My due date for baby girl was two Sundays ago on January 25, 2015. I had gone in for an OB appointment just two days earlier and found out I was only 1 cm dilated, 50% effaced, and baby girl hadn’t descended at all. I felt super pregnant at the time but it didn’t seem like baby girl was in any rush to make her entrance! And so on my due date I woke up feeling fairly certain that it would be just another day. I got dressed, ran errands, and even took a few blog pictures before heading home to make dinner. It was during dinner around 6pm that I started feeling somewhat regular contractions and about 30 minutes apart. We finished dinner, put Dylan to bed, and at around 9pm I came downstairs to start my nightly routine of blogging.
At this point, I was feeling contractions about 20 minutes apart with a few sporadic ones at 8 minutes apart. Adrian had gone to bed already and by 11:30pm, my contractions were closer together at 8 minutes and getting strong enough that I had to really breathe through them. I knew I was still in early labor, but given that I wasn’t sure how quickly things would progress this second time around, I went ahead and called my parents (who live 30 minutes away) to let them know that we might need them to step in soon to take care of Dylan. They decided to go ahead and drive down to spend the night in our guest bedroom. I decided to go upstairs and get some rest myself although I ended up waking about every 30 minutes or so when a strong contraction would hit.
At around 3:30am, Dylan (who has never woken up at this hour before ever!) crawled out of his bed and came over to our room. It was almost as if he knew something was going on and had a sixth sense to come check on me! Unfortunately now that I was up my contractions started coming stronger than ever and at only 5 minutes apart. There was no sleeping through these bad boys anymore and my situation was starting to scare Dylan too. Adrian and I decided that it would probably be better for us to go to the hospital to labor (even if it was just in the waiting room) while my parents could try and get Dylan back to bed.
And so at 4:19am, I called my doula (we had been texting the night before already so she knew what was going on) and we headed over to the hospital. Once at the hospital, my contractions slowed down to 8 minutes again (I guess the hospital scared my contractions away?) and ended up getting checked at 4 cm dilated, 100% effaced, but baby girl was still unengaged and floating pretty high. I wasn’t in much pain at the time now that the contractions had slowed down and since it was still early, my doula suggested that I take a nap to regain some energy. Since baby girl was sunny-side up in my belly, I ended up laying on my side with a leg draped over a large peanut ball to try and get baby girl to turn. It was definitely awkward at best, but given how little sleep I had gotten the night before, I did fall asleep and had myself pretty good 1-hour nap.
At 8:48am, the on-call doctor came in and checked to see that I had slowly progressed to 6 cm dilated with my contractions and that baby had actually engaged (at -2 station)! Previously there was consideration that my labor was still too early to be admitted, but now it was officially game time!
From that point until 4:30pm, it was basically me continuously walking the halls trying to make more progress in my labor. I found that my contractions would come twice as fast when I was walking (as opposed to sitting or laying down). I was having horrible back labor given baby’s sunny-side up position and was literally that pregnant lady moaning in the hallway every time a contraction would hit. My doula did have some amazing massage techniques and had certain spots she would press on my low back that instantly took the pain from a level 8 to a 5. My contractions were coming 3-5 minutes apart and while they were strong, I knew that they weren’t strong enough to indicate that I was in transition yet. By 4:30pm, the doctor came in to check on my progress and it was a bit disheartening to hear that I was still at 6 cm dilated although the baby had descended down to -1 station.
Since it didn’t seem like the contractions were progressing my labor very quickly and I was running out of stamina, the doctor suggested that we break my water. My doula had actually told me minutes earlier that either breaking my water or pitocin would be options they would suggest at this point and I was glad to know about the trade-offs.
At 4:36pm, they broke my water (which was something I thought might hurt but it turned out I didn’t feel a thing!) and almost instantly my contractions started coming on super strong. By 6:08pm, they checked me again and I was at 8 cm dilated and baby had dropped a bit more into the 0 station. I was shaking at this point and feeling tons of pressure. The contractions were ridiculously painful at this point and there would’ve been no way that I couldn’t gotten through any of them without my doula applying counter pressure on my back. My pain tolerance was wearing thin at this point and while I had originally wanted to go all-natural with this birth like I had for Dylan’s, the back labor was just too intense. With each contraction, I was already feeling the uncontrollable urge to push even though I wasn’t fully dilated yet, which was definitely a scary sensation.
By 6:17pm, I was begging for an epidural as I felt like I had lost all control of my body at that point. I was shaking vigorously (the transition stage of labor is no joke!) and could barely eek out more than single syllables in the midst of my pain. While most people are in the transition stage for less than an hour, I knew that given how slowly my labor had gone both last time and this time, I would be stuck in this stage for 3+ hours at least (I was in transition for 6 hours last time). I was started on fluids and by 7:00 pm, the anesthesiologist came in for the epidural. Six minutes later and the epidural was finished and I started feeling relief immediately.
At 7:40pm, I was checked again and had progressed to 9 cm and baby had descended to +2 — only 1 more cm and 1 more station to descend before we were ready to push! I was still shaking a bit but was happy at how well my body was progressing with the contractions while on the epidural. My blood pressure had dropped a bit (a common side effect of an epidural) so I was given some ephedrine to bump it up. Overall I was feeling pretty good at this point and decided a nap was in order so that I’d have enough energy to push in a bit.
At 8:55pm, I woke up feeling brand new! I had stopped shaking and while I could still feel the pressure from each contraction, I didn’t feel the pain. Even at this point though, my contractions were still about 3 minutes apart although each one lasted for 1.5 – 2 minutes. At 9:40 pm, one of the nurses checked me again and I was overjoyed to hear that I was 10 cm dilated and baby had fully descended to the +3 position! Even better was that baby girl had decided to turn from sunny-side up and was now in perfect position for pushing!
The doctor came in at 10pm and by 10:02 I made my first big push. Baby’s head was already visible and a few pushes later, baby girl was born at 10:15pm! They immediately placed baby girl on my chest as her cord finished pulsing (I requested delayed cord clamping) and was still in a bit of shock at how quickly my pushing went (I pushed for 4.5 hours with Dylan)! Adrian and I just looked at each other and here we were, finally meeting our baby girl!
The cord was later clamped and they asked if Adrian wanted to cut the cord. Since he was sick with bronchitis at the time, he declined. They then gave me the option of cutting baby’s cord and while I was definitely surprised, I decided to do it! It was so surreal to actually cut my own baby’s cord! The next hour was spent with baby girl on my chest and it was just the most incredible experience. Her eyes were wide open and she was alert the entire time looking around. We just soaked in the new-ness of it all. Welcome to our world, Kennedy Mei!
A huge thank you also goes out to my doula, Delilah, for taking such wonderful notes and for making my birth experience everything that I wanted it to be! For more daily updates of our baby girl, follow along on my Instagram!
P.S. In case you missed it: