Wow. It is so surreal to me to realize everything that has transpired in the past few days. On Wednesday morning when I wrote asking for help choosing potential boy names, we had ZERO indication that I was anywhere close to having this child. In fact, I also wrote a post on my family blog about the preparations we were doing to try to start getting the odds and ends ready, and less than 12 hours after that we already had Stella in our arms! I don’t want to forget a minute of that night, so here goes nothing.
The short version is this: my birthing time started and finished in under five hours on Wednesday night / early Thursday morning and now our beautiful Stella is here – perfect and healthy. Thanks to our wonderful, amazing midwife, we were able to avoid a very possible c-section and follow our birth plan almost exactly, and I feel so blessed about the experience we had. Here’s a link to the quick post I did on my family blog if you just want a few pics instead of an essay to read. 🙂
Now for the long TMI version! FYI, contractions are called pressure waves in Hypnobabies lingo, and I’ll often call them PW in the story below. Labor is called your birthing time, and there are a few other similar changes. Hypnobabies is all about approaching your birthing time with a joyful attitude and using positive, empowering words to describe childbirth instead of using terms that have possible negative and/or scary connotations in your mind. By the way, it works. 🙂
Tuesday night (37w5d) Charlie and I had “relations” in the hope that it would start things moving in the right direction. Maybe it did, I don’t know! I had a tiny bit of spotting throughout the day on Wednesday, but I figured it probably was from an irritated cervix.
Wednesday morning I went to my chiropractor for an hour long appointment to try and get some relief from both the carpal tunnel and low back pain I’d been having. She got my pelvis and hips all aligned, and then she did a lot of massage and stretching work on my low back because it was SO tight. She told me that my low back pain was actually muscular in origin and not because of any vertebrae being out of place, and she used kinesio tape on both my low back and forearms to try to alleviate some of the carpal tunnel swelling and back pain. (*side note* i vaguely remember TEARING that tape off my back and arms between contractions that night – I wanted everything touching me OFF OF ME and spent the majority of the time naked *LOL*)
Wednesday afternoon I still had no indications that my birthing time was anywhere on the horizon. I was still carrying really high and feeling normal, and I just hung out around the house most of the day and made lists of baby-related things I wanted/needed to get accomplished on Thursday after my 38w midwife appointment in order to be ready for this kiddo (like packing the hospital bag, buying a few last items from the baby registry at Target, making some casseroles to freeze, etc). HAHAHA. I guess I procrastinated too long in this case.
09:00/09:30pm – Charlie fell asleep fairly early, but I wasn’t tired so I decided to watch a little more TV. One of my favorite new shows (Revenge) was on the DVR, and normally I can’t take my eyes off the show. On Wednesday night, though, I started having what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions that were really aggravating the back pain I’d been having all week, and by just a few minutes into the show, I had to turn it off in order to listen to a hypnobabies track on my iPod in order to use my self-anesthesia and “off switch” to help with my back.
09:45 – This is the start of the first PW I tracked on my phone app, and I really only tried tracking because my back was hurting so much and I was trying to distract myself from that.
10:00 – I decided to get into the tub downstairs in the guest bathroom in order to help with the back pain. I was listening to my hypnobabies tracks on my iPod and using my release, open, and peace cues to relax through the pressure waves, which I was still thinking were Braxton Hicks. We were only at 38 weeks after all! After 20 minutes, I glanced at my “contraction log” on my phone and was surprised when it told me I was averaging 1 minute pressure waves that were about 3 minutes apart. They really weren’t hurting, just giving me feelings of intense pressure (I honestly think this was thanks to my hypnobabies self-anesthesia training), and I talked myself into thinking that I must be tracking wrong, because the PW had been happening for less than an hour and that seemed really close together, so how could that be right? LOL. Denial. What a funny thing.
10:25 – I suddenly have the urge to vomit ASAP. I jumped out of the bath and puked between pressure waves. That was the moment I thought holy crap, is this really happening?!
10:30 – I got back into the shower to wash my hair, because I remember reading somewhere that it could help relax me and it might be the last time I showered for awhile if this was really it. In retrospect, I’m glad I took the few minutes to do this. The whole time I was in my middle-switch position for hypnobabies and just deep breathing through the pressure waves. My back was still hurting me though, and it was definitely causing me issues with my concentration. In retrospect, I wish I’d have tried harder to direct the anesthesia to my back instead of just my stomach. I think it would have helped me to stay more in control of the back pain over the next couple of hours.
