Maddox’s birth did not go the way it was intended but I knew there was always a chance of things going very differently than I had initially planned.
The Friday night before labor and birth, I was lying on the couch with Dave. I kept getting light Braxton-Hicks-like cramping yet more consistent. It was uncomfortable but not worrisome. I told Dave and he said, “You’re going to have the baby tomorrow.” I said, “No way.” I was already 3 days past my due date but I had no idea when he was planning his arrival.
At 3am on Saturday, I awoke to pretty regular contractions. They were uncomfortable rather than painful. I was timing them at 6 minutes apart already. They were light so I wasn’t sure if I was beginning labor or not. But they continued and around 4am, I woke Dave to let him know what was happening. We both waited with anticipation until I realized this wasn’t a false alarm.
Around 5am, I called the hospital to see if they wanted me to come in. I waited for the on-call doctor to call me back. They didn’t (until an hour and a half later!) so I decided to go to the hospital anyway. 3 days overdue and signs of labor? Dave and I excitedly packed and headed out. The contractions were beginning to increase in strength and the time apart was getting closer together.
We arrived at the hospital around 6am. I felt good even though the contractions were becoming worse. After taking me into a room with a few beds hidden by curtains, hooking me up for an NST, and asking me questions, a doctor eventually came in to check my cervix. My contractions, at this point, were 4 minutes apart, increasing in strength, and much more painful.
Dilation was only at 2cm. The same as it was at my previous, Wednesday, OB appointment. No change. All these contractions, all this work, and no change. It was 8am at this point. 5 hours with no change seemed absurd. I became discouraged and started to focus on the pain. They checked a couple more times while I was there and still, no change so they sent me home. I felt my body was failing me. I knew my plan to have a natural birth was crashing in front of me. The pain was unbearable and nothing was progressing. How long would I be in this pain for? There was an overwhelming feeling of not having control. At 10am, we were discharged. I went home and labored. I laid in bed. I moaned in bed. I sat in the bathtub with a pillow. I moved. I walked. I crouched. I hurt. I tried to sleep. They came in 4 minute waves and were getting closer together, more painful.
12pm. 3 minutes apart. Strong. 9 hours of laboring already. I told Dave that we need to go back. This time, they admitted me. After settling in, another cervix check was done and I was still 2cm. Again, I was discouraged and mentally exhausted. It was hard to focus on pain management when you felt your body wasn’t working with you. Dave tried to calm me down and help me focus on my breathing.
At about 5:30pm, I was dilated to 5cm. 14 hours of labor. I was finally able to get the epidural if I wanted. And I did. Although I was breathing well and handling the pain as well as I could, I was emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted. 14 hours had already passed and I didn’t know how much longer I would be laboring for before he decided it was time to make an entrance. I made the choice that was most suitable for my situation. Even though it wasn’t my plan, I was much more comfortable and happy afterwards.
At around 7:30pm, the doctor decided to break my water at 7cm. Not too long after that, the nurse came in and started prepping everything. The lights were down, the warmer was up and running, they got their gowns on. At this point, everything became real. I would meet my son soon. At around 8:40pm, the doctor checked my cervix again and Maddox was ready to enter the world. It took about 5 minutes for everyone to get ready and in position. At about 8:45pm I started pushing when I felt pressure. Dave was the greatest support I could have had by my side. He held my head, my legs, my hand, and looked at me with stars in his eyes. 10 minutes later, Maddox was earth side. Born 5/2/15, 8:55pm, 8lbs 2oz 20in.
I saw his vernix filled face and heard his beautiful cry before he was taken to the warmer to be cleaned off while the nurse started working on patching me up and massaging out my placenta. Dave went over, held his hand, took pictures, held him until he could be brought over to me. He laid him on my chest so I could breastfeed and we latched eyes and I was in love. I felt such peace, such calm with him on my breast, skin to skin, eyes locked. He was beautiful and all mine. All ours.
At some point, they told me that he would have to spend the night in NICU. I looked at Dave and felt my heart explode. I had a fever during labor and after. Since I was GBS+, and he had a small fever, they wanted to start him on antibiotics, do blood tests, and keep watch on him. We were able to spend some time with him but then they took him and moved me to our postpartum room. Dave got us food and passed out around midnight/1 o’clock. It was difficult to sleep even though I was so extremely tired. I just cried for a little and had a couple naps. At around 5am, I called to see how he was. He was good and would probably be back with us later that day. And he was!
This is not the natural birth I had wanted but it’s mine, Maddox’s, and Dave’s story and it’s incredible nonetheless.
Just an important note: Dave was extremely incredible the entire time. I couldn’t be more grateful or thankful to have had him there with me. He held my hand, he started and drained multiple baths for me, he looked at me with concern, he helped keep my breathing steady, he breathed with me, he told me I could do this when I thought I couldn’t. Knowing he was in the room made me feel so safe and so secure. Having his warm hand on mine during the waves of pain helped root me. He was a very important piece in my labor and birth. I don’t think I can thank him enough for being so wonderful and so supportive.