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Collen Ivy: born 5/23/10 at 3:56am. 6lbs 3oz 19 3/4in.
It all started on Saturday. I got up early and got ready to head over to graduation for the high school I teach at. My homeroom was graduating this year and aside from having duties at the ceremony, I really wanted to see this group graduate. I was feeling a bit sore and having lots of uncomfortable BH contractions. According to my last check, I was already 2cm dilated and 80% effaced. I had an appointment at L&D later that day for an NST because baby was measuring small.
I got through the graduation ceremony and I was feeling pretty good. Before my appointment I went to a retirement luncheon for a coworker. (What? They told me to eat before the NST!) After that, I went to the hospital and got all hooked up to the monitors. They monitored me for about an hour and baby looked great. When the midwife on call came in, I asked her to check me to see if I had made any progress. I also asked her to sweep my membranes. If I was looking at a potential induction in a few days, I wanted every chance to go into labor on my own beforehand. She agreed to the sweep though she warned me that it probably wouldn’t work. I also hadn’t made any progress since my last appointment.
The membrane sweep was painful. I wanted to crawl away from her off the table. As I was leaving, I told my mom that I was going to go home and put my feet up before I got too crampy and uncomfortable from the check/sweep. I stopped at the grocery store and got some milk, juice, and fresh pineapple to help things along. I got home around 5pm and promptly fell asleep on the couch.
I woke up around 7ish with nothing happening. By the time my husband got home from work around 8pm I was having cramps and lots of Braxton hicks that were getting stronger. I decided to start timing them just to see if there was any pattern, and at first there wasn’t. They were all over the place, but they were getting more intense, painful even and I hadn’t had any contractions yet that I would call painful.
I kept timing the contractions and they were getting more intense and closer together. In my mind, I was still thinking that they were BH and that this was most likely a false alarm. At 11pm, I told my husband to go ahead and go to bed and that I would wake him if anything happened. He was so excited that this might be it that he decided to stay up with me.
I bounced on my birth ball, practiced my breathing, took a shower, and everything I tried, the contractions just got more painful and closer together. We started talking about going to the hospital around midnight. At this point, I was really having to focus and breathe through the contractions. I was still convinced, though, that this was early labor at best and I even made a post about how if these were the practice contractions, I didn’t want to feel the real thing. Even though my goal was natural childbirth, I was really starting to doubt my resolve and I decided to go ahead with the epidural since I was having so much trouble with the early labor contractions.
We realized that my hospital bag wasn’t even packed so my poor husband ran around trying to get me to tell him what to bring in between contractions. I was just trying to breathe through them without crying. We finally got me to the car a little after one and we got to the hospital around 1:30. By 1:50, they had me in a triage room and hooked me up to the monitors.
They wanted to check me to see how much I was dilated, but that required laying down and I refused to do that unless I was in between contractions. At this point, contractions were coming every two minutes and I didn’t feel like I was getting any break at all in between them. While we were waiting in triage for a safe moment to check me, the baby kicked. You could hear a big thump on the heartrate monitor. Then there was a pop and my water broke all over the table. (Inwardly, I was both excited and panicked. I knew that meant that we were staying to have the baby, but I also knew that the contractions were about to get even more intense.) Later on, we talked about how cool it was that she ninja-kicked her water to get out.
I still hadn’t been checked, because there was no break in the contractions but I told them that I wanted the epidural and they brought me all the consent forms. I just knew that there was no way my body could take hours and hours of contractions like that. I was just praying that I was dilated far enough to get the epidural.
The next contraction was different. Through each of the previous ones, I had been breathing but also concentrating on the idea that my body was opening and she was coming down. With this one, I felt the urge to push. My body started to do it on it’s own. The triage nurse told me not to push, but when you are ready, your body kind of takes that option away from you. Even though they still haven’t checked me, they move me to a labor room quickly. In the labor room, they scare me by telling me how I can rip my cervix if I push before I am completely dilated and I finally get checked “between” contractions. The nurse was very surprised to proclaim me complete and she got on the phone telling the midwife on call to get down there because we were ready to push.
Now that we had the okay to push, my mom and husband each took a leg and I pushed with each contraction. Pushing felt SO GOOD compared to just breathing through the contractions. It was satisfying and I could feel her progress coming down the birth canal. I pushed through four or five sets of contractions (no more than 45 minutes) and she was here. I got to reach down, pull her out, and place her on my chest. She was born at 3:56am, two hours after we arrived at the hospital and eight hours after I started timing contractions.
We waited until the cord stopped pulsing to do anything. She wasn’t interested in breastfeeding right away, but she did have a big poop right there on my chest. When she finally went to get weighed and measured, her stats were 6lbs, 3oz and 19 ľ inches.