Let me start off by saying that I told the baby in my tummy that she needed to be born on Tuesday, April 19th, and she sure listened! My contractions started on Monday night, but they weren't too intense and I was able to breathe/sleep through them. Although, I did throw up everything in my stomach over the course of three sessions at the toilet during the night. This was something I had heard usually happens to women as they are in labor, but I never experienced it with Jessica's labor, so it was all new to me! About 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning, I told Michael that he needed to call my mom (who was on standby to come down and watch Jessica during the whole process and while we would be in the hospital). I wasn't sure how fast things would change, but it was apparent that I was in labor and I wanted her to have time to make the 2 hour drive down from Logan. The two hours passed and my mom arrived and things were still moving along, but nothing so significant that I felt like we needed to head to the hospital yet. Morning came and my mom and Michael got up with Jessica while I labored more/rested in bed. It had been a long night.
I eventually was done being in bed and decided to get up and join the family in the living room. My stomach was still not feeling well after my puking during the night, so all I had for breakfast was a few bites of a plain waffle that Michael had made for breakfast. My contractions kept coming, but not very frequently and I was still able to breathe through them with relative ease and chat with everyone in between them. I did some time on the exercise ball, which felt good, and I actually bounced on it a few times, really hoping to get things moving. As my contractions intensified and became closer together (2-3 minutes apart) for about 2 hours, I decided we needed to head to the hospital. So, about 12 noon, we got everything in the car and said our goodbyes to Jessica and my mom.
Just like with Jessica's labor, my contractions slowed on the car ride and by the time we got to the hospital, they were about 6 minutes apart. They checked us in and took us to a delivery room, hooked me up to the monitors, and checked my cervix. I was only dilated to 3 cm (where I was at my last Dr.'s appointment the Thursday previous) but I had effaced fully, which was a change from the 70% a few days before. We were encouraged to walk around the halls to try to get things going again. Dr. Hebert was rushing to a delivery when we arrived and we saw her in the hallway again as we were walking. Based upon the monitors, she said she figured I was experiencing prodromal labor and that she was happy to let me stay a couple hours to see if things progress. After 1 hour, and a rather jumpy dance session to Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" in our room (I really wanted our baby to come), I had only had 3 contractions and it seemed like my laboring was pretty much stalled, so we decided to go home. I was bummed, but not too surprised as a very similar experience occurred with Jessica's labor.
It was about 3 p.m. when we got home. We were all very tired, but I was especially exhausted after laboring through the night, and I went straight to our bed to try and take a little nap and prepare myself for another long night of laboring. I listened to my Hypnobirthing tracks on the iPod and was able to sleep for about an hour, which felt amazing. Around 6 p.m., I decided to get out of bed as I could tell things were changing again and the contractions were intensifying. One thing Dr. Hebert had told me about labor this second time around, was to not pay so much attention to the frequency of contractions, but rather to the intensity of them. She said that once I have them at level 12 out of 10, that I needed to come in immediately. So, as I noticed they were more intense than what I had experienced in the morning, I decided to get up out of bed and join everyone for dinner. My mom had gone out and picked up some barbecue, which I normally would have been all over, but I still did not have an appetite, nor did I want to risk throwing up again. So, instead, I settled for sipping on my caffeinated Coke (my favorite upset stomach drink) and I took a couple bites of a roll and that was it for me. I had a few more contractions at the dinner table that I had to moan through. Looking back, this was the apparent moment when things really started to change.
I decided that I wanted to lay down in bed again and try to relax with my Hypnobirthing tracks while Michael and my mom put Jessica to bed. Once Jessica was asleep (about 8 p.m.), Michael came and laid beside me, rubbed my back, and applied counterpressure on my lower back during contractions. They were still only about 6 or 7 minutes apart, but I was audibly moaning through each of them and I began to get louder and louder every time. I also needed to hold and squeeze Michael's hand through them. I remember having one contraction that was incredibly intense and then about 7 minutes later having one not as intense, but then 4 minutes after that experiencing another one that was as Dr. Hebert would describe a "12 out of 10". In the midst of my moaning I said, "We need to go to the hospital now". Michael jumped out of bed and got everything ready to go in the car while my mom came in and let me squeeze her hand through another contraction. Michael came and got me out of bed, and basically carried me through the house. I stopped at the kitchen table and had to lean on it as I had two contractions basically on top of each other. It was then that Michael just grabbed me and pulled me outside and into the car. I was moaning with each breath as we walked to the car and I told Michael that I thought I might be sick, so he grabbed a bucket from the garage and put it in between my feet. I immediately took my flip flops off and had to sit on one of my feet during another contraction, as I just could not be flat on my bum in that seat. I felt like I was going to come out of my skin and would rise up out of the chair during each contraction. I told Michael that he needed to run red lights and speed, do whatever he could to get us to the hospital.
