Better late than never, right? Exactly 4 months after Cruz was born, I’m so excited to share this special moment in our lives as we welcomed our baby boy. I hope this encourages a mom who might be past her due date or wants to give birth naturally and just needs the courage to follow through. Enjoy….
My due date, March 12, 2019 had come and gone. I had tried all the things – dates and red raspberry leaf tea daily, walking, bouncing, reflexology massage, membrane stripping, and the list goes on… I was sure Cruz was going to come early so when induction got brought up at my 40 week appt I started to get anxious. My Mom and Dad had come into town that week and I started to feel the pressure to get him out to appease everyone, despite my initial wishes to go into labor on my own. At my last appointment we set an induction date “just in case” he didn’t come by 41 weeks 2 days, and we went on our merry way.
By this point I gave up trying to do all the things to induce labor, because it just wasn’t working. The only thing I was still doing was walking about 2-3 miles a day because my Mom thought that was actually going to make me go into labor. However it didn’t…it only made me tired and my hips hurt!
I woke up everyday thinking “is this going to be the day?” Saturday, March 16th I woke up and walked down the stairs to let everyone know I was still pregnant. Nothing felt out of the ordinary that morning. I decided to take a nap when Trinity, my 19 month old, laid down for her afternoon nap. I slept so good. I woke up and felt some cramping but I didn’t think anything of it because I felt that before. Except this time the cramps felt different and seemed to keep coming. I didn’t say anything to my husband, Broam, because I didn’t want to be dramatic and cause a false alarm.
We decided to go to the local St. Patrick’s Day festival down the road that evening. The light cramps kept coming and by this point, I knew they were light contractions. I just had to wait to see if they would keep coming and keep getting stronger. If this was early labor, staying busy and keeping my mind occupied was the best thing to do.
We arrived at the festival and went into a local coffee shop. We both got lattes and sat and people watched for an hour or so. The contractions kept coming and by this point, Broam knew I was having contractions. We both still didn’t think it was going to turn into the real deal. Each time a contraction came I would get quiet and could feel the beads of sweat building on my brow. By the end of our coffee date, we both were like “okay, maybe this could be it.” We walked around the festival for like 10 minutes or so before I decided I was over it and suggested we go get some dinner.
We both ordered dinner, and I remember feeling irritated at the waitress every time she asked me a question thinking “hello, I’m having contractions!” By the time the food arrived, I wasn’t in the mood to eat and I only took a few bites of chicken. The contractions were building and coming closer together. I was tensing up and tapping my foot on the ground through each one. I remember Broam saying “they hurt, huh?” This makes me laugh because they were actually nothing compared to active labor contractions! I told him we needed to go home.
My plan all along had been to labor at home for as long as I could before making our way to the hospital. We got home at about 6:30 pm. I went upstairs to take a bath while he played with our daughter before bed time. The contractions weren’t easing up and were only getting stronger. I FINALLY knew this was really it. I texted Broam to bring me up some water and my birth ball (which I ended up never using).
While he helped get my daughter ready for bed, I walked around our room and would lean against the wall through each contraction. About an hour later, he finally came up to help me start coping through the contractions. We had planned to use Bradley Method techniques, and my husband was so helpful during the labor. He immediately told me to get into the position that the Bradley Method suggests for coping with contractions. It’s essentially laying on your side and using pillows to prop up all parts of your body.
I got into that position and he started timing. He turned on Working Moms on Netflix to keep me relaxed. In between contractions, I watched the show and actually found the show super entertaining! During contractions, I would close my eyes and totally focus on trying to relax. My initial reaction with each contraction was to tense up and grab onto the bed sheets to endure the contraction, but that was what I was trying to avoid. This routine went on for 3 hours (which felt super quick for me). We decided to head to the hospital when the contractions were about 2 minutes apart and pretty painful.
The ride to the hospital was about 30 minutes. It felt like forever. I was not utilizing the relaxing techniques I had been using before. I had one foot up on the dash and one hand on the roof through contractions moaning and, basically hyperventilating. Broam spent the majority of the car ride trying to slow my breathing. I started panicking and thought the baby was going to come any minute. My worst fear was that we weren’t going to make it in time! This made my husband feel the pressure to get us there quickly, he was a little flustered, and I could tell.
