At 36 weeks, I went ahead and got the house cleaned, my toenails painted and the freezer stocked because I just knew we’d be welcoming a baby within a week or two… tops. I felt my body couldn’t stretch any further. I was wrong.
39 weeks hits and I thought, WOW, it’s right around the corner- for sure! But at the doctor I was 50% effaced and though one midwife said I was 1 cm dilated, 2 other doctors assured me I wasn’t dilated at all.
And I stayed that way at 40 weeks, too. At that appointment we had to set an induction date because the doctor wouldn’t allow me to go further than 10 days overdue. How did I get to this point? I thought I’d go early.
At 41 weeks I was a bit softer- 75% effaced and 2 cm dilated! With my induction 2 days away, I had high hopes my body was kicking into gear and we’d have this baby without intervention. I was having contractions and could just feel it!
I was wrong 😉
Wednesday night, September 14th, Hubbs and I headed into the hospital. At 7:00pm they inserted the cervadil, which was going to soften my cervix. I had read that sometimes it’s enough to put you into labor, too. Again, my hopes soared!
Not long after we settled in, mom showed up with dinner- veggie pizza! And mom and dad Dixon came to hang out for a bit, too, and brought adorable pink and blue cupcakes. At this point, no one knew whether Baby D was a boy or girl. The cupcakes got a bit mixed up on the ride over, but they were still delicious!
It was nice to have the company to pass the time and calm the nerves. Hubbs and I were giddy knowing that FINALLY the day had come… even if it needed a jump start to get things going.
I didn’t sleep too much that night for a few reasons. Excitement, nerves, the saline lock in my arm (even though I didn’t need an IV – safety precaution!) and, oh yeah, the pumpkin inside my belly 🙂 At 2:30 am I woke up to contractions that were 4 minutes apart. I also noticed I felt very sore ‘down there’… almost like someone had kicked me between the legs and it had bruised. I played on my phone for about an hour before forcing myself to close my eyes and squeeze in a bit more sleep.
At 5:00am I woke up and was having contractions that were 2-5 minutes apart. I was so excited to be having contractions on my own. They weren’t painful, though I could feel them, and finally understood the ‘wave’ that people describe as contraction as. You can feel it coming on, feel the height of it and then feel the relaxation. It felt like a belt tightening around my middle.
At this point, I was up for the day and hungry. Contractions were still coming often, but ouch, I was more focused on the bruised feeling on my pelvic bone. It didn’t matter too much though, I was excited! Hubbs ran to Starbucks for some coffee (he would need it) and I begged him to bring me a turkey bacon, egg and cheese English muffin. He did, hesitantly, and suggested I not eat too much of it. Even though I could have scarfed it down, I took his advice and only had a few bites. I was glad later!
The doctor came in to check and see if I made any progress. I was a bit disappointed to hear that I was 85% effaced and 2-3 cm dilated. I hadn’t made much progress, BUT I was having contractions on my own.
At this point, the doc said we needed to get things moving. He suggested we break my water and start pitocin. I freaked out. Pitocin? I was contracting on my own! I thought we’d get to wait it out. And I wasn’t so sure about breaking my water and getting rid of the contraction ‘buffer’ right off the bat. However, the doctor said we needed to do something to move things along. My eyes opened wide and the doctor left us alone for a minute to discuss. I frantically started googling on my phone the pros and cons of breaking water, and after reading and talking with Hubbs, we decided it was best. At 7:27am we broke my water. I didn’t feel any pain, just the gush of warm water that was released. It totally feels like you just wet yourself. My heart started pounding knowing that now there was no turning back.
We agreed no pitocin, and I hoped my body would keep contracting. It did! The contractions were a bit stronger, too, which gave me hope.
I made a conscious effort to stay well hydrated and away from IV fluids.
I sat on the birthing ball, which was great. When a contraction came, I would put my head down and David would push hard against my back with counter pressure until it passed. Once it was gone, I could lift up, chat and smile like nothing had happened. I was feeling optimistic that I could do this, even though nurses would tell me that eventually I wouldn’t be smiling through them.
Dad arrived and popped in to say hello.
After a little bit, I decided I need to focus a bit more, so mom and dad moved out and it was just Hubbs and me. The contractions were coming a bit stronger by 11:30am.
The one thing I had going for me is that I wasn’t hooked up to an IV of any sorts, so I could move around freely. That was fantastic, because the only thing that sounded more painful than what I was already going through would be trying to do the same thing strapped to the bed.
I did have to keep monitors on my belly that tracked the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions, but luckily they had one that was portable. Although annoying and I would have much preferred to go without them, at least I could move.
In between contractions I talked to Hubbs, texted, tweeted and snacked on some jell-o.
The contractions kept getting more intense. Hours kept passing, but I had begun to lose track of time. At this point, the contractions were coming quickly and hitting me hard. I realized that when contractions are 2 minutes apart, and lasting for 90 seconds each, that you only get a 30 second ‘rest’, which isn’t much at all.
I was able to get into a hot bath, which is the only thing that would provide any sort of relief from the strong pressure and pain ramming into my pelvis. However, in the tub, I’d get more a break in between contractions, but when one hit, it was like slamming into a brick wall. I’d breathe deeply and whisper to myself ‘open, open, open’ as if I could talk my cervix into dilating. I spent my time going from hot bath, to walking around, then back to the bath. I couldn’t stand the thought of standing still, and sitting or laying down was not an option. All I could do was try to breathe through the contractions, which I did with some tears and moans.
I have to pause for a second and tell you how amazing Hubbs was. I wouldn’t have made it an hour without him. He never took his eyes off of me. He rubbed when I wanted him to, drew my baths, and would sit and watch me when I wanted to be left alone. I didn’t know it was possible, but I fell even more in love with him that day. I can’t imagine watching someone you love in that kind of pain, but he stayed strong, like I had asked him to, and never left my side.
At 2:00 the doctor came in to check me. The checks were the worst part because I had to crawl into bed and try to handle the contractions on my back while the doctor reached up inside. I thought that surely I had made progress because the contractions were too intense and painful to not have.
I was 4 cm dilated. And I see why people don’t want to be checked. I had hardly progressed at all, despite all my hard work. I must admit, I felt discouraged… until a contraction came, then all I could focus on was the pain.
Leading up to labor, I never referred to contractions as painful. I’d call them intense or powerful, but I tried to switch my language from using the negative word of ‘pain’, but to be honest with you, ‘intense’ doesn’t do what I was feeling justice.
Part 2, coming soon! With as wordy as I got with this story, I didn’t want to bore you with a novel of a post.