We had a lot of fears that I wasn’t going to go into labor naturally leading up to the end, or that I was going to be really late. Those fears were escalated because our goal was to have a VBAC. We had twin girls the first time around and needed a Cesarean. I was determined to have a natural birth and a VBAC. So Thursday night we had made a schedule and appointments for as many natural labor inductions we wanted to try over the next week since I was approaching 40 weeks. Friday morning January 27th I went into labor. We tried timing contractions all day because we thought that was going to help up but it ended up confusing us most of the day. My labor was all about trusting how I was feeling, what my body wanted to do, my coach’s guidance and the emotional signposts.
Is This The “Real Deal?”
At 1am I woke up to a contraction. Thinking I just had to pee, I went to the bathroom. As soon as I got back in bed I had another contraction and felt like I had to pee again! So I went back to the bathroom. I quickly realized that my contractions were exactly 4 minutes apart and were definitely not Braxton Hicks contractions. This was the “Real Deal!”
Tried To Ignore My Labor
Remembering what I had been taught in my Bradley Method class, I told myself I had to go back to bed, ignore it, and get some rest. But every time I lay down, I couldn’t fall asleep because I would have another contraction. It was uncomfortable to be lying down during a contraction. So I got up and by 3am I had made myself comfortable with different positions. Leaning, sitting, and using the birth ball helped. Standing in the bathroom with the heater on helped me to stay warm and more relaxed. It was less than 50 degrees in our house and shivering in the cold made the contractions worse. At 3:30am I lay down to rest and try to sleep. I’d been working hard coping with these early labor contractions but I was tired already. So, finally I told Brandon I was in labor because I couldn’t sleep or stay put. Not knowing I’d been up for hours already, he responded that I needed to lie down and try to sleep (which was funny to talk about later).
We Thought This Would Be Fast – But It Turned Out Not So Much!
From 4-6am my contractions were 1 min apart and lasting 30 seconds. We thought this meant that labor was going to be quick so we called my parents to come get the kids and called my sister and doula to come over since we thought we would be leaving for the hospital soon. But we kept saying just 30 more minutes and we will see how we feel. There was a lot of walking around and “dancing with Brandon”. I wasn’t hungry but tried to eat eggs and toast throughout the morning.
Many Naps, Many Positions
At 6am I took the first of many naps. I lost my mucous plug and contractions started to spread out around 830am. But the contractions were getting more intense and baby felt like he was moving down. We wanted to try as many different positions as we could to see what felt the best. At 945am we took our first walk up and down our big hill. At 10:15am I tried sitting on the ball. At 11am I took my first shower. Every time I would get sleepy I would lie down and rest for a little. We started talking about going to the hospital again because I had been in labor for almost 12 hours. But we kept telling ourselves that I was still feeling good in between contractions, talking and laughing, so we would wait another hour and a few more contractions.
The Miles Circuit
But we got a big surprise from 12-3pm I had no contractions! So I napped, walked, watched a movie with my sister, and Brandon got to take a nap too. We started to get worried that the baby was in the wrong position or we just went through false labor. So we called our birth teacher to see what to do and she recommended trying the ‘Miles Circuit’ a few times. We got set up and started at 3:30pm and labor started very quickly during the first position but it was intense and hard to hold each position for so long- Brandon and my sister had to help me a lot. I was able to nap during the second position and really work hard during the third position. I showered before we started round 2 of the circuit. I wasn’t able to hold each position as long the second time because I was getting lots of cramps in between contractions that were worse than my contractions. But I slept again during the second position and started to get really tired when walking.
In The Zone
I really started to get in the zone because I didn’t want to chat in between contractions like we had been doing all day. My sister in law, who was supposed to be my doula, never ended up making it, though we were hoping she could all day as she consulted with us over the phone and texting, because her family ended up getting the flu. Finally at 6pm Brandon saw that I was changing emotionally and recommended that we leave for hospital. He had been very intuitive all day with what to try next so we packed up and with my blindfold on we drove to the hospital.
“What’s Going On In There?”
I had to pee on the way down so we stopped at Denny’s and I walked through the aisles as though people weren’t eating dinner watching me. I had a contraction in the bathroom and faintly heard a little girl in the stall next to me ask her mom “what’s going on in there?” When I got out she looked at me horrified- I think I traumatized that little girl! We arrived at the hospital around 7pm and as Brandon checked us in I continued to labor, ignoring everything going on around me. I could hear the nurses saying they needed to get me back because I was really in labor!
Lots of Great Support
We were admitted and hooked up to the monitors, they were so helpful knowing we wanted a natural labor to let me stand and keep moving while being monitored and I was checked at 730pm and was 6cm dilated. At first I was bummed, hoping to be further along, but since I was in Active Labor already it didn’t discourage me. We were moved to L&D by 830pm and were given the best nurses to be with us and help us the rest of the night. They were supportive of a natural labor with the best balance of telling me what I needed and giving me space to make decisions. I asked if I could shower before they hooked me back up because I knew I had to be monitored the whole time because of my previous Cesarean.
Had To Lie Down For The Baby
They told me after they got a read on the baby they would give me a break, which didn’t end up happening. We found out the baby’s heart rate had started dropping during contractions when I was standing and sitting. When the nurse told me she needed me to lie down I refused because all day it was a lot more painful and uncomfortable in that position- so she asked if I would try just to see if it helped the baby and if not I could get back up. With a lot of hesitation I lay down on my left side and it ended up being great for me and the baby, and I didn’t move again until I pushed. When they checked me again around 830pm I was 7cm dilated. By 9pm I was 8cm and the urge to push started- this was something I didn’t understand and having to resist the urge for an hour and a half was very hard. My nurses were so helpful and supportive during this time coaching me to breathe properly as though I’m “blowing out candle” and continually encouraging me.
“ You’re Going To Feel At Some Point That You Cannot Do It…That is When Your Baby Is Coming”
I started sleeping in between every contraction and a few times waking up surprised I was still in labor. Brandon sat next to the bed and held my hand the whole time. He tried to let go once and I told him not to leave because I really needed him. During this time my sister was always there to support me and, without my knowledge, would position herself at the bottom of the bed with hands ready to catch just in case the baby came flying out. She said she didn’t realize what she was doing but just kept doing it. After doing this for a little I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore, I was tired and my body felt worn out and I didn’t feel like it would ever end (a classic sign of transition). I looked up and told Brandon that. He responded by telling me I was almost done, which was all I needed to hear, so I lay back down and kept going.
My water broke during a contraction with a large gush, which felt relieving at the moment but made the last part a little more intense. The nurses were doing a lot around me but I wasn’t aware of any of it until 10:30pm when the doctor came in and I was checked and given the okay the push. The doctor asked me to turn onto my back. I wasn’t comfortable with that so Brandon grabbed both my legs and I held his arm for the first 2 rounds of pushes. My team was trying to guide me through but I could only really hear Brandon coach me so I stayed focused on his voice. The doctor asked if I wanted to feel his head when he was crowing and I tried but quickly realized I was losing focus so I couldn’t really feel.
Positivity Really Helped – I was able to finally hold him.
A few random memories from friends telling me about pushing came into my mind and helped – like pushing just past the ring of fire to keep him coming out more. And the whole team was so encouraging letting me know I was making progress and doing great even though I didn’t know what that meant- the positivity helped me. After the second contraction I needed to move so I rolled onto my back for the second 2 rounds of pushing and at 10:57pm Cooper was born and placed right onto my chest. The feeling was freeing and he was so beautiful – all I felt was awe! Crying and laughing in pure bliss I was able to finally hold him.