It was my due date: October 24, 2014. I hadn’t been feeling any signs of labor whatsoever, and at my midwife appointment the day prior, Evelyn was still very high in my pelvis and had not dropped at all. Around 9pm, my husband and I decided to go for a drive to the supermarket to look for a particular brand of chocolate milk. We walked around the supermarket for about 45 minutes and I noticed that my Braxton Hicks contractions were starting to become regular. Because I knew that Evelyn wasn’t engaged, I didn’t think I was in labor, so we went home and went to bed. After an hour or so, I noticed that my contractions were 10 minutes apart, and starting to feel a little more uncomfortable.
Around midnight, my contractions became significantly closer together. I started timing them and realised that they were about 30 seconds long and 3 ½ minutes apart. They weren’t mild enough to sleep through, but because they were coming so close together so soon, I thought I might be in false labor. I had always heard that contractions would start off further apart and would stay that way for quite a while, and that you should go to the hospital if they were less than 5 minutes apart. I tried to sleep through them but failed. Around 6am I got up and took a shower; my husband stayed more or less asleep through the whole night except for about half an hour where he got up and kept me company.
We called my midwife at around 8am and told her that we thought that I was in labor. She suggested that I hop in the bath to see if the labor was established or not. I got in the bath and the contractions became more painful but didn’t change in frequency or length. Shortly after getting in the bath, I threw up. I got out, and alternated between lying down in bed on my side with a hot water bottle on my back or stomach and showering for the pain, throwing up a few more times. By midday, the pain had increased quite significantly, but the contractions were still about only 45 seconds long and had been coming between 2 and 3 minutes apart for the whole day. Because they had been coming so close together the whole time, it was exhausting. My husband called the midwife again around midday and she told us to call back at about 4pm if the contractions hadn’t progressed. She reassured us that the vomiting was completely normal.
During the contractions, I would move up onto my hands and knees in bed and my husband would press hard on my lower back as counter-pressure. I also occasionally got up to walk around and took showers to ease the pain. At around 3pm, while my husband dried me off after a shower, he noticed a dark, mucous blob hanging from my vagina. My plug had come out. I was clinging to my husband with each contraction and could no longer get through the pain by just breathing. I started crying out with each contraction, so we called the midwife and told her that we were coming in to the hospital. It took us about half an hour to grab the last few things for the hospital bags. My husband had to alternate between grabbing things for the bags and holding me through the contractions. My contractions were now one minute long and about 2 ½ minutes apart.
My husband tried to drive as smoothly as possible but it was difficult to get through the contractions without being able to hug him or do anything at all. I could feel myself starting to push in the car and I got scared that I was not going to make it to the hospital. When we arrived, we walked to the delivery suite, and my midwife came and told us that she wouldn’t be able to attend our birth, as she was already dealing with two other women who were in labor at the same time.
At the Hospital
The replacement midwife I had was amazing. She took us into a birthing room and checked Evelyn’s heart rate with a monitor around my stomach. She checked my cervix, and told me that I was 6-7 cm dilated, with Evelyn at -2 station. About fifteen minutes after checking me, I told her that I felt like I was pushing and I couldn’t control it. I turned down gas and other medications because I was worried they would make me nauseous. But when she offered the epidural, I said “Maybe.” My birth plan had been to avoid medication, but I was open to the epidural if I felt I needed it. The midwife said that the epidural would be about an hour away and I would need to sit still for about 10 minutes for it to take place. I said “No, that’s too far away!” but the midwife said they couldn’t do anything about it. I also said that I didn’t think I could sit still for 10 minutes. My husband reminded me that I had not wanted an epidural and that I was almost at the end of the labor.
I continued to feel like pushing. The midwife was collecting everything she needed for the birth and she said to me that she could see that I was pushing. Suddenly my water broke and it felt surprisingly good. I looked down and saw that there was a little bit of a green tinge to the water and I said something like “Oh no! The baby!” because I knew that meconium in the water was a sign that Evelyn was possibly distressed. The midwife said that she would check me again because if I was not fully dilated, pushing against the cervix would irritate it. She checked me again and I was at 10cm!
It had now been about 45 minutes since we arrived at the hospital. The midwife was rushing, trying to get everything she needed. She had put an IV in my hand to give me antibiotics, but because the birth was happening so quickly, she didn’t have time to actually give me any. She called in a doctor and another midwife to assist as Evelyn was having slight heart rate decelerations with each contraction. The doctor was not concerned and I felt my body pushing. Hard. The pushing felt extremely painful and good at the same time, like pushing out a giant bowel movement. The midwife got out a container of tools which she needed for cutting the cord, but I thought she was going to cut me. I said to her “Don’t cut me! I don’t want to be cut!” She reassured me that she was not planning on doing anything of the sort. All I remember after this point was trying to do what the midwife was telling me and do sustained pushes. Pushing was like pushing out a bowel movement, down at my bottom. The doctor was quite young and kept saying “Push down into your bum!”. The way she said “bum” was kind of funny, and even during the labor I found it quite amusing.
When Evelyn was crowning, I felt a sharp pain and the midwife guided me to pant and push slowly. My husband said he could see Evelyn’s head, and that she had dark hair. He looked so excited! I pushed again and Evelyn came out with lots of fluid and meconium. They had told me that they weren’t going to encourage her to breathe when she was born, because they didn’t want her to breathe in any of the meconium. But she took a gasp anyway. They took her away to a little table to suction out of her nose and mouth and to check her lungs. I was so surprised when she was lying there on the bed in front of me. She looked like a real baby. I couldn’t believe that she had come out of me.
After the Birth
They handed Evelyn to my husband and assessed me to see whether there was any damage to my perineum. The midwife said that I had not torn at all and didn’t even need any stitches. After they had finished checking me, they placed Evelyn on my chest and I cuddled with her. She was born at 5:43pm and weighed 6 lbs, 11oz. I had given birth approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes after arriving at the hospital. All of the midwives kept congratulating me for such an easy birth and told my husband that he should become a doula. He had been coaching me throughout the labor, saying things like “I’m so proud of you”, “You’re almost there”, “You’ve done such an incredible job”, and of course “I love you so much”. I couldn’t have wished for a better birth experience. Evelyn is now 4 months old, and is the most beautiful, sweetest baby. I love her so much.
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