What a wild ride.
I could probably end it right there, but I wont lol
We again decided to not find out the gender of our baby with this pregnancy. We did this when we were pregnant with Kenley & loved the experience. I gave birth to Kenely at 37 weeks and 6 days (you can read her birth story here), so I anticipated that I would have this baby around that same time in pregnancy.
At 35 weeks we moved out of our house and the following weekend, at 36 weeks we moved into our new home! Everyone, myself included, was so nervous that I would go into labor prior to our move, or literally during it. Our families were so supportive and helpful making sure that I didn’t over do it.
My 36 week appointment revealed that I was 3cm dilated 50% effaced and -2. I left the appointment feeling sure I would probably go into labor within the next week. My doctor of course asked if I had been experiencing any contractions yet, but I was pretty certain I had only been having braxton hicks (something I never had with Kenley).
My 37 week appointment revealed I was still 3cm dilated, 50% effaced and -2. Again, feeling sure I would go into labor at any time.
Week 38 came and with it was no real change at my appointment. 3cm dilated 60-70% effaced -2. The doctor told me it was unlikely that I would really have any more change until I was actually in active labor. At this appointment a discussion I knew was coming, came. Induction. I refused for the time being, I didn’t want an induction unless it was absolutely necessary and at this point, there was no medical reason/need for me to consider induction.
Week 39 came…still 3cm dilated, 70% effaced, -2. I was offered membrane stripping at this appointment, but declined because the following day was my daughters birthday, then Christmas eve & Christmas. I knew when membrane stripping worked, it typically meant labor was 24-48hrs away. I decided that since I hadn’t went into labor yet, I wanted to hold off until Dec 27th or after. I didn’t want my kids to share a birthday, have Christmas Eve/Christmas as their birthday, be in the hospital away from my kids on Christmas, or miss our last Christmas gathering on the 26th. So I took it real easy those next few days.
At this appointment I saw a different doctor than who I normally see, they like you to rotate the providers since you don’t know who will be on call the day you go into labor and do your delivery. This provider again brought up induction. I knew we would be having this conversation and I thought I had prepared myself for it. Due to COVID restrictions Blake (who never missed an appointment through my daughters pregnancy) was unable to be with me. The visitor restriction had sucked the whole way through, but it really bothered me for this appointment. I felt like I was making such an important decision for our child and my body, all by myself. I was pretty emotional about the whole situation and had cried the majority of my way to the appointment.
I had questions……I felt like the reaction/answers I got to these questions were belittling and like I was stupid for asking them. I have very little patience for anyone that tries to make me feel stupid. Needless to say, I didn’t want this doctor to do my induction.
However, much to my surprise, this was my only option. Apparently the office has a policy in place that states you must schedule your induction with the last provider you see. Although I had seen my regular doctor for my entire pregnancy except the last 3 appointments, I wasn’t allowed to schedule with him. Plus, with the New Years holiday coming up, I was told there were limited spots available to schedule an induction, and that if I didn’t make a decision soon, I might have to wait until they had an opening (unless a medical reason for induction came up).
I left feeling very frustrated, emotional, and unsure of what to do. I knew I wanted to talk to my husband before I made any decisions, and also give myself some time to think. Ultimately we decided that if I hadn’t went into labor on my own by Dec 30th then I wouldn’t want to wait any longer to be induced, so we scheduled it.
I spent the next several days being as active as possible, doing several “labor inducing” things, and hoping & praying I would go into labor on my own. My next appointment was scheduled Dec 29th and I would get to see my normal doctor again. I was still feeling very anxious and dreading having to be induced, especially with this particular provider.
Dec 28th came and I still hadn’t went into labor on my own and still didn’t feel like I was having any “real” contractions. I truly couldn’t believe it. All this time I was worried about going into labor early, and here I was…over due. Still hoping to avoid induction I had read up on membrane stripping and asked friends for their experience with it. The responses I got were very mixed. Some said it worked for them, others said it didn’t help at all. Some said it was very painful, others said they didn’t think it felt any different from a cervix check. I decided we would give it a try, I didn’t have anything to lose after all.
Dec 29th my final OB office appointment. After the experience I had the week prior, I decided I was taking Blake to this appointment with me. I wasn’t sure the visitor policy would allow for it, but I was going to try. Worst case scenario, at least he would be outside in the car for after the appointment.
I immediately felt at ease once I got to see my doctor. We discussed membrane stripping, he recommended trying it. On my check he said I was now closer to 4cm than 3cm, but not much else had changed. When I asked how successful membrane stripping had been from his experience, he said he estimated it worked around 30% of the time. He said it was more successful for women at or past their due date and seemed to work if you were already on the brink of going into labor. Having the membrane stripping done did not feel any more uncomfortable than a cervix check to me. I did have some slight bleeding immediately after and a little throughout the remainder of the day. He told me this was a good sign that it would work.
We discussed the induction dilemma and how I really preferred to have him do my induction if I had to have one. He was more than happy to accommodate this and took care of getting my induction date changed to Friday when he would be there.
