After hearing the topic discussed in several of my online groups I decided to share R’s birth story. It’s not too graphic but does go into some detail. Read if you want, if not, no biggie!
At right around 2am on Dec. 19th I woke up with contractions. I was “2 days overdue” but I honestly didn’t think much of it because I had woke up the 3 or 4 previous nights with the same feeling. I woke up D and told him I was gonna go down and take a shower (because if you are laying down and your contractions are Braxton-Hicks supposedly getting up with help them), check on me in 30 minutes. In 30 minutes he TEXTED ME to see if I was ok! I said yes but I could use some cold water (because supposedly if you are having Braxton-Hicks drinking a lot can stop them). He brought it and I sent him back to bed. Well the shower didn’t help so I decided to lay back down. 5 minutes later I was back up and decided maybe I should be timing these. I decided to walk our hallway (because if its Braxton-Hicks supposedly walking can make them stop, can you tell I did NOT want to go to the hospital on a false alarm?). I walked and timed for about an hour and a half. Finally about 5am I decided that since my contractions were getting to be about 4 minutes apart and I wasn’t feeling so good maybe it was the real thing. I headed downstairs and let the dogs out and called the nurse. She asked a few questions and when she heard my contractions were about every 3 minutes by that point and they were about every 15 minutes at 3am she said “yes, you should come in, how far away are you?”. I told her we live about 30 minutes (normal driving) from the hospital, to which she replied “you should come in RIGHT NOW!”. I woke up D and told him it was time to go! I kept gathering our stuff, getting stuff ready for D’s parent’s to come pick up the dogs while he got dressed and got the truck out of the shed (we had to take the truck because we were forecasted to get 6-12” of snow that day, it was supposed to start about 9am). I got sick in the trash can just as he was walking back in the house, which I think made him kind of panic and decide we should hurry.
We got about 5 minutes down the road and I realized the camera was in my car (I had left it there so it would be ready and then we ended up taking the truck). I was NOT gonna have my first baby without a camera for D to take pics so we went back! About half way to the hospital (around 6am) D decided we should time my contractions again…90 seconds start to start, about 30 seconds in duration. That was the longest (and shortest ;)) that drive had ever been! D dropped me off at the door at the hospital and went to park the truck. I got to the L&D desk and there was 1 nurse in sight, she was on the phone. After about 2 minutes she finally said unconcernedly “I’ll be with you in a little bit”!!! About 30 seconds later another nurse came down the hall and said “can I help you?” I said, “well, since I’m having contractions every 90 seconds I was hoping I could get checked-in”. She said “oh! Let’s get you to a room”, to which the first nurse said “I haven’t checked her in yet!” We ignored her! I got to the room and by that time D had caught up and helped me get in “the gown”.
Soon our nurse, Abby, came in and checked me. I was 3cm. She asked how dilated I was last week at my appointment. I said I didn’t know, I hadn’t been checked since 36 weeks and to please read my birth plan because I would prefer to not have an unnecessary number of checks from here on out. She looked at me like I was crazy. She hooked me up to the heart-rate moniter and I again asked her to read my birth plan and note I would be having intermittent monitoring and would be standing, walking, etc. She again looked at me like I was crazy. She then saw my water cup and told me I couldn’t have anything else to drink. I again said PLEASE READ MY BIRTH PLAN! She glanced at it and said it didn’t matter what I had in my birth plan I couldn’t drink anything (I’m not sure why I listened to her, what was she gonna do, not let me have my baby?). She then asked if I was gonna be wanting an epidural. The first bullet on my birth plan said “PLEASE DON’T TALK ABOUT OR OFFER ME AN EPIDURAL”! I could tell Abby and I were gonna have to get some things straight!
An hour later I was “officially” admitted. At which point I THOUGHT I would be given the all important antibiotics that it had been stressed since I was 14 weeks I needed for Group B Strep. But they didn’t seem in a hurry to get them started so I asked for a shower. Abby told me to shower in that room was broken. I said “I guess you better get my another room then!”. She “went to check” and came back and started cleaning out the shower. Turns out they were using it for storage and she didn’t wanna move stuff. So then D started the water to warm it up. She quickly said I couldn’t get in the shower until I had another monitor session and got my IV started. Half an hour later, after 9 am, she finally came back with 3 more people, all to draw some blood and start my IV. This took 6 pokes, an extra 2 people and me yelling “you better get that thing started or I’m calling my mother and she will SHOW you how to do it” (my mom has been a nurse for over 30 years and thinks its RIDICULOUS when it takes more than 1 to 2 pokes to get an IV started). At the end of it they told me I was dehydrated! Which was why I had brought water! I had not even gotten any ice chips at this point. Once they finally got the IV in and I decided I still didn’t want an epidural (the IV session made me lose all my relaxation techniques), I asked for a shower again. Abby now told me I couldn’t take one because I had an IV and I couldn’t get it wet. I said “You better call the Dr. and get straight what I can and what I can’t do because I WILL be taking a shower!” She called and came back with a bag and some tape and wrapped up my arm. The next 3 hours or so I alternated between 20 minute monitoring sessions, showers and standing by the bed leaning on my husband. About 1:30pm I was 9.5cm and I let them break my water. The next 10 minutes were EXCRUCIATING and had to do something! I stood up and felt the baby drop and said “You NEED to get the Dr.” Abby said “No, I have to check you, if you aren’t ready and I call I will get in trouble and you will push for a while anyways”. I was complete but had just a TINY lip of cervix she said I could push through. I loudly said “YOU SHOULD CALL THE DR!” But she kept saying I had to push first and frankly I was ready to push. I pushed once and then started to push again and she said “STOP, STOP, I HAVE TO CALL THE DR!” I started screaming “I CAN”T STOP, GET THE DR!” over and over. It took him about 3 minutes to get there and his first comment was “That baby has a lot of hair”. After just a few pushes, a decelerating heart-rate and an unplanned episiotomy with the threat of “one more push and if he isn’t here I’m forcepping him out” my little R arrived at 2:02pm, right as the (late) snow arrived! He needed a little oxygen but within 3 or 4 minutes was naked on my bare chest nursing away. He stayed right there for about an hour until my parents and brother arrived to see him. We had to stay in the hospital for 48 hours because of the Group B Strep.
I LOVED that I was brave enough to labor with NO pain drugs! I was so happy I got my baby skin-to-skin right away. I will never regret nursing my baby immediately.
Next time I have a baby I will know SOOO much more about what I CAN do when I have a baby! While labor is NEVER predictable, it CAN happen differently than what has become “textbook” for this country. I will drink if I want, eat if I want, not have an IV unless I need antibiotics again. I will walk, shower or whatever else I need to manage the pain. I will push in the position I see best and as long as my baby is healthy I will hold him immediately and we will go home as soon as possible!