R's Birth Story (Part 1)

8.18.2015


R's birth story begins on Saturday, August 8, at 11:15 p.m.

I had been asleep for a few hours when I was woken up by a massive contraction. I immediately felt very crampy, like I was on my period. I thought I might throw up, so I got up and went to the bathroom. After peeing, I noticed some thick pink discharge. This might sound weird, but one thing I had been worried about was that I wouldn't know if my water had broken. I had heard it sounded like a water balloon breaking and was a large gush of fluid, but I also knew people whose water broke and they didn't even know it. 

I turned to Google to see whether or not sometimes the water breaking could be tinged with blood, and apparently that can happen, so I thought maybe my water had broken, albeit not with a gush of fluid. I went back to sleep, and at 12:45 I woke up with another contraction. Jordan is a really light sleeper, so I decided to get up and sleep on the couch in the living room so I didn't wake him up if I had any more.

At 2:00, the same thing happened again with the super hard contraction and fluid tinged pink. When a contraction woke me up yet again at 3:30, I decided to wake Jordan up and see about going to the hospital. I wasn't so much concerned with the contractions (clearly they weren't consistent or close together) as I was about the blood and the potential that my water had broken.

We grabbed our hospital bags and headed downtown. I was 90% sure they were going to send us home, but I figured it was much better to be safe than sorry. We arrived at the hospital about 4:00 a.m. They put us in a room and hooked me up to a monitor where they could watch contractions and listen to the baby's heartbeat.
After an hour or so, a nurse came in to check me. They told me my water had not broken and that the mucus-type fluid was me losing my mucus plug. I was only dilated to a 3, but they told me that my cervix was thinned to 80% and very soft. They also told me that according to the monitor, I was having very real, regular contractions. I could definitely feel them, but they weren't all that painful for the most part. The main issue was that I felt nauseous and crampy. 

I was asked to rate my pain on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain I've ever felt. I said maybe a 1.5, and then I started trying to think of what my gauge was. What was the worst pain I'd ever felt? I honestly couldn't think of anything I'd gone through that deserved the rating of Worst Pain Ever. (Spoiler alert: that was about to change)

At 7:00 a.m. they sent us home with instructions to come back if my water broke or painful contractions started coming closer together. When we left, the doctor told us she felt certain I wouldn't make it to my 39-week appointment in three days. We got back to the house and passed out.
I woke up around 9:30 a.m. and called my mom to tell her that the baby was coming soon, maybe today. She told me to call her if we went back to the hospital.

I really didn't want to be one of those people who gets sent home from the hospital twice, so I was determined that the next time we went would be because a baby was coming for sure. 

We spent the entire day on Sunday timing contractions. They were on average 10 minutes apart all. day. long. Literally from the time I woke up at 9:30 to the time we headed back to the hospital at 10:30 that night, we timed contractions. It was extremely annoying, because over those 13 hours, my contractions never consistently reached that 3-4 minutes range, so we were never sure if we should go to the hospital or not.

I spent the day pacing, walking circles around the house, editing a freelance book, sleeping in bursts, and we also made a Target run at once point for ice cream (hashtag priorities). I'm sure I was a sight with my giant belly, leaning against the end of the card aisle holding my side.

The contractions were definitely coming and they were definitely getting more painful by the hour (sometimes I had to stop walking to lean against the counter and bang my fist on my leg), but they weren't consistent and they weren't all that close together, so both of us were frustrated. Should we go back? Should we stay home? WHAT IS HAPPENING? Like I said, I really didn't want to get sent home twice. How embarrassing.

At 10:30, we finally decided to go back for the following reasons: 1) the contractions, although not consistent, had been coming within 10 minutes of each other for 13 hours, 2) they were increasingly painful, and 3) I knew they would keep coming all night and I wouldn't be able to sleep.

We called our parents on the way and told them to sit tight until we knew whether or not we were going to be admitted. I was trying not to get my hopes up that we would actually stay, but I was really hoping some progress had been made. They checked me right away, and I was at a 4. Then they hooked me up again, and I laid there and had contractions while they monitored me. I was praying that when they checked me again I would be at a 5 and they could admit me.

