This is Stefanie's
"overdue pregnancy" birth story at 41 weeks, which in the US is very
hard to accomplish as most doctors will routinely induce by 40
weeks. Thanks for sharing!
I didn't have any false labor/ braxton hicks contractions until around 40 weeks. Then they were pretty minor. Only a couple of nights I felt pretty uncomfortable from cramping. Then around 40 1/2 weeks, I had a pelvic exam, the nurse told me I might lose my mucus plug and I did over 3 or 4 days. Then around 41 weeks, I had a bad night where I just felt uncomfortable all night. In the morning, I was thinking about not going to work because I hadn't slept well at all from what turned out to be early labor contractions. Fortunately, I have a very flexible, sit down job. Well, I got into the shower around 9:30 and thought I felt a little gush, but I couldn't be sure because I was standing in the shower! I put on my robe and went downstairs for breakfast. I sat on the sofa with a peanut butter banana and felt another little gush, and there was some yellowy liquid on my robe, so I knew this was it! Even though we were at 41 weeks, I had started feeling like it was NEVER going to happen so I was almost surprised. I was scared too.
I called the office where my CNM works and they told me to come in. We got our stuff together and got there around 11:00 am. The nurse practitioner checked and said, yes, my water had broken and we could go on over to the hospital. I had been feeling some contractions in the morning but nothing very serious, but I really started feeling them on the way to the hospital (which was only about a 5-minute trip). Then walking into L&D, a nurse had to ask me if I wanted a wheel chair because I stopped walking for a contraction. I said no. I had been planning to walk walk walk as much as I could to speed things along. I checked in and got to go right back to a delivery suite - no triage for me because I had already been checked by the nurse practitioner.
I really wanted a drug-free, needle-free birth but I had found out a few weeks before that I was positive for that beta strep bacteria, or whatever it is, so I decided to go for the IV because I didn't want to risk my baby getting an infection from it. So the first step was getting the IV. (side note: I would always tell people during pregnancy that I was terrified of injections, blood tests, Ivs, needles of any kind being inserted in my body! But everyone would say I would forgot about that once I felt the pain of labor. That really scared me because I knew I would have to be completely out of control to ask for a needle. ) This was a terrible ordeal and I think the very worst part of the entire experience. It took 3 tries, mostly because I would freak out and that makes it hard for them to get the IV in. there was a lot of screaming and crying at that point. And I got 2 huge bruised on my arms from them trying and my arms were sore for weeks. I was so relieved to have that part over with though. But then I had to drag the IV pole around with me. I really think the whole experience would have been 10x better without the IV! Plus my arm started burning a lot, and I wasn't expecting that because I had never had penicillin or an IV of any kind and nobody warned me. So once I mentioned the pain in my arm, they turned it down and it got much better.
I was in a lot of pain from the contractions but honestly it was much much better than I expected. I thought it was going to be like torture from people telling me I would need an epidural. And I wasn't sure what my tolerance for pain was like because I (fortunately!) have never experienced a lot of pain. The contractions were definitely manageable. I did a lot of loud moaning and I think that helped. I tried walking around but the contractions were coming SO FAST already. I spent some time on the birthing ball, but that didn't really seem to help me much. When a contraction would come, I would stand up and hold onto my husband.
I decided to go ahead and get in the water. I had left water birth as an option. I just wanted to do whatever felt good at the time. The tub really helped. The contractions were still really painful but the water felt pretty good. It was annoying having to deal with the IV while I was in there though (I like to complain about the IV, huh?). I stayed in a while and then felt like I'd like to get out.
Things started going so quickly then (actually the whole thing seemed to fly by until the pushing part). And they said I was in transition. I was so happy because I had heard and read that transition was the hardest part and while I was in a lot of pain and doing a lot of shouting, I still felt like I could do it. I was so glad I wasn't going to ask for an epidural! And I had read and heard that pushing was such a relief after transition.
I was also having a lot of pain in my back and I leaned over the bed and the nurse applied pressure to my back and I screamed! It hurt so badly when she did that which was a big surprise to us both. I expected that to help and it seems that it does for most women. For me, it made the pain much much worse.
I got into the bed, which was actually something I didn't plan to do, but that's what I wanted, so I did it. I was on my hands and knees for a while and then on my back in a semi-lying down position. At that point the nurse midwife came. I'm actually surprised she wasn't there earlier, but things were flying by for me so I didn't really think about it at the time.
Before I knew it they were having me push. Other than the IV, this was the worst part for me. And it seemed to take FOREVER. Turns out it was only an hour but I really thought it seemed like 2. I pushed and pushed as long as I could with each contraction and they kept telling me that for the next contraction I should push longer and I would have the baby out. I felt like they said that the next contraction could be the one 10 times. My husband and nurses were helping with my legs and one nurse kept giving me bites of popsicle which was actually helpful. I was getting really frustrated and I wanted him out! they really wanted me to look in a mirror but I kept saying no. the midwife said that once his head was out I would have to give a really good push to get his shoulders out or he might get stuck. That made me really nervous and I was saying what if I can't do it? I was starting to feel like I couldn't push much longer—it was so hard! And it hurt!
Finally, his head came out and his shoulders—without me having to push extra hard like she said. Then I thought the midwife asked if I wanted her to pull him out and I said YES! And she said, go ahead. She had asked if I wanted to pull him out. and I said now you do it! So she did and soon he was up on my belly—meconium and all. It was so great to have it over with! She asked my husband if he wanted to cut the cord and he said no. He was scared it would hurt us, so she cut it. The nursed wiped the meconium off of us. He was born at 6:00pm. Just 6 hours after we got to the hospital.
I delivered the afterbirth and they showed me the placenta—which was cool. There was some extra bleeding, just enough that it made us nervous about it, but it didn't end up being anything serious. I had a couple of minor tears so I had to have a shot to numb and some stitches but I did my best to stay calm. I was so happy it was over, and to have my baby that I did ok.
By then, he was at the breast nursing. His face was so red and his head was swollen. My husband said he had a cone head at first, but I didn't notice. They also put a hat on him right away. But afterwards, he had 2 swollen bumps on his head for weeks.
They took us by wheel chair from the delivery suite to the mother-child unit. I was having trouble urinating, so they wanted to give me a catheter, but I asked them to let me try again. I peed. Later, I was having trouble emptying my bladder still. A different nurse suggested a catheter and was surprised that I didn't want one! I asked her to let me try again. I did better. And I didn't end up having a catheter. I had to have help getting out of bed at the hospital and I was really sore for the first week and then suddenly it got much better.
So, overall, the birth wasn't nearly as painful or long as I expected.
I expected it to drag on for hours and to seem 2x longer than it
actually was. But it was relatively short—just 6 hours of active
labor—and the first 5 hours went by fast. But the newborn phase was
much harder than I expected for the first month or 2. I was just
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