Well I hoped and prayed for a different labor and delivery from Hudson’s (aka quicker and easier) and boy did I get it! Parker’s birth was night and day from Hudson’s!
(Warning: this is a birth story. I didn’t share anything ultra-graphic but I am sharing details of birth so be aware.)
About a week and a half before Parker was actually born I started having occasional contractions. They weren’t regular or painful but nearly every night around supper time I’d either have some contractions or I’d have a period cramp-type feeling (which is how my labor with Hudson started). There was even a day or two in that time span where I had quite a few contractions over the course of the day. And yet every morning I’d wake up and the feeling from the night before had gone away. But I hoped (and I think I was right) that the days of contractions meant my body was getting ready and I’d have a shorter labor.
The night before Hudson was born I had fewer contractions than I’d had on many of the other nights. We went to church, put Hudson to bed, worked on our taxes, ate ice cream, and went to sleep – all without the contractions or cramping that I’d been having for previous days.
Now, on to the story of the actual day of labor: Thursday, February 4 (40 weeks and 3 days pregnant)
5:00am – I woke up feeling like I peed myself a little bit. I went to the bathroom and my underwear was wet but not soaked. I thought vaguely that my water might have broken but since it was so different from last time I thought I must have been mistaken.
(quick recap for those who haven’t read Hudson’s birth story – I went to work, noted that I felt a tiny bit crampy that morning, then less than 2 hours later my water broke with a gush…I’d had no previous contractions or anything other than that cramping feeling leading up to my water breaking very dramatically.)
I changed into dry underwear and got back into bed, however I couldn’t go back to sleep because I kept thinking that if my water had indeed started breaking that it might soon break some more and gush everywhere and get the bed wet so I laid there kind of anticipating a big event.
As I laid there I noticed I was having contractions (something that was unusual this early in the morning per my pattern for the week and a half leading up to this point). They weren’t hard but they were pretty close together.
I stayed in bed until 7:00. I got up at least one other time and had to change my underwear again – no big gush but just a small leak. Somehow I *still* hadn’t figured out that my water had broken. I also dozed in and out for a bit during this time.
7:00am – Michael gets up to go to work and Hudson wakes up too so we all get out of bed. Before Michael left for work I let him know that I was having contractions and I thought this might be the day but for him to go on in to work and I’d let him know if he needed to come home.
7:00-9:00am – Hudson and I did our normal morning stuff. We ate breakfast, unloaded the dishwasher, I washed some more dishes, ran a load of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, read books, etc. All during this time I was having pretty frequent contractions but they were not painful or hard. I did not time them but just tried to keep myself busy and not get too worked up about them in case it wasn’t the real deal.
During this time I had to pee constantly and each time I’d go to the bathroom there was quite a bit of slimy mucous stuff, some that was tinged pink. I assumed this was my bloody show/mucous plug, except it happened each time I went to the bathroom and wasn’t just a one time thing. At some point I finally put on some Depends so I could quit changing my mama cloth pads every time I went to the bathroom.
I also sat down and made a grocery list. I usually do my grocery shopping on Fridays but since I felt like I might not make it to Friday I thought I’d go ahead and get some things on Thursday so our fridge would be nice and stocked. What I really wanted to do was put Hudson in the stroller and go walk around the neighborhood because I’ve always heard that it’s good to walk while in labor to speed things along but it was pretty cold outside and that was a no go so I thought walking around Kroger while I shopped might be a good idea instead.
9:15am – I texted Michael that Hudson and I were going to go to Kroger.
I got myself dressed and all the while Hudson is getting into everything. That’s not unusual but that on top of the contractions was just more than I could handle. By that point I still wasn’t really hurting but I did need to pause while contracting. I decided that going to Kroger was not a good idea.
9:30am – I text Michael and ask him to come on home so he can take care of Hudson while I concentrate on laboring.
He comes home and we begin packing the last minute things we need for the hospital, doing some other laundry and things around the house, etc. Around 10:00 I called my mom (who was going to stay with Hudson while we were in the hospital) and asked her to go ahead and make her way our direction.
We kept working on getting our things packed and such. We also all ate some lunch. I wasn’t super hungry but went ahead and ate some lasagna anyway since I didn’t know if I was in for a long labor like last time and might not get to eat again for a while.
