I'm notorious for random Braxton Hicks contractions that go nowhere and do nothing, so imagine my surprise when going in for a checkup with the midwife two days before my due date and learning that I was 50% effaced and already dilating. Anyone who knows anything about childbirth knows that I could be headed to the hospital that very day, or a week later. Since I'd never showed any early labor progress with previous pregnancies, I was still pretty excited.
Very early the next morning, 1:30 am, those pesky BH contractions started up again. I wasn't able to go back to sleep as I was partially hoping something would happen and I was attempting to binge watch season one of Orange is the New Black before the baby arrived. By the time my husband woke to go to work at 6:00 am, the contractions were still happening and he decided to skip work for the day. We sent CJ to school and Ava to his parents house in an effort to get some rest in case Friday was "the day." After a nice long nap and a walk around the neighborhood, we decided to go for lunch and continue walking around the mall.
Contractions were hit or miss all day, and not painful at all, so we spent an enjoyable day together. We talked about our future as parents of three and enjoyed a quiet meal comprised of everything I was craving at the moment, including stir fry noodles from the Japanese restaurant, naan from the Indian Restaurant and the oh-so-un-crunchy electric blue raspberry slushie from the gas station.
Later that evening, we picked up the children from his parents house, convinced that there was no need for them to spend the night. We had already spoken to the nurse at the hospital "birthing center" and she concluded that my contractions were not consistent or strong enough to consider me being in active labor. We got the kids into be for the night, and the contractions picked up considerably around 10:00 pm, but never got to the point of being "five minutes a part, lasting for one minute each for at least an hour." An hour later, I was convinced that the previous cookie cutter statement regarding labor did not apply to me. After spending some time in the tub, we decided that I'd stayed home as long as possible and it was time to go to the hospital. Boy was I glad his parents only lived five minutes away!
I had both a OB/Gyn and a Midwife, but was listed as the doctor's patient, so the staff treated me as a medical patient. They did not send me to the birthing suite the Midwife used, but a typical Labor and Delivery room; my husband was not pleased and pleaded with the staff to move me; at that time, he was my only advocate for a natural delivery. He spent days before the delivery repeating my wishes over and over again so he wouldn't forget a thing. They immediately checked my progress, gave me an IV and hooked me up to monitors, another event my husband challenged the nursing staff on. Five centimeters. I was halfway there.
Our Midwife arrived and everything changed. The IV was disconnected, the monitors were removed, and the lights were dimmed. I continued to labor on a birthing ball until contractions were too much. Bring back the IV. Call the anesthesiologist. Screw natural childbirth. I wanted drugs, immediately. My husband asked repeatedly if I was certain. I was. Gimme. Drugs. NOW. The Midwife, in her infinite wisdom, requested to break my water, which put me at 8 cm almost immediately. Now, it was too late for drugs. No one told me it was too late, but I knew.
Baby started her journey down the birth canal and the back pain was more than I anticipated. Earlier that night I'd asked for a mirror to view the birth and possibly catch the baby, but ended up delivering on my knees, holding on to the back of the bed. I didn't get to catch my baby or see the birth, but I was able to immediately begin breastfeeding. Warm compresses prevented episiotomy or tears. We delayed cord clamping and cutting until it stopped pulsing. She was placed immediately on my chest for skin-to-skin contact for the first couple hours of her life and the bath was delayed until she was eight hours old. Almost everything we wanted for this birth had been accomplished, thanks to my wonderful husband who took charge when I was in a most vulnerable state, and an amazing Midwife.
Charlotte arrived on her due date, May 31, at 3:01 am, 8 lbs. 5 oz., and 21 inches long. We can't wait to take her to Disney World!