The last month of pregnancy is by far the LONGEST! Anticipating the new baby in the family and trying to prepare, it is no wonder women nest in the end of pregnancy. Doctor appointments are every week. My belly was measured and a doplar would be used to listen to baby’s heartbeat 💗. Doctor’s plan: week 38 check up with doctor at another office. Week 39 come back to her office for a check up and get an order for an ultrasound to check on baby’s size. Come in for week 40 check up and go from there. I had week 38, waste of time appointment, week 39 I canceled the appointment as the roads were covered in snow and ice. Not taking a chance. That appointment was Wednesday. There was nothing available the rest of the week and due date was Monday… we would wait it out and see what happened. If I didn’t have baby I’d go in on the 14th. That was my plan.. baby had a different plan in mind…
Each time I have given birth my body has made such a nice womb for the baby, there was NEVER any sign of labor, including Braxton Hicks contractions. Nothing would start until after receiving a pitocin drip to induce labor.
This time around I contemplated a home birth but not until the last month and at that time it was not financially an option. There were also concerns of going too far beyond my due date, needing pain meds (hello epidural!), and other possible complications. My birthing experiences haven’t been easy, nor did they come naturally. Baby K was the only kid who showed up near his due date, but that was because he was induced at that time.
Let me tell you this Little Man had different ideas!
His original due date was February 12, although all ultrasounds showed him (as was the same with the previous pregnancies) measuring approximately 10 days bigger. Totally normal for me! This kid would be born like all the rest… late and induced and big. Oh man!
So I had no concerns when canceling my appointment due to icy roads and snow. Being 39 weeks I didn’t want to risk anything… AJ didn’t want me to either. The next appointment wasn’t available until two weeks later… a week after my due date. Haha ok see ya at the hospital. The actual nurse at the office told me to come in in the 14th if no baby came.
Fast forward to Friday afternoon. I was cleaning around the house and started feeling crampy. I didn’t think much of it. So much so I told AJ to continue with his plans of attending our church’s family Valentine’s event from 6-9, mind you church is an hour away in the opposite direction from the hospital. About 4:30 he was preparing to leave and told me he could stay since I was in pain and he didn’t want me going into labor alone (well with only K home). I brushed him and the idea of being in labor off. Please, no way I’m in labor, this body simply does not do self-started labor. Denial is most definitely not only a river in Egypt. By 5:30pm I decided to start tracking my cramps and figure out what was going on. I’d never had Braxton Hicks contractions before so maybe this was it, heck I’ve never had any contractions without being under the effects of pitocin. Within an hour of starting to track, my contractions ranged from mild to intense pain, 20 seconds to 1 minute long, and from two to ten minutes apart. There was nothing regular about these “cramps”. Still there were 15 per hour… enter my mother.
I love my mom! I’m so blessed to have her and it’s quite unfortunate she lives so far away. Chatting away on FaceTime and a few “cramps” later mom insisted I call AJ home to take me to get checked at the hospital, ya know since I hadn’t been checked at all for anything other than baby’s heartbeat over the last month. Even the “high risk” doctor’s office I had been visiting didn’t do much other than ultrasounds once a month to measure baby’s growth. At this point it was about 7pm and these were no longer cramps, I had moved beyond that portion of denial… contractions sure. But labor? Psh… my body? Ha!
My girlfriend and OBGYN nurse suggested getting up and walking around when I had a contraction. Walking around would lessen the pain and intensity of the false labor. Standing up and walking around… sure I could do that. When the pain intensified as I walked around my house and sometimes even shot into my upper legs I knew I needed to start listening to my body and my mom. Thankfully AJ was on his way home. D and S were at a friend’s house and K was with me… trying to help me not pack my bag. No I didn’t have a bag packed! Why would I do that? Remember never ever gone into labor before!?
AJ got home, loaded up the car and we headed to the hospital. About Hal way there I figured I should call to let them know I was coming… that’s normal right? Between contractions I managed to call the labor and delivery ward who directed me to call my on call doctor before coming in… uh ya I’ll call but I’m still coming in. I’m in labor. A few minutes later the on call returned my call and told me the hospital was busy and “If I were you I wouldn’t come in tonight.”
Uh… where do I go then? “Well you can come but there’s no bed, we are very busy.”
I’m in labor for three hours and I need to be at least checked! (This is a Friday night after all).
“You can come in but I wouldn’t if I were you….”
😑 I called mom back not knowing what to do. She calmly explained what I needed to say when we got to the hospital. Be firm but polite. Have I mentioned I love my mom?!
A few more easy contractions and a few more painful, stop me in my steps in the parking lot contractions we were inside the hospital. Inside the ER I was wheeled upstairs, the nurse downstairs would bring up my paperwork. A kind nurse wheeled me up to L&D and I was quietly assured I had rights and to not be afraid. Further confirmation I was doing the right thing. Once upstairs a nurse in L&D immediately directed us to a room, with a bed for me. 🙄
By 9:30pm I was getting changed into the very revealing hospital gown, leaving a cup of urine in the bathroom and ready for the fun. The nurse strapped on contraction and baby heart beat monitors, asked a few questions and got me settled in.