By this point I now needed to breathe through the contractions. They were much easier when I was sitting down rather than standing up and were about 3 minutes apart when I was up moving. Michael asked if we needed to go on to the hospital since they were so close together but since they weren’t very painful I thought it was too early. While he finished up feeding Hudson I sat in our recliner and flipped through our Bradley class workbook from the birthing classes we took before Hudson was born. I read part of it aloud to Michael trying to determine what stage of labor we thought I was in based on the signs listed in the book…but every time I would start to read Hudson would start “reading” (aka babbling some gibberish) along with me. It was hysterical and also very distracting, especially to Michael who was trying to listen to me and tune out Hudson!
My mom arrived and Hudson finished up his lunch. I had a feeling this would be my last chance to rock him to sleep for nap (our usual routine) as a mommy of just one child so we sat down in the recliner and rocked. I had about four contractions during that time and they were strong enough that I needed to breathe and concentrate, but I was able to do that while holding and rocking him so it was manageable.
12:00pm – Hudson was good and asleep so I picked him up and carried him to our bedroom to lay him down on our bed. As I was trying to lay him down a painful contraction hit and Michael had to grab him from me and lay him down because I couldn’t. I went to the bathroom and immediately had two more very strong, rather painful contractions.
Mom went into our room to sit with Hudson while he napped and I was finally ready to get down to business really concentrating on laboring since my main distraction (Hudson) was asleep.
12:00-1:00 pm – I found that sitting in the recliner made the contractions much easier to manage and much less painful then when I was up and moving. I was able to relax (somewhat) and breathe through them. I thought that I was supposed to keep moving but it just hurt so much more that I preferred to sit. As I sat I flipped through my Bradley workbook some more and we continued our discussion from lunch about what stage of labor we thought I was in. Based on the “signposts” in the book I thought we were still in the 1st stage of labor and had a ways to go. However, every time I’d stand up and walk around the contractions would start coming super close together and very painful. Michael tried putting counterpressure on my back while I leaned against the counter during contractions but they were still awful. They were about 5 minutes apart while I was sitting and 2 minutes apart while standing, but they weren’t very long – only 30 seconds to a minute.
By just a few minutes after 1:00 it was apparent that we needed to go. I was in quite a bit of pain and was thinking to myself that I couldn’t do this much longer. I even considered (briefly) asking for pain meds once we got to the hospital because if my labor was going to last for hours (like it did with Hudson) at this level of intensity there was no way I could continue on.
Right before we walked out the door I went to the bathroom one more time. While I was on the toilet a contraction hit and it was horribly painful…I think I was crying something like “This hurts, I can’t do this!” while Michael tried to help support me. At the same time I realized that I thought it might feel better to push.
We hustled to the car and headed to the hospital. That was a pretty rough car ride. The whole time I was thinking that it would feel good to push but I was terrified to even give it a little test to see so I was tense the whole way there, which made it much worse. Holding back when you want to push is not a good feeling. Michael flew down the interstate to get us there.
1:30ish – We arrived at the hospital. During the hours of 8am-4pm they offer valet parking so we pulled in and the valet comes out. He and Michael are trying to sort out the details and all I can think is that I need to get into the hospital asap. I braced myself on the door of the car for one contraction while they talked, then as we walked in I had to stop to have one in the stairs going up, and then a third walking down the hall of L&D. They were just about a minute apart.
A nurse met us at the end of the L&D hall and said she’d seen me out the window having the contraction at the car and figured they had one “coming in hot” so she escorted me to a room right away. They start asking me all kinds of questions that I tried to answer, had me put on a hospital gown, tried to get me to pee in a cup (I think I just laughed at that), put in my hep-loc, put the belly monitors on, etc. All the while I’m having very strong, frequent contractions. As soon as they got me settled a nurse checked me and announced that I was at 9 cm. She asked when my water broke and I told her I wasn’t sure that it had – she said she was pretty sure it had because she didn’t feel my bag of waters.
At that point things kicked into super high gear. I was pretty focused on laboring so I didn’t notice but Michael said more and more nurses started filling my room and bringing in equipment. At one point they told me my doctor was on his way and not to push. I think I agreed outwardly but inwardly I was thinking…I am going to push this baby out whether or not he is here!
