On Sunday, October 9th, I was 40 weeks + 2, and I had been experiencing what I thought were strong Braxton Hicks contractions for most of the day. I was also a little extra tired, so David thought it best that I try to get some rest in the afternoon, just incase we were in for a long night (needless to say his intuition was bang on!). He spent most of the day with River so that I could relax and take it easy.
Around 5:00pm, I realized we needed some groceries, especially if I was to make dinner, and so I asked David if I might be able to go to the store on my own (I thought it would be a little tough with River, especially if the contractions got stronger). At the store I had some more that I had to breathe through, but nothing I couldn’t easily handle. I came home and got to making dinner.
I had to get down on my hands and knees to breathe a few times during dinner making. I was curious if the pain meant anything, since they were fairly sporadic and not yet too long or strong. As soon as dinner was finished I told David I needed to take a bath to see if it would get things going or slow them down.
It was just after 7:00pm when I got into the bath, and I started having anxiety because I realized I hadn’t felt the baby move all day (at least to my memory). I only had one contraction while in the water, and only one strong movement from baby, maybe in a 15 minute span. For whatever reason this didn’t sit well with me, so I got out of the bath and decided to lay down on the bed, after telling David that things weren’t picking up so I didn’t think I was in labour.
By the time I laid down, it was just after 8:00pm, and I decided to start timing my contractions (which still weren’t at all unbearable) to see if there was any kind of pattern. David had brought River up to bed (same room I was in) and he was jumping all over me. I texted my mom to give her a heads up, that I didn’t think I was in labour yet, but it could potentially be a midnight call. She would be driving 45 minutes to come and stay with River when labour started.
The contractions seemed to be a minute long each (much to my surprise, they felt more like 30 seconds each!), but anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes apart. So nothing alarming.
Come 9:00pm — I had the strongest contraction yet, and I felt a little ‘pop’. I told David that I thought my water might have broken, so I stood up and made my way to the washroom. There was a little bit of leaking but no dramatic gush of any kind. I sat on the toilet just incase, and called my doula to let her know what was going on. When I stood up there was fresh blood in the toilet, which surprised me (I didn’t know that was normal when your water breaks, they broke my waters in the hospital when I was labouring with River!). I quickly called my midwife as well and updated her. Thankfully I was GBS negative so there was no need for me to go into the hospital quickly for antibiotics. She and I agreed I would call her back if things picked up and/or when my mom arrived to care for my son.
Well from that point on things progressed very quickly. I had my doula Lyndsey on the phone with me the whole time, she was timing my contractions for me and also helping me to completely relax between contractions, so that my body could be better ready for the next one. They weren’t horrible yet, but they were coming quickly enough that I couldn’t get much done between them. I wanted to do my hair and put on a little makeup, but alas, a completely disheveled mom bun was all I could muster!
David had to text my mom to see where she was, because I wasn’t sure at this point if we were going to be able to stay home much longer. I was feeling some lower pressure and knew I needed to get to the hospital asap. We had called my midwife again and she was on route to meet us there.
As soon as my mom walked in, we were ready to leave. River hadn’t fallen asleep yet, and he was not pleased that we were leaving so abruptly. This is one reason why I wish we could’ve delivered at home! I wanted him to be with us. David quickly brought him downstairs and he held onto me through a couple contractions, with tears in his eyes. I told him that it was time for me to push the baby out at the hospital (we had talked about this ahead of time). I gave him one last kiss and we were out the door. It was nearing 10:00pm.
Our hospital was only 3 minutes away, so we arrived quickly. We had to park and walk through a walkway to get to L&D, not without a few strong contractions of course. Thankfully I was still able to laugh between them, because the amount of yelling I was doing was humorous!
The nurses heard us coming and brought me a wheelchair. Doula Lyndsey was there to greet us, and we soon were in the delivery room with my midwife Katie. That low pressure arrived again with a contraction and we thought I may be ready to push! Katie checked for dilation and didn’t tell me how far along I was, but just that I was actually not ready yet. After a minute I halfheartedly asked her how far along I was, knowing I could be disappointed. I was only 5cm, which definitely wasn’t as far as I’d hoped! She reminded me that I could go from a 5 to a 10 in no time at all, so not to be discouraged. She suggested we make our way to the tub to continue my labour in.
The tub was big and warm, incredibly soothing. Things were still manageable, and the low pressure had subsided for now. Lyndsey was so helpful and encouraging, constantly reminding me to relax every muscle in my body between contractions so that I could have more energy for the pain. She would take a cloth and touch points on my face that I needed to relax. David was of course just as supportive with his calm presence.
I went from labouring on my hands and knees, to on my back, then hands and knees again, because I was beginning to have back labour. My midwife offered me some sterile water injections, to which I strongly refused (I may have even used the F word in my response, in jest of course!) — the memory of having them with River was strong enough to remind me to never have them again! So Lyndsey went to work on compressing my hips during the pain which really helped.
Things were becoming quite strong and painful, and I was extremely vocal. Being loud was necessary, it helped my body cope.
Katie checked me again when I said I really felt like I need to go #2, and she said we were very close and helped me get out of the tub and into a wheelchair, so we could fly back to the delivery room. I think this was around midnight.
David and Lyndsey quickly assisted me to the bathroom, I had a contraction, and was able to empty my bowels :) I crawled from the washroom to the delivery bed, I was in a considerable amount of pain and everything was hazy. It had been maybe 5 minutes since we left the tub at this point. I turned onto my back, Katie checked me one last time, and with the next contractions I was screaming loud and dramatically in pain. Katie assertively told me my baby was coming, and told me to bring my hands down and push into my hands. I was shocked to feel my babies head already partially out! Katie said, “One more push for the face!”, and after another push her head was fully out. One more contraction and the rest of her body was delivered. Katie helped me bring my sweet baby to my chest, covered in vernix, and crying a tiny baby cry. We rubbed her to pink her up a bit and within seconds she gave us a strong cry. I ecstatically cried out (still in shock), “I did it! I did it!”, and asked David what it was — we were shocked to learn we had a baby girl!
Everything afterwards was almost as painful as labour. I needed two stitches, which I got some freezing for. The afterpains were horrible, to the point I nearly vomited. I think delivering the placenta has to be one of the worst parts, since you just pushed a baby out and you can’t fathom anything else coming through there!
She nursed well almost instantly, and was latched on for nearly an hour. It wasn’t until and hour and a half after birth that my midwife suggested we do the newborn assessment (weight etc). We all guessed she’d be around 7.5 lbs, considering my first was 8lbs 4oz — another shock to learn she weighed in at 6lbs 15oz!
We left the hospital three hours after her birth. I was anxious to get home, knowing we’d be much more comfortable there, and so that we could be there when River woke up.
I was so so thankful to have achieved my goal of a drug free birth. I was determined to go drug free this time, so that I could remain mobile during labour and have my pelvis & baby in the optimum birth position, to avoid a shoulder dystocia like I had with River. I prepared my pregnant body with prenatal chiropractic, spinning babies exercises, and hiring a doula. I absolutely credit these things in helping me have a much quicker, and smoother labour than I did with my first. I had hoped for a quick labour, but didn’t expect it to be THIS quick!
A three hour labour, with only 3 minutes of pushing, and our little Olive Catarina was born on Thanksgiving Monday. We are all enamoured with her, and so thankful for her safe arrival!