10:45 – I headed back upstairs and rode out the next couple of pressure waves while leaning over my birthing ball in our bedroom. I was low moaning through the PWs because it felt better to make noise, and eventually it woke Charlie up. He groggily asked if I was peeing (um, no?), and then he woke up a little more and realized I was on the floor on the ball. He asked if I was in labor, and I told him I had no idea, I’d never done this before, but maybe? 🙂
11:00 – My back was still killing me and the pressure waves were still coming pretty close together, so I decided to call my midwife office to see what I should do. Shawna (my favorite midwife!) called me back within a minute or two, and we talked for probably 30-40 minutes on the phone. I was pretty calm, though by this point I definitely couldn’t talk during the pressure waves (or maybe just didn’t want to because I was switching between my mid and off switches and repeating the “relax, open, peace” cues to myself). Things were pretty intense, and Charlie was running around gathering the things on my hospital bag list. He is not a night person and was quite nervous about the whole birthing time situation to begin with, so he was definitely pretty stressed at this point. I helped him back the baby stuff between PWs and told him to just do the best he could with the rest of the list and to quit asking me questions during my pressure waves. Poor guy. 🙂
At this point I was spending every pressure wave either on the toilet or on the floor on my hands and knees (doggie style position with my head on the floor on my open hands). The PWs were still feeling okay, especially when I was sitting on the toilet, but my back was ripping in two, even between waves, so I had Charlie pushing on my back, doing belly lifts, etc., which really helped. Being on all fours was really the best position for my back, I suppose because it was getting Miss Stella off my spine and tail bone.
11:25 – Second puke…in hindsight, this was probably transition. I didn’t want Charlie to touch me anymore, and I ended up sitting on the toilet, peeing & having runny stools, while I puked into the trash can. When I wiped, there was more blood too. I’m not sure if that was when I lost my mucous plug (or if I ever did?), but I definitely thought WHOA after that little progression of events. I was still on the line with my midwife and told her what had just happened. She could tell I was getting more nervous, so she told me to head into town since we had a 30 minute drive. She told me later she thought I was probably at a 3 based on how I was talking and breathing and she didn’t want me discouraged when I got to the hospital and was told that, so she figured we’d hang out at her practice for awhile. I’ve read this is a common “problem” with hypnobabies births – nobody realizes how far along you’ve progressed (or believes you if you’re telling them) because you’re not so anxiously vocal or in pain.
11:45 – I finally got down to the car between PWs and we headed to town to meet the midwife at her office, which is across the street from the hospital. Charlie was SO great all night about reminding me to listen to my hypnobabies tracks and to take long, slow breaths.
12:07 – I was feeling like I had to poop during my pressure waves, and it finally occurs to me that I might be farther along than any of us were thinking. My back is still killing me, and I didn’t think I could walk into Shawna’s office and then back out and over to the hospital, so I told Char to call her and just have her meet us at the ER entrance to the hospital instead. Shawna told me later that at that point, she told Charlie that he needed to drive faster. If you know Charlie, you know how hilarious that is – he is the SLOWEST driver ever. He sped up to 67 in a 60 and made sure to slow down whenever we met a car in case it was a cop. I wanted to lose my mind on him, but I made every effort to concentrate on the calming hypnobabies track instead. 🙂
We missed the turn to the hospital. Oops. Poor Charlie was apologizing and I’m gasping that it’s okay – just take a left HERE and again HERE.
12:15 – We arrive at hospital. This whole thing has only been going on for maybe 3 hours max at this point, but the next pressure wave had me drop to my hands and knees in the ER entryway airlock to breathe through it. It’s at this point that the hospital staff started getting worried I’d have the baby right there (they actually brought Shawna gloves and lube in case she wanted to just check me in the entryway! LOL). Instead she got me a wheel chair and they rushed me to the first possible exam room. Shawna checked me and immediately says, “Wow, you’re a 10, I can see your bulging bag of waters, and you’re ready to push Josey! Good job!”
I’m at a 10? Complete? Ready to push? What?! Wow. Okay. Here we go.