I had been having contractions for weeks, but had been assured that because this was my third kid this was normal (by the way, someone needs to write a pregnancy book for women on their third+ kid, because everything that's normal signs of concern with your first two pregnancies are considered normal happenings after the first two). I also learned with my second child that my body does not feel contractions the same way they are described in books or by most care providers. While being monitored, my contractions may be reading off the charts, and I'm not even really aware of them, or they feel so insignificant that I ignore them.
On Sunday, December 11, around 3pm I noticed that the contractions I was having seemed to be a bit more consistent. So I tried to focus on them so that my husband could time them--this was a first for us. (We'd never had the opportunity or need to time contractions with our first two.) They started out at seven minutes apart, and 1 1/2 later when we were ready to leave for church they were 3 1/2 minutes apart. So we decided to skip church and go to the hospital in stead. As soon as we got in the car, they slowed back down to 7 minutes. We still went to the hospital and spent a few hours being monitored. My midwife checked me, and I hadn't progressed from when I'd been checked two weeks prior, so I decided to just go home and wait it out. By the time we went to bed, I was actually feeling pains that I could associate with labor, but they stopped just after midnight.
Monday was a long day as both my husband and I had anticipated being back to the hospital to have a baby by mid-morning at the latest. But as it was, my contractions didn't even start again til mid-morning, and there was no consistency to them. By the time my husband got home from work they had regained a consistent pattern, and if I had to rate them on a pain scale, I would have given them a one. So, I put together my shopping list and we headed to Publix. I can't say I was completely comfortable throughout our shopping trip, and I knew I was technically in labor, but I wasn't miserable either. We got home close to 9, settled the girls into bed, and around 10 when we headed to bed I told my husband that I might be pushing a three on the pain scale.
At 12:40 Tuesday morning I woke for my routine potty break and realized that I was still having contractions. I climbed back into bed and watched the clock, then I realized they were starting to hurt. I laid there and debated whether or not I should get up or just see if I could ride it out til morning. I also prayed that God would let me know when it was time to go to the hospital, but planned to wait til my water broke. At 1:00 I noticed an intense difference in the contractions--and that they were only two minutes apart! I woke my husband and told him I was in transition. He moves pretty quick in the middle of the night! We called our neighbor to come sit on the couch and headed to the hospital. I called the hospital as we pulled out of our drive and told them we were on the way--my phone said 1:31 a.m. I remember glancing at the clock at some point on the way to the hospital, and it said 1:44. I don't know what time we arrived, but we walked up to labor and delivery. For the most part I was still walking and talking through contractions, and only had to pause three times to wait them out.
They had a room open for me and I walked straight in, grabbed the cup, and went to sit on the potty. As I went potty, my wonderful husband got the room readied my way. Not a single hospital light was on. Just my lamps. And he got me in the skirt I had had made myself for labor/recovery. Just as I finished leaving my sample in the cup, my water broke. With the next contraction I hit that moment that every woman in natural labor hits, and I told my husband, "I don't want to do this." I walked out of the bathroom and into the room, asked for the birth ball, and didn't make it any further. I hit my hands an knees, eagerly waiting for the birth ball to rest my upper body on. During this time a nurse was begging me to get into bed so she could check me, and I remember my husband telling her that wasn't necessary. She then asked if they could monitor me, and I told her no. I couldn't move. She wanted to get the baby's heartbeat, and I told her if she could get it without me moving, then go for. This is all happening in just a matter of moments. For the first time ever, I yelled in labor. It was more of a very loud moan, but either way, I was mentally berating myself because I knew that yelling wasn't going to help anything.
After what seemed like forever of a nurse trying to talk me into the bed, I realized I hadn't been saying any of what I was thinking out loud. Finally I managed to get out, "He's crowning, y'all." Well, that definitely changed the atmosphere. A very experienced nurse had already been summoned when the one nurse couldn't get me to cooperate. She came around the bed and said, "She's right, he is crowning." She then kept begging me to get up on the bed because she couldn't get to the baby. I didn't understand the problem. I had delivered my last child on my hands and knees and knew it could be done. I was mentally begging my midwife to walk through the door. (My husband told me later that I wasn't up on my hands and knees as I thought I was, but was actually resting my bottom on my heels, hence the reason she could not deliver me.) Suddenly the nurse called for the birth stool, it was there in a flash, and my husband lifted me off of the floor and sat me up on the birth stool. Another first happened for me then--everything stopped. Not for long, but for several moments there were no contractions, and time seemed to stand still. I'd never had that kind of break in my labors before. I'd heard of them, but never experienced it for myself. I remember questioning why everything stopped. Then the next contraction hit and at 2:04 a.m. my baby boy delivered!
During delivery, the nurse mentioned something about meconium, but I don't think he actually ingested any because he had no complications. His cord was also tight around his neck, and he wasn't breathing. Kudos to my husband who knew not to be alarmed because the cord was still attached, so he knew the baby would be fine. As soon as I started talking to the baby, he started turning his head. They clamped the cord when it stopped pulsating and took him to the heated crib. He then started crying. He was very bruised and swollen due to the very quick delivery. Due to the concern of meconium, it was a few minutes before I got to hold my baby. During that time I climbed into the bed. My midwife walked in a few minutes later, and I teased her about being late. She can be rather crabby at 2 in the morning. :)
I had studied and researched doing a hypnobirth and was really excited to implement some of what I had learned. I never had time to try to focus on relaxation. One thing however that I definitely knew I wanted to do this time was not push. I wanted to breathe my baby down. Well, I didn't actually concentrate on breathing my baby down, but neither did I push. My body did what God designed it to do, and naturally pushed my baby out.
So, thirty minutes after leaving my home that is twenty-plus minutes from the hospital, I delivered my son!Michael Joel ~ 9lb 6.7oz ~ 22in
I know this story may be a bit too wordy, but I've written it in bits and pieces as I've had time. There are probably facts I'm missing, but I think I have all of the important stuff that I want to remember. I doubt I'll ever forget most of the details.