On Saturday, December 19th, I started having contractions about 9pm. They were generally 30 minutes apart. Once I went to bed they tapered out and I got about 2-3 hours of good sleep, though I may have had a few contractions during that time. All of these had a little power to them, but I thought "labor" could still be a couple weeks out.
Sunday, December 20th, 38w5d pregnant. I was a little upset in the morning and asked Ryan if I could come home from church after Sacrament meeting because I hadn't slept well and was SO tired. Ryan said I could just stay home, but I didn't want to miss the Christmas program. It was a good program and I am glad that I went.
It was a little awkward to be having contractions during Sacrament meeting. When Ryan took me home after, we talked about how glad we were that my water didn't brake at church, because that would be so horrible. I took a "nap" while Ryan was at the rest of church.
Around 3pm is when my contractions sort of "picked up". They were more intense and I leaned on counters, table, the bed, or my yoga ball for them and rotated my hips. We did video calls with my family and Ryan's family that evening and I nonchalantly exited screen view to lean on the couch probably every 15 minutes or so. I told my family I was having contractions, but they figured I was having Braxton Hicks.
Ryan and I started to go to bed around 10pm. Ryan wanted me to call the midwife to let her know what was going on. In the end, I did not want to call that evening. I did start timing my contractions. I did this off and on through the night. I couldn't stay laying down for any of them. Some I just got on all 4's on the bed, but I pretty much wandered through the house the whole night.
From 10:30pm to 11:30pm my contractions were: 14min, 12, 17, and 15minutes apart and lasted about 30 seconds. I told Ryan that was way too far apart to tell the midwives that night.
From about 4:10am to 5:10am they were 9:30, 8:30, 10, 10, 11, 3:30, 8:30, 3, and 4 minutes apart. Some quite close!
Ryan was kind of up with me at this point. He asked if he should go to work or not. I told him that he should for a few hours. I decided to take a shower, but continued timing. From 5:30am-6:45am they were: 8:30, 2, 6:30, 2:30, 2, 2, 1, 8, 8, 4, 1:30, 4, 4, 1, 4, 4, 4, 2, 5, and 5 minutes apart, lasting about 45 seconds.
Ryan wanted to keep timing. From 6:55-7:15am Ry recorded: 4:30, 1:30, 1:30, 7:30, and 6:30 minutes apart.
We called the On-call Midwife. I told her it was me. She asked if I was having contractions and I said yes. She asked how far apart. I told her it was all over the place, but a lot were about 4 minutes apart. She said we could come in to the Birth Center at 8:30am--in about an hour to get checked.
Ryan and I gathered a few things that weren't already in the car. For breakfast I had some Cream of Rice hot cereal. Ryan texted his boss and said he wouldn't be coming in, because his wife was "going into labor". I am quite sure I was already there.
Before we got in the car, I asked Ryan if he could give me a Priesthood blessing. He did and that helped calm me for the approx. 50 minute drive ahead. during the first part of the drive I distracted myself by slowly french braiding my hair on both sides. On the drive my contractions slowed a bit.
I really needed to go to the bathroom and told Ryan to stop at the rest area just outside of Boise. Ryan first accidentally got off at the truck weigh station (nervous father-to-be). So I got out at the rest area and Ryan helped me inside because it was icy. I forgot to mention that it was quite snowy in Mountain Home, but on the way into Boise it turned to just rain. There were cops under the overpasses and I was joking about getting pulled over and the cop not believing I was in labor because I wasn't screaming like ladies in the movies.
We made it safely over to Meridian and to the Birth Center. As we entered they took us right back to the exam room and I plopped into a chair. Beth, who I had talked to on the phone said that Kellie and Melissa (student) would be with me that day, along with assistant Candice, who I had not previously met.
They led us into the large birthing suite and Melissa and Candice took my vitals and checked Sharlee's heartrate. Then they said we could get comfortable and rest for about an hour before they would come back in.
During that time I kept saying to Ryan that I really hoped they wouldn't send us home and say I wasn't in labor, because it seemed like my contractions were too far apart again. I beleive it was about 10am when they came back in. Melissa said she could check my progress if I wanted. I accepted. She was shocked and said she thought I was dilated to like 9cm, but would have Kellie come check. Kellie checked and said it was shaped a little different and I was a definite 5 or 6cm. Active labor is when you hit 4cm. They seemed excited and like we may be expecting an early afternoon birth.
Melissa had also encouraged me to lay on different sides and move around a lot, because Sharlee was facing my right hip and that could be contributing to my random contraction pattern.
At this time I was allowed to get in the birthing tub to ease the contraction "sensations". I kept the word "pain" out of mind and called it sensations and other things. I seriously spent most of the day in the tub. Ryan helped me to keep drinking water and gave me orange slices and cheesesticks.
