I’m not sure why it’s taken me almost 5 weeks to complete Xander’s birth story – I’ve obviously posted other things prior to this. I suppose one reason why I’ve delayed writing his story is that it’s a short story to tell. His birth wasn’t dramatic or traumatic. It was quite simply a great experience.
It was Wednesday March 14, 2012, when I started having contractions at 3:15 pm while watching The Ellen Show. I began timing them just out of curiosity sake due to all the prodromal labor I had experienced in the weeks prior. Until ~4 pm the contractions were sporadic, but I still had the wherewithal to text my mom and tell her, “I think it’s more prodromal, but just wanted to let you know just in case.” John also knew I was having contractions, but we weren’t getting our hopes up too quickly.
John arrived home around 4:30 pm. My contractions were 3-4 minutes apart. I think we were both a little confused if this was real because we skipped the regular contractions that were 10 minutes apart, 5 minutes apart, etc. When John came home I was rushing around upstairs because I was convinced we would be headed to the hospital that evening. He continued with grabbing last minute things, he called the midwife, and I got in a hot shower.
The midwife on-call was one I had never met before and she encouraged us to stay home one more hour. At 5 pm I had had enough. The pain of my contractions was ALL in my back. I actually wasn’t having true back labor since Xander was in the correct positioning, but the ligaments to your uterus go around your back and that’s where I felt every contraction. In hindsight we aren’t surprised all my pain was there. There were many-a-nights during my pregnancy that you could find me icing my lower back.
Anyway, the midwife on-call was Caitlin. She said we could make our way to the hospital and we got so excited! It was definitely a surreal moment because we had 9 months of anticipating our little boy’s arrival and now the day had finally come! We made sure to text my mom the update and she finished up work in a hurry, stopped home, and was headed to Maryland!
We arrived to the hospital around 5:30 (the car ride was pretty miserable since I had to be confined in the seat belt) and made our way to labor and delivery. It was a freakishly warm March day and I was wearing a tank and shorts. I’m sure it was a sight to see. Anyway, we handed the ladies at reception our pre-filled out paper work and waited for a few minutes in the waiting room. It felt like we must have been in the waiting room for ~10 minutes because I’m pretty sure I had at least three contractions.
By 6 pm we were in our labor and delivery suite. When we first walked in I said, “Wait, I thought I was supposed to go to triage first?” The nurse, Katie, replied with: “When we see someone in that much pain we know they must be in labor.” Hahah. I met the midwife Caitlin and she and Katie received my birth plan paper work. There really wasn’t much listed, but it was good that we were all on the same page. I changed into my birthing skirt and baby and I both got our initial monitoring (while I was laboring standing over the bed so John could use counter pressure on my back).
Next it was time to be checked. Turns out I was 4 cm dilated, 100% effaced and +1 station. Holy moly! I remember learning in birth class that you just hope for 2 cm dilated and are thankful if they say over that – boy was I thankful and excited! I was also a little surprised! While I was being checked, someone attempted to get my hep-lock in my left hand. It was a major failure and I had the bruising for over two weeks post birth.
I got in the shower after being checked. It had felt nice at home, so I thought it would feel nice again. The contractions were becoming stronger and stronger, but the counter pressure John was providing wasn’t helping as much anymore (or at all?) I felt bad because I know John was starting to feel helpless. He started asking me if we should consider some type of pain relief. I kept saying, “We just got here, I can’t start thinking about pain relief!” In my mind I was feeling like it was too soon and that I needed to try harder and longer.
At 7 pm a new midwife came on-call. Her name was Angel and I had never met her before either! Lucky for me Angel and Caitlin were both amazing!! Caitlin updated her and another person tried to give me hep -lock in my right hand (I was out of the shower by now). The right hand didn’t work either. We talked with Angel through some more contractions and by 7:30 someone finally got my hep-lock in place in my right arm.
By this point we were considering some type of pain relief, so we got the required 20-30 minutes of fluid started just in case I ended up with an epidural. Thankfully I was allowed to receive the fluid while standing. The contractions were strong. The contractions were long. I’m not just saying they were long because they felt long – the nurse actually said they were long (more on that during pushing).
After I received the fluid, it was 8 pm and time to be checked before we made the final decision on the epidural. To all of our surprises I was 8 cm dilated! I still can’t believe that I progressed that quickly – no wonder my contractions were strong J. Katie even made mention that I was one of the fastest progressions she has ever seen. We made the decision to get the epidural since I had made it so far on my own. I still sometimes wonder if I could have made it through to the end, but the epidural immediately eased my back pain. I’m pretty sure John was happy that I got it too – I’m sure it’s not easy seeing your wife in so much pain.
The anesthesiologist was wonderful and receiving the epidural didn’t hurt. I did have a contraction while he was administering it, but Angel and Katie were super helpful. I mention the girls because there’s a law that your partner has to be sitting down while you get the epidural because there was a case that a husband passed out and hit his head (I forget what else happened in the story, but that’s the main part).
Now that I had the epidural I was confined to my bed and had to wear the hospital gown. Angel and Katie now were able to take a little break too and not be in the suite the entire time (up until this point they were with me the whole time. I’m definitely a midwife convert!) I also was able to make a few phone calls and John and I just enjoyed a little time together before my mom arrived.
My mom made it to the hospital at 8:45 pm. She had just worked a 10-day stretch in the hospital (she’s a PA), but was running on adrenaline and super excited to be meeting her first grandson!
At 10 pm it was time to be checked again. Guess who was 10 centimeters? That’s right… me! At this point Angel broke my water. This is only time in which Xander’s birth story got a little scary…
Stay tuned for part 2 — which will be the last part!