Note: This is a birth story… so there’s lots of stuff about bodily functions that are normally TMI. But reading birth stories was something that helped me prepare for labor and gave me ideas of what might help or other little tips so I wanted to write S’s birth story to hopefully be of help to others, as well as for our own memories.
1. Early Labor
The night of November 9th I didn’t sleep well. I kept having a feeling of “something is going to happen,” that I couldn’t shake and had been having somewhat regular Braxton hicks, so was wondering if I was going to go into labor that night. In the morning it was apparent that I wasn’t in labor, but was now just really tired from being jumpy all night long. I also felt that instead of doing my prep for Church music on Monday like I usually did, I should wait until Friday.
Ezra had calculated a while before what day the baby “should” be born for him to get most ideal leave, with weekends and Thanksgiving. The 10th was his ideal, but anywhere between the 10th and 15th would give us the full Thanksgiving leave as well as paternity leave (and he’d miss a crazy week at work).
The next days I also didn’t get much rest, but finished a lot of little last-minute things (although I had plans to Skype Hannah on Thursday, have a last reed-making lesson on Friday, and we had Saturday plans).
Wednesday the 12th I picked Ezra up from work and when we got home we had time to go for a walk before dark. We went to the park and walked for a while on one of the trails. I was joking about my water breaking (I’d had flashes of imagining my water breaking various places for a few weeks at that point) and having to walk (waddle…) home that way.
After dinner I was sitting on the couch reading, and Ezra was in the bedroom. I felt a small, warm bubble and thought “that was a little weird,” but didn’t think it was too out of the ordinary at this stage in pregnancy, though I did wonder “was that my mucus plug?” A moment later it happened again, so I thought “maybe I just have to go to the bathroom.” I went. I thought that was all and kept reading, though I did note the time, just in case: 1945. At about 2000 there was another gush and I went to the bathroom again but didn’t really have to go. I put a pad on and went back to the couch… but it happened again, so I did a squat to see if more came out, and it did when I stood up. So I went to Ezra and told him I really wasn’t sure, “so don’t get too excited, but I think my water is leaking.”
Ezra: So then I went ahead and got really excited.
He wanted me to call the midwife right away, but I wanted to be sure, so I kept moving around, re-read the handout I’d gotten that day on water breaking so I knew what to pay attention to other than color, time, etc. I got an ice chip and lay down to see if the baby was still moving, and while I was lying down the gushing picked up, so we decided to call then. I was shaking with a mix of nervousness and excitement; Ezra just seemed really really excited. He held me and we prayed before I called at 2015. Erina picked up, which made me excited since I’d seen her the most out of the three midwives that delivered. She said to get some rest and we arranged that we’d come in at 0745 to do a non-stress test if I wasn’t already there because labor had started. She asked if I was having any contractions, and at that point I noticed I was starting to feel a little crampy. We texted some family and friends to let them know and I cancelled Skype and my lesson, then started packing for the birth. I was already mostly packed but there was a lot of last-minute stuff to get, so I packed everything except the refrigerated food and drinks. I kept thinking “we need to go to bed,” over and over, but I was having such a huge energy rush. We realized we needed baby wipes (I hadn’t gotten any since we’re making our own, but I wanted a travel case before we made our own and hadn’t found any plastic ones in the store) and I wanted more protein snacks for labor, so we went to the grocery store to get some stuff (taking pictures, of course). At this point fluid was leaking a lot and it felt really gross, so I put on some Depends I’d gotten for the bleeding after the birth so I wouldn’t feel it as much (someone somewhere had mentioned wearing them to the hospital, too, in case your water broke in the car).
I was getting more excited, especially as contractions seemed to be picking up, so I wasn’t so worried about having to be induced any more, but I still was a little annoyed – leaking fluid late at night was my last choice of how labor would start (apart from induction), because I wanted sleep and people say contractions are more painful once your water breaks. I also didn’t want to be put on a time clock (which in some ways helped, to be able to say “baby WILL be here within 36 hours,” but that also stressed me out a little). We were still hopeful I’d sleep that night and labor would pick up in the morning.
When we got home, I gathered a few more things, got some yogurt, dates, and bone broth, and then we sat down to read and pray together. Ezra turned to John 16, focusing on verse 21 and both the work childbirth is as well as the joy that comes after. I was timing contractions so we had an idea of what was going on before we went to bed. The contractions were weak (I was occasionally going by my hand on my stomach) and still somewhat irregular (4-7 minutes apart and 30-50 seconds long), but were definitely stronger and more frequent than they’d been when we went to the store. We went to bed by 2200.
For a while I was able to rest well, not even being bothered by contractions and was almost asleep when they started to bother me more and although I kind of dozed off between them, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get any sleep. Soon I stacked my pillows and curled up on my knees, smashing my face into the pillows and rocking back and forth during contractions. The contractions still weren’t that bad, but burying my face in pillows felt so good. I mostly felt like I was trying to sleep on a long flight: very tired, but impossible to get comfortable.
I got up to go to the bathroom a number of times, and finally woke Ezra up around 12:30 and we started timing contractions again around 1. They were about 4 minutes apart and 40 seconds long. They got intense, but started easy and weren’t strong for very long. Even so, I started feeling nauseous when they peaked and still felt sick until about halfway to the next contraction. We tried acupressure, which didn’t seem to do a whole lot, but finally I threw up and felt better. I was also shaking, sometimes during, sometimes in between contractions. The contractions weren’t that bad but the nausea and shaking were hard and uncomfortable. I was on my hands and knees but getting tired, so tried lying down in the way the Bradley Method suggests, but I couldn’t handle contractions that way.
Ezra brought in his Bible and the book we’re reading together and read to me while I sat on the exercise ball, leaning against a stack of pillows on the bed. I had to ask him to repeat himself a lot because I couldn’t pay a lot of attention, but it did help distract me (and later he said he read to me from Job, too, but I don’t remember that at ALL).
I kept sipping water but was feeling still nauseous and a little later threw up again (I’m so proud of Ezra for how he handled it… he gets nauseous around vomit, but he still helped me through it). The contractions didn’t feel that bad, but the nausea was really annoying me and I was relieved when throwing up the second time seemed to fix the problem.