My estimated due date this pregnancy was July 4th, and on July 3rd as we were enjoying Independence Day festivities I was having lots of pelvic pressure and discomfort, but nothing that had a consistent pattern. The next morning we went for a hike with the kids. We came back home and the kids played with sprinklers in the backyard and I stepped inside to find that I had lost my mucous plug. I had some mild contractions around 10 p.m. as we were watching fireworks out the back patio door. We went to bed.
I woke up around 2:00 a.m. with contractions. I would sleep a little, wake up and note the time, sleep a little, wake up and note the time. At some point I was concerned I wasn’t timing accurately because I was so sleepy. I woke Jason up around 3:00 a.m. to time a few contractions. They were about 5-6 min apart and lasting 60s. I decided to get up and take a shower. During my shower I would lean forward onto the shower wall to have a contraction and glance at the clock on our bathroom counter, then go back to showering in between contractions. The clock on our counter switches back and forth between time and date, so I thought contractions were about 4-5 min apart, but couldn’t be sure. I got out of the shower and began to blow-dry my hair. I’d have a contraction and get on hands and knees on the floor, then stand up and blow-dry my hair until the next contraction, then back onto the floor I’d go. I finished drying my hair and decided to wake Jason to time contractions a bit more accurately. This was around 5:00 a.m.
At this point contractions were between 3-4 min apart and very intense. I crawled into bed on hands and knees as that was the only position that was at all comfortable. Contractions were intense and I needed Jason there with me during each contraction. Jason called his mom around 6:30 a.m. and called the hospital right after to let them know we would be coming in. At some point after this call I remember feeling super irritable and said to Jason, “I am going to be SO angry if we get there and they tell me I am only 2cm!” (In hindsight, to Jason and anyone else who had taken Bradley Method classes, my behavioral and emotional state was a hallmark sign of transition!) During contractions, Jason would apply counterpressure on my low back and hips, in between contractions I could hear him running through the house throwing our last minute items from my list into our bags. Contractions were now coming every 2-3 minutes.
At some point he asked me, “should we just stay here? Is it too late to go?” I remember running through midwives and doulas I knew lived in the area that I might call because I knew baby was coming soon, but I decided no, that we should stick to our plan. My mother in law arrived around 7:30 a.m. and I remember shuffling from our bedroom through the kitchen and past her on our way to the car. I had one last contraction leaning on the passenger seat before getting in and let out a curse word with that one. I then got in the car, reclined the seat all the way back, lying on my left side to try and slow things, and we were on our way.
We got only about 2 minutes into our drive and my body started to push. I was humming through contractions trying to resist the urge to bear down. About halfway into our 35 min drive to the hospital, Jason called L & D again so they could hear me humming through contractions trying not to push and occasionally making involuntary pushing sounds during a contraction, and so that he knew exactly where to park so we could get right in. They told us to come to the emergency room entrance door.
We arrived at the hospital at 8:19 a.m. and Jason said he was going to run in and get someone – to which I quickly replied, “No you’re not!” and at that same time the emergency room entrance doors opened and we were met in the parking lot with an EMT and a doctor pushing a wheelchair. I somehow managed to get into the wheelchair and off we went into the hospital. There is a long hallway back to Labor and Delivery, and it was kind of a blur, like a long white tunnel with nurses standing holding doors open along the way. We got into our room and I moved onto the bed and requested a cervical check, because although I knew I was complete based on what my body was doing, I wanted the birth team to realize that birth was imminent. Our midwife had not yet arrived, and the doctor on call said he would do a check and began putting on gloves as the nurses were going about placing an IV (I had consented to the administration of anitbiotics due to testing positive for Group B Strep, but knew that there was not going to be enough time to administer). No one seemed in a hurry, but I knew baby was coming quickly.
After what felt like decades, the doctor turned to check me and my water broke - baby’s head was right there. The doctor said, “Get me a gown!” And everyone began moving more quickly. He gowned up and the nurses started to put the stirrups up. Jason says I had an actual physical reaction at the sight of stirrups, pulling away and saying I didn’t want to push that way. The birth team was great and asked what position I’d like to be in. I moved to my left side and pushed with the next contraction and baby’s head and presenting hand was born. The doctor grabbed scissors and Jason was worried that he was cutting an episiotomy to allow for her shoulders to come out. Thankfully this was not the case. Apparently Maevyn had a nuchal cord that he felt needed to be cut. Maevyn was born with the next push at 8:31 a.m.
They placed Maevyn immediately on my chest and she stayed there for an hour or two as we initiated breastfeeding. Our midwife had arrived about 5 minutes after Maevyn was born, sharing that this was the first birth she ever missed, but she stayed and made sure all was well with me and with babe.
During third stage I remember the on-call doctor saying, “I know you had a birth plan – what were your preferences for third stage?” and I replied “Expectant management.” I was very pleased that in this scenario when things had happened quickly at the hospital that the birth team was still attentive to and respectful of my birth preferences.
Shortly after Maevyn was born we noticed that the nurses had begun to hang bags of antibiotics to administer through my IV. We reminded them that this would no longer be needed since baby had already been born, and we requested to remove the capped IV. Per our plan, my midwife measured blood loss and I did not need Pitocin in third stage. The placenta was out in about 30min after her birth. I had requested no cord traction. Once it had released and was right at the vaginal opening I did consent to the provider gently assisting it in sliding out, but I was pleased with the patience of the provider in not rushing the process.
This was by far my most comfortable birth, and I credit Bradley Method knowledge and techniques, bodywork, and a consistent integrated prenatal yoga practice throughout my entire pregnancy with a comfortable and efficient birth.