I was loving every minute of being pregnant, Larry and I going out to our favorite restaurants every night after work to take full advantage of our freedom to do so, while it still lasted. I must have known something was coming, even though it was only just week 38…
The recliner, that we had been having issues with ordering for over a month, finally arrived! Larry and I had our week 38 midwife appointment at 4pm on Wednesday Dec 13th and reported that I felt totally fine, nothing different, no complaints, just ready and waiting for little Nash. We then ran to Leslies to test our pool water and on to Hard 8 for some BBQ. We loaded up on brisket, poppers, sausage, etc and filled up our tummys, as one does at Hard 8. I went to the bathroom and remember thinking how much I loved my very large and perfectly round pregnant belly as I looked in the mirror…so much so that I went to get my phone to take some bathroom mirror selfies Little did I know that was my last night being pregnant, so glad I have those pictures!
That night Larry and I both work up around 1am and were wide awake. We decided to go and put the recliner together, as I was anxious to try it out and have it ready to go in the nursery. We got it together and I decided I would test it out…well it was so comfortable that I then thought I would just stay there and sleep the rest of the morning until work. Larry got me a blanket and headed to bed. It was 5am and I was out when I felt a sudden GUSH…I remembered where I was (on the new chair) and jumped up. I ran to the bathroom across the hall and, sure enough, there was some fluid that had gushed out – mucus plug, water breaking, …? I wasn’t sure what it was, but knew something was happening. I started screaming to Larry and running to our room to let him know that “something was leaking!” He jumped up and thought I was talking about a pipe in the bathroom or something. I quickly informed him that something was happening and we should text the doula. So we did and she thought maybe it was the mucus plug and advised that I let the midwife know too and go back to bed. I did both. An hour later at 6am, I felt another smaller gush…I ran to the bathroom again and similar thing. So we texted the doula and midwife again. They were asking about colors and all that, trying to figure out what was happening exactly. The assumption being made was that I had lost both the mucus plug and my water had probably broken. They both told me to hang tight and let them know when contractions were getting worse and closer together.
I tried to lay back down, but contractions started to pick up pretty quickly and get intense. It felt like bad period cramps, so I wasn’t exactly sure at first if that was a contraction or what. However, as they got pretty regular and longer, I knew that is what they were. I sat on the toilet because that felt comfortable and rode out the contractions there for almost an hour, leaning on the towel rack that I asked Larry to drag over. Larry was trying to time the contractions. I decided I was likely in real labor and decided to text my work as it got closer to 7am to let them know that I would not be working today. The excitement started to rise…
After some time, I moved to the bed to try and get some rest, as that was the advice from the doula and midwife. Contractions were getting more intense, but I was breathing through them, using my hypnobirthing instructions to take one at a time and try and stay as relaxed as possible. Somehow that lasted about 3.5 hours when I finally decided that things were getting bad enough where if we didn’t head into the birthing center NOW, I wasn’t going to be able to make it into a car anymore. As it was, I wasn’t sure how that was going to go. I told Larry and he wasn’t sure it was time, so he called the doula and midwife to let them know that is what I was requesting. Both of them wanted to talk to me, but I just couldn’t, so they knew something was up. Katie (doula) offered to come to the house first, but I told him she should just meet us there bc we needed to go asap. Then Larry told the midwife we would be there in the next hour – he still needed to shower and pack our things we had laid out, plus pack up the car.
Larry began getting ready as I urged him to please HURRY! He got himself together and put all our stuff in bags and loaded up the car. Now it was my turn. I got up out of bed in my pjs, without brushing my teeth or fixing my hair or anything and just walked straight down the stairs and out into the car. What a sight I must have been…didn’t care. I hardly remember the drive to the birthing center, just looked up and out the window every few minutes to see how much further we were – thank god we got there pretty quick. By now it was around 11:30am when we arrived there. I had been in labor for 6.5 hours and felt like it. I was not my normal smiley chatty self when we got there and, upon seeing me, the midwife knew something was definitely happening.
