Today is Elliot's 3rd birthday. We had a party. Ate some cake. Had a toddler cage match in the bouncy castle (yep, instigated by my son. He ended up in time out for deliberately jumping on his friends and dragging them to the ground. And upon being allowed back in the bouncer, in quick succession, he shoved one friend, kicked another and bit a third. Fun times at Elliot's house today!)
Elliot's birth story, in honour of the day...
The first contractions started at 9am on my due date, September 18th. They didn't really hurt, but they were coming every 30 minutes. I went on with my day (a chiropractic appointment and lunch with friends) and they got more intense. By 4pm, they started to hurt. By 8pm we called our doula, Karen, and she said she would stop by to check on me at 9. From 9-1, I spent my time throwing up and labouring in the tub, on the exercise ball and in bed, the contractions coming irregularly but still getting closer together. By 1:30, they were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting anywhere from 30-60 seconds, and I heard Karen say quietly to Jay "I think we should start making our way to the hospital."
We got to the hospital by 2:30 and they checked me - only a fingertip dilated and still a lot of thinning needed to be done! I was crushed - I had been having very hard pains (especially in my low back) for almost 12 hours and made no "real" progress.
The nurse took pity on us and asked if we wanted to stay in assessment, as my contractions were still coming regularly. I told them I was not going home without my baby! They put us into a birthing room to labour but did not admit us to the hospital. (Turns out I was part of a research study – should they let women in early labour wait it out at the hospital or send them home – and how would it effect baby.)
The nurses pretty much left us alone all night - we were checked on a few times, but since we were not admitted, they stayed away. I threw up more, walked the halls, had baths and tried sitting on the ball. My back was so sore - Jay and Karen took turns pressing on my sacrum during contractions to ease the pressure. I was terrified I was having back labour.
The next morning, the new early labour assessment nurse came in to check me and said I was only 2-3 cm dilated, and still needed to thin quite a bit. She started saying that I might be stalled and that I should go home. She pushed that I should also let them break my water and get induced.
Around 3pm, she checked me again and there was no change. She told me that if she had been on duty the night before that she wouldn't have let us stay. (I guess she did not know about the study.) She asked if I wanted to be admitted and start getting medications. I was exhausted at this point, but knew that despite the slow progress, I was making SOME progress, and that I wouldn't have been able to cope at home.
I asked not to be admitted, but requested a shot of Demerol to help me relax, hoping I could get some sleep. It relaxed me, but there was no sleep to be had - the contractions picked up and became very regular and I was then in active labour!
The nurse checked me around 6pm and said I was at 3 cm and that they would start the admissions procedures. Around 7, they moved us to a new room closer to the nurses station, assigned us a nurse, and started monitoring my blood pressure and the baby’s heart rate every 30 minutes.
The back pains and pains shooting down my thighs had greatly intensified. I needed someone to rub my thighs and press on my back during each contraction. Around midnight, I was checked again and heard 4-5 cm, still not completely effaced. I was so discouraged! Somewhere in the middle of the night I started asking about medications - but I knew that Demerol likely wouldn't work again, that I didn't want an epidural and that the Nitrous Oxide gas could only be used for a limited time, and I wanted to save that for transition. I decided to keep going without anything. I had found a position in the rocking chair that helped control the pain, and I was really focusing on a light socket above the bed. Usually I could manage the contractions, but every 3rd or 4th one was super-intense.
Finally around 2am, I was 7 cm. YAY! I laboured for a while longer, and nearly gave up a few more times. They checked and felt bulging membranes, as my water still had not broken. I agreed to have them broken and we waited 30 minutes for my doctor to arrive. When they broke, it was only a small amount, but baby's head came down a bit further.
After a while, I felt strong urges to push so they checked me again - still only 7cm - NOT good! They started me on the gas to try to control the urge, and we tried different positions - walking, hands & knees, the ball - but I still badly wanted to push. A new nurse came in to let the other one have a break and she put me on the toilet so gravity could help. I fought her on this, since I was scared that my natural instinct to push would be much stronger on the toilet! She found a longer hose for the gas machine so I could sit there and suck back the gas…
They checked me again at nearly 6:30 am and said I was completely effaced and dilated and gave me the go ahead to start pushing! Sitting on the toilet worked! They called my doctor in. After an hour of ineffective pushes, they checked and found that I still had a lip of cervix!! They pushed against it while I contracted and pushed (PAINFUL!) and it stayed back out of the way.
I pushed for almost 2 more hours before our son was born. We had requested that the sex of the baby not be announced to the room. I wanted Jay to be the first to look and see and then tell me. after the baby came out (with Jay watching everything from the first tufts of hair trying to be born, to crowning, to the explosion of the baby quickly slithering out) he came up to my head and kissed me, telling me "you did it, you were great" and we had a moment.... then I noticed the room was quiet (other than baby cries) and I had to ask Jay to check to see if it was a boy or a girl. He looked and came back to kiss me again, all teary eyed, and tell me we had a son. Then he finally remembered to get the camera and take some pictures!
He came out screaming and didn't stop for 20 minutes! His head came out with no problems, but he decided to be like superman and have his fist up next to his shoulder (explained all the back pain) and I ended up with a 3rd degree tear. They had to call in an OB to determine which way to best stitch the muscles back together.