on May 6th when i found out i was pregnant, i couldn't have been more shocked or surprised, but once that wore off the joy and anticipation for what was to come was more than i knew what to do with. On august 16th when we found out "it's a boy" and we picked the name 'Wesley' i didn't think i could be more thrilled. On January 9th when i knew the contractions were "real" and not just a cruel trick to get my heart pumping, i couldn't imagine what the next 27 hours would be like; after years of reading birth stories online and watching "a baby story" on tlc it was finally my turn...
I went to bed at 10pm on Wednesday January 9th with mild contractions that had been coming off and on for a few hours, but i wasn't getting my hopes up, i was 2 days past my due date and had already gone through a couple bouts with false labor. almost as soon as i was in bed the contractions started coming at a very consistent rate. i kept glancing at the clock and thinking "man these feel quick...". after half an hour i got up and grabbed my phone off the charger and started using my "contraction timer" app. Dean came to bed at about 11:30 and my contractions were averaging every 6-7 minutes and lasting 45-65 seconds... and they felt completely different than any contractions i had previously experienced. I tried to relax and go to sleep, but sleep wouldn't come...only contractions that seemed to get more painful each time... after tossing and turning for another hour i got up and went in the nursery to sit on a yoga ball and try to let Dean sleep. 1am, 2am, 3am, 4am.... i climbed back in bed at 4:30am after hours of non-stop contractions and every imaginable position a yoga ball and rocking chair can offer... i contractions started becoming less frequent, but not less intense, every 7-10minutes but lasting 65-70 seconds. I got up to pee at 5:45am and could see the dawn trying to peek up out our bathroom window. I prayed for sleep. I got back in bed and the next thing i knew i was waking up to Dean's alarm and another contraction at 7:30am...i had slept! Not incredibly restful, but sleep it was! Dean asked if i was still having contractions and when i said "yes. right now!" He said he wouldn't be going to work and we both snuggled in and tried to sleep for another hour and a half. We staggered out of bed at 9 and tried not to be as tried as we felt. I had my 40 week Doctor appointment scheduled for 10:30 and figured we could wait until then to figure out if it was false labor or not... we packed up the car with the hospital bags and car seat just in case...
|just before leaving for the hospital. 40weeks 3days|
By the time we arrived at the clinic for my appointment my contractions were pretty inconsistent, but not any less painful. my (incredible, amazing, awesome) Dr checked me and i was 3cm and 80% effaced... she said it was safe to say (based on the night before) that i was in active labor!!! Woo-hoo! she called Labor & Delivery and they had no patients and said i could come over and get checked in! Dean and i made our way from the clinic to L&D with small talk and both secretly wondering what was ahead for us that day... baby time?! now? really?
We got checked in to our room and answered the nurses questions as she hooked me up to a fetal heart rate monitor and contraction monitor. Dean was a week overdue for a hair cut and since Dr Goodwin said it would be an hour before she could come check me and see how things were progressing i sent him off for a haircut and to grab a couple random things from home!
He came back with a nice haircut and my laptop... we needed to watch a video to get "in the mood" for what was ahead...
Now, i have always been and advocate for "natural child birth" and had recently watched the documentary "the Business of Being Born" and it only fueled my confidence in my body's ability to have a low- no intervention child birth experience. I wasn't afraid of the pain, i knew my body was created to have babies and i was fairly confident that i could push through and handle whatever was around the corner.
Dr Goodwin came to check on me and as irony would have it... i hadn't had a contraction in about an hour... so we decided to break my water and get things moving... my husband is a bit of a comedian and decided that was called "pregnancy soup"... sure enough the contractions started up again and we walked the halls and sat on a yoga ball while they progressed. Another hour went by and my dr came back to check me again... no change. 3cm 80%. we decided that starting a low dose IV of Pitocin wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, with my water broke i couldn't go home and didn't want to be at 3cm forever...
Everyone says that Pitocin contractions are more painful and intense than without it, but my contractions had been painful (on a scale of 1-10 i was at a 8) from the start on Wednesday night. Pitocin just made them more frequent... and then started hours and hours of contractions that were 1minute apart and lasting 60-70 seconds every time. walking helped, but the contractions had me nearly on the floor. the yoga ball was comfy, but my legs would nearly give out each time. the tub was the best and helped me relax, but i needed something more to hang on to and Dean felt too far away when i was in the water. the bed was my worst enemy. no matter what position i tried i was nearly screaming in pain if i was on the bed.
Dean was the most incredible coach. He constantly reminded me to breath slowly and not to get into panic breathing patterns. i had a hard time following those directions... not having a break in between contractions made it really hard for me to focus on anything, much less breathing slowly.
The hours came and went and i was thinking that i must be having some sort of progress.... 5pm finally rolled around and my Dr came to check me... 4cm 80%. i almost fell over. i couldn't believe i was only at a 4! The next hour was a bit of a blur, but at 5:30 when i was checked again i was at 5cm 90% and that felt like a major jump... however i was nearly in tears with every contraction... my back felt like someone was throwing bricks at it and my lower regions felt like a cat was clawing at me! my Dr asked what i wanted to do... at this point i had nothing for pain and "pushing" seemed like years away. I was still determined to go with out an epidural and felt like i would be "failing" at the perfect birth if i gave in. "Just a while longer". i was determined. another hour went by slowly, with each contraction making me want to scream. Dr Goodwin came back and checked me again and nothing had changed. I was on the verge of tears! Why was it taking FOREVER!?!? We determined that i needed to RELAX... and the tub had been the only way to make that happen, so the (awesome) nurse (Laura) started the water and i bared through a few more contractions. my Dr said "i'm going home to have dinner with my family and (nurse) laura will take good care of you and call me when things change...let's try 20 minutes in the bath and then go from there. make little goals." I got in the tub and the next contraction felt ten times more intense! and the next one. and the next one. each contraction was feeling insane and the pressure in my pelvis had me writhing in pain and nearly biting my husband! I made it 20 minutes in the bath and got out and ready to be checked at 7:30. 8cm 90%. praise the Lord! i was SO relieved to have made a jump and so tired from hours of intense contractions. I powered through a couple more contractions weighing out my strength to keep going with no pain meds or get an epidural and take a break. I decided that i didn't know how long it was going to take to get to where i could push and i didn't have any energy already, and thinking about pushing sounded like climbing a mountain after swimming across Gull Lake. The (amazing) nurse Laura reminded me how long it had been and that i didn't have to be a hero... and that she rarely saw women go as long and hard as i did without begging for an epi. That was enough for me. i asked for the epidural.
