Posted by: Meags on: July 20, 2011
The whole thing really started on June 24th at midnight. I started having contractions about ten minutes apart. Before then, I’d had maybe 2 or 3 Braxton Hicks contractions. Unfortunately, the whole thing made it so I got next to no sleep that entire night. They didn’t hurt at all though, which made it difficult to time because I could really only tell I was contracting if I left my hand on my stomach and poked it occasionally. The midwives had said to call if I got 4 in an hour, so between 3 and 4am, I counted the number of contractions, and got 7. Just before 4, Mike woke up to go to the bathroom and I asked him if he thought I should still call even if the contractions didn’t hurt. He was concerned, and said that I should, so when 9am rolled around, I called and asked. They wanted me to come in, so I got ready and left. They did an internal exam and found that I was 2cm dilated and 60 or 70% effaced. Woohoo! They said there was a chance that I was either in prodomal labor or that I could be having a baby soon! I was pretty excited…. until that evening, when the contractions all but disappeared.
Over the next week, the contractions happened occasionally, but it was pretty unexciting for the most part. On a few occasions it felt like they were picking up steam, but then they would wind down and nothing would happen.
While getting ready for bed on July 11th, I looked at Mike while we were brushing our teeth and told him that I’d decided that we were having this baby the next day. I’m not sure what he thought about that proclamation; I know that I didn’t really believe myself, but I was really hoping that it would be true. So we went to bed.
At midnight, I woke up with more of the same contractions. I didn’t bother to time them, but I was suddenly hungry, so I got up and used the restroom and got myself a snack. I was also having some light cramping so I decided to bounce on my yoga ball a little bit and relieve the discomfort. I tried to go back to sleep but I wasn’t really able to. After a second snack and another trip to the restroom, I decided that more yoga ball bouncing was in order. As I went to go sit on it, I felt a gush of warm fluid. I thought it might have been my bloody show, but then it gushed some more. My water broke! I briefly paused in the bedroom wondering what to do to stop the flow, then I waddled to the living room and grabbed one of our old towels from the linen closet. I waddled back to the bedroom and turned on my bedside light. “Mike! My water broke!” Usually, it’s a little difficult to get him to get up but his head jolted up. This was around 3:30 am.
We weren’t totally ready, so Mike got to work cleaning out the guest bedroom so that his mom could actually get to the bed because she was planning to spend a couple of days with us. I called the midwife on call, twice, but she didn’t pick up. So I called a different midwife, the one who had been seeing me at most of my appointments. She was on vacation that week, but she told me she wanted to be there so I could feel free to call her. I told her that my contractions were about 4 minutes apart but not all that painful. She told me to take a shower and try to rest at home, so that’s what I did while Mike started getting things ready. We wanted to pack up a few food and drink things to take with us, and we’d left that until the last minute. An hour or two later, my contractions were picking up. I had Mike call the midwife back and tell her that I was starting to be quite uncomfortable. I’m not positive, but I think my contractions were starting to get a little closer together, and definitely more intense. I was worried about hitting transition in the car, so luckily she told us to go ahead and meet her there at the birth center.
Mike packed up the car and I grabbed a bucket (I was feeling nauseated) and some towels and waited in the car. Our bag was already packed and in the car, and the carseat was installed, so just the food things and putting Suzi in her crate and we were ready to go. The drive was a little rough, but we made it to the birth center around 6:30. My contractions seemed to be around 2-3 minutes apart. I went into the birth center and met Mary, the student midwife. She brought me to one of the birthing suites in the back and got my vitals, and had Mike time a few contractions.
Melissa, the midwife, arrived, and they checked me. I was already 5 cm and 100% effaced, so they told me I could labor in the tub for awhile, which was already filled with warm water. It felt really good at first, but as the contractions got stronger, it started to feel suffocating and hot. I threw up a couple of times. Eventually, I got out of the tub and got on the bed. I threw up again. They started putting cold wash cloths on my neck and forehead and it felt good. Not much later, I felt the urge to push. It wasn’t very strong, but I was so uncomfortable, my mind wanted to push very badly. I got back into the tub and tried to push but couldn’t find the point to push toward. They put a birthing stool in the tub and I tried to push on that and it was helpful, but I was still feeling really hot and uncomfortable. They checked me again and listened to the baby’s heartbeat using the Doppler, and it was very uncomfortable. I was feeling a bit hysterical, but Melissa helped calm me down. Not long after I got out again and got back on the bed to push more. I was so exhausted, it was hard to push. We ended up getting into a modified lithotomy position for pushing, where I could rest on my side in between pushes. Mike got me some orange juice to drink to help get up my strength since I’d thrown up all the food I’d eaten.
After two hours of pushing and some sharp pain (from tearing), our baby, miss Parker Emily, was on my chest at 11:12 am. It was the most surreal thing I have ever experienced. She was wide awake and alert, looking at me. They put a towel over the two of us and suctioned her mouth and nose. She had swallowed a little bit of meconium, so she was a little raspy, but soon started a healthy cry. We got her to breastfeed about 20-30 minutes after her debut, and she sucked heartily. I was feeling really good, too, despite the tear. They got to stitching me back up. The tear was pretty bad, about a 3rd degree. Her shoulders were so big!
The trouble started about two hours after the birth.
My placenta still hadn’t detached. They gave me a bunch of herbs and medicines in order to cause it to detach but the midwives were getting concerned. The longer the placenta stays in, the more risk there is for postpartum hemorrhage. Since it wasn’t detaching on its own, the midwives had to manually go in there and remove it. It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced. She literally had her hand in my uterus, pulling an organ out of my body. And then after it was out, which was about 5 minutes of radiating, sharp pain, she had to go in again and remove a blood clot that was stuck in my uterus. They gave me the full round of drugs to stop the hemorrhage: Pitocin, Cytotec, etc. However, I still lost a ton of blood – about 3-4 lbs according to Mary. My blood pressure went way down and I was really dizzy and in pain. A few hours after the placenta removal, they tried to help me sit up but I fainted. They kept squishing my stomach down and blood would just keep pouring out. It was awful.
The scary part that Mike and I were talking about after I had recovered a little was that without modern medicine, I could have died from losing all of that blood. I’m so grateful that I had such great care. It’s now over a week later, and I’m finally able to get up and around without help. I still can’t overdo it because I get tired easily, but slowly but surely I’ll make a complete recovery. And of course, Parker is beautiful and in perfect health! I’m glad that I was able to deliver med-free for her sake, she’s doing wonderfully.