Michael sped like crazy to the hospital, running some lights, hazard lights on, and driving like 90 down the interstate. My contractions were so close together and so intense that I had started screaming through them. I honestly didn't know I could scream like that. I was grabbing the support bar on my side of the car and letting out some serious high pitched screams, along with a few primal moans. I eventually started saying, "I want this baby out NOW" and even pant-cried at the end of a few contractions. I had the very strong urge to push and couldn't stop myself from doing so when we were almost to the hospital. Michael made our usual 20 minute drive there in about 10 minutes. When we arrived, Michael helped me out of the car and I didn't even put my flip flops on. He calmly told the night security guard "baby" and the guard pushed the button to open the doors to labor and delivery. I was obviously in transition and a nurse ran out from around the desk and gestured me straight to delivery room #1 while Michael checked in with the receptionist. The nurse asked if I wanted a wheelchair or to walk and all I could do was wave her forward and walk behind her to the room. She then asked if this was my first or second child and I just put 2 fingers up.
As soon as I got in the room, I leaned against the side of the bed for support and felt the "pop" and gush of my water breaking. That was such a cool feeling. Around that time I recall seeing the nurse place a gown at the foot of the bed and I remember thinking, "Haha, yeah right. Like that's going to happen." The nurse then pulled my pants off and said she needed to check me and did so while I was standing to the side of the bed. She said loudly, "She's complete" and then a bunch of people rushed in the room. The nurse said I needed to get up on the bed and I could only get one knee up, so she helped me. I was on hands and knees through another contraction and said, "I want this baby out NOW" a couple more times. I started panting and it was then that Michael made it to my side and told me to breathe in and out, while the nurse also encouraged me to calm my breathing. Michael helped the nurse take my shirt and sports bra off and then someone told me I needed to roll over. Somehow I did this and then the on-call doctor showed up and introduced herself, then I was told to my hold my legs up so I could push. I said the classic, "I can't do this!" to which everyone on the room replied, "Yes you can!" And then I pushed with a little bit of coaching from the nurses and doctor. Michael helped grab my legs back up when I was tired in between each push and let them fall out of my hands. I felt the "ring of fire" as baby's head was crowning. I can distinctly recall the relief once her head was out. Two more pushes and then her body was out also. In total, 4 pushes and Nicole Victoria was born!
She came out screaming beautifully and was immediately placed on my chest skin to skin. It was just as magical and beautiful as when her older sister was born. We just snuggled for the next hour while the doctor and nurses took care of my placenta, bleeding, and all the other afterbirth care. I did need a couple shots of Pitocin to help my uterus to shrink and to assist with the bleeding, and I had a small 1 degree tear that required a couple stitches. Nicole came out super hungry, smacking her lips and trying to eat my chest. It wasn't very long at all before I sat up and nursed her for the first time. She latched on with no problem and ate for an hour! Everyone was really impressed. I love that they even did the Vitamin K and eye ointment while she was nursing. Eventually, once she had finished eating, the nurse weighed and measure her and did all the other checks that needed to be done.
Dr. Hebert made it into the room just about 5 minutes after Nicole was born and just looked at me and laughed. She was on-call that night, but obviously couldn't make it in time for the birth, even though she left as soon as she was called. We talked about how she just missed seeing Nicole be born and how we would need to strategize for the next birth considering how quickly everything progressed and how I almost had the baby in the car. I love Dr. Hebert. She was so sweet and so proud, and complimented me on having my natural unmedicated birth, just how I wanted! Eventually, we were taken to our recovery room and then the rest is history as we went through our first night together, Daddy, Mommy, and Nicole.
Thoughts after this experience:
- How awesome am I that I gave birth naturally?!?
- I can't believe how amazing the human female body is that it knows exactly what to do to get that baby out.
- I was slightly traumatized for a few days after the experience, mostly because I couldn't believe it happened so fast at the end and that I was afraid baby would be born in the car.
- I laugh that I said, "I can't do this", completely out of the blue. I wasn't even thinking to say such a classic phrase during pushing, but it came out of my mouth nonetheless. How many other women have I heard stories about thinking or saying this as they were about to give birth and I joined their ranks as well?
- Birthing naturally was such an out of body experience. There are some things I don't remember and had to ask Michael about because I was so out of it during the final moments.
- Yes, yes, yes...I will do it again with the next baby. I honestly don't think I would want to have a baby any other way now.
- Recovery has been awesome. No swelling, very low bleeding, etc. I contribute it all to birthing naturally and not having to be hooked up to many different IVs and such for hours at a time.
- Michael is my hero and the best birth partner ever. I love him more and more with each baby we have.
- I need to now go and nurse my baby as I believe writing this story down has stimulated my let-down about 6 times from all the hormones as I recall these memories. Lol.