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For about two weeks I was having contractions that were regular but not strong or strong and not regular. I didn't have any sort of show or lose my mucus plug in that time, and everyone around me who was due after me was having their babes before me. I believed that I would go by 39 wks because both of my other boys were born by that time. I found myself discouraged and frustrated. I was really nervous about the length of labor as well because my second labor was 20 hours long and that was 6 hours longer than my first. I was terrified I would add another 6 hours to the time. I really wanted a totally natural birth and didn't think I could handle a marathon like labor.
At 39 wks, I was at 2 cm and 80% and chose to have my membranes stripped. That triggered 18 hours of steady 10 min apart contractions that weren't strong at all, and despite my hope that it would send me into labor, I found myself at an appt for 40 wks. I went in a day early(at 39 wks 6 days) because Connor wasn't moving as much as normal and I got myself worked up over it. I was checked and at 3cm and 85%, she also stripped me a little bit. The next morning, the 13th, I woke up to stronger but not really intense contractions, and they lasted throughout the day, but were not consistent. My midwife lives 30 miles away and so I called the office to let her know that labor may be coming over the weekend. She called me back at 5:30pm before she left town and wanted to check me. She used a speculum to check on my water and make sure it was intact and she said I was at 5cm, 90%, 0 station, and that my bag was bulging out. She suggested that I head up to the hospital to be admitted and that she would break my bag. She was concerned that if I went into labor on my own, we would be rushing to get admitted in time, and she wasn't sure she would make it back to town.
I called DH and we were on our way. We dropped my older two off with my parents and were at the hospital at 6:30pm. My midwife arrived shortly after. The nurse who was doing my admitting got me all freaked out by saying the Connor wasn't reacting well to the contractions and she put me on a Saline drip, when my midwife listened and watched his heart rate, she said he was just fine. She broke my bag at 7pm and he had moved even lower, my bag was no longer bulging, and no fluid came out, she was worried she hadn't actually broken it (he was born with some scratches on the top of his head even), but the contractions got more regular and intense. I spent some time in the shower and I couldn't get comfortable so we moved to the Jacuzzi tub. That provided relief for a while, but soon I found that the contractions left me with a strong urge to use the bathroom, when that feeling didn't go away in between contractions, I asked to use the rest room. She allowed it even though she wouldn't let me go alone for fear that I would have him in there. She had me so freaked out I didn't even try to go and just sat on the toilet, which ended up being the most comfortable.
At this point the contractions were very strong and there was no relief in between them. I asked the medication question because I was afraid that if I continued without them, I wouldn't have the energy to push. She said that what she could give me was dependent on how far progressed I was. I ventured to the bed to be checked, and she didn't get her fingers in past the second knuckle before proclaiming that I was fully dilated and he was 2cm out. I didn't believe her at first and told her I didn't feel the need to push, she suggested that on the next contraction we try anyway, I agreed. She put a warm washcloth on me to help avoid tearing. When the next contraction came and the nurse and DH helped hold my legs up, DH exclaimed, "Wow! There's a head!" I pushed through one contraction and was born at 8:43pm. My midwife allowed me reach down and pull him to my chest where he stayed for 45 minutes. Dh was able to cut the cord. I ended up needing only one stitch which is significantly less than my previous deliveries.
It felt really surreal to have delivered so quickly, especially since my previous labors were so long. DH and I were geared up for an all night labor, and were very surprised to be done so quickly. We weren't sure what to do after that. My midwife found it very funny that I didn't recognize the urge to push, but in my defense it did not feel like it had with the other two. I think it was a really good thing that she broke my water at the hospital because I would have waited to go there until I couldn't handle the pain any longer, and by that point I would have been having the baby en route.
He weighed in at 8 lbs 12 ounces, 21 inches long, with a 14 inch head. Total labor time was 1 hr 43 minutes. He is my biggest baby by almost a pound with the biggest head yet, but it was my best delivery. I realize that I would rather be pregnant the full 40 weeks and have a labor like this one, than deliver early and spend a whole day in labor. This labor was an amazing experience and I hope that subsequent labors follow suit.
I think it's funny that you and your DH didn't know what to do after such a quick labor. It sounds like a really great experience and I love that you got to help pull Connor out and hold him for such a long time. Congratulations!