Thankfully my doctor got there insanely fast. Again, I didn’t notice much at all but Michael said he came in literally hopping into his delivery room clothes to try to get them on in time. They put up the stirrups for my legs and he said that as soon as I had another contraction to go ahead and push.
That baffled me. Even though I felt like I needed to push I thought there was no way I was actually far enough along to push. Last time it had just been such a long ordeal that I was in disbelief that it was already time.
As soon as I had my next contraction I started pushing. Not super hard at first but as soon as I started pushing my doctor said he could see the head right there and to keep going.
I pushed HARD. Michael said my face was turning purple (and later I noticed I busted a bunch of blood vessels in my face…also all kinds of weird parts like the sides of my neck were sore from straining) and I was able to push through several breaths each contraction.
It hurt to push, like pushing out the biggest bowel movement ever, but it definitely felt better than NOT pushing through a contraction. I didn’t scream like I did during Hudson’s birth but I do think I yelled out several times about how hard it was, how much it hurt, “I can’t do it”, etc.
It seemed like an eternity but in reality I pushed through four contractions and out popped Parker. As soon as his head came through the rest of his body slid right out. It happened so fast that it took me a few seconds to realize he was born and to open my eyes to look.
1:58pm – Parker Henry was born – 8 pounds, 11 ounces; 21 inches long, 14 inch head.
Twenty-three minutes from the time we arrived at the hospital until he was born.
It.Was.Insane. I literally don’t know how they were able to get me processed, get my doctor in the room, and me push a baby out in just over 20 minutes. That was the craziest, fastest thing I’ve ever been through.
They laid Parker on my chest and it was absolutely the best feeling ever. Once the umbilical cord stopped pulsing Michael cut the cord. I delivered the placenta (last time I felt like my doctor just gave a gentle tug and it slid out, this time I had a mild contraction and I actually had to push a little bit for it to come out. It didn’t hurt, it was just different) and they took Parker for a few minutes across the room to weigh and measure him while my doctor stitched me up (I tore some and needed just a few stitches). Everyone kept commenting on how big Parker was!
They brought him back to me for skin to skin and he latched immediately and nursed for nearly an hour. If you’re a long time reader you know that my breastfeeding experience with Hudson pretty horrible at the beginning so this was very different and a pleasant surprise as well.
And there you go. 5am to 2pm was the extent of my labor, and the only really hard part was from 12-2. Such a different (and welcome) experience than with Hudson! Sure it was painful but compared to the pain I dealt with while in labor with Hudson this was nothing. In fact, it was such “nothing” that I thought I wasn’t even in hard labor yet and didn’t want to go to the hospital too soon! Good thing we went when we did or we would have had an unplanned homebirth!
The difference between “regular” contractions and Pitocin contractions was huge. Another recap for those who haven’t read Hudson’s birth story – after being in labor for over a day and pushing for several hours with no progress we finally decided to use Pitocin to try to get Hudson out. I did not have an epidural or other pain meds so I felt the full extent of the Pitocin contractions. They were incredibly hard and fast and when it came time to push I had almost no control because my body was pushing whether I wanted it to or not. I think because we used Pitocin my body didn’t fully get to prepare for his exit so it hurt a lot more. This time I was able to manage the contractions better and the pain was so much less that I didn’t think I was that far along. When it came to push I made the decision to push (rather than my body making it for me) and it was much easier and more controlled. Also it seemed like my birth canal and all that stuff had had time to stretch/widen/whatever in the world happens down there so other than pushing a little bit of cervix out of the way my doctor didn’t have to reach in and stretch me or anything like that (he did with Hudson and it was by far the worst part of my whole labor…I asked him not to do that this time and he didn’t, I don’t think it was necessary anyway, and that made a world of difference).
Of course once the immediate frenzy was over Michael called and texted some of our family members. My mom thought we were just calling to let her know that we’d arrived at the hospital, check on her and Hudson, etc. She was not expecting to hear that Parker had already been born! No one else, aside from Michael’s parents and one or two other people, knew I was even in labor, much less that we were that close to delivery. It all just happened so fast!
So for those of you who prayed that I’d have a quicker and easier labor and delivery…thank you! That’s what I prayed for too and those prayers were certainly answered. It was a much better and less traumatic experience this time around. I definitely got to have my ideal labor and birth – very quick, only a short amount of pain, labor most of the time at home, no interventions, all natural, and of course ending with a perfect, healthy baby.