Birth Story for Baby # 3
Tardy For The Party
My due date had come and gone but I wasn’t too concerned because my other two were both 11 days late. I went to see my midwife on a Wednesday for an internal exam (UGH). For those of you who need clarification, this is when they check to see how dilated your cervix is. It’s a super pleasant experience.
So I wasn’t dilated at all, maybe 1 cm. Great. But also no surprise because with both of my other two I wasn’t dilated the day before they popped out. The midwife gave me a pretty vigorous exam - so for the rest of the day I felt crampy and blah.
Thursday rolls around and I wake up in the WORST mood of my life.
You should know, I’m normally an optimistic and friendly person. Not on Thursday. Everyone and everything annoyed me. Irritability was oozing out of me. I was terrifying people on the street with the daggers coming from my eyes.
Have you ever had braxon hicks? I got them throughout all three pregnancies. They don’t feel like much but you can see your belly contract/contort when it happens. So weird. It’s kind of like your uterus flexing and getting ready for labor.
Later that evening, I’m lying on the couch and realize that the last couple braxton hicks are different - as in, not braxton hicks at all. These were early labor contractions! However, I was still in total denial that I’d have a baby that night because 7 days late was on the early side for me.
After the kids go to bed my husband and I order dinner, have some wine and watch TV. I’m having some mild contractions sporadically and by 10ish we head to bed.
At 10:30 pm my water breaks! Not as dramatic as it sounds...
I felt a little leak, ran to the bathroom and sat on the toilet to pee. But once I sat down and felt a gush, I realized...it wasn’t pee. So I call my friend (middle-of-the-night-helper) and my midwife. My midwife told me to relax and slowly make my way to the hospital after hearing me have a contraction over the phone. She didn’t seem rushed, and neither did I.
While I’m waiting for my friend to arrive, my midwife calls back and says she changed her mind and that she wanted me to hustle and get to the hospital as soon my friend arrived. (I’m guessing she reviewed my file and remembered this was my third and I tend to go fast!)
My friend arrives at 11:00 pm and at this point the contractions are rolling in faster and stronger, maybe 4 minutes part. And they suck. I start being mean to my husband, which is also a sign of labor progressing for me. His favorite part.
By 11:15 pm my husband and I are walking out the door.
I immediately try to hail a cab (we live in Manhattan) and my husband stops me. He thinks it’ll be faster to walk. Wait, What?! Technically it would be, if I wasn’t in LABOR. I tell him, No Way. He reminds me of my first labor where I almost had the baby in the cab (that's another blog post) and I rethink it. He justifies it by saying my contractions are 3 or 4 minutes apart so I’ll only have to endure two on the walk to the hospital. (the hospital is about five blocks away) Somehow, in my blinding pain, I agree.
So, we walked. And I’m pissed.
Guess how many contractions I had on this walk? SEVEN. Probably more, I emotionally blacked out. Each one had me stop in my tracks and hung over my husband groaning. So that was fun.
Oh, and it happened to be Friday the 13th, a full moon and absurdly warm so there were tons of people out enjoying their night - and now, it seemed, my live birth on the street. Cool.
We get to the hospital and they tell me I’m 6cm. What the??? For most people this is great news, but for me, I panic. I’m used to arriving at the hospital and just pushing, not going through hours of labor.
I immediately start asking about an epidural - trying to convince people in the room to sway me one way or the other. I was feeling indecisive. This could be my last baby so I was curious about what an epidural would be like. I hear it’s glorious but I was a little scared to get one.
Twenty minutes later, the mother of all contractions comes. The midwife could see the wild look in my eyes and does another check to see how dilated I am. Turns out I’m ready to push and we’re in business!
At this point, I’m seriously hurting. I feel everything. It sucks. But after one push I can tell by the reaction of my husband and the midwife that they saw crowning. I’m pumped now! This will be quicker than I thought! The next push is even better, it’s like he’s almost here and I can feel him descending through my body. Coolest, weirdest and scariest feeling ever.
I can tell we’re close. Another push and I’m feeling the Ring Of Fire (in fact, I’m screaming, “I feel the ring of fire!!”). For those of you lucky souls not familiar with the ROF, Google it.
You Want To What?!
Then my midwife asks me if I still want to pull the baby out myself. My husband nearly faints when he hears this. Back Up…
At my last appointment with her I mentioned I was interested in pulling out the baby myself. I forgot to tell my husband - oops - so when she says this he looks petrified.
Pulling your baby out isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Basically, once the heads comes out, you grab under their armpits and deliver the body….
Ok maybe it is a little crazy. But I wanted to do it.
I had one last contraction and I pushed like I’ve never pushed before. A couple nurses poked their heads in the room when they heard me screaming. They don’t have many drug free labors at this hospital so I guess the floor is normally a little more...civilized. Well, at this point, there was nothing civilized about the words flying out of my mouth.
Then I let out a sound that I can only describe as a ROAR. Like a dig-down-deep kind of animalistic roar. I felt like a warrior! At this point in childbirth you have to let go of all inhibitions and give into the pain. It’s exhilarating and scary as hell because it seriously feels like your body is going to rip in half. (It didn’t, phew)
This baby was coming! And when he did, I reached down and pulled him out.
Talk about the circle of life, right?
I brought him on my body and we got to chill out like that for almost an hour. Skin to skin heaven. I even cut the cord! Who am I!?
I’d say it was the best birth yet. I felt the most present and recovery was easier (no stitches!).
So there you have it, birth story #3. Fast, Crazy, Magical.