I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I was pregnant with my first child – delivery scared me! Yea, I knew what was going to happen, and we took the birthing class so we could learn more but it still didn’t feel like enough. Then I started asking people about their experiences. Some shared, others told me it’s something you talk about after the baby is born, and still others laughed. What’s a girl to do? Of course that’s when I turned to the internet! I like to be fully informed, and the topic of my first child’s birth was no different.
So today I bring to you my first child’s birth story. I hope this helps another mom like me understand what might happen when she goes into labor for the first time. Obviously every woman (and each child) is different, so my story isn’t going to look exactly like someone else’s. But if it helps prepare one mom to get ready for that big day, then I’m glad I shared!
This is actually the story I wrote down for inclusion in little man’s baby book. I’ve edited some things for privacy on the internet, but the rest are my thoughts from just a week after he was born.
On Sunday around 5pm my contractions started. I always thought true contractions would have my entire stomach cramping up, but that wasn’t the case. The contractions I felt were basically in my lower stomach, but they were coming every 7-8 minutes. I had lost my mucus plug around 2am Sunday morning, so I knew I could be in labor. My doctor had told me not to take my blood thinning shot once I was in labor. I wasn’t sure if
this was really labor or not, so I called a local nurse friend. After chatting with her, she said that I could take my shot but that she wasn’t 100% sure either. Andrew and I talked it over and decided not to take it. I’m still not sure if that was the right move or not, but it’s the decision we made at the time.
Andrew and I were just hanging out watching TV at home. Around 9pm my contractions basically stopped. We went to bed like normal. I woke up again at 4am with the same contractions. I couldn’t fall asleep (more from nerves than actual pain), so I was up and about for awhile.
Andrew woke up at 6 like he almost always does. I decided to send an e-mail to the doctor to see what she thought I should do. Then Andrew and I got ready for work like any other day. We arrived at about 7:30. I was still having contractions every 10 minutes or less. I decided to start writing them down to reference if needed.
When I got to the school for work, I received a message from the doctor’s nurse saying the doctor was in surgery all morning. She also told me to go to the hospital if my contractions got more regular and they could check to see if I were truly in labor. I tried to finish things up at the school because I had a weird feeling that the baby was coming, but I was also paranoid that I was in false labor. (No one wants to be that person and get sent away, right?)
My boss at the school requested we hold our admin meeting earlier in the day than normal because of a different meeting being held at 10:30. I informed him and the high school principal that I would probably be leaving that day for maternity leave. They were both pretty surprised that I was even at work, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget the looks on their faces when I told them I was having a contraction as we were meeting!
Andrew and I left the school after his morning classes were done – 12:19. I guess we were the talk of the high schoolers because they were all going home for lunch at the time that we were leaving. Bad timing on our part! We stopped at a gas station so Andrew could grab some lunch. I’d already eaten at the school, but I ate a little of his meal as well. If I had known it was the last time I would eat until after the baby was born, I would have eaten more! Lesson learned if there’s a number two in the future!
We arrived at the hospital shortly after 1. We got checked in at the main desk and then they sent us up to third floor where OB was located. The nurse seemed a little skeptical on checking us in because she made it sound like she had gotten in trouble in the past. I informed her that the doctor’s nurse had told us to do just that. Around two o’clock I was officially being admitted. Andrew and I were confused. We assumed that meant we would be going home with a baby, but yet we weren’t entirely sure what was going on. Our nurse wasn’t feeling the greatest – so we didn’t get an answer out of her either (although I’m not entirely sure we asked). Shortly after being admitted, I received a voicemail from my OB’s nurse saying she was out of surgery and that we could come to the clinic for her to check to see if I was in labor. Too late…
At 4 the doctor came to check on me. She told me that I wasn’t in true, hard labor but that we could push it that way. Otherwise she said I might be in labor like this for up to a week. I believe I responded something like, “No thanks!” She said they could break my water and see what happened. That would mean we weren’t going home without a baby. She also said they could start me on Pitocin, which would increase my contractions and really get labor going. Andrew and I decided on breaking my water. The game plan was to see if that increased the labor, and then to start Pitocin (pit) at 5am if I wasn’t moving along.
It just so happened that my doctor was on call that night and worked until 11am the next day. I wasn’t sure I would have her deliver me if that wasn’t the case. Plus Andrew was the varsity wrestling coach, and he had a big meet that weekend that he didn’t want to miss. So it seemed like the perfect plan.
The doctor went and broke my water using a tool that looked like a mini crochet hook. I was nervous that it was going to hurt, but it really didn’t. It was slightly uncomfortable, followed by a definite “gush” of liquid. I thought that would be the end of it, but it just kept happening. The nurse kind of chuckled and said that would happen from now until I delivered the baby. I always thought your water broke just once. Little did I know that you turned into a leaky faucet for the duration of the labor! (Although I guess that’s not the case from everyone. I’ve heard since my labor that dry births are not fun!)
