Each time I was pregnant I LOVED reading birth stories. How did it happen? When did it happen? What will happen to me? I wanted every gory detail to try to help me predict my future while I waited (and waited…. and waited…) for baby to arrive. So, for anyone who is interested, here is the story of sweet baby #3’s birth:
This had been BY FAR my most uncomfortable pregnancy: morning sickness that left me feeling horribly seasick for months, acid reflux that kept me up all night throwing up in my mouth, sciatic nerve pain that had me hobbling around and sitting on ice packs, and I felt so huge and exhausted all the time that I could hardly chase after and play with the two amazing kids I already had. I couldn’t wait to not be pregnant anymore!!!
My first two births were both fast & very different, so I had no idea what to expect with this one (all my co-workers begged me just not to have the baby in the office – but I appointed one as my emergency midwife just in case.) I had Braxton Hicks contractions starting at 11 weeks that came every 6-10 minutes for the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy. They were relentless & took my breath away, leaving me annoyed, exhausted and completely frustrated.
The night before I went into labor I was recovering from a horrible case of bronchitis. I remember being so fed up that I just locked myself in my bedroom and cried (this was completely different from my second pregnancy when I transformed into some birth goddess who skipped on clouds and thought every little symptom or bodily change was completely amazing and beautiful).
I was 37 weeks & 5 days pregnant. Finally in the home stretch! My hubby and I went out to dinner. He cruelly drank a beer in front of me, while I talked on and on about how much I couldn’t wait for the baby to come OUT! I’m pretty sure that’s the whole point of the third trimester – you’re so absolutely DONE being pregnant that you don’t care what it takes to get that baby out! What happens??? 10 centimeters??? No problem! BRING IT ON!!!!
We went to bed and I woke up around midnight with a horrible upset stomach. At first I thought I had food poisoning from our dinner out, and then I realized it could be a symptom of impending labor — yay!!!! I wasn’t too hopeful though and went back to bed. I woke up around 2 am with my usual Braxton Hicks feeling strong, but now hurting in my back to the point I couldn’t get comfortable to sleep – not even with all my pillows. So, eventually I gave up and went to the living room to time contractions on an app I had on my phone.
My contractions were every 6 minutes, but I thought they’d fizzle out like they had so many times before. Around 4 am I decided to get dressed just in case we’d be going to the hospital. I wanted to put on makeup before I was in too much pain to put on makeup. Priorities, people!!!!
Around 5, I woke up hubby and told him this might be the real deal. Contractions were every 3-5 min and with my last two wild-fast labors I figured we should head to the hospital birth center. I called my mom until she woke up and answered and told her we’d drop off my other two kids, called the birth center to say we were on our way, and called my younger sister who wanted to be there when her niece was born, and we got in the car.
My least favorite part of any of my birthing experiences is always the car ride to the hospital. It’s the WORST. You’re in pain and you’re strapped into a seat that’s bumping along the road and you can only hope the person driving you has the presence of mind not to drive like a maniac. I was never one to yell at my husband during labor – EXCEPT while he’s driving. At one point I think he told me my criticism was annoying him & I promptly lost my mind. It is THE WORST!!!!! Like driving in a chariot of torture. The absolute WORST!!!
We arrived at the hospital right when my sister did. My contractions were painful at this point and I was feeling anxious. To me, contractions feel like a really tight SHARP pain that makes me want to jump up and climb out of my skin. I once heard someone describe them as the worst Charlie horse pain of your life, felt throughout your entire core – and that sounds about right. For some reason, I was still convinced it was a false alarm and they’d send me home.
They triaged me in Labor and Delivery before clearing me to go up to the in-hospital birth center. We arrived around 6 am. I changed into a gown and they checked me – 5 cm. – we were staying!
I had been supposed to do a blood draw to check for anemia before my next appointment (which I obviously wasn’t going to make), so a nurse came in to draw my blood. I have deep veins on my arms that often make blood tests difficult but she was honestly digging around in my arm with a needle for several minutes – and then blood splattered everywhere! I’ve never seen anything like it outside of a horror film! It was a geyser of blood shooting out of my arm as though we’d just struck oil! Sadly, my hubby and sister weren’t watching – it was really impressive!
Everyone in the Birth Center was amazing (even the nurse I never want to have draw my blood again!). Everyone was smiling and talking in soft voices. It was very tranquil – like a spa (a spa where you have your insides ripped out, but they really did try to maintain a calm, comfortable atmosphere).
I kept having contractions about every 4-5 minutes. I felt like I wasn’t progressing much and felt like everyone was just watching me, waiting for things to happen. I sat on the birthing ball just to feel like I was doing something. I tried to get up and walk around but the pain in my lower back was too much!! I asked my husband to rub my back – which was the first time I asked him for anything in any labor! My back hurt!!!!
The nurse came in around 9:00 and asked if I wanted her to fill the labor tub so I could labor in the water. I figured it was worth a try so she set about getting it ready.
Around 9:30 contractions started coming faster. I ran to the bathroom to pee because every contraction made me feel like I was going to pee from the pressure. My husband later told me this was when he knew baby would arrive any minute.
While I was in the bathroom contractions started coming back to back. The nurse knocked on the door to say the tub was ready and I practically ran out and jumped in to try to get some relief. The water was so warm and felt great but didn’t really do anything to take the edge off the contractions. I tried to welcome them because I knew I had to get through them before it would end. As soon as I jumped in the pool, my water broke and I started feeling the need to push. In my experience, my body will just push naturally once it’s time and there’s not much I can do about it.
My midwife showed up and said they should check me. I thought she was crazy because I knew the baby was ready to come out. She and my husband helped me stand up and she announced what I already knew, that baby was right there! I remembered to stop pushing and try to blow out my breaths when I could to slow things down and avoid tearing. She asked if I could move and I said no. I was just standing there in the birthing tub with the midwife and hubby supporting me. Luckily someone thought to catch the baby (that nurse who gave the awful blood test is now one of my favorite people in the world!). Our baby girl was born just like that! Just before 10 a.m. My third birth was the longest labor, but still not too bad.
After she was delivered, they helped me walk over to the bed. Our baby girl was beautiful. And I was immediately so happy that she was out!!! Hubby cut the cord once it was done pulsing. After delivering the placenta my midwife gave me the strongest “uterus massage” EVER (so painful – she must be much stronger than the midwives who delivered my previous children!). She announced that I didn’t need stitches, which made me SO happy. I needed them after both prior deliveries and it’s no fun to sit there having someone sew up your lady parts when you just want to cuddle with your new baby.
Everything from there on out was perfect! The after pains were pretty brutal with baby #3!!! I definitely needed a few days with a heating pad after getting home. They were unexpectedly awful, but didn’t last longer than 4-5 days.
Baby #3 was born at 37 weeks, 6 days. 7 lbs, 0.5 oz, 20 inches. Absolutely perfect! And her big brothers love her just as much as we do!