I went back to the birthing room and Jeannine (midwife) said she usually doesn’t, but wanted to check me to see how dilated I may be so we knew where we were starting, since I think I surprised her a little with how intense I said things were already. She was very surprised to report that my cervix was fully thinned and that I was already dilated 5 centimeters! We were having this baby and relatively soon!
Jeannine called her assistant and her back up to come in asap and Katie was already on her way. In the meantime, while folks were on their way, I urgently asked if there was anything I could do to help with the pain – like get in the tub. She said sure I could get in the tub if I wanted and she turned it on. I wasted no time stripping down to nothing and asking if it was ok that I go ahead and jump in. Jeannine was finishing up tending to another patient who was already there and Larry went to go ask if it was ok. She said sure, so I got in and started trying to relax as much as possible. After what felt like just a few minutes and still no one else arriving, I felt like I needed to start pushing. Jeannine was just coming back in the room and I told her so. She said if that is what my body was telling me, I should go ahead and start and that we may have to do this with just the 3 of us!
I started pushing when contractions came. Over the next hour or so Katie arrived and so did all the others. Jeannine was constantly checking the baby’s heart rate with a doplar. At some point (around 2pm) the baby’s heart rate was slowing down and everyone started to get a bit concerned. It seemed that I was pushing and not breathing enough to give the baby enough oxygen. Also, I was pushing but the baby wasn’t making progress down the birth canal. Jeannine had me get out of the tub and checked me again and said there was a small lip of cervix that was over the baby’s head, keeping him from budging. I would need to stop pushing and try out several other positions or walk around to shift it out of the way. That was something very hard for me to imagine at the time, given that the contractions were very intense and moving did not sound fun….plus how on earth could I stop pushing?!? The midwives told me to make horsy lips…what?!? Basically I was to purse my lips and blow out, making them vibrate against each other like a horse…easier said than done. Every time I had a contraction I began to do that instead of push and it actually relaxed the muscles down there, allowing me to not push. It was not easy and I am sure I looked ridiculous, but I did what I was told.
Over the next hour or so, I tried a few positions, including being in the shower, where I leaned over a little stool and had Larry running hot water down my back. There I was also moving my hips around, which seemed to do the trick – I made my way over to the bed and the midwives checked me again close to 3pm and the cervix had moved and it was time to push again.
I then proceeded to try every possible remaining position we could imagine to push little Nash out. After they checked me, I was already on the bed, so stayed there to try and push by curling up into a ball on my back, grabbing my legs, and pushing as hard as I could. The midwives were excited that I seemed to be making some good progress this way. However, after about 30 min, I got impatient and wanted to try something else. We moved over to the toilet so I could sit there and push. They gave me a swing thing that was hanging from the ceiling to pull down on and give me extra “umph” while pushing. I grabbed onto it and pushed as hard as I could during each contraction…making sure with the midwives that he wouldn’t fall out into the toilet, which they assured me he wouldn’t. I also tried standing up and squatting while wrapping the swing around my arms and wrists and hanging into the squat. That didn’t work too long.
I was getting pretty tired. My mouth was so dry and Larry and Katie kept offering me water or apple juice, which I desperately wanted. However every time I said yes, I would just take enough of a sip to wet my mouth, but was too distracted too actually drink. Because of that, I was getting dehydrated and also hadn’t eaten all day, so my energy was draining and I didn’t have much to go on to push. I was losing motivation to hang in there and push and my positive thoughts about all of this working were turning less positive. I started to wonder if I would be able to do it. At several points, I prayed to god and to my mom to please help me get through this and get this baby out. It felt like things were taking forever, I was in pain, and that no progress was being made. The midwives were getting nervous that I was giving up, which would make things a lot harder. They kept reassuring me that things were going well and that all of this was normal and that I was doing a great job. But they knew something needed to happen soon.
