Saturday, May 14th started like any other day. David and I slept in (the LAST day of a solid night sleep), got ready for the day, ran some errands, and headed to a birthday party. After the party, we went to dinner at Jason’s Deli (my fave) with David’s dad, Tom, and Deborah. When we got home, we decided to watch some Netflix before going to bed. This is when I realized my lower back was hurting, and it was definitely coming in waves. I remember it was 11 p.m., and decided to head to bed just in case this was the real deal. My due date (5/16) was less than two days away, so I knew this could very well be labor!
Around 2 a.m., I woke up to more intense pain in my lower back. David woke up when he heard me shuffling around, and started to time the contractions while frantically packing the car. They were coming 5 minutes apart, and lasting for 30 seconds to 1 minute long. He texted our Doula, Fran, and she replied, “sounds like labor, I’m leaving now.” I labored in bed for a while and told David to rest, but it got to the point to where I was saying “OWWWW OWWW OUCHHH NOOO” during each contraction, so it was difficult for him to sleep. When Fran arrived, she suggested I do some walking to help myself progress. David and I walked around our cul-de-sac in the middle of the night for a few minutes, but I was shivering so badly. It was chilly! We came back inside and I laid in bed, with intense contractions, until Fran said it is time to call the doctor. The contractions were ALL in my lower back, with little to no pain in my abdomen. All I could feel in my abdomen was intense pressure and tightening. Contractions are the most bizarre thing to experience. I would feel it coming on, and it would gradually increase in intensity. Then it would slowly fade away, with no pain or discomfort in between each one.
The doctor on call asked us a handful of questions, and suggested that we go ahead and come to the hospital to get assessed. I was dreading the drive to the hospital because everyone told me how terrible contractions are while in the car, but I surprisingly did fine! When we arrived at the hospital, we checked in and were taken to a triage room. The triage nurse who was assigned to us was so rude. I could not believe it, and tried my hardest not to cry. Luckily her shift ended shortly after we arrived (7 a.m.), and a new nurse, Tiffany, came into the room like a ray of sunshine. I was still at 2 cm dilated (I was 2cm since I was 35 weeks pregnant), but having consistent contractions. We walked the halls for an hour to see if that would help me progress, but unfortunately, it didn’t work. I was still 2cm. We were sent home. At first I was bummed, but at that point I was so exhausted from barely sleeping that I ended up feeling relieved. The nurse said, “honey, you’ll know when it’s time for you to come back.” We spent the remainder of the day sleeping and watching Netflix, which was exactly what I needed. My contractions started to come much further apart, and weren’t as intense as t youhey were earlier. Fran left around dinner time, and said to call her if things picked back up.
That evening, around 11 p.m., I felt a huge burst of energy and decided to mop all of the floors in my house. I also deep cleaned the kitchen. It was quite a sight—40 weeks pregnant and stopping every so often to lean on the counter and breathe through a contraction. We finally went to bed around midnight.
Just like the night before, as soon as the clock struck 2 a.m., I woke up in EXCRUCIATING pain. It literally felt like someone was drilling holes into my tailbone. I was moaning in pain during these contractions, and noticed I was bleeding a little. They were coming 2-5 minutes apart, and were definitely lasting a minute long. Some were only lasting 30 to 45 seconds, though. The pain was so much worse than the night before. I literally would fall onto the floor each time a contraction hit. After about an hour of this, I told David it was time to go. He kept saying, “are you sure….we don’t want to get sent home again…let’s just try to rest and we can call in the morning…” I literally yelled at him and said “WE HAVE TO GO…. NOW!!!!!” He was like.. OK OK OK we’ll go! The contractions were so painful, all in my lower back with intense tightening in my abdomen. This HAD to be real labor. We called Fran, and she said she would meet us at the hospital.
We checked in and were taken to a triage room, and were greeted by two wonderful nurses named Cheryl and Jessica. They were so sweet and encouraging, constantly telling me I was doing a great job. They hooked me up to the monitors, and yet again, said my contractions were nice and consistent. Silas was also handling the contractions well, because his heart rate was nice and strong. I was a bit nervous because I hadn’t felt him move in a while, but he was just fine. Cheryl checked me, and announced that I was 4 cm dilated! YAY, progress! I officially was not getting sent home—we were getting sent to a labor room! By the time we were taken to our labor room, it was 7 a.m., and our labor and delivery nurse, Mona, was just arriving to work for the day. Words cannot describe what an amazing nurse Mona was. Thank you, Jesus, for nurses—especially Mona!
We got settled, and I was hooked up to my IV and had my blood drawn. I was especially nervous about the blood draw, because of my history of low platelets during my pregnancy. A platelet count of less than 100,000 means the Anesthesiologist will not administer an epidural. I had been taking Prednisone (a steroid), to try and boost my platelet count, so I was hoping for good news. I knew I wanted the epidural because of the combination of painful contractions, not being rested, and my intense hunger causing me to feel weak. If you are in labor, do yourself a favor and EAT BEFORE YOU GO TO THE HOSPITAL. I wouldn’t recommend eating a greasy burger or something heavy….maybe a bowl of oatmeal or a turkey sandwich. I was so hungry, and was worried I wouldn’t be able to labor effectively because of that. Since the intense contractions started at 2 a.m. that morning, the only thing I ate was a piece of toast with jelly. The only things I could eat while at the hospital were liquids—italian ice, juice, jello, broth. I tried to keep my mind off of the hunger by breathing through my contractions and watching the game show network.