I focused on keeping everything loose and letting my body do what it needed. Ryan and I were joking and laughing. I prefer to laugh when I want to cry. I believe it was around 3pm when they told me I could push with my contractions. It felt so good, like the feeling disappeared. Then they offered to check my progress. I accepted and they said there was still a little cervix left, therefore I was not allowed to push yet. That made me a little frustrated. They told me if I got out of the tub and walked around the room, bounced on the yoga ball, etc. that this would most likely get the progress I needed. So, for a while I did these things. Then I got more upset. Things were getting MORE intense. I told Ryan to go ask if I could push now. I really wanted to. He went out to ask. Kellie came back and said that I would know when I could; when it is pretty much impossible not to, my body would just do it. It was hard to wait for that. They got me back in the warm tub. At this point I got into my own zone and literally did not feel like I was really still in the room with Ryan.
One midwife stayed inthe room at this point, sitting somewhat out of sight behind Ryan. I liked this, because it gave me hope that I was finally getting near the end. I was literally almost completely under the water, but my face, letting the water drown out sound. I loved what Kellie kept saying to help me. It was something like, "Your uterus is not against you, it is you." I focused on her saying, " It is you". I really had to focus on enjoying my little breaks...resting.
Kellie then said she thought my water broke, I said I didn't know... She then said she was going to get my 3rd dose of antibiotics going for group B Strep. I got upset and said I couldn't do it anymore. They again said I was close. I said obviously not if they were going to hook up the i.v. again. She then said I could choose not to have more because I already had the double 1st dose and 2nd dose. So we skipped it. Then they suggested I get out and go to the bed and things might progress more. I was quite reluctant, because I was really hoping for a water birth. I just never wanted to get out in case I couldn't get back in, but I just wanted to have the baby already.
They helped me out of the tub and on to the bed. I laid on my side and Kellie worked on getting the i.v. hook up stuff out of/off my arm. At this point I was having those uncontrollable pushing contractions with seemingly no stop. (I couldn't see a clock through any of this, but Ryan said it was around 8pm when we went to the bed.) Ryan was so sweet the whole time. During this I just wanted to hold his hand. Midwives had him give me 2 fingers to hold on to so I wouldn't break his hand if i were to squeeze. For some reason, by this point anything Ryan said frustrated me and broke my concentration.
Kellie's voice was just really helpful. So, laying there they had blankets over me so I wouldn't be too cold from getting out of the tub. It sounded like they were bustling around, getting things ready. "Pop!" Through these intense contractions I felt like the baby was coming out. I wanted to tell them that they baby's head was coming out, I felt a bulging. I couldn't really, because they were so close together and I was so tired. then came a pop and an explosion of moisture...everywhere.
I said, "my water just broke!" So they lifted the blankets and said that yes, it did and it was good, clear fluid. They had me turn onto my back and lifted the head of the bed some. Finally! They were proving to me that they believed we were close. Ha.
At this point everyone was very focused and it seemed pretty soon that they said they could see her head. I was so excited, because I thought surely with a couple more contractions I could hold the baby. Well, it took longer, like probably a couple hours... ;)
They said that I was working on getting her head around my tailbone. They kept reminding me where to focus my energy when pushing, which seemed very helpful. After awhile they brought out a mirror and told me to look so I could see her head. I refused. I felt that if I saw her head I would cry, thus wasting energy. Time kept passing though and I wanted to see if there was any progress. I was so curled around that I could see perfectly well without the mirror. Much time had passed and this seemed to be taking forever. We were using a hand towel to do a sort of "tug-of-war" to help me in pushing. I did this with Ryan and Kellie, alternately. Melissa sort of whispered to Kellie that she saw a start of a tear down by my bottom. Kellie looked and then turned to me. She told me that in her over 20 years of nursing she had only done this 6 or 7 times, but if we did not act fast on an episiotomy I would most definitely have a 3rd degree tear. I said ok. As I continued to have some contractions and tried not to push with them (very difficult), they grabbed the supplies. With Kellie's direction, Melissa placed 3 cuts to help Sharlee come through.
Once the 3 cuts were done it seemed to be almost immediate. Possibly two more contractions/pushes and Sharlee came right out. I thought, "goodness, couldn't you have cut me 2 hours ago?"
They immediately put Sharlee on me. Candice put a blanket over her and started cleaning us off. Kellie said that the placenta followed directly after Sharlee (was already detached) so she needed to give me a shot of pitocin.
After they made sure all was good they left us in the room as a family for probably 30 minutes .Then then came back to do my stitches. Ryan stepped out to call his family. Sharlee was born at 11:10pm. So, we made late night calls after midnight. Ryan then went to find me some food at about 1:30am. I called my mom, as they were worried, not hearing anything since 10:30am the previous day when I was already 5/6cm.
Candice brought me a delicious gluten free tuna sandwich. Ryan showed back with gluten free corn dogs and a delicious chocolate shake. Then they did Sharlee's newborn screen. We finally heard her weight, 5lbs. 11oz and her length of 19in.
Looking back I think of it a blessing that I didn't get to do a water birth, because I don't know that they would have caught the start of a tear soon enough and I could have been worse off. In preparation for labor in the weeks leading up I drank Raspberry Leaf Tea and took Evening Primrose Oil. I am so thankful for how well labor and delivery went.