On March 5th, I went to bed around 9:30PM thinking that I couldn’t believe that tomorrow was my due date! I didn’t have high hopes that our son would come “on time,” so I didn’t think much of it. During the night, I started feeling what I would describe as “period-like” cramps. They would wake me up once in a while, but for the most part I slept through them. At 5AM I woke up to use the restroom and low and behold there was my bloody-show (this is as graphic as it gets, don’t worry). I honestly didn’t know how much blood was okay, so I called the midwife on call and she said the amount I saw was okay and hopefully it meant that my cervix was preparing for labor. I had an appointment scheduled for 9:45AM so I figured the midwife would check me then and let me know what was going on.
While waiting for appointment time I started having mild contractions and I was timing them at about 4-5 minutes apart and around 40s in length. They were pretty consistent so I started to get excited that today might be the day (my due date no less). Ben decided to stay home from work and come to the appointment with me, and we packed up everything and put it into the car just in case. At the appointment the midwife checked me and said I was 1cm dilated, 80% effaced (thinned out), and baby’s head was in station +1. She said I was in early labor and wouldn’t be surprised if I gave birth within the next 24-48 hours. She said to go to the hospital when my contractions lasted 60s or more. Ben and I were stoked at that point, but didn’t want to get our hopes up.
After the appointment we decided to get Mongolian BBQ for lunch, and all the while the my contractions started to get stronger, but not longer. I think I scared the waitress at the restaurant because when she came over to our table to give us our check I was breathing through one. Haha!
After lunch, Ben and I decided to take a long walk around our neighborhood to get things going. At that point the contractions were still around 40s long and about 3-4 minutes apart. After our walk, we decided to relax on the couch and watch TV until something else changed. Things started to get even more uncomfortable so I told Ben I wanted to go on another walk. After that walk, still no timing changes, but again, my contractions were getting stronger.
Then around 7PM, after enduring contractions for over 12 hours, but still not reaching the magic 60s number, I got to the point where I needed to call the midwife again to discuss going to the hospital. On the call, she listened to me go through a contraction and she said that I should head to the hospital, so that’s what we did.
Once at the hospital, we were immediately checked into a labor and delivery room. Nell, the midwife came in and checked me. I was 3cm dilated and still 80% effaced, in early active labor. Some progress, but I was expecting more. Em Lee, the RN gave me some great tips for getting through the contractions as they continued to get worse, and I thank her SO much. About 3 hours later, Nell came back in and checked me once again. This time I was 4cm dilated. Just a 1cm change in 3 hours? I was so bummed out. She then suggested that she break my water to get things going, and after some contemplation I decided that it was for the best. Once she broke my water, she discovered that there was meconium in it, which meant our son had his first bowel movement in utero. Because of this I needed to stay hooked up to the monitors for the rest of my labor. Though luckily I could still get up out of bed and walk around to some degree and use a birthing ball. This also meant that as soon as I gave birth, the cord needed to be cut immediately so he could be suctioned before taking his first breath. If he did, it could lead to meconium aspiration syndrome, which is a serious condition in which a newborn breathes a mixture of meconium and amniotic fluid into the lungs. A doctor would also be present during the delivery to do the assessment of his breathing / respiratory system after birth.
After my water was broken, my contractions soon became much stronger and I’ll be honest, it was tough. However, I was pretty determined to have an unmediated labor and delivery. At one point neither the RN or the midwife came in to check on me for about 3 hours (turns out they were dealing with a number of other deliveries as well). During that time Ben was a real champ. He helped me focus and breathe through all the painful contractions. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without him. Nearing the end of that 3 hour period, I started to get really tired, which caused me to lose focus, which in turn made the contractions even harder to get through. I told Ben that I needed Nell or Em Lee to check my progress, and if I wasn’t either 7 or 8cm dilated I wanted to talk about getting an epidural since I was just so so tired. Em Lee came in and told me that I was now about 7cm dilated, and while not the 8cm I was really hoping for, it gave me hope. I decided then to keep going without any pain medication.
About an hour later, things took a turn for the worse. I started to lose focus again, and I felt a lot of pressure down below and wanted to push. I was scared because in the birthing class we took, the instructor said not to push until you know you’re 10cm because if you do prior then it could cause your cervix to swell, and if your cervix swells you can’t push until the swelling goes down. I had Ben call Em Lee immediately because at that point I felt like I couldn’t go on. Em Lee said we could discuss pain medication, but before doing so she wanted to check how far I was. Low and behold, I was 10cm dilated, and it was time for me to start pushing! A whole 3cm of progress in an hour. I was seriously shocked and so relieved.
I began pushing. I had been in active labor for nearly 11 hours at that point, and I was so out of it, but somehow I found the strength. I honestly don’t know how long I pushed for, but I think it was about an hour. I kept my eyes closed most of the time and just tried to focus my pushing as much as possible.
At 4:54am on 3/7/12, Elliot Clay Parker was born, weighing in at 7lbs 8.5oz and 20 and ¾ inches long. Perfection. When they put him on my chest to clean him off and have Ben cut the cord real quick, I could hardly believe it. He was my baby boy. He was the little person living in me for 40 weeks. A precious miracle. Though, he decided to be a tough guy and take his first breath before the doctor could suction his mouth. They monitored his breathing, as he was having some trouble (no oxygen required, thank goodness) and decided it would be best to bring him straight to the nursery for observation. Before they took him, they let me hold him for a few minutes, and I was overwhelmed with so many emotions. Any parent will understand when I say that the rush of emotions you get when your child is born is like nothing else in the entire world. At that point, Nell and Em Lee cleaned me up and Ben went to the nursery with Elliot. I took that opportunity to call my Mom and tell her the fantastic news. She was a Babcha now!
After Ben came back we were moved to our room and we decided to try and get some sleep. Though, that proved to be quite difficult since I was on an adrenaline high, and I of course was worrying about Elliot in the nursery. He ended up having to stay in the nursery all day Wednesday and most of Thursday for observation. He was finally given a clean bill of health and he was able to join us in our room. What a relief!
On Friday, we were discharged from the hospital and the fun really began.
It’s definitely been a learning experience so far, but Ben and I are both getting the hang of being parents pretty quickly. And not to mention, Eegor is in love with his little brother. Ben goes back to work tomorrow… wish me luck!