My birth story with Ferris begins with an unofficial Monday visit for a quick exam on the labor and delivery floor of the hospital. The midwife I had seen the Friday before couldn’t get me a regular appointment at the clinic, so she said, “I’m working in labor and delivery on Monday, just stop by and I’ll fit you in.”
So, Monday, I waddle in, and she’s totally busy, which is what I expected. I kept myself busy in the waiting room for 45 minutes (thank God for smart phones) and she finally emerged, fresh from her second delivery of twins in 24 hours, and says there’s not much space for an exam, and would I walk back over to the clinic with her for the exam.
Finally at the clinic, she sneaks me into an unused room, and does the exam. I was expecting to be at least a centimeter or two dilated, given the number of Braxton Hicks I’d been having over the past week. And that maybe we could do a membrane sweep and get things moving.
I could tell by the way her eyes widened that she had better news for me. “You’re at FIVE CENTIMETERS.”
For anyone reading this who’s never had a baby, I will explain to you that 5cm is basically halfway done with labor. And I hadn’t felt a thing. It also means, baby is coming at any second.
At that point she figured she should do a full exam, to make sure things were ok. So, she took my blood pressure moments later, which was understandably incredibly high. She took it a few more times, and it was normal, but then I also had a wee bit of protein in my urine. So, we walked back over to labor and delivery so I could be monitored. She joked that my water could break just from that short walk, I was THISCLOSE to being in labor.
They got me a bed, hooked me up to a blood pressure monitor, and a fetal monitor. I had normal blood pressure. And regular contractions. Very regular. And because it takes about 20 to 30 minutes to get from our house to the hospital, in good traffic, they were very hesitant to let me go.
Which is about when I started actually feeling the contractions. They theorized that the exam was enough to trigger the beginning of real labor, and that this was it. Baby was a-comin’. I called my husband, who was home taking care of Bowie, who some of you may remember had conveniently woken up that very morning running a fever of 101. I had my husband finish packing up my hospital bag, and pack up a bag for Bowie and deliver him to my sister-in-law’s house, whose schedule had so thankfully been wide open for her to take my sick kiddo so I wouldn’t have to unleash that on one of the preschool families, or anyone in the hospital.
My labor was pretty manageable for the next few hours. But, I could tell things were moving quickly. I don’t recall the exact time, but a few hours before Ferris was actually born, the labor hit me suddenly, like three tons of bricks. I had been walking the halls to keep things moving steadily, and I no longer felt like I could stand during a contraction. I spent some time on the birthing ball (a big yoga ball), but eventually was so uncomfortable, all I wanted to do was lay on the bed in the fetal position (no pun intended, but fitting, yes?).
Eventually, I felt the way I did when my labor with Bowie first began–loose bowels, vomiting, the shakes, and very powerful contractions. And I remembered that during that labor, I went from 0 to 4cm in a matter of hours, and I was feeling hopeful that things had really progressed and it was almost time to push. I was in a lot of pain, and was even starting to think epidural, which I have mentioned on here before that I really wanted to do without. Brien managed to talk me out of it. But a quick exam revealed that I was “7cm, but I can stretch you to 9” and I was devastated, thinking it would be another zillion years, and more of these intense contractions than I could possibly handle.
But then, I started to feel pressure. The pressure they talk about in all the books that I never felt with Bowie because I’d had the epidural. Out of the blue, and with a giant gush, my water broke, and MY GOD, THE PRESSURE. I think I was even yelling “so much pressure! so much pressure! so much pressure!” in between my obscenities. I got scared, because she had told me I was only 7cm, that they would tell me I couldn’t push yet. Because my BODY was pushing. I couldn’t help it! My body was doing so much of the work of getting my baby out for me.
I said, “I have to push! I can’t help it!” and, she said the best words I’d heard all day, “Go ahead. Just go with it.”
Like I said, my body was doing so much of the work. But, I pushed as hard as I could, both because that made it feel a hell of a lot better, and because it’s time to push! My sweet baby boy will be here any second!
At one point, after 2 or 3 pushes, it felt to me like maybe his head was halfway out. But, shortly after that the midwife announced, “He’s out!”
I looked down, completely in shock, “He IS?!”
And there he was. A mere 6 hours after the initial exam.
The best part: I was so aware for that moment. I wasn’t groggy from lack of sleep, I wasn’t exhausted from 18 hours of labor, I wasn’t nauseous and shaking from an epidural. I was awake, aware and fully there. So. much. better.
Also, best part: no tears. Which meant no stitches. Which meant, I felt amazing just minutes after delivering. I took pain medication in the hospital for uterine cramping, not for my patched up undercarriage. This also made things so much smoother for getting up and down on my own in the hospital, and getting to go home quickly, and of course taking care of things at home. Only a week after delivery, I was dropping Bowie off at preschool, and everyone was amazed to see me there. But, I just felt so good.
I never wrote down my Bowie birth story. I wasn’t blogging yet back then, so maybe I didn’t see the point. I’d love to write it up now, but I don’t remember much of it. I remember the highlights, but so many of those 18 hours are a complete blur. I’m ever-grateful to have Ferris’ birth story fresh in my mind, and to have had a positive experience to share as well.
This picture of me was taken minutes after delivery. I hadn’t even delivered the placenta yet. What a difference from my first labor.