Broam wheeled me in with a wheelchair. I remember saying “I need to walk so labor doesn’t stall”, “nevermind, I need to sit”, “go fast”, “go slower”, “don’t hit the bumps”, “don’t turn so fast”, “I’m sorry I’m so demanding.”
In triage I remember they made me put on that terrible thin blue gown. The nurse checked me and I was a 5. Only a 5? I for sure thought that the baby was just about to crown in the car. I started asking all the techs and nurses, “is this going to go on forever?”
I got to my room and they started the process of putting in the IV hep-lock which felt like it took forever. I didn’t want an IV or pain meds, but they put in the access “just in case”. I kept telling Broam “this wouldn’t suck so bad if I could get up off my back!” I also begged them to blow up the birth pool, which was also part of the plan. I love water and knew it would provide a degree of relief. The agreement was I had to sit through 30 minutes of monitoring to make sure baby was tolerating contractions, and then they would blow up the pool.
What felt like an hour went by, and they finally started blowing up the pool. I gripped Broam through each contraction and said “ow, ow, ow” over and over through each one. Broam was so helpful – I wouldn’t have been able to do it without his help. He coached me through each and every contraction. The hose was filling the tubs slowly, so the lovely techs and nurses were using vomit buckets to fill with hot water and pour into the tub so it would fill faster.
I could finally imagine some relief when I got the go ahead to hop (well waddle slowly) into the pool. They took off all the monitors and I went in. It felt magical. I remember thanking the nurses and saying over and over again how much better I felt already. The contractions were still beyond strong, but I could manage. About this time, Broam pulled out some Belvita crackers for a snack (yes, I remember this). After a few contractions passed, I felt like what I thought was my water breaking. Since I was in the water I wasn’t totally sure. I asked the nurse how long it would take for the midwife to get there when it was time. She said “not long” and walked out. My midwife group was off that weekend and another midwife that I had never met was on call. At this point I didn’t care.
The next contraction came and felt like NONE of the ones before. I started wailing and yelling and rocking back and forth. I started pushing involuntarily. I would compare it to having to throw up – it’s forceful and you can’t stop it! I knew I was in transition. I don’t think Broam thought I was so close already. I also don’t think he knew what to do when I started yelling like that. He might’ve been coaching me, but from that point forward, I don’t remember much.
The nurse immediately came back in and told me to get on the bed so that they could monitor baby’s heart rate real quick. I hobbled over to the bed and another contraction came. I started pushing again. The nurse checked me and I heard the glorious words “I don’t feel any cervix”. Broam looked at me and said “you did it – almost there!” I think someone told me to wait to push, but that wasn’t happening. I just started pushing.
What felt like 10 people came into the room – 3 were residents, and they actually tried to introduce themselves to me. Like what woman in the pushing stage of unmedicated labor actually listens to someone introducing themselves?! At that point, I didn’t care who caught baby Cruz. They said they were stepping in until the midwife could make it. I asked that I lean backwards over the bed to push and they said okay. I got into position and had another big contraction. I remember looking at Broam and telling him to “push the baby back in!” They caught wind that my first baby was big, so they made me turn immediately back onto my back despite my hesitation.
They had me reach down and feel his head. I couldn’t believe it was already almost out. I imagined having to push for hours and hours. I had another big contraction and pushed his head out. His body followed quickly after. The midwife never made it. I never felt the ring of fire just a lot of pressure. It was such a relief. He turned out to be 8 lbs 14.8 oz, 22.5 inches long and was born in the early morning around 2 am. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
I had prayed for a quick labor, which overall a 7 ½ hour active labor was totally doable. I prayed that I would be able to handle it, and I did like a boss (it’s ok to give yourself some credit). Looking back, it wasn’t nearly as bad or terrible as I thought it would be.
However, I can totally understand why women ask for epidurals or give in after hours and hours of labor. I remember thinking when he came out “it’s already over?” I know my quick labor was a factor in me being able to follow through with my natural birth plan. I also had very strong and effective contractions which I attribute to drinking red raspberry leaf tea daily and this labor day tea brew twice a day the week before he was born.
My one regret: Not hiring a birth photographer! I figured my husband would be able to capture the moments for me, but he was far too busy to get the shots I was hoping to look back on.
Overall, it was a super positive experience, and I would do it all over again for my baby boy.