10pm: the on call person would be done with the current c-section and be in to see and check me by 10:15. Ok sure I can breathe thru a few more contractions and get checked.
10:30pm I was getting very uncomfortable and the on call person still hadn’t come in to check on me. One nasty contraction had me out of bed, on the verge of tears, telling AJ it hurt and moaning loud enough to bring in the nurse. We are talking bending over the bed breathing through a massive contraction, AJ rubbing my back, pain level 8, with a desire to bear down and push type of contraction. In came the nurse. She quickly got permission to check me as the doctors were still in surgery, there were complications. Before she could come back I was out of bed again with another contraction. Yelled again as the nurse came back in telling me she had permission to check me 🙄 I wanted to push and could feel pressure. I was crying and told her I felt pressure. She calmly told me I needed to get back in bed so she could check me and we didn’t want the baby to drop onto the floor. I slowly crawled back into bed as another contraction came and at that point my hospital gown was gone. I was left with my bra and a sheet. Once on the bed I could barely get onto my back. Nurse Sue checked me quickly and stated I was at 6/7 and she would let the doc know. I messaged my mom and girlfriend whom I had promised could be there for the delivery, it’s on her bucket list and why not? She wasn’t going to be able to make it. Mom couldn’t believe I was that far along already and glad I was at the hospital.
More pain, more contractions and the need to push. Nurse came back in with a few other nurses to get me setup for delivery. They must have really not thought I was going to deliver because no one had brought up my paperwork, I had no IV in and my cup of urine was still in the bathroom. 🙈 I asked the head nurse for an epidural. Nope not enough time and the phlebotomist was in the c-section surgery still. Maybe something in my IV for pain? Sure. Oy another pressure pain and wanting to push! No drugs for me, baby was coming. I needed to push. My water hadn’t broken but I felt so much pressure. “Don’t push, breath thru it, calm deep breaths!” Nope 👎🏻 I pushed a little, baby was coming! This time my water broke for sure!! The head nurse was doing most of the running around prepping for delivery. I didn’t care who delivered, heck AJ was there he could catch baby. Another contraction, bearing down, breathing and pushing! My IV was quickly and carefully put in my hand between contractions. The on call midwife came in to deliver baby. There was no pain relief, only holding AJ’s hand and the head nurse’s as well at one point. I was slightly on my left side, holding the bed rail, squeezing AJ’s hand and pushing the baby out.
Three additional, focused and intense pushes and Baby J was fully delivered! I could feel every sensation and desire to push. I could feel baby’s head as he came out and each additional portion of his body. Baby J arrived 10:50pm Friday 9 February 2018!
As I slowly turned the rest of the way onto my back he was placed directly on me. His umbilical cord still attached and this boy was ready to nurse! He latched on like a champ. We both lay there breathing, crying, smiling. We had done it! After allowing the blood to finish flowing out of the cord into baby AJ cut the cord. As baby J nursed a bit the midwife had me deliver the placenta and she cleaned out as much as she could to make sure no blood clots or complications occurred during recovery.
This delivery was one of a kind for me. I can not imagine what circumstances would have been had I not called AJ home, if I had listened to the on call and not come in, if I had not had AJ home to help and take care of me. Luckily K slept during the entire delivery. The staff understood we were trying to get someone to pick him up. This delivery came so quickly there was no time for a sitter to get him. Our girls were at a friends house in Stroudsburg and the mom was going to bring Dawn home and get K from us at the hospital. By the time delivery was done she had not made it to the hospital yet and AJ decided to take K home. Dawn had been dropped off already at the house.
This delivery and entire experience was different than any of the others. We had no family in town to help with the little kids. Most of our friends were able to help but the night of delivery most were out or unavailable. Heck I didn’t even know I was in labor for the first three hours!
Another unexpected aspect was the actual delivery. I’ve heard about pushing and pressure during labor but having had epidurals every other time I barely felt pressure during delivery. The desire to push and sensations were an intense feeling of needing to push out a large bowel. There is no other sensation in comparison to the feelings of labor. As this was my first adventure in natural labor I could now understand how and why some women actually have a bowel movement during labor. There is no way to differentiate between labor pressure pain and the pressure of a bowel movement in midst of labor.
Having gone through this experience I am glad to call it my last. This little man came in to life at 10lbs 11oz, 22 inches long and 14.5 inch circumference of a head!
The back peddling and excuses from others after the delivery were enough to make me roll my eyes. “Well if you had come in for an appointment we probably would have seen you were already dilated.” Or “I never told you not to come to the hospital.” Baby J arrived and we were both healthy. Also I know when people are doing a CYA. 🤦🏼♀️
What I wish I had was more preparation prior to delivery. A better plan for the kids during my hospital stay. Also more photos. I would have loved photos right after delivery with baby J and I bonding or with AJ being my support. There was no way to do these things and I will always have the memories, this blog and my healthy kids. I do have some recovery photos to share with you though.