By 8pm the anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself and told me "only about 20 minutes and you will be getting some relief".... well, then we got started and he discovered the curvature in my back and i could tell by his voice that meant it was going to take a bit longer. The contractions kept coming every 60 seconds and getting the epidural meant sitting in the most uncomfortable position and baring each contraction while trying to sit still and not move. i tried to keep my cool, but there was definitely a few yelps and screams. because of my spine curvature and constant contractions the anesthesiologist had to try a couple spots with the needle and catheter. After an hour, 3 needle tries, one hitting a blood vessel, hitting a nerve twice and sending when felt like bolts of lightning through my right leg the catheter was in and i had my first trial dose of the epidural... sweet relief! I could have cried from joy! The pain was gone! I still could feel every contraction, but the cat-clawing, brick throwing pain was gone! i relaxed for just over an hour and took two, mini, fifteen minute naps. my sister Carissa and our dear friends Trevor & Anna were in the hall waiting by the time the epidural was in place, so they came in and we chatted for a while. At one point i looked over at Dean, who was sitting down on the couch for the first time all day and said "oh wow, it's kind of like you got an epidural too!" He hadn't sat down to relax in over 8 hours and had been such a strong support to me through every breath and contraction. It made my heart smile to see him relax! Trevor had brought some food, so they all ate "dinner" and we talked about nothing.
10:15pm Dr Goodwin came back to the hospital and came to check me and see how things were going! She reminded me that taking the epidural didn't mean i failed or had let anyone down. She is a huge advocate for "low intervention" births and told me i was a champ for lasting SO long! She said contractions of that intensity and frequency have the average patient lasting an hour or two... not 8.... that was encouraging. We sent the crew out to the hall so i could be checked and see where we were at. 10cm 100%. ready to push!!! hooray! We did a few practice pushes and scaled back the epidural drip so i could have more control and feel more of the contractions and when they peaked and fell away.
11:00pm I was feeling each contraction much more and was ready to meet my son. the amazing Laura coached me and Dean stood by my side and the pushing began. Laura was INCREDIBLE! She had a bunch of secrets up her sleeve to help me with muscle control and pushing... i know that might sound silly, but i'd never pushed out a baby and discovering muscles you didn't know you had was kind of crazy! We tried a couple different positions for pushing and just kept with each contraction. push for a 10 count, breath and push again. I was getting 3 pushes per contraction and was hoping it helped. Dean kept checking the progress down below and would give me updates on baby's head. He was pretty interested in the whole process. At about 12:30 my Dr came in with full scrubs and glasses on... i knew this meant she wasn't leaving and i must be close! Within a couple contractions and pushes i knew he was crowning and felt the infamous "ring of fire" that i'd heard so much about! Ouch! With each push i thought for sure it was the last one and his head would be out, but not so much, everyone just kept coaching me on my breathing and telling me i was doing awesome. Dean looked at me and said, "babe, his head is RIGHT THERE and it doesn't look very big, you can do this!" He didn't know that was just the top of his head and there was a lot more to come. push. push. push. I knew i had to be getting close... between one set of contractions i put my head back to relax and could hear Dean praying under his breath. I put my hand on my belly and said "common baby, we can do this, common baby!" push. push. push. Laura was on my left and Dean was on my right each helping hold my legs and coaching my breathing. Finally Dr Goodwin looked up at me and said, "ok girl this is it, you've got this." I knew she was right, but i was feeling so overwhelmed. Laura must have sensed my fatigue and said "ok Cass, let's meet Wesley ok? let's meet your son." That was all it took. With the next contraction i pushed and felt the release of his head! I opened my eyes and saw this little face staring up at me! He was sunny-side-up! No wonder my back labor was so intense! Dr Goodwin wiped off his face and pulled the cord from around his neck. I took a huge breath and let out a victory cry/scream and with that my boy was born! 1:13am.
He was perfect.
7lbs 6oz ~ 20inches long
|his poor little head had been rubbing against my pelvic bone for 3 weeks and during delivery my pelvis didn't open too much so he had a bit of a cone head and some nasty scraps and bruises from the delivery.|
|me and my boy|
|Dr. Goodwin! SO AMAZING!|
After an hour of stitching me up (2 lateral tears and an episiotomy) and putting me back together it was after 2am and we had visitors!
|Trevor & Anna|
|we think baby looks good on them and that Wesley needs a friend ;)|
We stayed at the hospital until Sunday January 13 and were pampered and taken care of my the MOST INCREDIBLE nursing staff!
Thank you everyone who prayed and came to visit, we feel so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing friends during this exciting time!!!
*** 4-24-13:: want to read more uplifting birth stories? i'm participating in a linkup at Redeeming Childbirth . com