I left the appointment feeling so much better with my decision and truly at peace with it. I went home with the intention of being active and doing lots of walking. I cleaned, did laundry, and mopped my floors. I felt like I was having some contractions, but only a couple an hour. My daughter had a doctors appointment for her yearly check up that afternoon, and while we were there I started having contractions around 7mins apart. No appointment at our local peds office is ever quick, so by the time we left I’d had a couple 5mins apart. My doctor had advised, once I was having contractions 5mins apart for an hour or my water broke, I needed to head to the hospital.
We got home and honestly, I figured I would sit down and the contractions would slack off or stop. I was very afraid of being one of those people that presented to the hospital and get told “honey, you aren’t in labor”.
After being home for a bit, I could tell we needed to head to the hospital. The contractions weren’t stopping and they were getting closer together. We had to get the kids things and drop them off to my parents house so they could stay with my Dad (mom was coming to the hospital). We have a little over a 30min drive to get to the hospital. When we got in the car after dropping the kids off, my contractions were about 3mins apart. The farther we drove, the closer together and more intense my contractions got. I truly was afraid we might not make it to the hospital in time. I kept thinking to myself “shit, I waited too long”. I even called the L&D unit at our hospital to let them know I was on my way.
When we arrived, I was immediately placed in a room, got into my gown, and upon checking me I was 6cm and completely thinned. My nurse asked if I wanted an epidural and my response was “yes, but I don’t know that I’m gonna get one”….another thought I kept having on our drive “I’m gonna get there and be too far into labor to get an epidural”. Something I really never planned for, and was pretty terrified of happening. My nurse assured me she would try her hardest to get me an epidural if I wanted one; she said no matter how dilated I was, if I could hold still, they would still do one, but we had to get lab work first.
My nurse and her coworkers quickly went to work getting my admission questions done, IV started, labs drawn, and honestly I don’t remember what else. My contractions were coming one right after another, pretty much lasting until the next one started, and were the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced.
I was able to stand on the side of the bed and move around as much/far as my monitors and IV fluids would allow, but honestly nothing really helped. I can say without a doubt, that being in the bed made it worse though, I was having a lot of pain in my lower back and laying down or sitting down was pretty unbearable. Blake & mom offered to do anything that they could to help me, but I had no idea what would make me feel any better and when I’m in pain, I don’t really like to be touched. I felt like I really couldn’t control my body or get a good sense of what my body was even doing. I was aimlessly moving around, leaning on Blake, leaning on the bed, trying anything I could think of that might bring me some relief. I know that probably doesn’t make much sense….but maybe if you’ve had an unmedicated birth or labored for a long time without an epidural you’ll understand what I mean.
The nurse finally got orders from the doctor and was able to send my blood down to lab, now we just had to wait for the result and they could do my epidural. The nurse had left my room, my contractions were still coming one right after another with no break in between, and I started feeling a lot of pressure and the need to push. I told Mom/Blake they were going to have to come back in and check me because I felt like I needed to push. Blake went to the door to get the nurses attention, when she came in I was in the middle of a contraction and physically couldn’t get into the bed. She told me to not worry, let it pass, & then get into the bed. But there really wasn’t any “let is pass” because there were no breaks. She was telling me we were still waiting on my lab results to come back, and that I had two options at this point. About that time I felt my water break and I remember telling the nurse “my water just broke, watch your shoes”, she said “honey don’t worry about my shoes” quickly followed by “well, we probably aren’t going to be able to get that epidural now….” and somehow she/Blake managed to help me get into the bed.
She checked me and as she was finishing another nurse walked into the room. “Is she still 6cm?” my nurse replied “Eh, she’s a little more than that now” well, being a nurse myself I knew that was code for ‘we’re about to have a baby in here’
I can’t really remember a lot of the specifics of the next few mins, but quickly there were several people in our room and I was being told the doctor would be in, in just a moment. I still felt a huge amount of pressure and need to push, I asked the nurse at least once if I could push yet, but I guess she told me we weren’t ready yet (again I really don’t remember 100%). In a moment, I had to push, really my body pushed its self, there was no “wait don’t push yet”, it just happened and the remainder of my water shot halfway across the room. Thank goodness no one was standing directly in front of me at the time, because they would’ve been soaked (its okay to laugh about it, it’s funny now). Not that I felt great, but I felt a lot of pressure relief after the rest of my water was out. The nurses got my legs up and into position, and the doctor was there. She assured me she’d coach me through what to do, I just needed to keep breathing and listen.
When the baby was crowning and you could see the head the doctor said “do you want to reach down and feel the head” I thought she was talking to me….thinking back I realize she was actually talking to Blake but I said “Noooo” and I remember thinking to myself ‘I can feel all of this baby’s head I want to feel right now lady”. I wish I knew exactly how many minuets I pushed, but I don’t…it wasn’t long. I only pushed around 9 times and the baby was out!
“It’s a boy!” Blake said and they laid him up on my chest.
From the time we arrived at the hospital to time of delivery was 48mins.
Hollis Reid 7lbs 14oz 20inches
I’ll have a post soon comparing my epidural vs no epidural labor experiences & my thoughts on both