Disclaimer: Although the title should be enough of a warning, if you aren't into hearing about labor, delivery, babies, or all that is beautiful in general, you should skip this post :)
Sunday, August 4th - 4 days post due date.
The last week or two of my pregnancy was where I finally started to feel it. I would have days that I was feeling good and could move and go and workout as usual....then I had days where it took all my energy just to go to work and sit at my desk! At my OB visits, my blood pressure was starting to creep up...not pre-eclampisa high, just high for me (I'm usually low, and was especially low in pregnancy). On Sunday, I had spent most of the morning just lying in bed, watching TV. Timothy would check my BP periodically and we were still getting high readings. At the recommendation of our Doula, we called our OB and she recommended we go to the hospital to get evaluated.
We arrive at the hospital in the early evening, they monitor my blood pressure and take some blood for labs. BP was still kind of high, but what they were most concerned with were my liver enzymes in the blood work. We decided that we would stay overnight at the hospital in the Antepartum Unit and then have our OB break my water in the morning. One of the doctors offered to sweep my membranes, and since I knew my water was going to be broken in the morning, I thought why not!
It's like when you're a child and it's Christmas Eve - you have trouble sleeping because of the excitement....that's how we were on the Antepartum Unit that night. We even slept in the tiny little hospital bed together to try and soothe the energy. Come 7am - we'd be taken back down to Labor & Delivery and our journey would begin! Obviously, we had some concerns about how my body would respond to having my water broken. We had natural birth preferences, and would've much preferred to go into labor on my own, but that wasn't an option now. I think it's safe to say we were both concerned how it would impact our ability to have a natural birth. Still hopeful and dedicated, but concerned.
Monday, August 5th - the day.
We made it down to L&D around 7:30am. Shortly after, our Doula arrived! Because of my positive Group B Strep diagnosis (something I carry that doesn't harm me, but can make newborns sick), I was given my first of two rounds of antibiotics while we waited for the OB to come in and break my water. Around 8am, they broke my water. That was strange - I wasn't sure what it would feel like, but it literally is more uncomfortable to have a pap smear, haha! Super quick and easy. Oh, right before the water breaking, our nurse (who was absolutely FABULOUS) offered to sweep my membranes again, and we said sure, it couldn't hurt. After all that was done, Timothy, our Doula, and I hit the stairs. I was 3-4 cm dilated and 75% effaced, and now that my water was broken, we wanted to get in as much activity as possible to encourage the baby getting into position. We did the stairs for about 15 minutes, having to stop during contractions and get on all fours while our Doula or Timothy rubbed my lower back - the people in the stairwell looked at us like we were crazy, which made us all laugh. :) Afterwards, we walked outside very briefly (it was a gorgeous day!) and then I wanted to head back to L&D.
Contractions steadily increased throughout the morning, both in frequency and in intensity. It was clear I was going to be one of those women with back labor. I felt all the pain of a contraction right in my lower back! We tried multiple positions (standing, on all fours, draped over the yoga ball, head down/butt up, lying on my side, etc.) but what felt the best was sitting backwards on the toilet, holding the grip bar and just rocking back and forth.
I made it to 8-9 cm dilated and 100% effaced quickly, but was starting to feel stuck. Turns out, Baby E was OP (Occiput Posterior position) with his head turned toward my right hip....that definitely explained the lower back pain! Our nurse, Karen, said that another nurse on the unit, Martha, was excellent at manipulating babies and we could bring her in and see what she could do....we said absolutely! In the mean time, our nurse called the OB to say "Go ahead and see your next appointment, then you should head this way." Martha did about 20 minutes worth of manipulating (and I'll spare you the details, but whoa that is intense!!!) and then she gives a look at our nurse Karen, and Karen calls our OB and says "Umm, you need to get up here now!" With the manipulating, he dropped into position immediately and it was pushing time!!
45 minutes....pushed 12-15 times, and then they say "Reach down and get your baby!" I reach down and pull out my beautiful baby boy onto my chest. He is wide-eyed and quiet, just looking up at his mom and dad!! August 5, 2013 at 2:50pm, Everett was born weighing 8 lbs, 13 oz and 21 inches long.
So we did it!! Despite having to have my water broken for me, we had our natural birth! No pain medication, no epidurals, no episiotomy/surgical interventions....it was amazing! Less than 7 hours, only having to push a dozen or so times....I don't think we could've asked for better! And the staff were so freaking awesome. Of course, our OB and our Doula were well-familiar with our natural birth preferences, but our nurses that day were totally on point with everything and we never had to ask. Pain medication wasn't offered, warm compresses/stretching techniques done to avoid tearing, letting me move whenever I wanted, keeping the room quiet and dark, etc, etc. Their support, without questioning, was huge for us. Although our Doula was more than capable of advocating if we needed, we didn't because the nursing staff was already game with everything. AWESOME.
Our little man is now 2 weeks old. He is so strong (holding his head up on his own at 2 days old), and a total boys-boy with his grown man farts and burps! :) We are in love with him and found a new love in each other. Labor and delivery was just as awesome an experience as my pregnancy was....I couldn't have asked for better!