving. So was everyone else. So when nothing really happened, the doctor left and the nurse too. I tried to relax. Juice took a nap (a tiny short one, lucky) and I turned the music on my phone so I could think of something. About 10, maybe 15 minutes into it I started hurting. The contractions were finally starting to get regular and hurt! I just kept telling myself “down, out, down, out, down, out” with each contraction. Pretty soon my breathing and shifting woke Juice up.
I made him come over to my right side and hold the baby heartbeat monitor onto my side. I wanted to be sitting up. It was the only comfortable position. Sadly, they don’t want you sitting up because it’s hard to monitor the contractions and the baby. So Juice’s job was to hold the monitor on my belly and make sure that they can still monitor the baby while I sat up and tried to manage the pain.
I remember feeling like I couldn’t do this. I remember thinking that this was normal and that I was probably in transition. (Yay for reading and watching a ton of labor stuff before!) I started to shake. I KNEW I was in transition. The nurse came in and tried to talk me into an epidural but I knew it was close and I couldn’t wait for the epidural to kick in. I started to have contractions back to back to back and the nurse asked if I wanted to be checked.
The doctor walked in at that moment and said that she would check me. It took me about 4 contractions to be able to roll over onto my back to be checked. I was complete and ready to push. Then it took me about 4 MORE contractions to respond to that. I remember saying that I didn’t want to do this. A lot.
I had a small break in the contractions and they convinced me it was time to push. I asked if I could lay on my side. Really, I wanted to sit up but being on my back hurt way worse than being on my side. They said sure. It was awkward, laying on my back. They kept trying to push my legs out farther than I was comfortable. And I lost control. Lots of pain, lots of screaming (yes, screaming) and lots of crying. I think I only pushed on my side for a few contractions. They kept counting to 10 to help me and I totally ignored it. I pushed when I was ready, and for how long I could. The doctor told me if I rolled over on my back we would have the baby.
I remember having to steel myself to roll over. It hurt. A lot. And when I did, they kept trying to push my legs back. And I kept wanting to arch my back away from the pain. It HURT to be on my back. Finally, I decided, “Let’s get this over with!” and pushed as hard as I could.
Then, the contractions stopped. I had been having stair step contractions back to back, where I didn’t get a break in between to re-center myself. The pain just kept coming and coming and coming and building and building. I could feel his head crowning but it wasn’t painful. I suddenly could take a breath and realized what was happening. Then I felt the contractions come back and I pushed as hard as I could. His head was out. Then the next contraction the rest of him came out with a whoosh and a HUGE gush of water came out with him. It was 12:27pm.
They put the baby right onto my chest and I looked down at him. Boy did he look like Professor! I got to hold him for a few minutes and they took him to the warmer to get him wiped up and weighed. (8lbs, 3 oz which is what I weighed when I was born, and 20 inches long)
Juice took his picture.
The placenta came out in one big whoosh and I felt so much better. It really is amazing that once that is gone, you feel great. I guess it was a big placenta too because the doctor said so. She said she had to give me one stitch. She asked if I would rather have some local to numb the area, but it would be two sticks. One stitch, also sticks. I chose just to do the stitch and have it over with.
I started shaking really bad again at that point and they brought the baby back to me. They brought me a few more blankets and covered me up. They gave me a very cool bracelet that would play Braham’s Lullaby when the baby got close to me. They gave Juice his bracelets and I started shaking again. We did some skin to skin and they piled the blankets on. I think every house should have a blanket or towel warmer. A totally frivolous thing I would like to put on my Christmas list.
Juice and I looked him over, and he started sucking his thumb! So adorable.
I let Juice hold him for a few minutes and then they wrapped him up to be moved over into the other rooms. He got to push the bassinet and I got a wheel chair ride.
This was my longest delivery yet. Butterfly: 2 hours. The boys: 4 hours. And him, they count it from the time of my first contractions (I say about 5am) till he was born. So 7 and a half hours. But really, from the time they broke my water at 10:40 till his birth at 12:30 was only about 2 hours. This has been the only birth I’ve actually gone in to labor on my own. The other 2 were inductions. So I think it’s okay if it’s a little longer than the others! Plus, I had no pitocin, no interventions (other than breaking my water) and I seriously felt great after. Shaky, and a little light headed, but I like that I could get up to go to the bathroom if I wanted and I could walk only a few minutes after birth.
We decided on his name (email me if you want to know, I won’t mention it here) and Juice decided he disliked Buckaroo for his blog name. So we switched it to Cowboy and it fits him much better. Welcome to the work baby Cowboy!
PS- More about the hospital stay later. I have A LOT to say on that subject.