I had been having braxton hicks on and off since November. My due date was Feb 10. They were just mildly uncomfortable and made me feel like I needed to run to the restroom when they happened. Monday Feb 1st in the evening, I started getting gentle consistent contractions so I stayed home from church group thinking it was going somewhere. It stopped after a few hours and we went to bed. As the week went on I would have contractions come and go, but it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t talk and walk through or keep driving. We were trying to walk a lot but with the cold rainy weather it was difficult to find places where we felt safe walking with our other child who is high risk. Tuesday we walked the mall and Wednesday our son woke up sick. So we tried to make sure contractions wouldn’t progress. I was too worried to leave him sick at home.
Saturday morning I woke up and my pajamas were a little wet. It didn’t smell and when I went to the bathroom I started getting little bits of blood when I wiped. We walked and I bounced on the ball, as the day went on the contractions got more intense. We made pancakes and boiled eggs for our son for while we would be away, we took pictures, we were intimate, we cleaned the kitchen, we watched “Superstore.” I wasn’t sure if I should let Julie know, I know she had told us to keep early labor secret and I was worried telling anyone would make me anxious and would make my contractions stop but I also wanted to give her a heads up as it was getting later into the evening. I told my dad to keep his phone on for the night.
We started getting more and more contractions as the evening went on and a big chunk of mucus came out. That got me excited because that meant things were happening. I tried to lay down but it was much more intense laying down, and I was excited thinking we might meet our baby soon. It felt the best to have contractions on my hands and knees. When a contraction came I made deep low noises and focused on total body relaxation. I like to think of it as doing corpse pose in Yoga. A little after midnight I told Timmy to ask Julie to come, I was starting to need help getting through the contractions. He told Julie I was sounding like a whale. The roads were covered in snow and downed trees. About 15 minutes before Julie got there I think I psyched myself out, I was thinking about her coming to our house and my contractions stopped. Then I felt bad that I had called her out so I went into the bathroom alone and tried to get the contractions to come back. I kept telling myself “My contractions will come” and they did. They became regular again and increasingly intense. She told us around 3am it was time to go to the hospital so we called pap pap and nana to come watch our son and off we went. When they checked me I was only 3cm and fully effaced. They admitted me but being in the hospital made my contractions stop. Timmy and I tried to get it back by taking a shower but it was so cold. They came back for a little and I tried to sway and move to get baby to move down. But then they completely stopped and I fell asleep. So Sunday morning, we decided to discharge and go back home.
I was still having contractions but we were so tired from being up with sick big brother and then not sleeping from contractions so we just relaxed, watched tv and tried to sleep. Timmy did such a good job taking care of me and our son, running back and forth between us, making sure we were both fed and drinking plenty. My contractions came back every 5 minutes during the night Sunday. They were more intense and I needed Timmy to push my back to help me. I would get up and go to the bathroom after each contraction, it made me feel like my bladder was full and I was having a lot of pressure on my pubic and tail bones, then I would lay back down and doze until the next one came. Timmy spent all day Monday helping Elijah, cooking and cleaning and also running to me at every contraction. They were very irregular, sometimes 15 minutes sometimes 5 or 2 minutes apart. Julie thought the baby might have their hands in its face. We did the Miles Circuit in the morning to get baby to reposition but I think somehow baby flipped around because then the contractions felt like they were in my tailbone. Timmy had to help me through every contraction. I would just say “help” when I felt one coming and drop on the floor on my hands and knees, or kneel with my elbows on the couch. I would concentrate on my toes when I was having contractions because my toes felt perfectly normal. The contractions were becoming unbearable because I was frankly just tired of having contractions with no baby, but not closer together so we tried to reposition with the Miles Circuit again that evening. I felt like I did it much better the second time and we got it! I felt so good. Contractions started coming regularly and were not so much that I couldn’t get through them. I sat in the tub, I opened my hands at each contraction and made deep low noises with my mouth wide open hanging my head forward focusing on relaxing every muscle in my body, all the time thinking in my head the sticky note I had put on my mirror “I welcome my contractions, they bring me closer to my baby.” But then all of a sudden when I got out of the tub around 10pm my back hurt so bad higher not just with contractions, I thought my kidney had exploded. Nothing was making it stop and I was really afraid something was wrong. Timmy was too. Pap pap came and Timmy raced me out the door. Julie was waiting for us with a wheelchair at the hospital entrance. The pain wasn’t as bad when we got to the hospital. The midwife said it was probably just the way baby was positioned and we would try to get baby turned. That gave me a lot of relief to know everything was ok. Julie had me do 3 contractions on each side with my leg hanging off the bed, then I got up to use the restroom and my water broke. It was like a big balloon popping! It shocked me. (Doula Note: This is called the side-lying release. It’s used to soften the pelvis. My primary goal was helping with Melissa’s back pain).
After that the contractions came really fast and close. I lost all sense of time. I didn’t even know people were around except for Timmy and Jublie. I felt like surely I had to be dilating a lot. They checked me to see if I could get in the water but they said nope I was still only 5cm, I felt so discouraged. I remember thinking “I just want to go home” and “I’m going to be pregnant forever.” I couldn’t have gotten through without Timmy and Julie. So Julie put Timmy and I in the shower, maybe the warm water would help. It did but the contractions were so close together and so strong I tried to relax my body and accept it, I screamed out my breaths during the contractions. I felt like my body was pushing. I said “I need help” Julie came and asked me what I was feeling. I said “this is stupid but I feel like I’m pushing” I thought there’s no way I could go from 5 centimeters to pushing that soon. So she had me sit backwards on the toilet, my body tried to push, it was like when you have to puke. She jumped up and told them to fill up the birth tub and Timmy and I got in.
It felt so much better to push in the water. Julie told me this is the new sensation and to accept it and kept giving me drinks. It was literally the same muscles as vomiting but the contractions spaced out so it felt really good to push. It was so good that Julie and Timmy were offering me drinks and just pushing on my back without being told because I couldn’t have asked for anything even if I wanted to. After a while they told me I could feel for baby’s head. I felt the head of hair and it made me so happy, I was ecstatic! Timmy said he cried when he saw how happy I was. I kept pushing and the midwife, Barb, told me to save my noise and use it to push baby out so I pushed holding my breath. I could feel baby’s head coming out and I couldn’t stop pushing. I put my hand over baby’s head and rubbed the skin around it to help. I was leaned over the tub, Julie was in front of me offering me drinks and encouragement, the midwife was elbows deep in the water behind me and Timmy was next to me in the water rubbing my back. Baby came out into my hands and I pulled her out of the water to my chest at 3:47am
We were so happy! I couldn’t believe we did it! We looked and saw it was a girl. The midwife let me hold her as long as I wanted to then helped me get out of the water while Timmy held her and I held her again while I delivered the placenta.
Barb showed it to us and we thought it was pretty cool. Everyone at the hospital was so incredibly kind and gentle. It was such a different experience from my first.