Please know this is a birth story. I want to remember all of the details for our family, so it’s LONG. If you aren’t into the details of birth, don’t read this :) YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!
I’m going to backtrack a bit with Miss C’s birth story.
Around 37 weeks, I started experiencing prodromal labor (false labor). I had timeable, REAL contractions between 37-40 weeks probably 5-6 times. It was extremely frustrating, and I never experienced that with Miss M. The contractions always stopped after 1-2 hours and never really got closer than every 12-15 minutes apart, except for the day before I went into labor.
November 6th, 2014 (39w 6d)
I woke up at 3:30am with contractions. Here we go again! They started out every 15 minutes apart, and quickly moved to every 10 minutes apart. I tried to sleep through them, but they were so intense that I couldn’t sleep through them. Not horribly painful, but they definitely hurt. This went on until 6am. They were not getting stronger, not getting closer together, and I debated sending a text to my midwives and doula to let them know this had been going on but the contractions seemed to be slowing down again (went to every 15-17 minutes). I finally fell back asleep around 7am, so clearly this wasn’t real labor.
M slept like crap that night and was up at 745am (she usually sleeps until 8-830am) and she was a grump. I had slept in the other room that night since I was trying to get as much sleep as possible for when I did actually go into labor. I was in a horrible mood since I was exhausted, and I had a TON of pressure in my belly. I felt like crap and my husband hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep either since M had a rough night. I had this pressure feeling the day before I went into labor with M too. I was supposed to take M out to my moms for the day, but my husband took her out there instead so I could go back to bed. I took a long nap, and when I woke up, Will had texted me and asked if I wanted to meet for lunch before we headed to my 3pm midwife appointment.
I met Will at Jack Allens for lunch and ate an entire chicken pot pie (random, I know). Our waitress asked when I was due and couldn’t believe my due date was the next day. Oh, and funny tidbit—Will ordered a mixed drink from the bar and the bartender brought it over and sat it in front of me and told me to let him know if he made it correctly. I had to laugh—I have a GIANT belly that he couldn’t miss. It was pretty amusing. It was a nice lunch and helped us both relax and then we headed up to the birth center for my appointment.
My appointment was pretty straightforward, but we had a long talk with one of the midwives about the prodromal labor. I was starting to get concerned that once I was actually IN labor, I would ignore it because of how many times this “false” labor had occurred. I was nervous we wouldn’t make it to the birth center or I wouldn’t be able to get in the car because the contractions were too close together (it’s a 20 minute drive to the BC). She assured me that if that happened, they would either come to my house and it would be a home birth (they do home births too) or would even meet us on the side of the road and follow us to the birth center. I would NOT have to go to the hospital if we waited too long. I had 2 contractions during my appointment, which I didn’t think much of since I had at least 5-10 real contractions every day for the past week (plus Braxton Hicks!). We joked around that tonight was a full moon and maybe it would send me into labor, especially since the next day was my due date. I texted my doula to let her know how the appointment went, told her about the pressure I was feeling and she told me she was going to bed extra early that night in case I went into labor overnight.
We felt a lot better after the appointment, the midwife did a good job calming us both down. I went to Starbucks to do some work for about 2 hours before I picked up M at my moms. Will had class that evening until 9pm, so I had asked my mom to spend the night since my back was sore and the next day was my due date—we felt better with another adult being at the house in case I did go into labor and I was having trouble lifting M. I had a few random contractions that evening, they were more intense, but they were about an hour apart. I got M to bed around 930, and fell asleep with her.
Around 1045, I woke up with a contraction. I came out into the living room and Will was still awake, so we chatted a bit. I had another contraction around 11pm and I told him that he should go to bed just in case I went into labor. Something felt off. I had a small glass of wine to see if the contractions would stop. I had another contraction and I had to stop and breathe through it. I started timing contractions at this point, and between 11pm and midnight, they went from every 12 minutes to every 8 minutes. They were pretty intense, so I thought this *might* be real labor. I sent our main midwife a text and told her I was having contractions but I wasn’t 100% sure it was labor and that I would call her if it was real. The contractions were increasing, and just before midnight I called our doula and told her I was in labor. Since we anticipated a quick labor, the plan was for her to meet us directly at the birth center. I came out of the bedroom to wake up Will and my mom, and my mom was actually already awake getting a glass of water. She asked if I was in labor and I said yes—so weird that she had woken up at that time. I woke Will up about 1215am. The contractions started coming every 6 minutes apart and I was starting to get nervous—they were coming much faster. I called the midwife and the conversation was super short—contractions are increasing quickly, see you at the birth center soon. We quickly gathered our stuff, loaded it in and the car and headed out the door around 1235am.
Fortunately, the contractions stayed at every 6 minutes for the entire car ride, so I only had 3 contractions in the car. I was happy about that. Some of you will remember that we got stopped by a train for nearly 10 minutes on the way to the hospital when I was in labor with M. Well, IT HAPPENED AGAIN. Seriously. I couldn’t believe our luck—we rarely get stopped by trains at this crossing but both times I’ve been in labor, there has been a train. We were only stopped for about 2-3 minutes luckily.
We made it to the birth center in about 18 minutes and I think we all sighed with relief when we got there. Our doula arrived a few minutes later, and they checked Miss C’s heart rate and took my vitals—all normal. At this point, I stopped looking at the clock. I texted my mom that we made it and put my phone away. It was about 115am.
