I was due with Leo on November 14th. On November 16th I went to the doctor and found out that my blood pressure was elevated for the third week in a row but this time it was getting close to the “danger zone.” The doctor did a nonstress test and since Leo was doing fine and I was “progressing” and didn’t want to be induced, the doctor said that I could come back on the 18th to get checked but at that time I would need to schedule to be induced on the 21st (41 weeks pregnant) if I didn’t go into labor beforehand. When I went in on the 18th my blood pressure was even higher. My choice was to go in that night to get induced or be on light bed rest all weekend and get induced on the 21st. Still wanting to avoid an induction I chose bed rest for the weekend with an induction scheduled for Monday, and boy am I glad that I did!
When the three older kids started to wake up around 5:30 a.m. on the 19th, I felt fine. At 6 a.m. I had the first mild contraction, but it was nothing out of the ordinary at that point so I didn’t think much of it. By 6:30 I had had a few more so I decided to get up and take a shower and see if that would relax me so that the contractions would stop but it did not work. I was determined to stay calm and cool and be one of those glamorous women arriving at the hospital in labor so I went ahead and shaved my legs while I was in the shower. Once I got out of the shower I started timing the contractions and they were definitely consistent. I got dressed and fixed my hair and even put on makeup and still wasn’t quite convinced that this was really “it” since I had had so many contractions and Braxton Hicks this pregnancy. By 7:30 a.m. I was sure, and I started making phone calls to get our older three kids taken care of and to my doula/long time friend, Lindsay, as well as my mother-in-law Karen, who I wanted at the birth as well. Everything was going well with my husband John helping to support me (mostly by leaving me alone and letting me be in my own space in our room) and get the kids ready as well as straighten up the house from the morning mess. Karen arrived by 8:00 and the kids all got off to their appropriate caregivers for the weekend.
By then all I wanted to do was lay on my left side on the bed with my knees up to my stomach and Karen and John let me do just that. Karen talked to me during the contractions and helped me remember to relax so that they could do their job. Karen, a nurse, also checked my blood pressure since it had been getting higher.
By 8:45 the contractions were lasting between 90 and 120 seconds and were about 2 minutes apart so we got ready to go to the hospital. Heading to the car was very difficult and I had to stop multiple times while I had contractions. Of course when I got down to the kitchen my OCD took over and I had to clean up a few things and John quickly helped me with that. As I had my fifth contraction from the bedroom to the car Karen started to get nervous and asked if she could ride with us instead of following. She didn’t say it but John and I both knew that she was afraid that I would have the baby in the car and so was I at that point. My desire to be a glamorous woman in labor was gone by then and I didn’t care what I looked like anymore.
I texted Lindsay as we pulled out of the driveway and she said that she would meet us at the hospital. Then I called my doctor’s office and was able to speak with the nurse on call. Actually, Karen spoke with her because I was having another contraction and extra uncomfortable now that I was in the car in an awkward position. That was when my willpower started to weaken and I started saying that I wanted an epidural, which I had demanded that John and Karen not let me get throughout the entire pregnancy.
We arrived at the hospital at 9:30. I was tired of sitting so I told John not to get a wheelchair but then when I tried to get out of the car I had another contraction and couldn’t get up and walk. So John went in to get a wheelchair and I reluctantly got in it. When we got up to the desk it seemed like the waiting room was extra crowded and they were determined to keep me there and in pain for as long as possible by asking me what seemed like ridiculous questions. When I got into a labor room I was relieved to be able to lay back down on my side after changing clothes and using the bathroom. The nurse came in and checked me, and they determined that I was not quite to 5 cm (I had been 2cm the day before at the doctor’s office). Again I repeated that I wanted an epidural and they made me so angry insisting that they had to do some lab work and get a bag of fluids in me before they could order it, so they continued doing the procedures that needed to be done to get me checked in while the contractions kept coming really fast.
John went to park the car while Karen stayed with me. When he came back he was wonderful helping me through each contraction. I don’t know what time Lindsay arrived but I remember her walking in and all I could do was cry that I was going to get an epidural. She asked if I was in a lot of pain and I told her that the contractions were just so close together that I couldn’t get a break and it was awful. Lindsay began helping Karen and John by giving my sips of water and rubbing my back and stomach during the contractions
At 10:20 I had a contraction that made me feel like I was about to poop, but the feeling went away as soon as the contraction was over so I ignored it. It happened again with the next contraction and I told Lindsay, who was right next to me blowing a fan on me. Lindsay immediately told the nurse who walked into the room that I was feeling pushy. I then proceeded to poop on the bed, which I know is normal, and I couldn’t help it, but it was still really embarrassing. It seemed to take forever but it was probably only three minutes before the nurse came over to check me and announce that I was at 9.5 cm and immediately turn to pick up the phone to tell someone on the other end to get a delivery tray set up and page my doctor. I remember asking if she was kidding because in my mind I was in for another six hours of those constant contractions and I could not comprehend that it was so close to being over. Karen and Lindsay laughed when I said that and assured me that the nurse was not joking. John held my hand and smiled at me then. I was so relieved.
Everything was a blur at that point. I remember pushing and thinking that this part was so much easier to do than having contractions without pushing. I also remember the doctor telling me that Leo was turned face up so it was taking longer to push him out than it otherwise would have. But at 11:00 a.m. Leo was born after only five hours of labor.
The next hour or two were spent calling friends and family and trying to get my blood pressure down because it was still pretty high. The nurses were great though and let me have skin to skin with Leo and nurse him while I tried to relax so that I didn’t have to take any medication for the high blood pressure. We ended up getting what seemed like all afternoon to have some quiet time in the delivery room before we went through the process of getting moved to a regular room.
It was amusing when the lady from the front desk that asked all of those “ridiculous” questions came in for some insurance information and upon seeing the baby said, “You weren’t kidding, you were ready to have a baby.” Hopefully next time she will listen to and recognize a mama in transition and move her through quicker.
Leo’s birth being so uneventful, quick and easy made the extra five days he made us wait well worth it. I am so glad that I stuck to my guns and didn’t get induced. Leo and my body knew exactly when it would be best for him to come. The easy birth also made me excited to have another baby and I asked John when we could do it again within 10 minutes of Leo being born. (He wasn’t thrilled with that.)