I think everyone who reads this blog or follows me on Facebook and Instagram knew how badly I wanted to go into labor at the end. Once I was considered full-term I immediately started doing all those natural things that are rumored to start up labor. I was ready. So ready for her to come out after being sick for weeks upon weeks. The never-ending cough severely bruised my ribs and it was excruciatingly painful to do much of anything. I finally decided to go out of work early because I could barely drive without crying. The rest was good for me, I think. I felt better but still not 100%.
On Tuesday, January 14th I was 37 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I had an OB appointment that day and was hoping it would be my last before the baby was born. I had Brigham at 38 weeks, 2 days and although I knew it was not guaranteed that she would come early I was so hoping she would. The doctor agreed to do an internal check and she said I was 2 cm dilated with a soft cervix and the baby’s head was low. That sounded promising.
On my way home from that appointment I felt a bit crampy so I jumped right on the bouncing ball when I got home. I bounced on that ball whenever I got the chance.
The very next day when I went to the bathroom I knew I was losing my mucous plug. I continued to lose it for the entire day. I hoped and prayed and hoped some more. Please come, baby. Please come on out.
The next day I had another great sign! I had my bloody show. This is the first time I’ve ever had that but I felt certain we were getting close. Google was a bit disappointing though. Some women claimed it meant labor would start in the next 48 hours and some women said they still wound up overdue. I still held out hope that contractions would start soon.
On Friday, January 17th I was 38 weeks, 3 days. I was feeling disappointed that nothing had happened overnight. My mom came over and we decided to go to lunch and then pick up a few things that we still needed. I put my shoes on and was sitting at the edge of my bed. When I rose up I felt a slight gush of fluid come out. I said, “Uh, mom? I think my water just broke.” I quickly waddled to the bathroom. It didn’t seem like much so I thought maybe I had just peed myself. Yep, it happens.
I decided that it was a false alarm and we went to lunch. Every once in awhile I felt like I was leaking a bit but I guess I just put it out of my mind. I wasn’t having a single contraction so I didn’t think my water had broken.
We went to Buy Buy Baby and then decided to make one more stop at Kohl’s. On the drive to Kohl’s I suddenly started feeling very nauseous, which was strange. But I was eating candy and thought it probably just made me sick. I parked the car and then had to sneeze – and as I did a HUGE gush of fluid came out of me soaking my underwear and my pants. I looked at my mom in shock and said, “Oh my God. That was it. My water just broke!” We were laughing a bit and decided to drive home so I could call Naaman and call my OB’s office to let them know. I knew it was my water because I kept leaking fluid as I was packing.
I called the hospital and told them I was coming. There were no contractions at all but I assumed they would be coming shortly. Naaman and I drove to the hospital and when we arrived they put us right in a room to make sure that my water had, in fact, broken. Sure enough it had. We were definitely having a baby!
Next up, the nurse did an internal check. I assumed I would be well beyond the 2 cm that I was on Tuesday. So imagine my shock when the nurse told me I was 1 cm dilated. I told her there was no way. The doctor had checked me on Tuesday and I was 2 cm so that was impossible. Then she told me that my doctor has really small hands. Ugh. That was not a fun moment. By this time it had been a couple hours since the big gush and nothing was happening. They had me on the monitors and there were no contractions registering. I kept asking how that could even be possible.
My two previous labors had been so different. With Landon they broke my water and contractions started two minutes later. With Brigham I had regular contractions and my body did what it needed to do on its own. So I was pretty frustrated and confused with why nothing was happening. But the nurse said that every baby and every labor is different and cannot be compared to previous babies.
The nurse came in later and said that I was essentially on an “induction schedule.” I hated hearing that but I knew that with my water broken I was on the clock. She said the doctor on call wanted to insert cervidil and see if that moved things along. I was not happy at all with that but I let them do it because I just wanted something to happen. They said they would check me again in a few hours.
Contractions did pick up but they were manageable. After a few hours they came back to check me and nothing had changed. I cried. I just didn’t understand. They put more cervidil in and said they would be back in a few hours. I lost track of time but I know that my mom came at some point. Naaman and my mom both said that the room was freezing. They were both covering up with blankets, ha! But I was so hot. Must have been my body working hard to do something because I am never hot!
I should add that while I labored I was in excruciating pain because of my bruised ribs. I had had a bad day of coughing and it caused me to be in way more pain than usual. Add to that the pain of the contractions and I was absolutely miserable. They would not allow me to get an epidural because they said that I wasn’t even in an active labor pattern. Contractions were still not regular at all although they were getting a bit more painful.
Later they came in to check me again. I had high hopes. But they were quickly dashed when she told me I was STILL 1 cm dilated. I started bawling. I just had this horrible feeling that something was wrong and I was going to need a c-section. This was devastating to me because I had already had two vaginal births. I was so upset and was starting to lose hope.
At this point we had already asked our birth photographer to come to the hospital because we assumed the medicine would work. I texted her and told her she should probably turn around and go home because the nurse and doctor both thought that nothing would happen until the next day. They were going to let me sleep overnight and then check me in the morning. But she was already at the hospital so she came up to see what was going on. I felt terrible because I think it was after midnight and nothing was really happening.
