Stay tuned for Part Two!
This is a post all about what I was doing four years ago today! Grab a snack and enjoy (you're going to need one to keep your energy up ;-D)!
At the time, we did not know whether to expect a boy or a girl; we wanted to be surprised. That kind of drove everyone nuts, as people seem to think that nobody waits to find out the gender of their child any more. Well, with this pregnancy and birth, we ended up doing a lot of things that "nobody" does any more! (At least in our little circle).
I originally started out wanting a home birth with this pregnancy. I received prenatal care for the first 30 weeks or so from a team of Licensed Midwives. They were really great and I loved the personal care that I received from them. For some reason, I thought that our insurance would cover the expense of a home birth to some extent (I figured they would've been considered "out of network" or whatever, but that did not end up being the case). I was informed around 30 weeks that we would have to pay the entire cost out of pocket (and that it was due by 33 weeks- yikes).
One of the midwives explained this information to us and she knew our situation, and pointed me in the direction of alternative care. She informed me of which doctors to steer clear of (as in "it would be better for you to give birth under a tree somewhere than see this doctor") and also gave me information of a birthing center with a team of Certified Nurse Midwives (or CNM's). I ended up going with this group of care providers as there were no other midwives in my immediate area that were covered on my insurance. Turns out that my insurance restricted the use of the birthing center, so I had to go to the hospital they contracted with. That hospital was about 45 minutes away from us without traffic, but I made that exception because I really did not want an obstetrician to attend the birth of my child. I really wanted a natural birth experience and did not feel at that time that I would be supported the way I wanted to be by an obstetrician.
In preparation for this birth, I read three books: The Birth Book by Dr. Sears (and The Pregnancy Book by the same author- it actually covered much of the same material), and Christ Centered Childbirth by Kelly J. Townsend. (All of these are awesome reads by the way, if you're in the market for a birth book). My husband and I also took the birthing class provided by the hospital. It consisted of four classes, one of which we skipped because it was the class about pain meds, and I was determined to not use them!
I somehow was convinced that my baby would arrive earlier than the due date. I still don't know why I thought this. Wishful thinking, I guess! I began my six week maternity leave on May 1st. In hindsight, I should have just worked up until my labor began, but I think I made that decision because I wanted some time to "unwind" and finish getting everything ready before I became a mama!
The Wednesday before my son was born (the 16th), we went to church like any other Wednesday evening. We came home, and went to bed. It was the day before his due date, so I was pretty excited, and feeling "overdue" because I thought I should have already given birth by this point! (Plus, I was measuring a week ahead according to the midwife.) Anyway, we were in bed by 11 pm, I guess, and then around 1:00 a.m. I woke up to use the restroom. As I rolled myself out of bed, a huge gush of fluid flooded my mattress. There is absolutely nothing that can describe the terror of that moment! Suddenly, the whole reality of impending childbirth comes to light...and it's just...well...terrifying!
I woke my husband up in a state of semi-panic. All I could do was just lie there. I could not stop the gushing (sorry, I know, TMI!). It was such a powerless feeling. My husband came around to my side of the bed to help me up, and I went in the restroom to clean up. I just remember trembling- like I said, I was basically terrified. Meanwhile, he took our sheets and stuff to the washer (I had actually placed a cheap plastic shower curtain under our sheets just in case this happened!) We called the midwife's after hours line, and spoke to a midwife who told me to just try to rest as much as possible. She said to expect contractions to begin in the next few hours, and to call back when they were around five minutes apart.
I stayed up for a bit, ate some toast (pregnant woman middle of the night hunger!) I started to try to compose a text message to alert my family and closest friends that the time was drawing near, but I was so nervous that I couldn't compose a succinct thought in the form of a message, and ended up giving up on that, and thought I would just leave it til morning to let everyone know. I don't remember how far I got with said message, I just remember reading over it, and it being terribly long-winded and ramble-y. (Imagine that!)
Anyway, as I was sitting up eating my toast and attempting to text message my nearest and dearest, I began to feel some contractions. Nothing serious, more like pretty strong menstrual cramps. They were pretty sporadic, so I tried going back to bed. It was so difficult for me to relax (I tend to be a tad on the slightly tense side anyway- more about that later) and when I tried laying on my side as I normally did, I felt really uncomfortable. (As a side note, I did not know the value of consciously relaxing at this point, so that pretty much didn't happen). I went to go lie down on the recliner in our living room hoping this would be a comfortable place for me to rest. It was slightly better, but I tend to not sleep easily in places that aren't my bed, so the remainder of that night was pretty ridiculous for me. Mind you, my husband was sleeping soundly in the next room. No sense in both of us being awake, right?
The following morning was Thursday, and I began packing my suitcase for the hospital. I figured I'd be going any time. My husband called into work to let them know I was in labor, so he was home with me, thankfully. At some point, I had been in contact with a midwife, and she basically told me to try to get my labor going, as the contractions were pretty sporadic. They were anywhere from 7-12 minutes apart with no discernible pattern. She suggested going for a walk, or maybe soaking in the tub (at this point, I thought "yeah, right!" I was SO huge and could barely maneuver in our little apartment tub). We ended up going for a walk to the water store nearby. I think I got something to drink, and maybe a snack. The normally 15 minute round-trip walk took us about 40 minutes due to me having to stop every so often. I was pretty exhausted, and I think when I would get a contraction, I really couldn't do anything. So I just sat down.
I remember continuing to pack the suitcase after we got home, and I had talked with one of my sisters on the phone. She was getting concerned because not much was happening. She suggested calling the midwife again and maybe trying to go to the hospital to see what the "hold up" was. It had been about twelve hours since "the gush". I called the midwife, and she said to go ahead and come in, sooner rather than later to avoid rush hour. Well, in case you don't know, it takes me forever to get ready anyway, so in slow-mo labor mode, well, let's just say we ended up going after rush hour!
I had convinced the midwife that my water was in fact broken, and so I was in triage briefly, then was escorted into my labor and delivery room. I was checked and determined to be dilated to three centimeters. The nurses wanted to take a sample of the fluid just to be certain my bag of waters had ruptured. Well, wonder of wonders, there was no amniotic fluid in the sample! I was incredulous. I still kind of am! I asked what in the world I could have possibly experienced in the middle of the night. I was told that I probably had a bladder "malfunction", or it was my mucous plug. (Ugh!) Neither seemed highly likely in my opinion, I had never had any bladder issues up until that point (or after that, for that matter) and it was way too much fluid to be just my mucous plug. But whatever. Moving on...
They sent me home. The wonderful nurse told me, "I want you to come back when you have a contraction, and you can't talk through it". So not what I wanted to hear at the time, but in hindsight, she was right! (Note to first time expectant mamas: don't bother going to the hospital until you experience this, please save yourself the trouble. Lol!)
Come back in a little bit for Part Two!