Sorry for the long absence, but I am happy to say that Baby Jedi has finally entered the world. After a couple of weeks of recovery, I have decided it is finally time to start blogging again. And his birth story seems like a good place to start.
My due date was April 27. And I knew that he wouldn’t come on that day. I mean, almost no babies come on their due date and I was OK with that. Because of my girth and the fatigue that was really affecting me, I went on maternity leave the Thursday before my due date. And that same day, I started noticing tightening in my abdomen. Not painful, but I began to get hopeful. I was having nesting energy. I was needing to go to the bathroom a lot. I started to expect that I could finally have my baby.
And the days went by. And nothing.
Daddy Jedi would take me on walks several times a day. We spent considerable amounts of time in and out of the bedroom to get things going. Walking would increase the tightening in my abdomen, but then it would slowly decrease. This went on for 2 weeks.
The roller coaster of emotions left me at times elated that something was working. At other times, it seemed hopeless. As the 42 week mark was approaching, I began to wonder what would happen if I reached that point and still had not went into active labor. I knew that I didn’t want to end up being induced at a hospital. I also really, really, REALLY did not want to end up taking castor oil. I just have read way too many yucky stories of the effects of castor oil.
The Friday before I would hit the 42 week mark, I went out to walk by myself. It was 10 am and it was a beautiful and warm day. I walked until I was sweating. And the whole time, I kept thinking – “I am going into labor today, no matter what.” I went back inside and got in the floor on all fours while Daddy Jedi played Skyrim. I was reading while doing pelvic tilts.
Around 1, I noticed that things have started to change. I could no longer focus on my book or on what Daddy Jedi was doing on the game. I had to focus on breathing. We had already had a couple of chances to practice timing contractions, but I just couldn’t bear to time these and then have them stop again. So, instead we just looked at how many I was having per hour. By 4, I could tell they were more intense and more frequent. I started having Daddy Jedi time them, and they had now settled into a regular 45 second long duration every 5-6 minutes.
I texted my doula, letting her know what was happening. She suggested we keep timing and if things continued to increase in the same way, to call my midwife. The next couple of hours passed as I continued to experience stronger contractions. Around 7, I called my midwife to let her know I was now having them every 4-5 minutes lasting a minute long. She told me she would come check me. While we waited for her to drive to the house, I continued to breathe through the contractions. I was to the point of having to groan through the contractions, while Daddy Jedi helped fill the pool and encourage me through each one.
They weren’t necessarily unbearable. I could work through each contraction and then relax and talk. Even laugh a little.
My midwife arrived around 9:30 pm and had me lay down on the bed. That was when I discovered that laying down greatly intensified the contractions, but I was still able to breathe/groan through it. She said I was 70% effaced but still only 3 cm dilated. She told me to keep timing and working through them, but that she was going home to get some sleep as it would probably be a long night. She wanted me to call once they were steadily around 4 min apart and lasting at least a minute and a half. She also told me I could get into the pool at that point. So I wandered the house. I would sit on the exercise ball and rock. I found the most comfortable was still to be draped over something on all fours.
Around 1 in the morning, I was in the pool. I found the hot water really helped as long as I stayed off my left side. I was almost unbearable to lay on that side. I draped myself over the side of the pool and tried to relax between each contraction. But I was beginning to notice that the breaks between them I had been having earlier in the day had stopped. I was starting to hurt even when I wasn’t having a contraction.
At this point, I had Austin call the midwife and ask her to come back. She arrived around 2:30 and wanted to check me again. This time, laying down on my back was ridiculous. I would almost thrash from the pressure and pain until the contraction eased. She checked me. I was now 90% effaced, but had only made it to 4 cm. She also told me my amniotic sac was bulging through my cervix. This was hopeful, but I admit I was a little disheartened that I was only at 4 cm. I was to the point that I needed to stay in the pool as much as possible to deal with the contractions. It definitely required work. After about an hour, I was checked again. While she checked me, my water broke. And the pain amped up to 11. There was no breaks now, just continuous contractions back to back.
My doula had mentioned to me about a para-cervical block my midwife could give me to numb just my cervix. At this point, I was desperate to make progress. I requested the block, and though she encouraged me to try without it, I insisted. My thoughts were, if I can make progress to 6-7 cm without feeling it and have a break, I can probably make it to pushing. She had me lay down and gave me the block. The relief was instant. I could breathe and laugh. I got on the birthing stool, leaning forward on a stack of pillows, and tried to rest while letting gravity work on my cervix.
At the end of the hour, when the pain started coming back, I asked if we could check my progress. And the disappointment was devastating. I was still at 4 cm. One hour of pure gravity working on me and I had made what I felt was NO progress. I started panicking. How would I make it through transition when this stage of labor was so bad? I got back in the pool, but felt trapped in there when a contraction hit. I could no longer keep my moaning low pitched, rather making very high pitched yells. Standing was the only way to give myself any slack.
I asked about having the block one more time, but the only way I could get it was to make progress to 6 cm. My midwife estimated that that could take another 30 min to an hour. And I gave up. I cried and begged Daddy Jedi. I wanted to go to the hospital. I wanted an epidural. I needed the pain to stop. I have always managed pain well, I thought. But the mental defeat of no progress stopped me from being able to do anything but crying, punching, and praying for it to stop. While I could tell my midwife was trying very hard to get me to work through it, I no longer could. I lost control of my mind, which meant I lost control completely. So, after several minutes of agonizing deliberation with Daddy Jedi, I quickly got dressed while he grabbed the diaper bag and we headed to the hospital.
Stay tuned for Part 2 to Baby Jedi’s birth story . . .