After several more hours of “restful” sleep with only light contractions that hadn’t been too disturbing, we woke and carried out our day as normal. Walked the dog, grocery shopping, we even went out for our “last meal” as a child free couple, which is another entertaining story all in itself. Eventually with all the walking and activities my contractions began to kick in ranging from 7 to 15 minutes apart and only lasting about 20 seconds on average. I began to notice right away that with every contraction I would have a small amount of fluid leak and the more contractions I had without using the restroom the heavier the “leaking” became. I had also learned quickly that no pad could help if I waited more than three to four contractions. It eventually would be as if I was peeing myself the moment I would stand. Hilarious it happened while in public. Lesson learned.
Staying in contact with my doula, Suzanne, we had made plans to meet Sunday. It was a full 8 hours of walking, sitting on the yoga ball, stretching, lunging, trying what seemed to be everything in the book to get my contractions to steady at the recommended 5-1-1. Whenever this happens is when I planned on getting to the Providence Women’s Pavilion, my hospital of choice. I was told that around the 72 hour mark (after my water breaking) would be a time infections could start, so by the end of the day when there wasn’t any real pick up in contractions, I started to get a little stressed. I was assured everything was going to be ok by my husband and doula.
That night I found myself sleeping in between every contraction which was around the 7 minute mark again. I woke feeling rested and sad. Sad because I wanted to do this how it was planned in my head, staying in the comfort of my home until it was time to deliver the baby and at this point was no longer an option. Sad because I felt that once checking into triage they would start me right away with drugs to get this moving and completely ignore what I wanted. All morning running through my mind was every doubt and what if imaginable. Looking for some sign of reassurance that it was going to go as planned.
Checking into triage the nurse set the tone (or what I had thought was going to be), telling me that I should have not waited at all to come in. Her belittling attitude had then turned me from stressed and sad to fucking angry. I was quite defensive for the next hour with everyone, feeling as if the rest of my nurses and midwives were going to coerce me into making changes because of my 60 hour post water break check in. Thankfully I was wrong. Once met with my care team and discussing my plans do’s and don’ts they were completely on my side and with sincerity.
I wanted a natural birth. I wanted to give birth in any position that was more natural for the body and less painful for delivering, anything that was not me on my back. I wanted to hold my baby as soon as she arrived. I wanted to sustain from cutting the cord until baby Jolene took in all of her blood from the placenta. I wanted my husband to cut the cord. I wanted to wait on giving her any vaccinations that day in the hospital. I wanted the care team to be respectful and considerate to my doula. I wanted to be the one in control of my labor and delivery period.
Once getting settled into my birthing room the suggestions of how to get the show on the road were few. Walking up and down the halls to increase contractions didn’t do as good of a job as they did earlier that weekend. Sitting on the yoga ball with my legs spread to help open up my hips, not helping either. The only thing left on our list to try was nipple stimulation. And to be honest, I am really not sure if it helped or if it was all a coincidence that my contractions were coming stronger at that point.
After a few hours, night had fallen and still no real progression. My midwife had then suggested Pitocin, which again, I did not want, but knew I had to. The 72 hour mark was close or already passed, (at this point I had lost all concept of time) and in the back of my mind I was still worried about infection. (Luckily this round of nurses and midwife accepted that I didn’t want to be checked until absolutely necessary, which kept me a little more at ease.) She explained to me that they would start me out at the lowest level (one) and every 45 minutes check to see the progress if any and only bump it up if necessary. By this time it was late, I was able to sleep for a good part of the night and the Pitocin went up to 4 by the time I woke. Things finally started to happen, I thought to myself. My contractions became stronger and closer so this must be it!
Here it is Tuesday at 7 am and the next shift of nurses and midwife have come aboard. They weren’t as laid back as my last care team. The first thing I recall my nurse saying to me “You are at a 4 on Pitocin, I am bumping you up to 6. We are having this baby on my shift.” It is too early for this bull shit, I thought to myself, and I’m 100% sure my doula saw that expression on my face as well. I wanted to cry but more so ball my fists up and knock some teeth out. 6 it is, I guess. In no time my contractions were on point, coming hard and coming fast. Too fast, since the nurse came in and turned it down. I’m looking at her with an “I told you so” face. Next my new midwife comes in sounding upset that my cervix hasn’t been checked at all since being here and she demands it to happen. FINE. WHATEVER. GO.
Found out I was at a 5. ONLY A 5? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? All the sudden contractions are becoming uncomfortable. It hurts to lie down, so I will sit. Soon it hurts to sit, so I will stand. I can handle the contractions much better when standing anyways. Several hours of standing, becoming more exhausted by the minute, tail bone feeling like it’s about to break, constant lower back discomfort, I needed something to help ease this physical stress. A bath was suggested but laying down was no longer an option, so a shower. It was luke warm at best and I regretted the whole thing once I was in.
I remember at this point telling my husband that I’m too exhausted to keep going, this needs to end. Building up tears thinking this has been going on for FOUR days, why is it still happening? Can we pause and go home for a few hours to rest? I was done. As strong as I am, I hit a point where I wanted to give up. I was incredibly disappointed in myself for feeling this way. And to be honest I can’t recall the words he spoke to me but, it was his energy. It was his love and support I had felt when he put his hands on my back and shoulders that helped carry me for a few moments at a time.
That was it; give me an epidural, whatever we have to do to end this. I can no longer hang on. My doula reminding me its ok if I changed my mind but my birth plan was to go natural. She reminded me throughout my whole labor that the toughest part is not knowing when it will be time to push. The waiting, the unknown, she was right. Everything else I had been able to handle.
Check me! How far along am I? I want this to end, help me, please. I waddled back to my bed to lay on my back for a dilation check. At this point I gave up on lying down because it was intolerable. I couldn’t lie on my back, I made it as far as my left side and I heard the most glorious words “you are at a 10, time to push.” ARE YOU SERIOUS? HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN AT A TEN?!! The nurse wanted me on my back, just a slight roll and I would be there. I think I heard my doula say something along the lines “find what’s good for you. You didn’t want to be on your back.” These people are goddamn crazy if they think I’m leaving this position. LET’S PUSH ALREADY!!
I feel as if my five pushes were completed within 10 minutes, it was truly the quickest part of the process and the less painful. I do not think anyone in the room knew it was going to be as quick as it was. My husband even left after my fourth push to use the bathroom; he barely made it back into the room before I had my last contraction, the last push before I would be holding our daughter. It was amazing and beautiful to feel my daughter come through. First her head, next her shoulders and I could feel each arm as they passed, then narrowing out I felt her hips and legs. The next thing I know I am laughing, crying, relaxed and pumped all while being handed my sweet, precious, baby.