One of the doctors and a medical student came in during that time, and they had actually seen us that morning! The doctor said, "Hey, I recognize you guys. I knew you'd be back soon." Finally, they came in to check me again after an hour or so, and when she said I was at a 5 and fully thinned, I raised my arm in the air like LET'S DO THIS. Jordan immediately texted both our parents to tell them, and nurses unhooked me so we could head to a labor and delivery room.

It was 12:30 a.m. on Monday, August 10.

Before I went to labor and delivery, they asked me whether or not I wanted an epidural. I had planned from the beginning not to get one, so I told them no. It wasn't that I was opposed to it, but I didn't feel like I had a good reason to get one, and I'd heard enough botched epidural stories to make me think twice. I'd also heard it can make labor last longer since you can't feel the urge to push. But the main thing was that I had heard about how amazing it feels to feel the baby come out instead of being numb, and I really wanted to experience that. Also, if I'm being honest, my mom and plenty of other women have gone epidural-less and lived to tell about it, so a small part of me (the competitive "I Am Woman Hear Me Roar" side) wanted to see if I could handle it.

I told Jordan later that I was really surprised they never mentioned epidural again to me. My understanding from many of the birth stories I've read/heard was that even if you decline initially, they usually offer an epidural to you as an option later if the pain seems to really be taking over. But after that first time right after admitting me, they never asked me again. I later found out that while I was writhing on the bed in pain, Jordan overheard the nurses talking. Apparently the on-call anesthesiologist was three hours away, and I was dilating so fast that there wouldn't have been time for him to get there. So while I did give birth without an epidural, I have no way of knowing whether or not I would have gotten one had I been given a second chance.

I think that's where I'll leave off for now! 38.5 weeks pregnant, admitted to labor and delivery, dilated to a 5, and anticipating finally meeting our little girl in hopefully just a few hours.

Wait! Don't leave yet. Read part 2.

33 comments:

  1. Cliffhanger!!! I am loving the baby pictures - she is adorable! When I have a child one day, I fully intend to go without epidural and it's totally a competitive thing.

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  2. Good story! Looking forward to reading the rest!

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  3. man - i am tired just reading about all this! can't wait for part 2 :)

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  4. Thanks for sharing! I'm wanting to go epidural-less to for the EXACT same reasons as you. It's good to hear someone articulate my words since everyone thinks I'm crazy. :)

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  5. Cliffhanger! How will it all end? ;-) At least you showed us the last chapter first, so we know there's a happily ever after. Seriously, though, I'm amazed you managed to write any of your birth story already. You are a master of time management. I hope this means things are going relatively smoothly with your adjustment to having a new member of the family. We are eagerly awaiting for ours to arrive. 34 weeks and counting . . . Congratulations on your little "R." So happy for you!

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    1. I'd say less about time management and more just that I want to get it down before I start to forget stuff :) Your baby will be here soon! So exciting and terrifying.

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  6. I can't imagine if you had said, "YES! Give me an epidural!" while everyone stood around awkwardly and said, "Wellll... you may have to wait a few hours." Ha.

    Yay, baby!

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  7. Not all epidurals are created equal. Mine numbed me up reeeeeal nice, but I still felt the urge to push, felt the baby come out, all of that. And my labor didn't slow down at all. Best of both worlds?

    I can't wait to hear the rest of this!! Now that I'm on the other side of birth, I love reading birth stories. I hope you're recovering well and feeling alright! You made it past the first week. That was the hardest part for me.

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    1. That does sound like the best of both worlds. Usually I either hear that they couldn't feel anything at all or the epidural didn't even work and they felt everything. I have a friend who said hers made her really sick and then afterwards she couldn't use her legs for a few hours. Another friend who had her baby the day before me said hers had a "window" where she felt nothing and then all of the sudden felt it, and then didn't... that sounds worse than just feeling all of it!
      I figured I'd take my chances on my own. But yours does sound like an awesome mixture. I might go for one next time, though. It was so, so painful.

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  8. Wait... you can't just stop there! I SO want to know the rest. Loved reading every word and you don't life in the MIDDLE of nowhere - 3 hours away? Seriously - so confused?

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  9. I guess the marathons were preparing you for something! I've never had an epidural, but it seems like I have to qualify that by saying that my labors were pretty darn short. For me, it was the whole needle in the spine thing. Glad you didn't need it, though, cause sounds like you would have been in a pickle!

