Eliza's birth: I have some bloody show Sunday morning. I experience 90 minutes of mild contractions from 4-5:30 am on Monday and have a bit more bloody show and some looser stools. I take an hour long morning walk with Ethan to hopefully get things going and have mild contractions here and there throughout the day and a scant amount of bloody show. I go to bed at 8:30 pm, anticipating contractions to start up. I wake from a stronger contraction at 10:30 and again at 11:30 and 12:30. I can no longer sleep through them at this point. They seem to be 5-7 min apart and lasting about 45 seconds. This continues for the next several hours. I am able to cope with deep breaths and slow exhales until they pick up in intensity at about 3:30 am and I start vocalizing a bit to get through them. At 5 am I stop trying to sleep between them and get up to eat some breakfast and see if being more active gets them coming closer together. They’re about 4-5 minutes apart when I do this. My husband Phil starts pushing on my back as I lean over the counter and this helps me cope along with vocalizing. We decide to load the car for the hospital around 5:30. The contractions slow down a bit but pick back up close to 7 am. I call Triage to let them know we’re about to head in. They advise me to labor at home a bit longer and we consider staying until Ethan wakes up so we can remind him where we are going and why, but our doula Suzanne lets us know contractions will probably slow down for a while when he’s around. So we leave for the hospital at 7. I have three contractions in the car during the 15 minute ride and then another 3 closer together walking from the car in to Triage. Of course, once I get checked in to Triage and set up on the monitor, things slow way down again. But my cervix is checked and I’m 4.5cm dilated. They decide to admit me. I let them know right away that I would like the nitrous oxide machine as soon as it becomes available. Contractions continue about 7 minutes apart when I first get to our room and they place an IV lock. By 8:30, our doula Suzanne has arrived and the admission process is complete. The doctor does an ultrasound to check baby’s position and we discover the head is down but off to the right and will need some repositioning. I eat some breakfast and then we start walking the halls to get the contractions to pick up again. Over the course of the next couple hours, we alternate walking and returning to the room for intermittent monitoring of baby’s heartbeat. I am able to cope with vocalization and Phil and Suzanne doing counter pressure on my back. Around 10:30, Suzanne has me do an inversion exercise and some squat leans to reposition baby. Contractions range from 4-7 minutes apart. I also spend some time sitting on the toilet and this helps progress the effacement.
Side note: Ironically, even without the epidural, I am unable to pee for several hours afterwards. The postpartum nurse makes me some special tea combination, encourages me to walk around, and threatens a bladder scan and catheter if I’m unable to pee by 10 pm. Luckily, the tea does the trick! I am now one week postpartum and haven’t experienced any complications, just the normal swelling.