My doctor was incredible and very encouraging!
The morning of my due date at 3:45 a.m. I woke up to contractions that were slightly more intense than the braxton hicks contractions I had felt throughout my pregnancy. They were intense enough to keep me awake and were coming every 8-10 minutes. I wasn't sure if this was actual labor or just more intense braxton hicks, but I called into work anyways. The contractions became less regular as the day went on but the intensity remained the same. I went for a walk, bounced on my fit ball, attempted to pump (nothing came out), and just tried to relax throughout the day. We went out for our weekly trivia night and contractions were still about the same intensity but became a bit more frequent again. We got home around 9:30-10p.m.
I tried to get a little sleep but probably only slept 45 minutes and contractions became more intense and eventually were about 5 minutes apart. Since I had never been in labor before I had no idea when to make the call to go to the hospital but when they were 5 minutes or less apart I told my husband that we should just go. I was starting to shake at times from the pain/adrenaline. We got to the hospital around 1:30am. I was only 3cm dilated but apparently my waters had broken and I didn't even know it. The doctor said it must have broken up top because it was a slow leak not a gush. Since my waters had broken, they admitted me even though I was only 3 cm. For me it was quite difficult to get through the contractions lying down, but they said I couldn't get up because baby was still pretty high up and they were worried about the umbilical cord slipping below his head. I think once I got to 5 or 6 cm my waters had started bulging out and they were no longer worried about the umbilical cord so they finally put a wireless monitor on me and I was able to get up and walk around.
I was doing well just breathing through the contractions but it got difficult at 7cm and I was starting to fall asleep standing up. At 930a.m. I decided I needed to lay down and rest even though it was more painful to lay down. My body must have known I needed a bit of a break because it seemed like the contractions either slowed down or became less intense. I was able to sleep on and off for about 2 hours which felt really good. I didn't seem to progress when I was lying down either so I got back up and after that I was able to get through the contractions easier again. My husband actually asked if my contractions were not as strong, but they were actually stronger. I was just in a better place mentally to deal with them once I got some rest. I was still doing fine without any pain relief until 9 cm then it became difficult for me. Acupressure did not help me, I actually hated it if my husband touched me unless it was a light comforting hand on my shoulder. I continued to breathe through the contractions and focus on my happy place.
I was 9cm at noon, my bag of waters was still bulging out and the doctor said that might be why it was taking longer for him to drop down. He offered to break it to speed things up but said it might be more painful. Since I was struggling a little bit with the pain at this point and still didn't want pain relief I said no. At 1pm I was still 9cm so the doctor did end up breaking my waters and I decided to ask for IV pain relief but the doctor said it wasn't safe at that point because it would cross over to the placenta and would make baby sleepy. The nurse offered the epidural instead but I said no because I was already almost done and I never wanted one to begin with. It still took another hour to get to 9.5cm and I still had a cervical lip. They said they could push it behind his head while I pushed and it would be okay. They had me do some practice pushes and then they called my doctor to come back from clinic (he was seeing patients in the office still) and they told me not to push again until he got there which I tried not to but at this point my body was pushing on its own. I pushed for 10 minutes and our beautiful baby boy entered the world. They delayed cord clamping, and placed baby on me after clearing his nose and mouth. I ended up having a 2nd degree tear.
Although I didn't want to birth on my back or do forceful pushing, I am very happy with my birth experience. My doctor was incredible and very encouraging, he never pressured me into anything, only let me know my options. I'm so thankful for all the knowledge and confidence I gained from this birth course. I don't know if I would have had the mental strength or confidence in myself to birth naturally without Shari's help.
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We named out sweet baby boy Alexander and he was 7lbs 10oz and 20.5 inches long.