On Monday, July 30 2018 at 10:00 am I had my 39 week appointment. I had a cervical check, and I was 3 cm with a bulging sac. She asked if I wanted a sweep, which I agreed to, and off home I went. I stayed on my feet as long as possible. I baked banana bread, cleaned my kitchen, and went to sit down and wait for my husband to come home from work. At 3:30 pm my water broke. I called my husband at work, told him to stay until the end of his shift around 5:00 pm. I wanted to stay at home as long as possible. I was having very inconsistent contractions, so I had dinner, and went and laid down. I assumed I would go to the hospital in the morning. Around 9:30 pm I had to go to the bathroom, and I saw that my fluid was no longer clear, but greenish. We went to the hospital at this point, where it was confirmed I had meconium staining. I was 4 cm dilated and admitted.
The doctor put me on monitors to make sure baby was tolerating labour. She had a decel during contractions, and after monitoring me for a bit longer, the doctor mentioned that a c-section may be required if the baby continued to not tolerate labor. They did some blood work and started IV fluids. I was still in admitting at this point behind a curtain as there wasn’t a nurse available to move us into our own room.
At 1:00 am her heartbeat was good, with no further decels so they started oxytocin and I continued to labour. I found the contractions were manageable only if I was standing. I couldn’t lay down comfortably with the monitors on, and because we were still in the admitting area the bed was very firm and uncomfortable. We had very little room to move around, so I stood and swayed through contractions over the bed.
At 4:00 am I was checked again and I hadn’t progressed passed 4 cm. At this point I was still managing contractions, but I was so tired all I wanted was to sleep. I had been standing and labouring for 6 hours at this point, and I was exhausted. I asked if I could have an epidural, and they said once a room opened up on the ward. They bumped up the oxytocin and I continued to labour. Contractions. Got. Intense. I was vomiting with each one. I couldn’t support myself standing up so my husband held me under my elbows. I was still unable to lay down comfortably and have the monitors on correctly. A nurse came and gave me gravol in my IV for the nausea, but it made me so groggy I was almost passing out while standing in between contractions. This was the worst of it for me. Those contractions were so strong, and I was so tired I honestly didn’t feel like I could keep going.
At 5:30 am I was transferred to a delivery room, and at 6:00 am I got my epidural. Sweet Lord Jesus above, bless the human who invented that. I was finally able to sleep a bit. I slept off and on until 8:00 am. They checked me and I was at 9 cm. They broke the rest of my waters and I slept on and off again until around 10:00 am. They gently woke me up and said it was time to have a baby. I didn’t feel the progression to 10 cm after my epidural. It. Was. GLORIOUS.
By about 10:10 am we started pushing. They turned down my epidural so I was able to feel the pressure of contractions, but no pain. I was told I was pushing well, and off we went. About an hour and a half of pushing they thought the head was showing, and that it was go time. Everyone got excited and ready. More people entered the room, we had a NICU team stand by because of meconium staining. What they thought was her head was actually more membranes that needed to be ruptured. I continued pushing until 12:00 pm, just about 2 hours by this point. I wasn’t making a lot of progress and was feeling very defeated, exhausted, and emotionally drained. They told me I was pushing effectively but she wasn’t descending enough. My doctor, a GP, consulted with the on call OB. She felt me push, and said I was pushing right, so she would check in a bit to see how I was progressing. At this point I had a fever, and they did more blood work to order antibiotics. My doctor said it was looking like a c-section or a forceps delivery.
When the OB came back around 12:30 pm she said she felt confident she could help me deliver with forceps. I agreed. I pushed a few more times while I waited for them to go get everything they needed. They set up around 12:50 pm, had me push for a contraction, and on the next assisted. At 1:02 pm she was born. The cord had wrapped around her neck, around her body and up through her legs. She had her hand up by her face, and they told me I would have never delivered her on my own. Every time I pushed with a contraction she would descend a bit, but then move back up the birth canal, as if she was bungee jumping.
My husband wasn’t able to cut the cord because they had to first untangle her and then the NICU team wanted to deal with the meconium. He went over to their table and talked to her while they worked on her. She was alert and crying. She was 7lbs1oz, I have no idea of APGAR as no one told us. They all seemed happy with her and were commenting on her fair skin and ginger hair. I delivered the placenta shortly after and they dealt with putting me back together as I ended up with an episiotomy with the forceps.
I only had skin to skin for about 15 minutes and no chance to try breastfeeding before they took her for some blood work and tests. My husband went with her and she was gone for almost 2 hours. They dealt with my postpartum care, making sure I could walk and moving me to our postnatal room.
All in all, it wasn’t the worst delivery, but definitely not what I had envisioned. I ended up having a catheter overnight as I was very swollen from the 3 hours of pushing and was unable to pee. I felt like I had been hit by a train. I was sensitive, it was scary to walk, never mind thinking about pooping. We ended up staying an extra night as both me and Claire were on IV antibiotics due to my fever during labor. My husband and I couldn’t stop bursting into tears of love and joy. He told me I was a warrior, and that watching me get cut was the worst thing he’s experienced.
Thinking back to my recovery, it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it was going to be. I would absolutely go through labor and delivery again. Something I think that helped me the most was that I didn’t have a concrete “birth plan”. I knew that I really had no control over what was going to happen, and that I just needed to focus on myself and baby. I had loose ideas of what I wanted, but in the end it was up to what the doctor thought was best, and what I was capable of handling.
How about you? Did you birth go how you thought? Did you have a birth plan?