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Bigger and better: The birth of Carter Unmedicated

Bigger and better: The birth of Carter

"For the next 30 minutes I timed my contractions while my husband slept soundly, just to see if there was a pattern."

The big “DD” had come and gone, and I was an emotional wreck. I’d been told by my midwife that our cute baby boy would most likely be coming early (and that was at 35 weeks!). Needless to say, my anxiety only increased with every passing day that I had to wake up, exercise and go teach all my little first graders.

December is supposed to be a joyful and happy time of year, and snow had been cascading from the mountains all week. And yet, I would cry into my husband’s shoulder every night, feeling as if I was going to be pregnant FOREVER! Finally, two days after my due date, I woke up at 2:13 in the morning thinking maybe I was having real contractions—not that I’d had any Braxton Hicks contractions or any sign of “ripening” at all. My midwife would ask at every check-up if I was having any contractions. I would respond, “I don’t think so.” To which she would add, “Well, you certainly are dilated and effaced quite a bit for feeling nothing.”

For the next 30 minutes I timed my contractions while my husband slept soundly, just to see if there was a pattern. At 2:47 a.m. I roused him and said, “I think I’m having contractions.” He shot out of bed and said, “Are you sure?!” (Umm … yeah?) He went on to ask me how far apart they were and immediately got out of bed. “Well, if you’re having contractions, I’m going to shower, so I don’t smell.” Luckily, the six-minute-apart contractions weren’t painful at this point or else I probably would have smacked my husband for being so concerned about his hygiene while I was in labor.

Around 3:15 a.m. my husband called my midwife and told her I was in labor. She said to call again when we were on our way to the hospital, and she’d meet us there. My husband filled up our bathtub, and I sat in hot water as my husband timed the contractions. Everyone always said that contractions were “consistent” and “pattern-like,” but even though mine were progressively getting closer together, it was more of a 3-2-1-2-3 minute pattern. Finally around 4:30 a.m., we called my midwife again and my husband packed the car while I would put on some clothes in between contractions.

UntitledBy this point, I was just moaning while lying on the floor. It took two contractions to get to the car. Bless my husband; he was a trooper, reminding me to breathe. (No really, those constant reminders made ALL the difference. When I would concentrate on breathing, the contraction pain was almost nonexistent!) We made it to the hospital around 5 a.m. and got checked in. One of the nurses was SO slow and took us to the wrong room. I’d requested a birthing tub because I was having a natural birth. I never even used it, though, because I was dilated to 8 centimeters and already in transition before my midwife made it. She arrived just in time to help me deliver.

They were monitoring the baby’s heartbeat and decided it was too all over the place and consistently low. They inserted one of those long needle-like tools to get a better grasp of his heart rate. My water hadn’t broken yet, and when it did, it splashed on my midwife’s face. I just kept apologizing between contractions for getting her “dirty” and waking her up in the middle of the night. All the nurses laughed at that. As I looked around the room between contractions, there were at least 10-13 people in there. Seriously? Turns out, it was shift change, so there were many people coming and going.

As baby started to descend, my poor husband started to get woozy. He doesn’t handle bodily fluid very well. They brought him apple juice while I continued to progress. (I thought it was for me! Nope.) I was extremely hot during the last hour—and it was only then that I finally felt the discomfort of contractions. But with the reminders to breathe, it was easier.

It was a whirlwind when it came time to push. Baby’s cord was wrapped around his belly, his neck and then back down and up again! My midwife called in a doctor to help her deliver since they had to use forceps on the poor baby’s head. Because of that, I was put on oxygen to help baby get enough oxygen—talk about stressful! I’m fairly small (only 5 feet tall), and baby was not coming out! They did an episiotomy to get him out faster because he apparently wasn’t making it around my tailbone.

At 6:12 a.m. on Sunday, December 11, baby Carter was born! He weighed 7 pounds, 13.7 ounces and measured 20 inches long. I was in shock! I’m so small, so I thought he would be small, too. Turns out, the reason my midwife thought I’d deliver early was because my baby boy was big for my size!

Once he was born, all the nurses and doctors were surprised at how NOT pregnant I looked. Labor and delivery lasted three hours 59 minutes, and we couldn’t be more blessed that it really went well. Oh, and my husband almost fainted from all the blood and stretching he said!

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 birthstory@pnmag.com. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!