Warning: Long, detailed birth story ahead
Bear's 2nd birthday was June 1 (one week before my due date). We closed on our house that morning and had lots of errands to run. I just felt off all day. I kept having a tummy ache that would come and go. My parents arrived around 3 PM to celebrate Bear's birthday and we all went out to grab a quick dinner while Hubs was at work. All my crampiness died off in the evening, although I woke a few times during the night because I think I was in pain. I was so tired though, that I just fell right back to sleep.
Saturday June 2, I had lots to do. I had to refill Bear's medication so that if we went into the hospital he wouldn't run out. My parents were planning on staying until our Monkey joined us. We also had to make a stop at a grocery store afterwards to fill a prescription for my Dad. While walking around for the 20 minutes we had to wait for them to fill it I started having pretty noticeable contractions. One I had to stop walking through and just breathe. However, they were extremely irregular in time and intensity. I went to the bathroom and realized I had lost my mucous plug. All day long the contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart. But, they weren't extremely intense or regular. Occasionally I would have to stop and breathe through one. Hubs came home around 5:30 from work (he was making it up from the day prior). My contractions seemed to completely stop so we all went to a local restaurant to celebrate Bear's birthday. Saturday night is polka night after all. On the way home we ran to Dairy Queen to get Bear a birthday cake and came home to sing Happy Birthday to him and Granddad.
Around 8PM I was overwhelmed by a sudden wave of exhaustion. I excused myself and went and laid in bed and watched some Teen Mom on MTV.com while the contractions returned.. Hubs put Bear to bed around 9:15 and came in to check on me. The contractions seemed to be coming stronger however were still only about 5-7 minutes apart. Hubs decided to shower in case this was it. Around 9:45 we decided to try to get some sleep since they weren't getting any closer together. I was panicking that I couldn't see the clock from my side of the bed so how was I going to time them. He said if I told him when I was having a contraction he would watch the clock. About 30 seconds later I was moaning through a contraction. 5 minutes later another one. 5 minutes later another one. Hubs decided to call the doctor since they were only about 5-7 minutes apart and lasting 20-60 seconds. The doctor said it sounded like a false alarm but if we wanted to head to the hospital and get checked out it was okay. The hospital is 30 minutes away so I was scared to go and not be in labor and I was scared to wait too long.
Finally around 10:45 we decided we should go in. They seemed to be getting stronger despite not being anymore regular. The car ride was intense. They were lasting about 30-60 seconds and coming every 5 minutes. It was strange, every time one would end I would breathe a sigh of relaxation. After 3-4 minutes would pass I would convince myself that this was a false alarm and they were just going to stop. Then a minute later another one would start. At this point I was doing anything to get through them, more so because I HATED being in the car, strapped down under a seatbelt than because of how painful they were.
We arrived at the hospital at 11:22. I had a contraction as soon as we got there and had to bend over and lean against the car while Hubs got our bag. The ER clock said 23:22 while I sat in a wheelchair waiting for someone to take us to L&D. We finally got up there about 10 minutes later and the nurse had me change into a gown. About 15 minutes later she hooked me up to a monitor and left. I had Hubs tell me if the numbers were going up on the contraction monitor. When he said "YES!" I finally felt myself relax. Somehow, I had been convincing myself these weren't real contractions (I had just had an NST the morning prior and didn't have one contraction while there). The on-call doctor came in check on things and do a quick ultrasound to ensure baby was definitely head down. Since I had declined prior cervical checks he was a little short with me. However, he nonchalantly let me know I was already 5cm and would definitely be staying.
