A Birth Story

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Here's my race L&D report - apologies in advance for the TMI.

As I mentioned in my 40w3d post, I was scheduled for a some testing last Wednesday. The baby was a little uncooperative for the non-stress test (NST) so the nurse had to use the sound stimulus. The monitors showed I was having mild (~20 on a scale of 100) contractions, but I couldn't tell unless I touched my belly. Everything looked good on the ultrasound, and we were successful in keeping the gender a surprise. We met with the midwife, who determined that I had dilated to 4cm, but was only 70% effaced. I had her strip my membranes in the hopes that it would spur me to go into labor on my own. We also talked about scheduling my induction, and how I really didn't want to go that route. We decided to set it up for the 18th (Tuesday, 10 days late) but we also set up another round of testing for that morning in case I decided to cancel the induction and wait until the 21st. And because they want you to have had the testing performed within 3 days of an induction, we needed to schedule another round of testing for either Monday or Friday. Monday was booked, so we got set up to come back in two days.

So Friday morning, they repeated the NST and ultrasound. Baby cooperated much better with the NST and was able to avoid the sound stimulus. The monitor showed slightly stronger contractions (40-50) lasting 60-90 seconds around 5 minutes apart, but again I couldn't tell. At the ultrasound, we had a different tech and she pointed out various things on the screen - including that the baby had a lot of hair. I guess I'd never thought about being able to see hair on an ultrasound, but it was kind of cool to see it waving around in the fluid. My midwife checked me after the tests and I was still at 4cm and 60-70% effaced; she stripped my membranes again in the hopes maybe we could get things going on my own over the weekend. She mentioned that she could feel the bag of waters and that with an amniotic fluid level of 21 it was going to be a flood when it broke.

Saturday morning I woke up and my lower back was kind of aching. I decided to hit up the treadmill to see if that would make something happen - I figured if they tell women to go for a walk to try to induce labor than going for a run would be a great idea. So I ran 2 miles - well, I ran a mile, stopped to pee and then ran another mile. After that, my backache did worsen - and it came in about 5 minute intervals. Around 1PM, we checked into the L&D triage because I was so uncomfortable and also because we figured there was a good chance it was labor since I was finally noticing something. I got hooked up to the monitors and they confirmed I was having good contractions (80-90) coming every 5 minutes; my midwife checked me and said I was still at 4cm but was now 90% effaced. She wanted to send me home because she thought it was still early enough that I'd be more comfortable at home - and I was smiling enough that she thought I was coping fine with the contractions. She said I should come back when they were more intense/I was coping less. They monitored me for awhile longer, though, and then tried to send me out the door at 2:30. I had been whining to the Engineer about how I didn't want to go home, though - I didn't want to walk all the way to the car just to go home and then come back. As I got up to get dressed, he noticed that I'd dropped a quarter-sized puddle of fluid on the floor. I was quick to dismiss it as mucus, but he got the nurse to come and take a look. She said it was shiny like mucus, but made a slide anyway. By this point, my back was hurting a lot more so I just crawled back into the bed. As the nurse and midwife came in to tell me that the puddle was actually amniotic fluid, I felt the unmistakable gush of my water truly breaking.

So we got moved to an actual L&D room around 2:45. The midwife suggested I try getting on all fours to get the baby off of my spine, and she showed the Engineer how to provide counter-pressure. That only helped somewhat, so after awhile I tried the shower. But while the water felt good on my back, it did nothing during the actual contractions. I started to get kind of whiny and lacking in confidence at some point, and the Engineer was really good about telling me how great I was doing and that I could do this on my own (I went in wanting an unmedicated birth). I started feeling pressure, so the midwife came in to check me.

At 4:45 I was completely effaced and dilated and it was time to push. I had planned on using the squat bar or the birthing stool to take advantage of gravity, but I really didn't want to get off the of the bed. Within a few pushes, the top of the head was visible and they started getting the cart and everything else ready. But I think I wasn't pushing hard enough, because things went on for almost 3 hours. I finally did start pushing harder, and more of the head became visible. I didn't look, but surprisingly the Engineer did. He was really great - telling me how great I was doing, getting ice chips, fanning me (I kept getting really hot and sweaty), holding my leg when necessary, helping remind me to breath, etc. The crowning was the worst because of the pressure and my inability to breath normally at that point. I was having trouble catching my breath anyway, but also started almost hyperventilating because I knew how close we were to finally seeing our baby. The midwife had been helping stretch things and helped coach me to make shorter pushes to get the head out. And then all of a sudden, I let out the loudest scream, the head came out and then the shoulders (really weird feeling) and the rest (even weirder). Up until this point, it had just been me, the Engineer, the nurse and the midwife - but since meconium was present there were suddenly a ton of people in the room and they whisked the baby away to make sure things were okay. I was able to catch a glimpse while they were working and they announced "it's a girl!"

They got her all suctioned and clean and everything was fine (9 on both her 1 minute and 5 minute apgars), and then they finally let me have her. We got to hang out in the L&D room for about 2 hours before transferring up to postpartum and we were able to make an attempt at starting breastfeeding during that time. "Little Miss" wasn't actually named until Sunday morning ... we had narrowed names down prior to going to the hospital, but even after meeting her weren't sure which name to use so we needed a night to think about it.

We came home on Monday, and other than some sleep deprivation it's going pretty well. It's probably going to be a few more weeks before I feel up to running again, but that's A-OK with me.

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Congrats again and thanks for sharing the story. I'm sure that run really did help to stir things up and move them along. Nows the time to rest and recover, enjoy this time at home!

You are definitely brave!! I'm amazed contractions were that high before you felt anything!! Did you happen to read Runner's World for March I think it was with Paula Radcliffe? They talked about benefits of getting back to running after giving birth. Pretty interesting actually, but still not something that makes me want to have one!! I still think it's awesome you ran two miles the day you gave birth!!

Marissa, congratulations!! I am thrilled for you and the engineer! :)

Great "race" report! Glad to hear you had a great delivery. I'm like you, I was in labour and didn't even know it, by the time I noticed, I laboured for 2 hrs, then pushed and bam! There's the baby!