I had gone to bed after watching Person of Interest with Mom, Dad, and Zach. Zach had fallen asleep on the couch. I thought my contractions all day had been the real thing so I figured I needed to get some sleep. I slept off and on for a couple hours, waking about every half hour. I woke around 2:15 from a hard contraction and I think I instantly knew something was different. I got up to do something in the bathroom and realized they were almost unbearable! I waited a few to be sure, and when I started wondering if I could even make it out to the living room to wake Zach, I realized I needed to wake him then! I went out there hunched over and told him we had to get ready to go. I was seriously doubting if I could make it to the car and do the ten minute drive. I decided a hot shower might help since a tub had helped earlier and I got in and sent Zach to wake my mom.
As I got in the shower I began evaluating my plan to have a natural birth. I doubted I could do it. Months of planning, visualizing, affirmations, all seemed a little inconsequential compared to the pain. I decided not to mention it out loud so I still had a mental chance to get through it, but I had all but decided if I hasn't passed a four once I got to the hospital, I was getting an epidural.
Thankfully, the shower helped considerably. In fact, as I was putting on my shoes to leave, I started to wonder if this was premature. But as I had to concentrate to get through them, I knew it was time to go.
As we got to the hospital, I was pausing every contraction to get through it before I could continue walking. We got admitted to my room fairly quickly where the nurse checked me and said, "you are a 5/6 and 90% effaced. Welcome to the hospital!"
I was so relieved to hear I was past a 4 and encouraged by how much the shower helped my contractions that I mentally revamped to get through this naturally. I knew if I didn't get an epidural then, then I wasn't going to get one at all, whether or not I wanted one. I wasn't ready to give up on going natural so I settled in to focus on each contraction in the moment and stay relaxed.
I got on the birthing ball while they did my IV and monitored my baby and the contractions. The first IV messed up and caused me to scream out in pain, which I had yet to do! Once I got the IV, we just had to wait for my antibiotics for Group B Strep to get in before they could let me get in the tub. Zach would wrap his arms around me from behind and let me rest my head against his through each contraction. My mom would remind me to take slow, deep breaths and to stay relaxed. My midwife got there (I go to a group of six midwives so whoever is on call when you go in is who you get. It turned out that the midwife I really wanted was on call!) She checked with me and it was nice to know she was there and we were going to get my baby here together!
I got into the tub and it immediately helped me with the contractions. They were coming pretty quick before, but the calming effect of the water helped them slow. They were also easier to work through, though I still had Zach kneel by me every time so I could hold on to him and focus. I spent the majority of the tub time in a squatting position with my back against the seat. My midwife approved and said that was great!
They continued to check baby's heart rate, and eventually my midwife said that it was a little fast and I should probably get out soon to lower my temperature for a little bit. It filled me with a little dread thinking that the contractions would get worse when I got out, but I also realized I couldn't stay in there forever!
She was guessing I was pretty far along. We decided to check and I could get back in the tub if needed. Turns out I was an 8.5 or so. I did some laboring on my side in the bed while trying to decide to break my water. I was hesitant because I knew that was the hard part, but again, it had trip happen sometime so we had her do it. This is when things went crazy!
She broke my water and the next contraction was indescribable! I couldn't help but call out, and from there, each contraction seemed impossible to get through. Everything became a blur, but I was concious of Zach behind me, supporting me. I would see my mom's face and noticed I was squeezing her hand. My mantra to get through contractions and delivery was "I am strong, I am capable, I can do this." Up until this point, I had repeated it silently in my head, but I could hear myself whimpering it as I tried to deal with the intense pain. At one point I know I was screaming and struggling to breathe and a nurse got in my face, yelled my name, and I was finally able to focus on her face. She instructed me to breathe and to push.
About this time people were saying "she is here!"and I was frustrated because I hadn't felt her come out and I didn't know what they were talking about! I figured they could just see her and I had to keep pushing! The midwife slowed me down for a minute, and then I felt her head. I then knew my pushing was working and after a few pushes where I didn't know how else to push, I felt her head come out. It wasn't instant relief because her shoulders still had to come. Another push and they were through. The relief was instant and they told me to grab her. I looked down and saw my baby girl! I pulled her onto my stomach and sobbed a little. They rubbed her down just a bit and I just held her while the cord finished pulsing. The midwife commented how I was too tall for her to breastfed until the cord was cut.
I was aware of Zach and my mom, but all I could do was sit there and hold my baby.