As of Wednesday evening (April 24th), we still had no signs or symptoms of labor. With two days before my due date, I was starting to feel like you would never come. My midwife had suggested that since I hadn’t lost my mucus plug or had any cramps or other symptoms, that I could try to stimulate a few contractions by doing acupuncture. So on Thursday after work, I stopped in to make an appointment. However, the acupuncturist was free right then, so I said sure, why not now? I spent an hour having acupuncture done, and it felt good. He put needles in my ankles and hands, I had a couple braxton hicks contractions as usual, but nothing more while in the office or at home. I figured it was at least worth a shot.
The next morning (April 25th), I woke up for work, went to the rest room, and when I was leaving the bathroom, I felt like I peed myself a bit. So I sat back down, and nothing more came out. I figured you were so big by this point, that it was likely just your head pushing on my bladder, and that I should just carry on. I cleaned up again, and went to the bedroom. Two steps into the bedroom, I felt it again; and this time when I looked down, a trail of bloody water was trickling down my leg. I yelled to Daddy that I think my water is breaking and hurried back to the bathroom (we had brand new cream colored carpet in the new apartment, so I managed to get back on the vinyl bathroom floor before it reached the floor). Sure enough, by the time I was in the bathroom, I had a nice little pool of bloody water on the floor. I asked Daddy, and he said we should call my midwife since I wasn’t sure it was my water. It was 6:05am on Thursday when this happened.
We called our midwife Marie, and she had me sit down on the toilet, and at this point, my mucus plug started to come out, and I had a little bloody show, but no contractions. She said to stay home, and to call her if anything started to happen, and that if she didn’t hear from me, she’d call back and check with me soon. She said that this was a good sign that labor would begin within the next 48 hours, but that it also put a time clock on things since infection can set in with premature rupture of the membranes. After hanging up the phone, Daddy and I continued about our morning, only I was wearing heavy overnight pads just in case a gush would come. I called in to work and let them know I wouldn’t be coming in since my water had broken and labor would likely begin soon. I sent a message to my doula Katie, and let her know that things were starting to move.
After an hour more of nothing happening other than a little more water leaking, I had Daddy go to work, promising him that I would call if anything happened or changed. After he left, I got on the over sized yoga ball in our living room, and I tried everything I could to get things rolling. I did the Miles Circut (a series of positions for laboring) and tried walking up and down the stairs to the mail box and back. Nothing. By 11am, I had a grand total of one very mild contraction that I could tell of. My doula Katie came over and spent some time with me that morning, helping with positions, talking about our game plan for labor. Nothing was really going on. So my midwife asked if I could come in at 3 to get checked out. By that time, I’d only had 2 contractions total. They took my blood so we could get a baseline for infection, and sent me back home to wait it out. I couldn’t have a cervical check to find out if I was dilated or effaced, as they were trying to avoid any infection being introduced. By that evening I was anxious that things hadn’t moved along, but went to bed hoping things would pick up.
At 2:03am on Friday morning, I woke up to my first real contraction. I started timing them in the dark by the light of the glowing red alarm clock, and at this point they were about 12-15 min apart, and lasted that way for a few hours. I woke Daddy up when they got to 8 min apart, and notified both my midwife and doula by text. By the time Daddy had to go to work, they were still 7-8 min apart. He works only 20 min from home, so I told him I’d call if they changed even by one minute. So he hesitantly went to work. At 7:15 am my doula came over and spent some more time with me while I practiced a series of relaxation techniques, did the Mile Circuit again, practiced a few new positions that would help open up the pelvis and bounced on the labor ball. But the contractions were spacing out. They were sporadic now at anywhere from 6-15 min apart. I was getting a bit disappointed that we were going backwards, but our doula helped me just focus on staying relaxed and distracted while my body did what it needed to do.
After my doula left, my midwife asked me to come in again at 1:30pm. I called Farid and asked him to come home, telling him that things had stalled, and that I didn’t want to drive while in early labor. He was home fast. When we got to the appointment, my midwife took my blood work again, and gave us a list of things to buy just in case we had to do a home birth. We had initially planned to give birth at the local birthing inn, and to attempt a water birth. We had to talk about back up plans, since the clock had moved considerably since my water broke, the birthing center likely wouldn’t let us birth there if I wasn’t in active labor by midnight. I did not want a hospital birth, and was seriously worried that it had now been 31 hours since my water had broken, with very little progression of contractions. My midwife was also worried, so she asked me to pick up some castor oil to do a milk shake with and hopefully the castor oil would help kick my contractions into higher gear. She instructed me to pick an icecream flavor that I wasn’t particularly fond of, as I would likely never want to eat that flavor again after doing the milkshakes. Little did I know then, that she was right. More than two years later, and I still haven’t touched Ben and Jerry’s Red Velvet Icecream since that night.
