My pregnancy was pretty uneventful. Mild cramping in the beginning, an irritating case of PUPPs in the third trimester (and for three weeks after birth) and a lot of pelvic/hip discomfort for the last month were the worst things I experienced. Because things went so well, my mind obviously went to a deep dark place where my labor was going to last 30 hours and I would be in horrible pain. That was not the case, thankfully.
I was due May 10. So at my 39-week appointment on May 8, I asked my midwife to strip my membranes in hopes that it would jump-start my labor.
All day on May 9 I had consistent mild contractions that were 15-20 minutes apart (I downloaded an app to track my contractions). Otherwise, it was uneventful, and I went to bed with the hopes that I would have a baby before the weekend was over.
I woke up in the wee hours of the morning on May 10 to use the restroom and couldn’t fall back to sleep, so I sat in bed for about 40 minutes playing a game on my phone trying to make myself tired. I was on my way to the bathroom when I felt a gush. I got to the bathroom and realized it was my water breaking and that I was losing my mucous plug at the same time (gross).
When I started having more painful contractions, I knew it was time to call my midwife’s office. My phone call woke Ernest up, and he came to see what was going on. I told him that my water broke. He stared at me like a deer in headlights for a minute and then said, “What do you need me to do?”
He got dressed and got everything ready to drive to the hospital. While he was doing that, I was dealing with contractions and rocking on an exercise ball awaiting a call from a midwife. The midwife I saw the most (Celina) called back very quickly. I told her what was going on, and she asked what I wanted to do. I was experiencing a particularly painful contraction, which caught me off guard, and I started crying. I managed to tell her that I wanted to come in. She told me to go ahead, and she’d see where things were when we got there.
As we were getting ready to walk out the door, I felt another bigger gush and made it to the bathroom just in time to not get my waters all over the carpet. After another few minutes of dealing with that, we were on our way.
My contractions were getting closer together, but they were still bearable. We got to the hospital at 4:30 a.m., went to a labor and delivery room and waited for the midwife.
Celina was the midwife on-call that night, and it was nice to see a familiar face. She checked me and I was between three and four centimeters dilated, so I was admitted. Around 7 a.m., my contractions started getting pretty intense, and I asked for an epidural. That was also the time for a shift change, so Celina was going over whatever with the next midwife on call–Katherine.
Being that this was a first time pregnancy, I didn’t quite know what to expect despite the research and doctor visits and centering classes. So when all of a sudden Niagara Falls started coming from my lady bits, I was a bit shocked. Apparently this is normal, and “there’s a lot of fluid in there.” The nurse helped clean up what I dubbed “Lake Lucas,” and we moved on.
I was still waiting for my epidural, and the contractions had begun to get very intense. I had acquired a birthing ball, and it helped me manage my contractions. By this point, pleasant, joking Jessi had gone into hiding, so when Ernest tried to rub my back or lovingly give me words of encouragement I was shushing him and waving him away.
Finally, the anesthesiologist came around 8:15 a.m. to give me the epidural. They are required to go through all the explanations and risks first. Obviously, this wasn’t their first rodeo because grunts, head nods and thumbs up were good enough to show I understood. Ernest had to leave the room, so he got himself some tea while I got some sweet relief.
Within minutes of getting the epidural, I was back to my pleasant self and cracking jokes and smiling.
They checked me right after the epidural, and I was 9 centimeters dilated. For the next three hours, not a whole lot happened. The epidural worked a little too well, and I couldn’t feel my contractions anymore. If you can’t feel the contractions, you can’t push.
Around 11:30 a.m. the epidural had started wearing off enough for me to feel the pressure of contractions. Once I had made enough progress, Katherine could feel that Lucas wasn’t facing the right way–he needed to be anterior, but he was turned about 15 degrees. They called in the doctor to assess, so she did an ultrasound. I heard her say, “Well my hand is smaller than a baby’s head, so … ”
Unfortunately, I spiked a fever during labor. This meant that Lucas and I were at risk for an infection and Lucas would have to go to the NICU after birth. I knew it was for the best and tried to not be too upset about it.
There was a team of pediatricians waiting to take Lucas over to the NICU, along with nurses, the midwife and Ernest. Between contractions they all just kind of stood there, waiting, staring at my lady bits.
After four hours of pushing and 12 hours of labor, Lucas Dean was born at 3:38 p.m. He came out screaming his head off. The second I saw him, I started bawling.
I had three tears, two of which needed stitches. I delivered the placenta. They took Lucas to the NICU, and the room cleared out pretty quickly. Ernest went to get us food because I hadn’t eaten, and he had only had a couple of granola bars and some tea all day.
So that’s my birth story. I’m proud of how hard I worked to bring my tiny human into the world, and I am so grateful that Ernest was there to support and encourage me.
Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!