Soon the nurse came in and said that plans had changed and the doctor wanted to try a different medicine called cytotec. I was immediately uncomfortable with this decision because I had seen a documentary claiming that this drug could be dangerous to both mothers and babies. I told the nurse that I really wanted to talk to the doctor before we decided to move forward. He was not at the hospital yet but I was told he was on his way.
A lot of time had passed and he still had not come to talk to me. Naaman told me that I just needed to start the meds. I decided to call my sister who is a nurse anesthetist and works with women in labor all the time. I called her and she said they use that medicine every day and to listen to the doctor. He’s trying to get the baby born – he’s not trying to kill me or my baby.
So I buzzed the nurse and told her to start the new medicine. She inserted it and within the hour my contractions were much more painful. I just knew something had to be happening. Keep in mind it is in the middle of the night. My mom had left. Our photographer had left. And Naaman was asleep on the couch. I didn’t mind because I wanted Naaman to get some sleep so at least one of us would be coherent when the baby was born.
I continued to get up and use the restroom, which was extremely painful both because of the contractions and the rib pain. I think it was around 2 a.m. when the nurse came back and checked me. Still 1 cm. I’m not going to lie. I was pretty hysterical. At that point I just wanted to dilate so I could get the epidural! But that was not happening. She decided to put more cytotec in and said that she would check me in another few hours. But by that time I had lost hope and figured they would be taking me in for a c-section by morning.
I’m not sure when exactly but it was decided to give me some pain meds through an IV. By this time I was moaning and groaning (and sometimes screaming) very loudly through every contraction. It was so so so painful. I really didn’t want the drugs but they said it might help me get some rest and relax. So I gave up and told them to go ahead. The medicine made me sleepy but I still woke up every time I had a contraction.
At some point I got up to go to the bathroom again and felt an immense amount of pressure. I believe it was around 5 a.m. I laid back down in the bed and then I suddenly felt a big movement – like her head had finally moved and come down further into the birth canal. It was an intense moment and I felt it all. It was as if someone kicked me hard in the crotch. After that big movement – the contractions became unbearable and I buzzed the nurse because I couldn’t wait anymore. I knew SOMETHING was happening.
She came in and I think by that time I was cussing and probably not being very nice. She checked me and said, “Wow, you’re a six!” I immediately started screaming for her to get me the epidural. Naaman was trying to calm me down but I was in too much pain. I just wanted relief. The nurse left the room and said she would call for the epidural. About ten minutes later she came back in and she was only then on the phone to call for the epidural. I was crying from the pain. I told them I felt so much pressure. Then suddenly I felt like she was coming. I wasn’t even in control of my body anymore. My body was pushing and I was along for the ride.
The nurse decided to check me again, which was horribly HORRIBLY painful. That’s when I heard her tell the room that I was 9 cm. And a few minutes later I was complete! The room started filling up with people and the doctor I had never met finally walked in the room. Nurses were breaking down the bed and I knew that any hope of getting an epidural was over.
The nurse came over and gave me a pep talk. She told me that I wouldn’t be able to get an epidural but that I was strong enough and I could do it without one! I was really scared but honestly just wanted her OUT at that point.
Naaman held one leg and the nurse held the other and I started pushing. I don’t think I was very coherent. I just wanted it over fast. I pushed as hard as I could and screamed that I just wanted her out. Everyone assured me she was coming and that her head was right there. I think on the third contraction her head was out and OH MY GOD. It was the absolute WORST pain of my entire life. The burning! OUCH! I felt her head pop out and then the doctor told me not to push anymore. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I wanted to push, I wanted to push. That’s the only thing I could think of. But he told me that if I pushed her out that fast that I would tear really badly and so he snipped me just a little where the old scar was from where I tore with the boys. I think while I was waiting I was screaming at the top of my lungs. It was truly awful waiting to push.
They finally gave me the go ahead. So when I felt the next contraction I pushed with everything I had. I pushed until I was shaking and had no breath left in me. I heard him say the shoulder was out and then they told me to look down because she was almost completely out. Then suddenly – there she was. There was our beautiful little Sawyer. Four contractions and she was out! The relief I felt after she was out was amazing! Six pounds, 12 ounces and 19 inches long. My tiniest baby!
I went from 2 cm to 10 cm in a matter of an hour so there was no way my mom and our photographer made it in time. I think we were in shock that it happened so quickly. But I was actually really grateful! I’m very thankful to the doctor who kept me from pushing her out so quickly so that I didn’t tear in all the wrong places! He was actually very calm and told me I did a great job.
During my pregnancy I thought maybe I would try to labor without the epidural. I read a book and kept telling myself I could do it. But at the end of my pregnancy I changed my mind and decided I would get the epidural. I had been so sick for weeks and then with my rib pain I was so over it. I just wanted the drugs! But obviously God had other plans! I unexpectedly got the epidural-free labor and delivery and I’m happy it worked out that way. I felt amazing afterward. I was able to get up about 15 minutes after birth and go to the restroom. We also left the hospital a day early because I was so ready to be home and I was feeling better than I had in weeks.
We are so very happy that Sawyer is here with us now. My pregnancy was rough at the end but I knew it was worth it. And it has been. She is the sweetest girl in the world and I can’t believe she’s really here and she’s all ours.
Our birth photographer Megan did not make it to the birth because it happened so fast. But she was still nice enough to come shortly after the birth and take some precious photos that we will treasure forever. Those very first moments with our daughter. I’ll never forget them.