I started having contractions around 9:00 in the morning on December 10, 2012. The contractions were stronger than the usual Braxton-hicks I’d been having, and they were more frequent. They were as consistent as my contractions usually get, and over the course of the morning they were getting closer together at times. However, with my two previous birth experiences my contractions didn’t get consistent and/or regular until the very end of the labors; so with this being my third, I didn’t know what to expect or how quickly it would go.
I decided to call Teresa, our doula, after we ate lunch at about 12:30 pm. At this point I was exactly 37 weeks pregnant, so it was early which made me question whether or not this was the real thing. I talked to Teresa about all this, and she suggested I call Intown Midwifery and see about going in for a labor check. We called Intown on our drive down, and I went in to get checked while my husband continued to drive around with our two sleeping kids in the car. I got checked about 2:30 pm, and I was 4 cm dilated, about 40% effaced, and -1 station. Emile suggested hanging around the area to see if my contractions would get closer together, because at this point it would be hard to say if I was actually in labor or not. She told me that it is possible to sustain a pregnancy on 4 cms dilation, so it was still too early to make that determination. I went back downstairs and outside to call my husband to come back and pick me up, and then I made a couple more phone calls to make arrangements for my kids. I called Teresa to discuss what was going on, and I let her know that while I had been standing outside for the past 30 minutes walking and talking on the phone, the contractions seemed to be coming more quickly, at about every 2 minutes. I asked her to come on down and that we were going to go over to the hospital.
We were taken back to the labor room at just before 4:00 pm, and I was checked again and was about the same. The nurse said 4-5 cm dilated. Teresa arrived, and I was standing up to try and get things going while we all talked. My dad and mother in law were with the kids, who were all waiting around because they knew my labors were fast. They decided to have dinner downtown to see how things were going. While being on the monitor it showed my contractions as about every 2 minutes, like I suspected. However, after several hours of this, nothing was really changing, which was very frustrating. After speaking with Kimary I didn’t get into the tub, since I didn’t seem to be progressing. After a while, I had some dinner, and I was still contracting regularly even though nothing seemed to be progressing. Finally at about 1:00 am, we all decided to try and get some sleep. Once I was lying down and sleeping some, the contractions slowly began decreasing in frequency and strength. Kimary came back in to check on me at 3:30 am, and after examining me I was still 4 cm. She suggested I go home to see if things would progress or not; otherwise, my options would be starting Pitocin and/or breaking my water to get things moving – not that she was suggesting that, but she just wanted to let me know all of my options. I decided to go home.
I remained at 4 cm for another two full weeks, which is something that surprised us all. Finally, on Saturday, December 22, I started having consistent and frequent contractions again in the early afternoon; they were still not painful. Over the course of the evening they continued, with some of them pretty close together. We had dinner, got the kids in bed, and decided to try and sleep to see if they would decrease in frequency or stop altogether. After what happened the first time, I didn’t want to jump the gun and go down to the hospital, but at the same time my labors are quick, so I didn’t want to wait too long either. At about 1:30 our son woke up, so my husband went in to sleep with him. At that point I got up to go to the bathroom, and I was still having contractions. I tried to lie back down, but I couldn’t go back to sleep so I sat in bed and timed the contractions over about the next hour. At that point I woke up my husband, and then called Intown Midwifery and spoke with Kimary again. She encouraged me to wait a bit longer to see if I was really in labor, but I decided to go ahead and go down to the hospital. She said this time they’d check me in triage instead of just admitting me like last time, just to make sure I was in labor. I called Teresa and told her we were heading down, and that hopefully this was it this time!
Paul dropped me off in front of the hospital while he parked, and they took me back and got me hooked up to the monitors. Paul and Teresa came in together at about 4:00 am. I was contracting fairly consistently, and started to have some bloody show. The nurse came in to check me just a little after 4:00, and I was still about 4 cm, which was disappointing for me. I couldn’t believe I had been contracting all evening, but still wasn’t seeing any change in my cervix. Luckily the contractions still weren’t painful. So now we were just waiting, and I was still hoping that it wasn’t another “false alarm.” My blood pressure was rising some over the time we were just sitting there, so Teresa suggested I lay on my left side. This worked, because my blood pressure immediately returned to normal.
At about 6:00 am, while I was still just lying there, my water broke. Teresa went to find the nurse, and when she came back I wanted to get up to get out of the water. As soon as I sat up, I felt the first real contractions and pressure and pain. I immediately knew the baby would be coming very soon. Kimary came in and checked me, and I was 6 cm dilated but at -3 station, which concerned Kimary. Since I knew I had some time, I asked Kimary if I could get in the tub. She told me yes, so we made our way to the delivery room where they set up the tub. She checked me again just before I got in to make sure the baby had come down some because she was concerned about umbilical cord prolapsed. But after the check at 6:54 am the baby had moved down to a -2 station, and Kimary said she could now feel the baby’s head was pressed against the cervix and so she was no longer worried about the cord. I was still 6 cm at this time. I got in the tub at 6:55 am. At 7:15 am I got out to try to use the bathroom; but nothing happened and I immediately wanted to get back in the water because it definitely felt better! Shortly after, I asked if I could push because I was feeling a lot of pressure and the contractions were so strong that it made me want to push. Kimary checked me at 7:39 am and said I was 8 cm. This was tough for me, because I wanted to push – the contractions change so that they’re much stronger. The contractions almost have a rippling affect, starting at the top of the uterus and thundering down towards the vagina, compelling you to push. At first I tried not to push since she had just told me I was 8 cm; but within a few minutes I could hold back no longer. I told Kimary that I was pushing, and she came over to feel how I was progressing. I was in the tub by myself, and I was holding onto the two handles on the tub in squatting position. This felt much better than my two previous deliveries where I was lying on my back. I felt I had more control over my pushing, even though all my deliveries were done naturally. Teresa also reminded me to push slowly, so that I could try to avoid tearing, which was very important to me since I had torn with both my other children. When her head was out (with both her hands tucked by her face) Kimary switched positions with my husband, so that he was behind me and she was in front of me. Kimary told me to hold on just a moment so she could free the cord, and then I pushed the rest of her body out. Alexandria Lee was born at 7:53 am on December 23, 2012. She weighed 8 lbs 5 oz and was 20.2 inches in length.