Friday night, February 3rd, 2017 I headed for the couch after trying to fall asleep in bed. I had done this several days this week because of extremely itchy hands and feet. I didn’t want to wake Ryan with all my scratching. As I fell in and out of sleep I remember wondering how will I know when the contractions are “real ones” indicating labor has started. With our first labor my water broke first so I knew exactly what was going on. This time I had been experiencing Braxton Hicks for months and more the past few weeks. Only being 5 days from our due date I knew the real ones had to be coming soon. On Saturday morning, February 4th at about 4am I had a contraction that was different than all the others I had had before. Immediately I knew today was the day we were going to go into labor! As the early hours of the morning passed my body kept confirming to me that today was the day.
I decided to get up to finish packing our hospital bags. At about 6am I decide to go take a shower. I heard many things about second time labor being more quickly than the first. I wanted to ensure I had a shower before needing to head to the hospital. After my shower I crawled back into bed with Ryan. For about 45 minutes or so I was able to sleep between each contraction. Between 7:30/8am Ryan started stirring. I told him that I’d been having different kinds of contractions and that I was pretty certain today was the day.
Ryan got up, started his laundry and ate some breakfast. I told him if he wanted to get his workout in he better get to doing it. He headed to the garage for his bike ride on the trainer. Miss M was sleeping in uncommonly late. I took that time to call my mom and mother-in-law to let them know we were in labor.
Next, I reached out to a friend who could come over and stay the night with Miss M. With how I was feeling I asked her to come over at noon. Ryan would be done with his workout by then and we could head to the hospital or Miss M would be entertained and we could labor a little more at home. Around 10am I had a few contractions that made me second guess if I should have requested my friend come earlier. Knowing your second labor is supposed to be faster than your first I counted the hours that would have passed at noon. 4am to noon would be 8 hours. Could I suddenly progress fast and not make it to the hospital? I mean I wanted to do as much at home as possible, but not have this baby in the car!
As the morning passed I finished packing our bags and cleaned up a bit along with keeping Miss M entertained. Oh and I curled my hair. I figured it would be the last time for awhile so I wanted to do it. As a contraction would come I would stop what I was doing and use the counter for support. Most of the time I’d go with forearms on counter with my head on my forearms. Then, just let my belly hang and relax. Miss M would walk under me between me and the cabinet as if it was a game. That all worked fine except the time she ran into my belly, thought it was funny and began repeating it. I’d go out to the garage a few times and Ryan came in a few times to check to see how things were going.
At about 11:30 my friend arrived with her kiddo and a few minutes later Ryan was done with his workout. I hung out a bit with my friend catching up and letting her know all the details of Miss M’s care. Just stopping for contractions. Ryan got things together and loaded the car. It came to a point that I wanted quiet and wanted to lay down. I told Ryan I was going to lay down for a bit while he finished up then it was time to go to the hospital. Before we left it was 1pm, Miss M’s nap time. We told her bye and I put her down for her nap.
We were on our way to the hospital! This baby was coming today! On the 15/20 minute drive to the hospital I had three or four contractions so I knew they were about every four or five minutes. Having a contraction sitting in the car was a little more difficult to relax. I wondered if people at the stop lights could tell I was having a contraction because I’d close my eyes and breathe through them.
Ryan and I stopped for a picture on the way in to the hospital. On the way to the labor and delivery check in I had another contraction that we stopped for. I hung on Ryan’s shoulders to get through this one. Once we arrived at the counter they asked how they could help us. I told them I was in labor. They found my paperwork, which they had actually just prepped since they day before at my doctor’s appointment we set an induction date for the following Tuesday. The lady at the desk asked me how often my contractions where. I told her between three to five minutes apart but they weren’t consistent. She responded with, “Oh, so close together.” She asked if my water broke which I told her I did not think so.
It was about 2pm when they sent us to a triage room where I got changed and they got all my information along with monitored baby and contractions. They finally checked my cervix. I was dilated to a 6! We were staying there and having a baby! I felt the victory. I knew I had labored at home for a good part of it and we wouldn’t be laboring at the hospital forever before baby came. This was off to a much different start than with Miss M and I was excited for that.
