It feels like it has been EONS since I was pregnant and I feel like my memory of all the drama that goes into having a baby has faded a bit, but I’m going to do my best to recollect.
My last 4 weeks of my pregnancy were filled with chiropractor appointments, prenatal massage, induction massage, acupuncture, long walks, Non Stress Tests, OB Checks and membrane Sweeps. At the beginning of my pregnancy, I had vowed not to go crazy with the natural induction methods because of how things went with Charlie (she got stuck in my pelvis). Now, clearly, I wasn’t just sitting back on the couch waiting for things to happen, but I was a little less intense (ie: I did NOT drink castor oil this time… although I was close to doing it).
On Friday, May 27th, I had a Non Stress Test (NST) (maybe my 3rd or 4th?). After my NST, my doc came in and stripped my membranes. For those of you who have not had this lovely procedure done, it’s essentially an excruciating “procedure” where the doc reaches all the way up to the back of your eyeballs, via your lady bits, to attempt to detach your water bags from your uterus using her fingers. Lovely, as you can imagine. The point: induce labor.
Anyway, I definitely felt things moving on Friday… not crazy, I’m in labor moving… but contractions. I went back in on Tuesday afternoon (5/31) for another NST and another lovely sweep. This time, it was probably only about an hour or so until I felt things starting to pick up. It wasn’t crazy levels of contractions, but they were there and consistent. This was probably around 5pm. I went grocery shopping, made dinner… no biggy.
By around 7pm, they were getting more uncomfortable. I had Mark take the lead putting Charlie to bed. This is when things become blurry. Essentially, from this point until around 12:30pm the following day, I STRUGGLED through labor at home. Mark was amazing. I was literally awake and in severe pain all night. Mark brought one of our bar stools into the bedroom for me, lined it with pillows, so I could try to close my eyes and be comfortable between contractions. I was having such back labor that I literally couldn’t lay down. The pain was excruciating.
We called our doula sometime in the morning. Mark’s mom came to take care of Charlie so Mark and I could labor in our bathroom/bedroom. Somewhere around 10, my contractions became super regular… 3 minutes apart, over a minute in length, consistent for 2 hours. My doula came over sometime before noon.
By around 1, we finally left to go to the hospital. I felt like things were close… or at least I had hoped that they were. I remember being SO afraid of being in the car, getting in the car, everything. But, we made it.
The nurse checked me when we got there, although, I asked for her to keep my dilation to herself… I didn’t want to know. Unfortunately, I totally expected (or hoped) that she would say, “ok, it’s time to push”… but she didn’t. Between the total lack of sleep and exhaustion from the previous 15+ hours of laboring at home, I was already feeling defeated. From the minute we got to the hospital, I was talking about the epidural. I just could not get my head in the game. I remember with my labor with Charlotte, I got so deep inside myself. I just couldn’t get there this time.
But, I pushed forward. I went in the shower and labored in the bathroom for another 6 hours. Finally, I asked to be checked. I needed to know where I was because I was losing it. I was crying and just struggling. I was so tired. Feeling like I was falling over when I tried to stand, just totally fading and exhausted from the pain.
When I was checked… after 20 hours… I was at 5 cm.
I melted down and demanded the epidural. I was done.
Let me just tell you one thing about the epidural… GAME. CHANGER. I literally napped… for hours! I had my legs propped up on a ball in every which way and just slept. I was happy and great. Every so often, those pesky contractions would come back and the anesthesiologist would give me another dose. It was great.
Check upon check, no change. They pumped me with pitocin, clocked nice and strong (and consistent) contractions, but no change. I literally hung off the bed in some weird Welchers position, laid on a birthing ball for hours, squated, etc… no change. I stayed at 5 cm, -3 station until my water finally sprung a leak, for 10-15 hours. I labored a bit more after my water broke. Henry had moved down a little bit (not much), but I still had no further change in dilation and my cervix started to swell.
With my last labor experience with Charlotte weighing on all of us, my doc urged us to consider a c-section. Mark and I talked (and cried) and gushed over the details, but ultimately, the decision was easy. It wasn’t worth the risk to Henry. It was time to call it and time to meet our baby.
At 10:30 am on Thursday, June 2nd, we met our little man. 10 lbs, 5 oz and 22.25” long. Born after nearly 42 weeks of pregnancy (original due date: May 20). It should be noted, that Henry came out howling! He was screaming on and off for the duration of the c-section (post birth). Little man was hungry and cold and wanted his mommy.
It’s interesting because the c-section experience was so different and just the whole thing felt so incredibly different. With Charlotte it was intense all the way through. There were no breaks. Just from one high intensity moment to the next, until we finally got her in our room, after she spent 5 hours in the NICU. With Henry, it was calm. I was rested. We had an easy c-section. They put him on me right after they weighed (and wiped) him. I was irked that they cleaned him off, but whatever. The frustrating part is that the anesthetics made me SO incredibly shakey. My whole body. I felt like I was freezing and just couldn’t calm my body down. Ultimately, I had to ask Mark to take Henry from me because I felt so unstable. But regardless, it was wonderful to have our sweet boy in our arms.
And then, just like that, we were four.