I ate some snacks (cheese, a banana and water) and the contractions started to get more and more intense. I tried sitting on the yoga ball and hated it, and ended up doing a lot of cat/cow moves during and between contractions and some other yoga-type moves. Will pushed on my back when instructed, and the doula helped talk us through everything—she was amazing! I was pretty calm and while the contractions were intense, they weren’t unbearable.
I had to walk around during contractions–I couldn’t sit down at all during labor because of the pressure, but we were having a good time laughing and joking between contractions. The midwives checked on us every 30 minutes and I hadn’t had any cervical checks yet because I didn’t think I was that far along. The contractions were increasing in length and intensity, but I hadn’t felt that horrible, stabbing pain and pressure that I felt with M that everyone said was “transition” (I got a late epidural with M). The main midwife wanted to make sure the assistant midwife was there before I started pushing, so I agreed to get checked. I was dilated to at least an 8—WTF? I thought they were going to say I was dilated to a 4-5 and had a long way to go.
I decided to get in the tub at this point since the contractions were getting more intense, and OMG the jets were as good as drugs! I had to stand up during contractions, and used the jets on my back between contractions. It helped me relax a lot. I was still waiting for that horrible stabbing pain to occur, but instead, the contractions just kept getting closer together and more intense. I went from dropping the f-bomb during every contractions to not being able to talk and channeling my inner yogi (seriously) instead. I joked around about pulling Will into the water and drowning him for doing this to me (who makes jokes when they are at the end of labor? Me, apparently). I asked Will to get in the tub at that point too (though I don’t remember why I wanted him in there), but then the midwives realized the tub was too full and we needed to drain the tub a little bit for both of us to get in there.
I stepped out of the tub and one of the midwives drained some of the water, but before I could get back in this baby decided she was COMING OUT NOW. All of a sudden, I took a step towards the tub and then I had the most intense pressure ever and my water broke (I was standing up at the time). I started yelling this baby was coming NOW (no midwife was in the room at the time) and I honestly thought she was falling out and I put my hands down to catch her because I really thought she was falling out of me. The doula ran out to alert the midwives, the midwives ran back in, and told me they had this (she wasn’t going to hit the floor now), and I pushed once, overheard that the cord was around her neck and they twisted her around or something to get it off of her neck, I heard them say “baby is about to be born”, I gave one more good push and a smaller one and she was out! Holy cow, that was fast!
In the background I heard “3:14am, time of birth” and had a baby thrown in my arms. Will and I were both like “OMG, what the heck just happened?” Just a few minutes earlier, I was getting out of the tub and all of a sudden, Baby C was born. I checked to make sure she was a girl, JUST IN CASE (yes, she’s a girl) and noticed she was super tiny and had bright red hair.
The midwives helped me over to the bed and Will and I laid down with Baby C. I had one more contraction and the placenta came out (some people say it hurts when the placenta is delivered, but I didn’t think so). We had our doula take some photos, and as soon as we were all stable, we were left alone with Baby C. We enjoyed staring at her and talking to her, and were only checked on every 30 minutes. We couldn’t believe how fast my labor was–we got to the birth center around 1am and she was born just after 3am. Holy crap!
Between 4am and 8am, Will dozed off here and there, but I didn’t fall asleep until 715am. Baby C was wide awake (just like M was) and nursed off and on and just stared at me with her hand on my chest. At some point, the main midwife came in and did the measurements on Baby C—6lbs 14oz and 19.5 inches. 1oz lighter and the same height as M–I can’t believe how similar they were! The only time either of my babies cried after delivery was during the vitals check. The student midwife ordered breakfast for us around 7am at this amazing place nearby. Will and I both had Eggs Benedict. She brought it right to our room and set it up for us—I love that!
Around 9am, we had finished breakfast and were ready to start heading home. We got all of our stuff together, and the midwife finished her final checks on mama and baby, and we left the birth center around 945am. We were home just after 10am. M didn’t even realize we had left the night before and then we came home with a baby! More on that later, I’m also working on a postpartum post.
We had a great birth experience, from start to finish. The fact that my mom was already at our house the night I went into labor was a huge help. I am thankful for a short labor, and while it was super intense at times, it was never anything I couldn’t manage. This time I was mentally prepared for a short labor (and a long one, just in case!).
One thing that puzzles me is that with M’s birth, I had this horrible, knife-twisting pain combined with an urge to push between contractions. I didn’t have any break from the pain for nearly 2 hours. This time, I got a break between contractions until I needed to push. It was AWFUL and people kept telling me “that was transition!”. I believed them, but now having been through birth from start to finish without drugs, I assure you that was NOT transition. I remember the pain I had with M very vividly because it felt like someone was sticking a knife into my abdomen. The pain from Baby C was very, very different–it was more of a really intense pressure than a pain. And again, I had a break between contractions. I know M was sunny-side up for part of labor, and I’m wondering if there was also some sort of positioning issue or something else going on there (cervical lip? her hand in the way? who knows). SOMETHING wasn’t right with her labor, but I’ll never know what it was (and it will drive me crazy not to know).
I’m glad we made the switch to a birth center for this birth–it was definitely the right choice for our situation this time. I would definitely go with this center again (though they said we may need to plan for a home birth since I have fast labors haha) if we decide to have a third child at some point.
If you really read this entire post, I’m impressed! :)