We met the hospital doctor who informed us that she could be delivering our baby because sometimes the doctor who was on call from our doctor office often did that on the weekends. Really?! What’s the point of being on call? I asked her about her thoughts on delivering vaginally after a shoulder dystocia. Since a shoulder dystocia happened with Miss M’s delivery my doctor and I had talked about the possibility of it happening again. She told me that it was 50/50 and we discussed options and maneuvers that could be done if it was to happen. However, my doctor was on vacation the week before I was due. This made me a bit uneasy about just having whatever on call doctor deliver. The hospital doctor made the comment that she has done it many of times. But for some reason I felt uncomfortable with her body language and the conversation around it.
Next, we got set up in our labor and delivery room. We were shown how to hook and unhook from the monitors. I was given permission for intermittent monitoring and I wasn’t hooked up to any iv’s. All of which was different than our first labor. It took the nurses three times to be able to get my iv port in place for when it was needed. The first two times where painful and made me light headed. I requested a cool rag and that they wait before trying again. I just knew they were judging me thinking if I couldn’t handle an iv how was I going to labor naturally. I also felt like I was starting off bad with the nurses and hoped they didn’t hold it against me. But once they got it in the third time we were good to go.
Our nurse Ellen came in and out to check on us occasionally. Ryan and I chatted and made small talk. I stopped to work through contractions. Ryan gave me water and supported me in moving about as I wished. Ironically, with Miss M’s labor all I wanted to do was move around and I was hooked up to everything so I couldn’t much. This time I had the freedom to and really wanted to do a lot of side laying. Ellen even made the comment how the other nurses were asking if I was moving around freely. But for whatever reason laying down felt good. With Miss M I knew I was on a time line and felt I needed to help the labor progress and thought movement would support that. This time I knew we were progressing and relaxing through contractions is what I wanted.
At one point I told Ellen that when a contraction came I was feeling the need to have a bowel movement, but couldn’t actually go when I tried. She said it was just the pressure from the baby and sometimes bearing down just a little through the contraction helps. So when the next contraction came I beared down just a bit and it did feel better. Ryan and I still had not picked out a name for baby girl #2 so we occasionally would start talking about this, then get distracted with a contraction. When contractions came I could not concentrate on what anyone was saying and I wanted it quiet. During one contraction the chair Ryan was sitting in was making noises. I made a comment about it so he moved to the wheeling stool. He then got distracted with the stool and started wheeling around. Again, I made a comment and he stopped. After the contraction we laughed it off. As there was a similar situation during our first labor.
Feeling the need to have my cervix checked often was not happening this time. Knowing that I showed up dilated to a 6 I knew that it would be a little bit of time before I would be at a 9 or 10. But I also knew I would know when we were getting close by the pressure, contractions and the need to bear down. About 5pm I told Ryan he better go get himself some dinner. I knew we were getting closer, but felt we were far enough out that he could go get dinner. Ellen came in at 5:30pm and said the doctor on call requested a check to see how I was progressing and asked if she could check me. I made a joke about the doctor wanting to see where she could go for her dinner. Ellen checked me and said we were between a seven and an eight. 7.5 it was. I sent Ryan a text to let him know and he was back in the room a few minutes later.
I knew we were getting to the stage that things could progress quickly at any point or we could still labor evenly for a handful of more hours. Ellen’s shift was over at 7pm. When she checked me she made the comment that we will see if this baby comes before her shift is over, but it would for sure be here by midnight making February 4th, 2017 our daughters birthday.
We continued to labor and chat. I was amazed at how different this time around was going. I used the birthing ball. I stood beside the bed. I laid on my side. My water still had not broke. I wondered when and how it would break. When standing beside the bed I asked Ryan to support me in putting my shoes on because my feet were tired from standing on the hard floor. I just knew my water was going to break and drench my shoes. But it didn’t.
