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November 3, 2006 9:39 PM (November 3rd was my EDD!)
8 lbs 5.5 oz
I guess my labor experience started off with losing my mucus plug on Thursday November 2 at about 9:30 in the morning. I was crampy all that day, but really nothing major.
Around 3:30 that afternoon the cramps started to come on a bit stronger, and with some lower back pain, but still didn't want to get my hopes up that "This was IT", so I carried about my day. That night we went for a walk and I had to stop a few times because the contractions were getting stronger. We went to bed around 9:30 that night, and at 10:30 the contractions woke me up. They were like really really bad menstrual cramps - about every 7 to 11 minutes. This lasted until about 4:30 in the morning when they eased up and my body got a really good sleep from 4:30 until 6:30.
I took DH to work on Friday morning and dropped off some paperwork I needed for my maternity leave benefits and I told him that I would stay in the city because of the contractions. I didn't feel comfortable driving around, but I drove back to our house. DH called me at about 10:30, he was upset that I had come back home (apparently he was more convinced than I was that this could be the real deal). I was having a hard time with a couple of the contractions while on the phone so we decided that I would put the hospital bags into the car (along with the car seat) go pick DH up at work and go to the hospital to get checked out. I figured that it was ridiculous, that even if it was really labor they would probably laugh at me and send me home for coming in *way* to early. But, DH thought it was for the best, and so I obliged.
We got to the hospital at about 11AM, and the nurse on duty checked me - I was a good 3 CM, so still very early labor. They kept us in triage and told us to walk around to see if this was going to progress today or if it would be a while. We walked the halls for about an hour and a half at least. While walking, as the contractions would come on I would sway my hips and hold on to the railing and just breathe through them. Then off we would go for another lap. At around 1:30 they put me back on the monitors and checked me again - I was a loose 4 almost 5 CM!! We were getting admitted to have this baby. While we were waiting for our room to be ready I was served the "clear fluids" lunch - two servings of green jello, pineapple juice, and chicken broth. . . not exactly hearty, but I obliged.
I got into my private room, met my nurse and she told me that she wanted me moving around as much as possible to get things progressing. We used the birthing ball and walked around the halls to bring the contractions on stronger and closer together. I absolutely loved rocking on that birthing ball!!! I would highly recommend it!
My doctor came to check on me at about 6:30 or 7 (times get a little foggy now). He checked me and I was a very good 6 - 6.5 CM. He decided that it would be best to break my water now as opposed to it acting as a buffer and making labor even longer. I couldn't believe how warm that gush really was!!! It certainly did make things progress much more quickly. My contractions started to come about every 2 - 2.5 minutes and were about a minute in length. I was doing some rocking on the birthing ball and deep breaths while DH rubbed my back or blew on my neck and talked me through it.
They were getting really intense, and the nurse asked if I wanted to try to labor tub. . . I thought that might help relieve some of the back pressure I was having. The tub room was just across the hallway from my hospital room and it took us about 4 or 5 contractions before we even made it. I had about 4 contractions in the tub, and the water felt great, but little did I know I was entering the transition stage at this point and things were getting really serious. I suddenly didn't want to be in that tub anymore, I needed to get back to my room. We headed back to our room. . . it took another 4 or 5 contractions to get across that hall.
Now came the only time during this whole experience that I began to doubt my ability to labor and deliver without drugs. I never asked for the pain meds, I just told DH as the contractions became quite intense that I didn't know how much more I could do. My body knew what to do though, and the contraction would hit hard and fast, but wouldn't last as long and when it was done I was almost in a deep sleep between them.
The nurse had a hard time at this point finding baby's heart beat, so she insisted that I get into the bed and be put on the montiors. The first contraction in bed hit. . and this time, and the peak of it instead of just exhaling my body was pushing!!! I think I scared myself with this because I let out quite the grunt/groan, the nurse said she was going to check me and sure enough baby was right there - I was ready to have this baby. (To give you an idea of time - it is now about 9 PM, about 2 hours after my water had been broken by my doctor). She wanted me to push her fingers out and I didn't feel quite ready so I gave a few week pushes, and then a couple of better ones. Her and DH kept coaching me for stronger, but I just didn't think it was time so I listened to my body and did what it was doing on its own - breathing through a couple of contractions, then all of a sudden I was grasping the mattress on the bed and baring down with everything I had. It was so amazing to feel that baby move through the birth canal!
Here comes the fun part - apparently my pushing was too good, and the doctor wasn't there yet so the nurse said that if I could I should try to pant through some of the contractions. . . I did my best but my body did all of it on it's own - sometimes it would just give little pushes, and sometimes I was trying to get a 4th good hard push in on one contraction. The doctor got there at about 9:20, just as baby's head crowned (DH watched it crown) and quickly threw on his gown and they put my feet against the pushing boards. About 5 or 6 more good pushes and our little girl Terri Grace was here.
The nurse did a fabulous job supporting my perineum, but I still needed quite a few stitches as I have a 2nd degree tear. It was a bit tender to sit in some chairs and positions, but by about day 5 I was comfortable again.
Terri is a beautiful girl, her apgar scores were 9 and 9 and I couldn't be more thankful to my DH for his amazing support, encouragement and of course belief in me that I could deliver our child into this world without any drugs. (He was pushing for me to have the EPI when we first found out we were expecting but I had always believed that my body was designed to do this!)
So, that was my natural birth in the hospital. The nurse never once asked if I wanted the drugs yet, and at one point when DH had to take a break and stretch and get something for himself to eat she stepped right up and continued with the support/coaching techniques that DH had been using to help me through my contractions. It was a great experience, very personal, as just DH and I were there and only the friend who was looking after our dog for us knew we were in labor.