Disclaimer/Introduction: As you know if you’ve read any of my last several posts, Wyatt’s arrival has more or less consumed my thoughts for the last month. He was 13 days past due when he was born, so the amount of time in which I could only think about birth and baby was lengthened, what felt like exponentially. I am writing one last baby post, before returning to my regularly scheduled irregularity of topic. If you’re not into birth stories, feel free to skip this post, but please come back! I promise to write about other stuff again soon.
My first baby was born 6 days early. My second was born 13 days late. I knew that one early baby didn’t necessarily mean the next would be too, but despite my best efforts, when Wyatt’s due date rolled around, I was already feeling overdue. The nearly two weeks that followed were difficult. It was hard to stay positive and focused on the fact that, in the end, we would have this baby, no matter how long it took. But with each day that passed, without a birth, it was harder not to think of the pregnancy as a list of annoying symptoms rather than our growing baby boy who would soon be born.
I had to go into the hospital to monitor his heartbeat one week after the due date. Then three days later, at my last doctor’s appointment, we did the non-stress test again, and had an ultrasound to make sure he had enough fluid. Both times, Wyatt’s heartbeat was steady and strong, and he showed no signs of being ready to make his grand entrance any time soon. At that appointment, we scheduled an induction for Saturday, September 8th…thirteen long days after his due date.
Friday night, we ate pizza and watched Seinfeld episodes. I wasn’t excited or nervous at all, it was simply too surreal. As a result, I slept pretty well that night. Saturday morning my parents came to pick up Eliza and take her back to Lafayette with them until it was all over. It was so strange to shower, “do” my hair (those of you who know me, know how much I “do” with my hair), put on eyeliner…all to go have a baby. I had been having crampy contractions for a solid month, but was still only 1 cm dilated, so I knew that we were probably in for a long day.
We checked in at the hospital, only five minutes late. 🙂 After all the maddening obligatory history questions, about an hour and a half after we got there, they gave me the first dose of cytotec. This is one of the least intervening of interventions, in terms of starting labor. I was really praying that it would work, that labor would progress, and that I would not have to be put on pitocin. The birth “plan” Matthew and I had come up with was to schedule a water birth, have a doula on hand, and see what happened. What happened was, we spent that entire day in the hospital room watching tv. I should have been walking around, but during the first dose of cytotec we lost Wyatt’s heartbeat for a bit. I had a six minute long contraction, and he finally couldn’t hold out any longer. It was pretty scary, the nurse rushed in and called for backup, got out an oxygen mask and gave me IV fluids, but as soon as I laid on my left side everything was fine. After that, I was confined to the bed for awhile, and then only allowed to walk around in the space that the cords hooking me up to the monitors allowed. I kept texting Emily, my doula, to keep her updated on the non-event. After 10 1/2 hours, an hour an a half before the midwife would administer the fourth dose of cytotec, I texted Emily to go ahead and get some sleep. I had been contracting all day, but was still only at 2 cm, and I was coming to terms with the fact that it wasn’t looking like Wyatt would be born that night.
Five minutes after sending the text, I lay down to get some sleep, and felt something change. The contractions got stronger and I had to remember to breathe, so once again I updated Emily. Five minutes later, at about 9:30, my water broke! I rushed to the bathroom and paged the nurse to let her know. Within seconds of my water breaking, my contractions became very intense. I had texted Emily that my water broke and I would keep her posted, but after fifteen minutes I knew I needed her there immediately because I was already feeling overwhelmed. While I waited for her to arrive, I had powerful contractions that were 20 seconds apart. It was really intense, but I could manage them on my own, rocking in my chair and breathing, Matthew sitting in a chair opposite me, saying nothing but comforting me by being there.
Emily got to the hospital around 10, and right in time for me to start really freaking out. I couldn’t believe things were already so painful and intense, and I was panicking with every contraction. I would breathe well during part of each contraction, but would think about how long Eliza’s birth was and nearly lose it at the thought of this taking much longer. I already felt like I might die. By this time, I had a half hour til the midwife was scheduled to come check my progress, and I did not think I would make it that long. With each contraction I told Matthew and Emily “I can’t do this. I really can’t do this.” And finally I told them that if the midwife checked me and I was only at a 5 I was getting that epidural. Emily told me to just get through until the midwife came and then we’d make a plan. The midwife didn’t get there until 10:45. That doesn’t sound like very much longer, but I was pissed. I knew they probably didn’t think things were progressing that quickly, because nothing had happened all day, but I felt like I was going to die. I even wanted to cry thinking of making it through the half hour of IV fluids before the epidural. I kept feeling like I might throw up, but never quite did, just sort of stood and cried and squatted and moaned. I felt really whiny, because I still believed there was no way I was that far along in labor. (There were also a few curse words here and there, between the other inarticulate noises.)
When the midwife finally came in, I had to lie down for her to check me, and thought I might lose it, my back hurt so bad. But she checked my progress and lo and behold, I was at an 8! The reason I thought I was going to die the last half hour was because I went from a 2 to an 8 and was in transition. Matthew, Emily, and the midwife were all excitedly telling me how soon I was going to have this baby, that Wyatt was going to be here so soon, and even though I didn’t believe them, I told them decidedly to get me in the tub. The nurse sprinted down the hall to start filling it up, and Emily and Matthew draped a robe and sheet over me, because of course by this time I was pretty much naked. Not sure how that happened, but there you go.
I have this vision of me running down the hall to the room with the tub, with Matthew and Emily next to me trying to hold up the robe and sheet, but I know that there’s no way we actually ran, because I was in transition. Either way, we got to the room and I sank into the tub as they were filling it. What followed were the longest and shortest 20 minutes of my life. I thought transition would never end, even though Emily said it was almost over. The warm water really helped with my back pain, but it did not calm me down enough to keep me from panicking with every contraction. But pretty soon, and after an eternity, I felt a lot of pressure with each contraction. After three contractions where my body was pushing for the duration of the contraction, the pressure didn’t leave and I told everyone that I thought it was time to push. No sooner had we gotten me into position, then I started to push and realized I wasn’t stopping. I said to Matthew, “I think I’m pushing him out now!” which is one of the smartest things I’ve ever said, and with one–that’s right, ONE–push, Wyatt was born. All 9 pounds, 5 ounces, and 21 1/2 inches of him. And with that, it was done. Just, done. All that intensity, gone, just like that.
I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that it was over, that I had done it, that Wyatt was here and he was a baby, and he was a boy. I couldn’t believe how normal I felt, immediately after undergoing the most intense thing that has ever happened to me.
I’m so thankful for the whole experience, that I was able to have a natural birth, because now I know that I can do it. However, I won’t guarantee that if we have a third child I will definitely have a natural birth again. If things hadn’t happened the way they did with Wyatt, I would have gotten an epidural, so we will see what happens if I give birth a third time. In the meantime, I think every day about the fact that I did this crazy intense thing, and I still can’t believe it. And, as thankful as I am for my birth experience, I am more thankful that Wyatt is finally here. He is pretty great.