What happened last night? Is everything okay?” my husband asked, as we woke up that January morning. I was one week past my due date and we were eagerly expecting our little girl’s arrival.
“I passed my plug and started having contractions,” I responded. “I didn’t want to wake you because I figured you needed to rest for today.”
Around 4 AM that morning, I quietly rushed out of bed to use the restroom. Just when I thought I was finished, I passed my plug, and began having contractions shortly thereafter. Because they were spread out in their frequency and irregularly patterned, I knew we had some time and there was no need to wake DJ at this point. So, I went back to bed and tried my best to get some sleep.
By the time we woke up that morning, I was having contractions every 10-15 minutes, but they were still somewhat irregular. So, I figured I’d call my midwife and let her know what was going on. Once on the phone, she told me she would like me to come in for an exam.
Now, notice that up until this point in the story, I haven’t made mention of any pain experienced during these contractions. That’s because with the breathing and visualization techniques I learned, the contractions really weren’t worth mentioning. Learning to focus on the sensations as a “tightening” or “tightness” rather than pain, was super helpful (Read my last post to learn more about these techniques).
While in the exam room, the OB noticed some concerning tracings on the monitor. The baby’s heart rate was significantly elevated and not as reactive as they would have liked. Given that they knew my birth plan was to do everything as naturally as possible (no pain medications, no labor augmentation, etc. ), after an ultrasound and a little more monitoring, they told me I could return home on the condition that I would return by 8 pm if contractions hadn’t picked up by then. The possibility of labor augmentation, or as a last resort, a caesarean, would be on the table if things didn’t improve by that time.
Throughout the entire ordeal, I remained surprisingly calm and optimistic. This was primarily because I understood two critical things: 1) If I were to become anxious, that would likely make things worse, and certainly not any better; and 2) God was with me.
That being said, at that point, all I could think about was food, so we left the office and went to find a burger (black bean, that is 😜). As I mentioned in the last post, by the time we arrived at the restaurant, my contractions were picking up, so I simply breathed through each one while enjoying some food and conversation ( I was accompanied by my awesome birth team: my husband, mom, and aunt).
Then we decided to go home so I could do lots of walking, squatting, and lunging to try and bring on more contractions. However, after about 15 minutes of this, my pregnant self needed a break 😂. So, I laid down quietly on the couch, closed my eyes, then “Pop”!
My water broke.
Water gushed out, drenching my clothes, the couch, and the nearby blankets we grabbed to absorb the excess fluid.
Needless to say, it was off to the hospital we went! And don’t worry, the couch and blankets have since been cleaned 😂.
Once there, I was hooked up to the monitors and the OB and midwife noted things were the same as before: the baby’s heart rate was elevated and not reactive enough. Once more, they began discussing the possibility of labor augmentation with Pitocin or even a c-section. After they left the room, my mom (a nurse practitioner), my aunt (a labor & delivery nurse), and my husband kept nervously talking about the tracings on the monitor, while I tried my best to keep all of their anxiety out of reach. I turned over, turned up the music, and lost myself in my own thoughts.
Over the next hour or two, I walked, squatted, lunged, danced, and even bounced on an exercise ball. Still things weren’t progressing quickly enough, so we decided to augment labor with Pitocin.
Well, what happened next?
Let’s just say that within 20 minutes, I was screaming so loudly that the nurses down the hall ran in to see what was going on. By the way I was screaming, they knew a baby was coming!
And right they were. After 15 minutes of pushing, Elizabeth Ella Grace was born.
So, was it a pain-free birth? Absolutely not😂! Things were tolerable and relatively pain-free up until the point when I began screaming like a mad woman. How much the Pitocin had to do with that we’ll never know. Either way, it was a fearless and beautiful one. And I thank God for the newest and loveliest addition to our family.