Since before Scout was born, I knew I wanted to write down her birth story. And I've been thinking about how to go about it for the past week or two now. We were planning a home birth, which didn't happen. And I am ok with it, really. We are both here and healthy and happy and that's really what I cared about. I know this is probably more detailed than most of you care to read, but it really is more for us than for you!
The morning of Friday, July 1st Andrew and I headed off to an appointment with our midwives. There was no internal exam this time, but the last time I was checked, a few weeks prior, I was about 1.5 centimeters dilated. Our midwife did check the baby's position and said that she was looking great, all set up in the best possible way. On our way home, we ran some errands and did a big Costco trip. Then when we got home, we cleaned the whole house, top to bottom. And no, it wasn't really nesting...we had been putting it off all week and had been saying we would get to on Friday, and am I glad we did!
I'd been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for a few weeks. Sometimes in the evenings they would get fairly regular, but they would always fade away if I tried to sleep and they were never very painful. Throughout the day as we were cleaning and running errands, I had more of the same type of contractions and didn't think much about it. We were busy getting stuff done around the house and Andrew starting building a new compost bin for us. Around 5 or 6 o'clock that evening, I noticed that I was stopping whatever I was doing each time that I had a contraction, that they were actually hurting a little bit, and that they seemed to be coming fairly regularly. When we timed them though, they varied from 5 to 10 minutes apart. After a few more hours of puttering around the house, eating, and watching an episode of Lost, we decided to go on a walk to see if they got anymore intense or if they faded away. We thought that this might be different, but we didn't want to get too excited too quick because we knew it might be awhile longer. Walking made the contractions much more painful, it was actually hard to walk through. After our walk, we watched another episode of Lost and timed contractions for an hour so that we could let the our midwives know what was going on. When we called them around 11pm, contractions were varying between 4 minutes and 8 minutes apart and were about 45 seconds long. They were definitely uncomfortable, but not unbearable just laying on the couch.
When we talked to the midwife, she suggested that I take a bath and that we try and sleep between contractions as much as possible. She said that sometimes labor that starts this way can take a long time and that we should try and get as much sleep as possible. We were both able to get a little bit of sleep, but not much. I hated sleeping in bed....every time a contraction would start I would jump out of bed and be confused at the pain. I felt like it made them worse because they would sneak up on me. The best sleep I was able to get was in the bath tub were I wasn't so tempted to jump up each time I woke up. At around 530am when the sun cam up, both Andrew and I decided to call it quits on trying to get sleep. We ate some breakfast and decided to go on a walk to see if that would help things move along. We timed contractions again when we got back and they were around 4 or 5 minutes apart and 45 seconds long still. After talking to the midwife, who said to call if anything changed and to keep doing what we were doing, and to my mom, who started driving up, Andrew and I tried to settle in. We talked, walked around the house, snacked on food, and did lots of hip swaying and ball sitting to try and help baby move down.
My mom got here around 10 or 1030 which was nice. It was someone else to talk to, and she brought us food and cleaned our kitchen. I was definitely glad she was here. The midwives came once or twice and checked me, I don't really remember. I hadn't really made much progress but the baby still seemed to be in a good position. Sometime in the early afternoon, I felt like I could sleep for a bit and I did! It was weird, the contractions just paused for a little bit and I was able to sleep for 30-40 minutes. I felt much better after. Then around, 4 or 5 pm, my water broke and contractions changed a lot. They started to hurt quite a bit, but worse than that, they came with the urge to push. I wasn't near enough dilated, but sometime during the day (I think while I was sleeping) the baby had changed positions and was now OP, with her back along my back. So for the next 5 hours, I tried to fight my body and not push. It wasn't very fun. Contractions started coupling and coming right on top of each other. The midwives started spending more time here and eventually just settled in and stayed. Because I was having the urge to push, even though I was trying not to, my cervix became very swollen and wasn't dilating very quickly. We tried lots of different things to get baby to move back to a good position. Andrew would spend 20 minutes at a time doing rebozo sifting to try and jiggle her back into position. I spent a lot of time on my hands and knees. And the midwives tried manually turning her several times. She was very stubborn.
Around 10, we had the conversation with our midwives. Andrew and I were getting tired. I was having a harder and harder time fighting my body, and we weren't making much progress. Baby wasn't moving. And her heart rate was starting to show some fluctuations every now and then. Nothing hugely concerning, just enough for our midwives to think that it would be safer for us all at the hospital and that my body might need some help getting this baby out. We were tired and I was starting to feel like I needed help. So we agreed.
It took us until 1030 to get our hospital bag together, and get me dressed and in the car. Then we had a 20 minute ride to the hospital. I was very glad that my mom was was there to drive so that Andrew could sit in the back with me. The midwives had called ahead, so when we got to the hospital they were all ready for us and I just had to make it to the room. They were very kind and let us postpone most of the entry paperwork. The hospital was a totally different experience. Everyone was very kind and considerate but there were a lot of people asking a lot of questions. And a lot of cords and people fussing over you. I was glad the midwives were there to answer a lot of the timeline and medical questions so that I could focus on not pushing and Andrew could help me. Some highlights of getting settled at the hospital:
- I was really dehydrated, despite drinking between most contractions, and it took them 4 tries to get an IV in me. Different people kept trying until the head nurse came and was able to get one in.
- The anesthesiologist was really funny. Deadpan kind of funny...I don't know if she was really trying to be funny. I was making a ridiculous amount of noise. And she had this schpeel that she was reading off to me about all of the different effects of an epidural and what is going to happen. While I was having contractions. At one point she stops and says, "Can you even hear me?" I quickly replied, "Yes" and then continued what I was doing. It was a funny moment.
- Also funny, the midwives were talking about how labor is never perfectly what you planned. That same anesthesiologist remarked that hers was because she had an elective cesarean. And then walked out of the room. We all laughed.
- I had grabbed a Tie-Dye t-shirt to wear because I didn't care if it got gross. I think we really threw the hospital staff off...coming in from a home birth and I was wearing a Tie-Dye t-shirt, I don't think they knew what to make of us at first :)
Scout was able to come straight to my arms where she spent the next 2 hours snuggling with us. During that time she was wide awake and looking around at us. It was amazing to have her with us. She nursed right away without any problems. After 2 hours or so of hanging out with us, she was weighed (7lbs 5oz) and measured (20 inches). The only issue she had from all of the pushing and difficult labor was some bruising and tenderness on her head, which went away quickly.
Around 1pm my mom came in to meet Scout and bring us food and by 3pm we were all feeling antsy to get home. It just didn't seem very comfortable at the hospital and we wanted to be home with our own bed. It took us until around 730 or 8pm to get Scout's hearing test and Vitamin K drops and be cleared to be home. It was nice to be back home, this time with baby in our arms!