They continued to suggest new positions. Next was a birthing stool that I sat on and leaned back on Larry. They tied a sheet around the corner post of the bed and had me pull on it with each contraction to help push. That was not very comfortable and I wanted to give up, but they made me promise to give it a shot for a few contractions. I did for about 20 min. The next suggestion was to go back to the bed, since that is where I had made the most progress so far. I agreed, as I was ready to do whatever had the most promise and everyone thought would work. On to the bed…
I curled back up in a ball, with everyone helping to grasp my legs and pull back. PUSHHHHHHH! I began to pick up with each contraction and try to get 2-3 pushes out of each. As my energy was dwindling quickly, one of the midwives threatened to give me an IV of fluid if I didn’t start chugging some water to rehydrate. She knew how to get through to me…as soon as I heard needle I was doing whatever she wanted me to to avoid it! That gave me a little boost and everyone started to get excited as the head began to crown – look at all that hair! Just a few more pushes and he would be out! That got me excited as well, despite the pretty intense pain and burning. I needed this baby out! I continued to push and the head slowly started to come out. The midwives asked me if I wanted a mirror to watch or wanted to reach down and feel the full head of hair that was emerging into the world. I could not even think about that and preferred to see the whole thing once he joined us hopefully shortly! So I declined. Then, the midwives instructed me mid-push to stop and to blow through the rest of that contraction. What?!? Why?!? I actually wasn’t questioning much at this point, just being very obedient in the interest of leaving it to the experts. But this I didn’t quite understand. I did what they said and they then explained that his head was halfway out and, to prevent tearing, it would be best if I could push it out slowly. Umm….I guess…The pain was high, but it was kind of what I expected, not more unbearable than the extreme pain I had already imagined it would be. So, I was ok. I did as told and for the next few contractions, I pushed once and then blew long breaths out of my mouth through the rest of it. This stretched (no pun intended!) the emergence of Nash’s head to about 5 whole minutes…which I later found out the midwives were amazed I was able to do. I was just following instructions! I guess they didn’t expect anyone to actually hold out that long. Well, I am glad I did because I barely tore at all. Anyhow, all of a sudden everyone was getting really excited and telling me – one more push, he is coming on the next one. Go for it this time! So I did and next was the weirdest feeling I ever felt – a huge slimy gush of Nash’s shoulders and then body came out pretty quickly with what felt like a lot of fluid.
All of a sudden, there was a baby placed on my chest…baby Nash was here! There was a warm baby boy laying right there…”Oh my God” was all I could say. Part of me was so relieved that the pain and exhaustion of labor was over and the other part of me was in shock that my baby was here! I stared straight at what looked like a small alien and then all of a sudden his eyes opened – big black eyes staring straight back at me! Wow! I was meeting my son for the first time – there are no words – welcome to our world little man! For the next 5 min, Larry and I just sat there staring at our beautiful son laying on my chest and were recovering from all that just happened in total disbelief. The midwife then showed Larry how to cut the umbilical cord. Then came his first little cry…how cute
We laid there for about an hour as a family looking at each other and getting introduced while the midwives checked me out and did a few stitches and things on me. Then Larry got a chance to hold Nash. The midwives and doula dimmed the lights and left us alone then to relax as a family and just take in the moment. After that they came back in to help me breastfeed Nash for the first time. Around 7:45pm, just 3 hours after Nash arrived, we began to slowly pack up and get ready to head home…crazy! I got dressed, we dressed the baby, figured out the car seat, etc. Finally we said bye and a big THANK YOU to “the team” and actually jumped in the car to head home. We called Larry’s mom and Nicole on the way home and were home by 8:15/8:30pm – just 4 hours after giving birth to little Nash…just another day…ha. We were starving and ordered pizza (of all things) and had an amazing first evening at home together. Beautiful…Amazing…Unbelievable…Really?!?...Whoa…woke up without baby, going to bed at home with a baby in my arms…Ummm now what…