After we left, we got the supplies we would need for a home birth “just in case,” and jokingly said we’d keep the receipt and return them later… um yeah, totally didn’t think we’d need all of them. But we bought them anyway. When we got home, contractions were still at about 15 minutes apart, and not coming regularly.
No one ever tells you what a caster oil milkshake does. I wish I had known what to prepare for. I took my first castor oil milkshake at 3pm. Nothing happened. I took my second at 4pm. Nothing happened. They tasted awful. Imagine drinking a milkshake made with baby oil in it. That’s what it felt like going down. I had to drink three of them over a three hour period. My mom showed up while we were in the process of waiting. At 4:45pm, I called my midwife just before the third dose, and told her that I hadn’t had any additional contractions, no speed up, and didn’t have even an upset stomach yet. She said go ahead with the third dose at 5pm and that they would likely kick in soon.
After hanging up, I vomited violently within 4 minutes… both of the first doses. I called back the midwife, she said to stay in the restroom and call when contractions started to pick up. She also said to wait until 6pm for my stomach to rest from the vomiting and take the third dose. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but did it anyway. After the third dose, contractions were still about 15 min apart. Within a few minutes, I started feeling really sick. Then it started. I didn’t realize that the violent stomach cramping I was having from the milkshakes/vomiting were actually kicking my body into full blown contractions. I went to lay down, and vomited again into a bowl that my mother was nice enough to hold for me. At this point, the contractions started to pick up, strong and heavy. They were now 10 minutes apart. Within 2-3 contractions, we jumped to 7 min apart, and Daddy called both the midwife and my doula. Both said they were on their way. Daddy and Grandma started doing back rubs, foot rubs, and helping with as much relaxation techniques as possible. The contractions were starting to feel very intense and painful. My lower back was hurting and the pain from vomiting so hard had made the capillaries in my face burst. I looked bruised from the intensity of the vomiting.
Just before my midwife got there, I got to the point where I felt like I was starting to panic and that the castor oil had done something bad. I worried that the castor oil had done something to hurt my baby, and that the pain I was feeling meant something was wrong. I said “I change my mind, I want to go to the hospital” thinking that something was going wrong and that my baby was in danger. Grandma and Daddy reassured me that our midwife would be there in minutes and we’d talk to her and make sure that nothing was wrong, and if it was they would take me to the hospital.
At this point, nothing they did was helping me to feel better. I couldn’t get comfortable in any position, and the contractions were coming one right after another, about every 2-3 minutes, lasting a minute or longer each time… with only a few seconds in between, it felt like the castor oil had done something horrid to me. When our midwife arrived at 7pm, she did an internal exam, and informed me that we were not going to make it to the birthing center, and that it looks like she’d need to go to her car for the emergency kit, since I was fully dilated and the baby was visible… it was time to push already! The pain I had been feeling was me going through transition. I immediately felt relieved and was excited that this was transition and knew this was going to be it! My entire outlook changed knowing my baby was ok, and I started to feel more calm and determined.
They ran a bath for me, and got the bedroom ready, laying surgical pads on the bed. Katie arrived at 7:15pm, and with everyone’s help I got into the tub, and by the time I got in, I could already feel the urge to push. My doula arrived in time, as she started to help me with the techniques we practiced for staying focused on positive pushing. I was getting a lot of great positive reinforcement, and everyone was so supportive. I was able to start pushing just after 7:30pm. The midwife’s assistant Rebecca showed up at about this time.
I would wait to push when I felt the urge, like waiting for waves to wash over me. After pushing in the bath tub for about an hour, I was making ok progress. It felt great to push! I never imagined it would feel so good. Eventually my back and hips started to hurt since our bath tub was so small, so we switched to sitting on the toilet while they dried me off and gave my legs a break by using gravity. After 3 rounds of pushing, we moved to the bedroom. You were born with 2.5 hours of pushing naturally with the contractions in the same bed you were made in. No tearing, no drugs at all. I couldn’t believe I had pushed so long and hard for someone so small. You were just a pretty little girl who looked just like your daddy, with an impressively full head of hair.
You were born at 10:13pm, 7 lbs, 6 oz, 18.5 inches long. I couldn’t have imagined a better experience even a home birth wasn’t expected! 20 hours intermittent labor (4 hours of real active labor), and 40 hours from when my water broke!
Delivery Date and Time: 4/26/13, 10:13 PM
Estimated Due Date: 4/26/13