On Sunday, September 1st I was lying in bed and trying to get some rest. It was 10:30 p.m., and I had minimal signs of pre-labor, but I had a feeling something was going to happen soon. I felt my first contraction and tried to fall asleep knowing that something might happen, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to. The contractions were different from others I had previously, so I knew right away I was in early labor.
Eventually the contractions became uncomfortable enough that I couldn't relax much between them. I labored throughout the entire next day, which was Labor Day--the day I secretly hoped to give birth because I thought it would be corny and funny. The contractions slowed at about 7:00 p.m., and I feared they would stop completely, but I was very wrong. I didn't want to wear myself out, and I hadn't slept for long the night before, so I decided to go to the store with my husband and get something to take the edge off my discomfort.
Right after getting in the car, my contractions picked up again. I had a contraction in the car, one in the bathroom of Pick ‘n’ Save, and one on the drive home. Once I got home, I checked my e-mail and ate some Skittles. At one point, I was reading something online and I started to get a contraction. I continued eating, but the contractions were becoming difficult to ignore, so I started humming and making a “Mmmm” noise. Brad looked over at me and asked, “Are you moaning because of a contraction or those Skittles?” I genuinely replied, “Both.”
I didn’t sleep at all on Monday night either. My contractions became longer, even stronger, and much closer together. At about 4:00 in my morning they were constantly two minutes apart, and I started to feel a really strange urge to push, which made me a little scared. I told Brad we should go in to the hospital, so we called Sabrina, our doula, and she met us there.
When we got to the hospital, I had to go to triage straight away. We waited patiently while they checked my vitals, looked at the baby’s heart rate, and checked how far dilated I was. I was about 3 to 3 ½ cm dilated, and the reason I felt the urge to push was because I was having back labor. I didn’t think anything of the fact that I felt the majority of the pressure in my back, despite the research I had done earlier. They admitted us, but we only stayed for a little while. I told them I would like to leave and go home until later (in an effort to avoid induction since I wasn’t dilating quickly.)
The ride home was when the contractions started to become fairly difficult to mentally block. I hadn’t slept since Sunday, and I needed to eat. Brad made me some eggs while I continued to work through some of the surges in the living room, and I ate about half the eggs before I knew I needed to start becoming creative with easing my discomfort. They continued to stay about 3 minutes apart, and at 9:00 a.m. I needed to get to the doctor’s office for an appointment with my midwife anyway. It was certainly another difficult car ride since I hated sitting down with the back labor, and I knew I would have to get through the contractions in public, and I was sure most people panic when they see or hear of a woman in labor. (I think it’s because of Hollywood’s portrayal of childbirth.)
The appointment went fairly well. My midwife cleared me to go home again as I wished. I was starting to become a little fatigued (even though I was able to catch a couple moments of deep relaxation between surges in the early parts of labor.) We stayed at home as long as I could handle to stay. I started vocalizing my discomfort, and I’ll admit that I used profanity a couple times. Mostly just the “S” word, though.
On Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., I told Brad that it was time to go to the hospital. I had to be so close to ready by this point. We were taken to triage again. The contractions were still two minutes apart, and my favorite laboring position was when I was on my hands and knees. (This was because Audrey was posterior.) They did all the normal tests, but before they were done they agreed to admit me, so I was taken to one of the laboring rooms.
I held on for a little while longer before weighing my options and deciding to get an epidural. I was exhausted, and using medication was my last-resort, but I knew that it would be better to allow myself to sleep and have enough energy to push than to risk other interventions because of fatigue. Although we were told it would take about 40 minutes to get the epidural, it took about two hours. I was antsy at the time, but looking back on it the time actually went by pretty quickly!
After getting the epidural, I was able to rest. They checked my cervix and I still hadn’t made much progress. I agreed to have them break my bag of waters. After breaking my bag, I went to sleep for an hour. When I woke up, I was 10cm dilated and ready to push! Since I had fallen asleep on my left side, my epidural wasn’t very strong on my right side. I was able to feel which helped me with movement and pushing.
My midwife left the lights off as I requested, and my support team used flashlights. I pushed for about 20 minutes, and at 4:29 a.m. I saw Audrey appear. I reached down, grabbed her, and pulled her out and up on my abdomen. Audrey was born at 8 pounds, 5 ounces, and 19 inches long. The first thing my doula said to me was, “Wow, mamma, that is one big baby.” I was speechless for a few moments, but I looked up at Brad and, for whatever reason, the first thing I said was “Her earlobes look great for piercing.”