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I had been having mild contractions and bloody show since Thursday night but nothing was really happening. Saturday was a fine warm autumn day...we went on a hike with our kids and collected acorns. Later, after putting the kids to bed, we tried to watch the Da Vinci Code but I fell asleep. Will finally woke me to go to bed. I told him we should try making love to induce labor and so we did. It was very loving and sweet but didn’t seem to jumpstart any contractions. Will fell asleep now and I stayed up reading. As I lay in bed reading, the house around me was so silent and tired. Suddenly I felt a “snap” inside me and a warm gush of fluid. I hopped up instantly and ran to the bathroom but it was hard for me to tell if I was peeing or if my water had broken. Now I was torn. I knew that being GBS+, I needed to get to the hospital for antibiotics if my water had broken but I really wasn’t sure. It was about 12:30 at night. I tried lying down and then standing up to see if that made more fluid come out but no luck. I got on the internet and tried to research how to know if your water has broken…it seemed that the snapping sound was pretty indicative that it had. So I called my dr who answered right away and told us to go to the hospital and get the fluid tested.
So I got to wake Will up and say “my water broke!” We called my mom and said we would bring the kids over and then we proceeded to pack our things in the car, bundle up the kids and head out in the big minivan. I was having contractions maybe 15 minutes apart and they were very light. We got to my parents’ house very quickly, said good bye to the kiddies and went to the hospital. We got up to triage at exactly 2:00 am, but it was the night of the time change, so the time became 1:00 am. It was very quiet that night and they hooked me up to the monitors and came in to test my fluid. The test was supposed to take 20 minutes but took more like an hour. Will and I chatted for awhile and then I read for a little bit. Finally the nurse came back and said that yes, my water had broken and we would be admitted.
At this point Will went to the car to get our bags and pretty soon our L and D nurse came to get us. She took us a room almost at the very end of the hall. She had to put an IV in me, so that I could get my antibiotics and it took her a long time and she had to try twice. Ouch. Still my contractions were very light and I knew that if I didn’t go into full blown labor on my own that I would end up being induced with pitocin. This was the one thing I had wanted to avoid…pitocin had been such a painful part of my labor with my eldest and had led to an eventual c/s. This was to be my second VBAC and I so wanted to have a natural childbirth this time. Originally my ob had said that we could let my labor progress slowly, but with my water having broken and being GBS+, the situation had changed and we were now on the timeline we had wanted to avoid.
Will slept the rest of the night and I tried what I could to bring on contractions: bouncing on an exercise ball, nipple stimulation, visualization, relaxation techniques, different positions. The contractions slowly became closer together and some would get more intense but they never fell into a regular pattern; this was exactly what happened with my previous two labors as well. In the morning we got a new nurse and talked to our children on the phone. Will had some breakfast and as we were getting ready to watch the Niners game, our nurse said that we had to move rooms and that they were going to start me on pitocin. I felt scared and sad at this point…it wasn’t what I had wanted and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to handle the contractions; and even worse I was afraid that even if I got an epidural, that it wouldn’t work again (this is what happened with my first labor). But at the same time, I wanted my baby to be safe, I was also scared of Group B strep…knowing that it can kill and injure babies very quickly and that it had already been 11 hours since my water had broken. So after talking with my ob, I agreed to start the pitocin. Now I was permanently attached to the IV and the monitoring system which limited my ability to move around.
The pitocin drip started at 10:30 am and took a few hours to really get going; the contractions got closer together first, and then became very strong. I moved around a lot, and Will was a great help, rubbing my feet and back and letting me hold onto him while I breathed slowly and deeply through the contractions. It was nice to be distracted by the football game: we had been looking forward to watching the Colts play the Patriots. At 1:30 we called the kids for the last time. Sid was drawing trains and Tessa had just fallen asleep in her grandpa's lap.
By 3:30 I was very uncomfortable; I just couldn’t find a position I liked. My restless left leg was tingling when I lay down so I couldn’t be in the side lying hypnobirthing position. I ended up sitting on the end of my bed with my legs dangling over the side, although this strained my back a bit. Will was in front of me on a stool and he would rub my left foot and let me lean on him during the contractions. The contractions were now less than two minutes apart; I had been handling them until that point but they suddenly changed and became very painful and sharp in my back, completely overwhelming me. I was now very nauseous and trembling with cold; I could feel my confidence eroding and I tried to tell myself that I could do it. I finally asked the nurse to check my cervix and found I was 4-5 cm. Now the pain was unbearable…I knew that with Tessa it took me 2 hours to get from 5 to 10 cm, so I told myself to hang in for one more hour. But I finally had nothing left to give so I asked for the epidural. I felt so disappointed in myself and but tried to be proud that I had faced my fear of the pitocin. I was frustrated that I hadn’t been able to avoid it and the pitocin altogether, but my natural birth wasn’t to be and I’ve had to accept that fact.
The epidural was sweet relief when it was put in at 5:20 pm. Ahh, I could finally relax, although I still felt pain. I was also able to realize how hungry and tired I was now that the contractions were lessened. My head was pretty foggy and I was still trembling with cold. The anesthesiologist told the nurse to check me…I was now 8 cm! He told her to call my dr. NOW since she was still at home.
In the time it took for the dr. to arrive, I was able to lay back and gather myself…the baby was coming! The contractions now felt like a rope being squeezed around my back and belly very tightly.
When my dr. got there, she checked me and said “the head’s right there!” It was time…we waited a few minutes for my nurse to return from break and the whole feeling in the room was very serene and magical. It was just so calm and intimate, everything was quiet and unrushed. When the bed was broken down, I was told to push…everyone could see his head right away! On the second contraction I could feel baby’s head and on the third contraction he came right out! He was placed right on me, pink and squirming. A blanket was put over him and he was looking right at me, his eyes wide and bright. Will was right there too, The baby was wiggling and crying and I realized that it was the same movement I had felt inside of me, just minutes before he was born! He was such an active boy that whole day!
Will cut the cord and we snuggled with the baby for a long time. We marveled over his long finger and toes, his perfect round head and his wrinkly skin. He also had a funny furrowed brow, a deep chin dimple and a little butt dimple. Then we announced his name: Severin Timothy. And for as long and hard as the labor was, the delivery was easy…I had no cuts, tearing or even a bruise anywhere.
The rest of the evening was joyous. I felt good and could walk again right after the delivery. Severin nursed easily and the nurse was very sweet and asked us to let her know when we wanted her to bathe him and weigh him. He was 7 lbs 6 oz, our little peanut! And 19.5 inches long. Sid, Tessa and my parents came to visit shortly after and were so precious. Tessa was a little scared of the hospital but they were both so excited to meet their new brother. When they left, I found myself, although hungry and tired, very elated. Such a long night and day and not at all what I had spent so long planning for, but life is full of surprises. Like our little beautiful son, Severin, the most wonderful surprise of all.
-Steph, distance running mama to
Sidney William 11/07/01
Tessa Cameron 02/12/04
Severin Timothy 11/04/07