At my 40 week appointment on July 24 we had an ultrasound that revealed that he was a BIG boy. Close to 9lbs. I wasn’t having regular contractions and I was still only 1.5 cm. My doctor said we didn’t need to talk about induction, but that conversation was coming if things didn’t start happening soon. Because he was so big there was a risk that he could have shoulder dystocia – where his head would fit through the pelvis but his shoulders could get stuck. They would then have to manipulate him, or break his arm/collarbone to get him out. Scary. I wasn’t concerned about going past my due date until I learned how big he was. Oh, and he was Sunny Side Up, which means his back was to my back and I would have back labor.
I left the appointment a little worried about what all this might mean for our delivery. The next day I went back for a non-stress test and had my doctor strip my membranes <– Not the most comfortable experience. Totally one of those…”are you done, are you done?! ” moments. For the next two days I had some spotting and cramps, but nothing consistent.
Monday July 29 I returned for another non-stress test and had her strip my membranes again. I was 4cm. We had the induction conversation. I would not be allowed to progress to 42 weeks. Having a natural non-medicated labor was never about pride or wanting to “prove” that I was strong enough. It was about having the healthiest delivery for me and the baby. We’ve always had our ideal birth plan, but were never going ignore the sings that we might need to alter our plans if complications came up. Big baby + Post date = Complications. We made an appointment for 6:30am Thursday August 1 to be admitted to the hospital, and induced. Sure, maybe I was a little disappointed, but we knew that one way or another we would meet Merfbaby by the weekend.
I had more spotting and cramping that day and into the next day. Tuesday July 30 I was having more consistant cramping so I decided to start keeping an eye on the clock to see if they got closer together. They would be about 20 – 18 min apart and then start and stop for an hour or two. Around 3:00pm I decided to start keeping track of the contractions. They were becoming more regular. At 5:00pm I started to think that it might really be happening, but I didn’t want to get too excited. I did some laundry, picked the house up. Vacuumed. I told Merfman we should probably do something about dinner, since we may not be eating for a while and could be up for the night. I wasn’t up for cooking or washing dishes so we ordered take out from Poquito Mas.
I was for sure having contractions and throughout the evening I paced the living room while we watched TV. The dogs followed me around the house which drove me crazy. I moved up to our bedroom and changed into some pjs since my contractions were still 8 – 6 min apart. I did think it was kind of crazy that my contractions jumped from 20 – 18 min to 10 min. I thought they would gradually get closer together.
Our plan was to labor at home until I was 3 – 4 min apart. Merfman came upstairs and I asked him to start timing my contractions because I was having a hard time remembering. I told him I felt sick to my stomach, like I needed to throw up. He grabbed an extra trash can and kept it close. Let’s just say I needed it a few times over the next couple of hours. Merfman was the best Coach ever and made sure I had whatever I needed. He kept timing the contractions as I closed my eyes and labored through each one.
I was so focused on the contractions and breathing (moaning) through them that I hadn’t been paying attention to see if Merfbaby was moving normally. I poked and jiggled my belly a few times, but nothing. I knew I was dehydrated, so that could be a cause for his lack of activity…or maybe he was resting up for the big show? Merfman said it was time to go to the hospital. I was 3.5 – 4 min apart on my contractions and we were a little concerned about my dehydration and that I hadn’t felt Merfbaby in a while.
We made the 4 min drive to the hospital…I know it was a short drive because I had a contraction before we got in the car and another one when he dropped me off outside the emergency room. It was 3:00am when I was admitted.
I was wheeled to the labor and delivery floor and asked a million questions as we settled into our room. So much for pre-registering?! It took forever for me to answer all the questions because I had to keep pausing to labor through the contractions. The nurse checked me and I was 5cm and fully effaced. We did good!
I spent the next few hours laboring away. I found it most comfortable to sit up in bed breathing through each contraction. The nurse hooked me up to a monitor, which I wasn’t a huge fan of since she would push and adjust the sensors on my stomach almost as I was having the contractions. She did unhook me so I was free to get up to use the restroom which was nice. I was tired and nodded off a few times during the contractions. Merfman took a 20 min power nap sitting up on the couch next to me.
After a little while the nurse suggested that I lay on my side, but I knew that would be a less ideal position for me to labor in. Sitting up felt best. She said that laying down would lower my blood pressure and take some pressure off the cord. With each contraction the cord would compress and Merfbaby’s heart rate was dropping. So I laid on my side and they gave me an oxygen mask. My contractions were much more intense and I would grab Merfman’s hand when they peaked. I sort of zoned out and lost track of time, I had to totally focus on the contractions.
My water still hadn’t broken, and the nurse told me to let her know if I felt it. At 6:45am I told Merfman I thought my water had broken. The nurse came in to check me and confirmed. At 7:15am just after the day shift nurses had arrived I told Merfman I couldn’t hold back pushing any longer. In the Bradley Classes we were taught to hold out on telling the nurses we felt like pushing until we couldn’t NOT push. I was at that point. It felt like an eternity for the nurses to come in a give me the approval to push. They told me if I needed to push and it felt better then to go for it. So I did. Pushing through the contractions felt better.
I did a few rounds of pushing, trying to get the hang of it and they called my Doctor. She arrived, checked me and said I was ready to really get pushing. I worked through each contraction, pushing and breathing. A few times I got out of rhythm and had to take a few moments to collect myself and control my breathing. After pushing for a while they pulled out some bars from the sides of the bed that I could pull down on while I pushed. My arms were SO sore from pulling and pushing for almost a week after delivery.
At 8:46am Riley made his way into the world. He didn’t take a big breath right away so they handed him off to the nursery nurse and Merfman got to cut the cord. While my Doctor took care of me, Merfman held Riley. For as big as Riley was let’s just say I didn’t suffer too much trauma ;) 2 little stitches and I was good to go.
We spent about 2 hours in the labor and delivery room, and then we were moved to a recovery room where I would be for the rest of my time in the hospital. Merfman stayed with us for a while and then went home to feed to dogs, take a nap and shower. Riley and I worked on latching and breastfeeding. Since we had a drug-free labor he was really alert and I was fortunate to have my colostrum come in right away. We spent the rest of the day resting and getting to know each other. Merfman came back to the hospital and hung out with us until bedtime. Since the couch-bed in the room was so small I knew he wouldn’t sleep well in the hospital so he headed home to take care of the dogs and get a solid night of sleep.
That first night in the hospital was a little challenging, mostly since I was sore and getting in and out of bed was tricky. We made it through the night with some sleep and Merfman brought Starbucks when he arrived in the morning :)
My doctor came to check me, and Riley’s doctor checked him out. Both of them said we were clear to head home if we wanted, but we could stay another night if we’d like. Merfman and I agreed that we would get more rest at home so we decided to head home later that day. I got to take a shower, which was both awesome and terrifying. But I felt SO much better after a shower. Riley had his hearing, heart and blood tests. Plus some newborn photos. A few hours before we went home he got his circumcision. Poor guy had a rough day.
At 4:30pm we left the hospital and made the short drive home. We were a family of 3!!!