At 7pm was shift change. I knew that the nurse would be the one who saw us to the end. Last time our nurse was amazing and I honestly believe kept us from having a C-section. I didn’t think about the shift change or what that meant leading up to it. But in that moment when Ellen walked in with the next nurse I had the realization. Regina was our new nurse. Ellen updated Regina. What I heard her say was: I was going great through contractions, baby was doing awesome and I didn’t roam around much, but knew the protocol to do so. Regina asked about my birth plan, if I wanted to push in any certain ways and what was important to me. We talked a bit about the shoulder dystocia. Again, I wanted to make sure all persons involved were aware and ready. She seemed confident and reassuring. She asked if I wanted juice and/or a popsicle. I liked this lady! She then shared that she was a certified midwife. Out loud I literally said, “Thank you, Jesus!” In that moment, I felt a peace. Her caring personality, the fact she cared about what I wanted and that she had alternative training made me feel very comfortable with her. I definitely liked this lady!
Regina was spending more time with us than Ellen had. I even asked her how many other women were laboring or how many other patients she had. Her response was, “I don’t know. I am with you right now.” Ok. Fine. I’ll take it, I thought. At 7:30 the doctor had requested another check. Regina gave me about an 8. During some contractions I thought to myself, “Why was I willing to do this to myself again?” I remember thinking how it was a strange thought really. Of course, I chose to do this to myself again, to have another precious baby. But it was a repeated thought during contractions. Even though between contractions I was talking and happy. I then recognized it as the self-doubt phase. I knew that it meant I was getting close. I reminded Ryan this was the time that he was supposed to tell me that I was doing great and we would have a baby soon.
Regina came in and came up close to the bed to talk to us. She told us the doctor was wanted to break my water to progress the labor. We discussed it a bit. How I felt I was progressing and what was the benefit of doing it and not doing it. I was having contractions about every two minutes at this point. They were getting steadier. She left Ryan and me for a minute to talk about it. We decided we wanted to keep at it without breaking the water. For me we had gone natural at this point and I trusted the way my body felt that it would continue to do what it was supposed to. Regina informed the doctor and then came back a few minutes later. The doctor was still pushing us to allow the water to be broken. Her thought process was that with how far along I was I would progress quickly. With the history of shoulder dystocia the doctor wanted herself and the staff to be fresh rather than potentially having less alert people. Again, I felt it wasn’t that much longer that my body would do what it needed to do. But I also had some fears around the shoulder dystocia so could understand what the doctor was saying. Also, with Regina now in our corner I felt she could give us some ideas that could help us progress. It was about 8:00pm at this point. Ryan, Regina and I decided to tell the doctor she could come at 8:30 and break my water if it had not done so yet. For the next 30 minutes we would do some work to see what we could create.
The thought Regina had was to get in the shower for a few minutes and then do some contractions on my hands and knees in bed. As she was prepping to cover my iv we worked through contractions. When I was seating in kings thrown position she simply put her hands on my knees and pushed them towards me during contractions. It relieved 40/50% of the discomfort! Amazing. She did this some and so did Ryan. I started feeling this excitement of things were getting close and that I could do this. I recognized the shift in my thoughts and knew that meant we were getting close to transitioning and would be pushing before too long. Regina stepped out to do something when I felt this gush of liquid. “My water just broke! Go get Regina. Tell her my water broke!” I was so excited that it happened on its own and remember thinking, “Well there doctor. My body took care of it for you!”
With Regina back in the room she was trying to see if my water broke. She watched how it pooled and then she used the swab which she said was inconclusive. It was either my water broke or I was just peeing on myself. She then checked me to see if she could feel the sack of waters. Sadly, she confirmed my water had not broke and I just peed on myself. Darn. Back to the original plan. At this point some time had passed though and doctor would be arriving soon. I decided to go to the bathroom one last time before doing some more work and doctor arriving. I got on the bed with my knees on the lowered bed part. A peanut was on the upper part. So I leaned over the peanut and let my belly hang. As a contraction would come Regina and Ryan would do counter pressure on my back, hips, or glutes. Regina guided Ryan some for this. Again, it cut the discomfort by like 40/50%. I am still amazed! At one point Regina stepped out of the room and I asked Ryan to tell me affirmations about our delivery. Aloud he said things like, “The delivery is going to be peaceful and calm. The baby is going to come out smoothly.” I am not sure exactly why I asked him to do this, but I did.