I finally got moved from triage to a room and the nurse started my IV. She was very supportive of me going "natural" (I always hate this term, how is birth unnatural?). She kept telling me "If that's something that you want, then you can do it". After monitoring me and the baby and starting my IV she said I could walk the halls if I wanted for 40 minutes. So DH and I took off, if not for anything but something to do. After about 20 minutes I just couldn't walk anymore. I was so tired, it was so late (about 2AM at this point), and my legs were feeling so shaky. I tried laying down in bed which was fine and I would doze off inbetween contractions. This was AWFUL!!! The contraction would wake me up and I struggled to catch myself mentally with the pain. I just couldn't center my focus and decided to put on the TV to stay up between contractions. Around 5AM I started bawling to Hubs that I couldn't do this. I had a lot of pressure (although I didn't realize that's what it was at the time) and I was struggling to get through the contractions. I had hit a wall and hadn't tried to find a more comfortable position to labor in. I asked to be checked. Like I said, the nurse was very supportive and said she wouldn't check me, unless I asked. I told Hubs I couldn't do this, I would be way too tired to push. So, if I was only 6 or 7 cm then I was getting an epidural. I cried my eyes out. I wanted so badly to go naturally and I felt like a failure. Hubs was so encouraging saying, it didn't matter and no matter what I did my best.
The nurse checked me, I WAS 9cm! Well if that wasn't a boost of confidence. I tried laboring standing up, but I was too shaky. I found sitting cross legged in bed while holding Hubs' hand I was much more comfortable. Around 5:45 it was getting intense. I had to squeeze Hubs' hand hard to send all my pain and tensing out that way so I didn't tense my lower half. I had him continuously talk to me through a contraction telling me "you can do this" "you're almost there" "you're doing so well" "you are so strong" meanwhile I was breathing like a crazy woman. As soon as the contraction peaked I would have him tell me so that I knew I was on the downhill and had made it through. I had a lip of cervix left so the doctor broke my water (she had shown up at around 5:30). She offered to check me and I declined because I was so uncomfortable. The contractions were torture now because I wanted to push but they told me not to so fighting the urge was PAINFUL! Finally I asked if I could push a little and they said yes, I just couldn't not push at all. It was such a relief even to push just a little. It was like I had direction for the pain. Instead of holding it in and spreading it around my belly I could focus it a little bit. I did that for about 3 contractions and the next thing I knew, I HAD TO PUSH. I COUDLN'T STOP IT. Literally. It takes over you.
After Bear's difficult birth and possible birth injury I was panicked through the pushing stage. I just pushed. As hard as I could. I screamed through the first ones. Another nurse had come into the room (I have no idea when she just appeared there) and said I needed to grab behind my knees (my hands were death gripping the bars on the side of the bed) and curl around the baby and push. And to hold my breath. I frantically told her I can't. My nurse (amazing woman) calmly told me that I could, that I was doing this. That I was so close, and that I had come too far to lose it now. I have no idea how I did it, but I moved (I really don't remember it, I just remember that the next thing I knew my hands were around my knees). I pushed and pushed and pushed and SCREAMED (Hubs look petrified, but hey, it hurt!!!) and Monkey was born at 6:04AM. About 7 minutes of pushing. They always tell you that pushing is 2 steps forward one step back. The baby moves up and down the birth canal. Not Monkey. I pushed and when I stop pushing I was squeezing so hard that he never went back up. Like I said, I was frantic. We know too well the fears of birth injuries and the damage that can occur. I pushed like his life depended on it and ended up with a 2nd degree tear because of it. I didn't care it was worth it. All in all, the labor part was pretty easy. It was the delivery I was NOT prepared for.
They placed him on my chest while I delivered the placenta and got stitched up. Worst part of unmedicated deliveries? The numbing shots and feeling all the stitches. I got to love on my baby while panicking that I could feel the needle stitching me up. After about 40 minutes they weighed him and cleaned him up. He was 8lb 9oz and 19in long. Ultrasound had estimated he would be 7lb 13oz so we were surprised he was as big as he was. However, Bear was even bigger (8lb 14oz) at birth at a similar gestational age. After a few hours we were transferred to our postpartum room. They took Monkey for his exams and a bath and Hubs and I got a GOOD, well deserved nap. I think his hand hurt more than he let on.
Welcome to our little Monkey!!!