As I was laboring, it was difficult to get comfortable. Mona saved the day and brought in an exercise ball that was shaped like a peanut. She had me lay on my side with the peanut between my legs. It sounds weird, but it was so comfortable. I laid like that for 8 hours, and would swap sides every so often. The contractions continued to come…and continued to KILL my poor lower back. Every time I would feel a contraction coming on, I would tell David, and he would massage my hips and tailbone as hard as he could. The counter pressure helped immensely, but the pain was still so intense.
When my bloodwork results were finally ready, I could not believe what I was told. Mona said my platelet count came back at 207,000, which is a great number. I didn’t believe her at first, and she explained that they initially came back at 95,000, which is below the epidural cut-off. After that result, someone manually counted my platelets, like under a microscope. That is where it was discovered that my platelets were enlarged….meaning the larger ones were not “fitting” through the machine, causing a lower count. I was so relieved, but mad at the same time. Why didn’t any of my doctors order a manual count for the three months I stressed about my platelets being “low”? That is another story…..all I could think about was getting relief from the epidural, and asked for it right away! I was 7cm dilated when I received the epidural.
Mona prepped me for the epidural, and shortly after that, the Anesthesiologist arrived. He was fantastic. He thoroughly explained everything he did, and constantly asked me if I had questions or if something didn’t feel right. The process of getting the epidural was so easy….it didn’t hurt at all. I thought it would be difficult to sit hunched over with contractions as he administered it, but it wasn’t bad at all…I, actually didn’t even have a contraction the entire time he did it. Within minutes, my legs felt cool and tingly. The epidural was AMAZING. I am so, so, so, thankful I was able to get one. I could still move my legs, although not very well, and could feel every contraction. With the epidural, I could only feel intense pressure with the contractions….no pain. I was also nervous about the catheter, but it was nothing. It was nice to not have to get up every 10 minutes to use the bathroom.
I was able to actually rest and doze off with the epidural. It was so nice. Family members came in and out to say hi, and I remember David and Fran were doing crossword puzzles as I rested. At one point, I sat up to enjoy some ice chips, and I felt this strong POP inside me, and then a huge gush. Like a water balloon popping inside me. David called Mona, and she came in with Dr. Doris, the OB who delivered Silas. I’m glad my water broke when it did, because Dr. Doris said he was about to come in to break it for me! Mona checked me, and I was 8 cm dilated. I will mention that I had never met Dr. Doris before. My OB was not on call that day, which I was so sad about, but Dr. Doris was freaking amazing.
My progression from 8 cm to 10 cm was quick. I think it was an hour? Maybe two hours? I can’t remember! Mona had me do some practice pushes, and then had me “labor down” for a while. She elevated the bed, and had me sit up with the bottoms of my feet touching—the butterfly position. This was SO effective….even with the epidural, I could feel the baby moving down.
Dr. Doris was in and out. At one point, he had me do some pushes for him, and then he would LEAVE! What?! Mona would step in and have me do some more, and she said, “I promise the doctor will deliver this baby, not me! You are so close!” When Dr. Doris finally came back in the room, he got suited up and ready to go. I couldn’t believe I was finally ready to have the baby.
I will mention that there was meconium in my amniotic fluid, which means the baby passed a bowel movement while still inside of me. This is very serious, because the baby could possibly aspirate the contaminated fluid when he takes his first breath. Because of this, a NICU team was in the room during the delivery, and Silas had to be passed to them to get checked out before I could hold him. Luckily he was just fine! Back to the delivery!
After one hour of pushing (I don’t even think it was that long), Silas was born! Between Mona, Fran and Dr. Doris, I was able to push him out pretty easily with their guidance. Fran reminded me to “curl up” as I pushed, and Mona reminded me not to blow air out of my mouth. David was freaking amazing. He held a fan in front of my face the entire time, and held cold wash cloths on my face and neck. I remember right before he came out, I kept saying “AHHH COME ON!”. The pressure of his head was so, so intense. I could not believe it, and do not know how I would have done that without an epidural. It was so nice to not feel any pain, but still feel the contractions as pressure so I could push effectively. I remember someone rolled out a mirror so I could watch, but I immediately said, “take it away!”
When Silas finally came out, he let out a cry, and I looked up as Dr. Doris held him up. He was wide awake, and his face looked all distorted. His head was purple and his body was white. As he started breathing, you could literally see his body turn to a healthy pink color. The NICU team kept shouting, “he looks great!” “he’s so handsome!” so I knew he was ok! He also cried, so that was reassuring as well. No problems from the meconium, thank you Jesus! I remember hearing someone call out his weight—8lb 5oz, and I couldn’t believe it. That’s pretty big! After a few minutes, Silas was plopped on my chest. He was wide awake and alert, looking all around and rooting for food. Amazing! He was born at 5:56 p.m. on his due date. Mona said she was so excited he was born before she had to leave for the day. I was also finally allowed to eat, and I indulged in some delicious hospital food—pot roast and mashed potatoes. It tasted amazing though—I was STARVING! Once the epidural was out, I was up and walking within an hour or so. I was wobbly, but I could walk. I had no complications from the epidural. It seriously made my experience enjoyable.
My labor and delivery experience was everything that I hoped for and envisioned. I had wonderful nurses and an amazing doctor, as well as an amazing support system (Fran and David!). Despite being insanely hungry and tired, I still did it, and Silas came out healthy and alert. I am so thankful!