This post will be very lengthy, prepare yourself. 😉
I was due on Friday, July 10th and had no procedures done to help kick start labor; I didn’t have membranes stripped, and I wasn’t induced. My midwife and I were going to wait it out until 41 weeks. On Sunday the 12th I had a little bit more contractions than I had experienced during the pregnancy but honestly thought that I was going to be pregnant forever. I had given up the thought of ever going into labor once my due date went by.
I recently found messages from me to my husband from Monday the 13th around lunch time saying something like, “I think I’m in the earliest stages of labor, but probably not.” Funny, because Elizabeth was born about 24 hours later, I definitely was!
During this time we were waiting for verbal orders concerning where we were moving after Will’s school was over. We had been told we were most likely heading to the East Coast, but Will was told that he was one of 15 people put into a pool to be sent to Japan. I believe they were choosing about 4 or 5 of the people from that pool. This is what we believe actually began labor, seriously.
We had been taking walks around the neighborhood every evening once it began cooling down to help stay in shape and hopefully get things moving, and we walked from about 6pm to 7pm at a good pace, and when we got home my contractions hadn’t slowed down or stopped so we began timing around 9. I wanted to do everything I knew the labor and delivery people would tell me to do before I called them, so I drank a ton of water, took some tylenol (to “try to stop labor”) and timed for an hour. It was definitely labor. We called around 10 and they said to do everything we just had, and although we had already done everything, and I was overdue, the nurse did not care and wanted me to do it again.
I didn’t retake the tylenol but I did continue timing contractions and drinking water. I hadn’t been dilated any at my 40 week apt, maybe just a centimeter, and I wasn’t effaced at all. We headed to the hospital around 11 pm only to face a very weary night-staff who clearly didn’t want to be bothered. They attached me to the monitors and although I was definitely in labor and had dilated to 3 cm in a matter of 2 hours, they sent me home around 1:30 am. Luckily for them, we lived literally 2 miles away (thanks to living on base and using the naval hospital).
The instant I stepped out of the vehicle in our driveway I felt my contractions intensify. My husband called and reported to them and they said to try everything again. I took every tylenol pill that was left in the bottle, it ended up being about 500 mg (it was children’s tylenol, so they were low dosage pills). We stayed at home for another hour or so while I was completely debilitated by my contractions and experiencing back labor which didn’t ease pain between the contractions. They recommended I take a bath and try all of these random positions, none of which helped because I had a human’s shoulder shoved against my sciatic nerve.
Around 3 am we finally said F it and went back to the labor and delivery. Sitting so upright in the truck’s seat was the most comfortable I was during labor. We showed up and of course I couldn’t walk through contractions so every few steps I would end up squatting and be a frozen gargoyle for a minute or two, then stand up and walk again. Eventually we made it to labor and delivery and I had so much anger toward the grumpy nurse who didn’t want me there that I forced my husband to let me walk in, instead of being wheeled in on a wheelchair. I kind of count this as a score on my part, but just as I was arriving to the nurses station, my husband already at it saying, “we’re back,” I threw up. It was awful but awesome payback. All over the wall and floor, I know the nurse didn’t clean it up, but in my mind and in my dreams she did.
They hooked me up to everything again and I was 5 cm dilated, due to the pressure in my back, I wasn’t experiencing any breaks between contractions. Instead I was feeling the pain of a contraction with the back pain, and then I was just feeling the back pain. Also, “pain” doesn’t even begin to describe what I was feeling. The nurse didn’t want to admit me to a room, even though every single requirement was checked for us. She just wanted to stop everything and send me back home, she made me feel as though I was 30 weeks pregnant, rather than overdue. Eventually the overnight staff gave me morphine, I still wonder why, but this is not my area of expertise.
I also was given my own room sometime within the next 4 hours, and when I was at 8 cm, sometime just before 7 am, they finally called the anesthesiologist to administer an epidural. The overnight nurse had left (good riddance) and the day nurse had shown up who was truly wonderful. Just as he was telling me that the epidural was waiting for me outside the room I mentioned possibly using the bathroom before, to keep things simple. I pat myself on the back for this one very frequently, and here’s why: I go into the bathroom, sit, and my waters break. The huge pop and gush that you see in the movies. And there was absolutely no clean up because it was in the toilet. Seriously, score.
Anyway, I went back to the hospital bed, announced that my water just broke, and get my epidural.
Around 8 or 9 I was finally fully dilated but my absolutely amazing midwife didn’t want me to push at all for awhile because the baby was moving so well just with the contractions. For a few hours we waited, eventually getting the epidural flushed again because it was only working on my right side but causing strange sensations and pains along my left. After that, I began pushing every few contractions just to see how it would go.
I pushed for about two hours total, but not during every contraction, I rested whenever I wanted and ignored everybody telling me what to do or when to do something. I was able to feel everything on the left side so I based my pushes off of that.
One thing I was so nervous about before labor was people seeing me “down there.” I didn’t want anybody to see anything except those who needed to, which is why I included the following photo… Clearly while I was in labor I didn’t care who saw what. In my mind, I remember being covered with the hospital gown, which you can see I’m still wearing…around my elbows…haha
In the above photo I had been pushing some, allowing contractions to “push” for me some, and just resting, as I had been awake and experiencing active labor for over 12 hours.
At 12:04 Elizabeth was born.
Check out the shape of that head! Seriously, you can see with how crooked it is that she came out facing the my left hip and was crowned for so long. Also, check out that huge smile on my husband’s face!
This child was awake, and has been ever since. Her eyes were open in every photo for a long time after she made her entrance into this world.
The sweetest thing was that she just stared at me for so long.
She was 7 lbs 11 oz and 21″ long. Thanks to my fantastic midwife I had absolutely no tearing, which is my second biggest accomplishment from delivering Elizabeth.
This is my favorite photo from that day:
On Elizabeth’s birthday the local temperature’s high was 100 and low was 75. The New Horizons Spacecraft approached the dwarf planet Pluto and was able to, for the first time, record some of Pluto’s geology. The following day was a new moon.