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  10. What a tease! Just kidding :)

    I didn't have an epidural, but did have an intrathecal shot which is like a one time epidural but it doesn't stay in your back. It eventually wore off because my labor was so long (the meds stopped my contractions, so yea - there's truth to that), and I ended up having an almost med-free birth. Not my choice or how I wanted it to go, but we all survived! Can't read to hear the rest of your story!

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  11. Omg no freaking way could I do it without an epidural. Not that I've ever tried either way. Just saying. That thought alone scares me half to death.

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  12. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!! I've never been in your situation, but I can imagine I would feel the exact same frustration with not wanting to go back just to be sent home...again! Ugh! And holy moly on the doc being 3 hours away...good thing you said no! :)

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  13. Oh my goodness! Birth stories are my favorite. I was hoping you'd have an August 9th baby ;) one of my favorite days of the year. Hehe! Sounds like you handled it like a champ so far!!!! Can't wait to read the rest.

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  14. Because I'm a freak and could remember what time she was born, as soon as I saw 12:30am I was like oh snap! She's going to come fast! (I mean, from admitting time. Not discrediting the previous days work) can't wait to read the rest :)

    Also, non epi high five!

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  15. Can't wait to hear part 2! Also, respect for you going out to buy ice cream while in labour. Talk about dedication!

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  16. ahh you left me hanging! can't wait to read more! you are brave for saying no to an epidural. can't wait for part 2!

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  17. Oh my goodness, CONGRATULATIONS!! R looks so precious :)
    Also, I'm DYING to hear the rest of your birth story!

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  18. Eek!!! I need more! Seriously, my addiction to birth stories is alarming.

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  19. I always make the mistake of not waiting until all the parts are out so I can read everything at once! Haha can't wait to hear the rest!!!

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  20. So looking forward to the rest of the story! And I am pumped that you went without an epidural! Go you! I've done one birth with one and one birth without... I think I kind of had to prove it to myself that I could do it all natural. It was also awesome to be able to get up and walk around almost immediately afterward, shower earlier, and just feel more like my normal self! The epidural kept me in bed for quite a long time after my baby was born... So I kind of hope any future births are natural too... But I won't deny it, it is INTENSE feeling it all, especially at the end, right? It's a good thing these babies are cute :)

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  21. Aww, I love a good birth story! You are hilarious. Hmm, I'm labor. What should I do? How about edit a book? :)

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  22. I loved reading this first part of your story and I can't wait to read the rest! I usually skip birth stories, but you have a way of telling stories that gets me hooked! :)

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  23. I love reading birth stories....what is it about us mothers that we never get tired of hearing them? I'm so glad you decided to share yours! Looking forward to chapter 2.

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  24. As I already figured, you're a rock star. I think I'll definitely be opting for the epidural, but it's interesting to know that you couldn't have had one even if you had changed your mind! Also, I'm extremely curious about R's name now...haha. Can't wait for part two!

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  25. oooh can't wait to hear more! love the ice cream and i am woman hear me roar ;)

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  26. Girl! You gave birth without an epidural?! Go you! I am so looking forward to reading part two!

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  27. You are woman! Hear you roar! (a.k.a. I definitely want the epidural if I have kids. Haha.)

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  28. I totally agree in the no epidural mentality haha I have it too. Also I don't want to be one of those people that has to get sent home twice either- I don't envy your situation at all!

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  29. I plan on getting my doula certification in the next year or so, so I'm OBSESSED with birth stories haha. I am going to continue reading, but just wanted to comment that I denied my epidural and they did offer it to me again. I had it on my birth plan for them to only give me one if I specifically asked, but as I approached transition she offered it to me and I ended up getting it because the pain was crazy. Thankfully, I actually ended up delivering less than 2 hours later, so I actually felt a lot of delivery! The crowning was unreal, but man was it such a high when she was born. The stories you read about people literally feeling high are so true! Ok, off to part 2! :)

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  30. love that you admit to the I AM WOMAN part of not wanting an epidural :P my mom had one with me and asked for one with my little sister, but the anesthesiologist was tied up and she didn't get one!

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