They brought us supper around six. Andrew got whatever was on the menu. I got chicken broth, a grape popsicle (yuck!), and apple juice. I was NOT impressed, but I also understood. After that I took out my contacts and put my hair up. Andrew took a picture of my side profile so I had my last pregnancy photo. Then we took a selfie of our last picture as a two-some.
Honestly, this part of labor was boring. I kept having mini gushes of liquid, Andrew was going a bit stir-crazy in the room, and we even commented that labor is nothing like what they show on TV.
We watched a little TV, but neither of us were totally interested in it. We went on a couple different walks around the OB floor. During one of
the walks we sat at the nurses’ station for probably 30 minutes and just chatted with them. They were laughing and commenting how good I looked. I
believe I was dilated to around a five at this point.
This whole time we hadn’t told any family that I was in labor. A few of my friends knew because I was asking them what contractions felt like and whether they thought I should go to the hospital. However, we didn’t want to get our family’s hopes up, so we didn’t tell them.
Andrew and I tried to go to sleep around 11. We knew the hard part was ahead of us. I could not fall asleep even though I was beyond exhausted. Around 1:00 I asked what pain meds I could get. I don’t know that I was in that much pain, but I hadn’t been sleeping well for the past few nights so I just needed sleep. I’m not pretty when I’m overtired!
About 2:00 I was given IV meds that last roughly three hours. With these, I was able to fall asleep. (Well, maybe not truly asleep. The nurse told me when I woke up that I was still moaning through the contractions. But I know I was much more rested when I woke up around 5!)
At five the nurses started the Pitocin. This is when things really got started. The pain got worse, but I didn’t even really know what I was in for. Andrew says this is when I started squeezing his hand harder. The doctor came in to check on me around 7:00. She told me that she needed to leave by 10am, so I needed to have this baby by then if I wanted her to deliver me. Eek! I’m sure the other doctors would have been fine, but I wanted her! (Like I really had any control in the matter…)
At about 8:00 is when I actually started pushing to deliver. That part is all a blur to me, but I do remember standing sometimes to push and pushing on the bed on both my back and on my side. A couple times the nurse had me hold a sheet while sitting in the bed, and she pulled on it also during my
contractions. I thought that was weird, but I guess it’s supposed to help. Contractions were about 30 seconds apart, so sometimes it felt like I never got a break. On at least two occasions I asked the nurse to turn the Pitocin down so I could rest a little. A couple times I said I wasn’t going to push anymore, but that was never really an option because when the next contraction would come I would push again.
During this last stretch of pushing, they were more diligent about keeping the monitors on – particularly for the baby. The baby was all over the place! Sometimes they couldn’t get a heartbeat, which never ceased to freak me out. Each time the nurse would look at the monitor, I’d ask, “Is the baby ok?!” Thankfully everything was always good. No matter how much pain I was in, I was more interested in making sure the baby was alright. I didn’t come 39 weeks and four days for nothing!
Andrew was really sweet the entire time. He held my hand, put ice on my back, and did anything I asked him to do. At the time I was pretty mad at him for not getting the pressure I needed on my back just right. Sometimes I wanted a lot of pressure, other times I wanted light pressure, and sometimes I wanted no pressure at all. I’m not sure how he was supposed to get that part right since I always wanted something different. Back labor (if that’s what that was) is not all that fun, particularly when you have a bad back to begin with!
Around 9:30 I remember starting to panic because I thought my doctor had to leave at 10:00. I was afraid she wasn’t going to deliver me, and I wasn’t sure who would. The doctor arrived a bit before 10:00, because apparently she didn’t officially need to pick her daughters up from daycare until 11:00. They had me get into the bed for the final pushing, and that’s when the contractions got even more intense.
Andrew had to laugh because the doctor was wearing goggles and a full gown. I hardly even noticed because I was so tired. Andrew and the nurse each held one of my legs while the doctor told me when to push. I know I was supposed to push for ten seconds each time, but I didn’t always make it that long.
Sometime during this last portion of delivery, another nurse walked into the room. She was standing over by the nursery bed, so I thought she was the nurse that would be helping with the baby after it came. (Wrong again…)
After one contraction, Andrew let go of my leg. I looked at him and asked what was wrong. He said his hand cramped up. I don’t remember what exactly I said, but I know it went something like this, “Your hand?!” YOUR HAND?!?” (There may have been more “creative” language included…) With all the pain I was in, I couldn’t believe he was worried about a little hand cramp! The doctor was chuckling a bit, and the nurse had to look the other way because she was laughing so hard. Looking back, it was funny to see her shoulders going up and down as she tried to silently giggle!
At one point after a hard contraction, I propped myself up on my elbows, stared at the doctor, and asked, “How many more pushes do you need?”
She said, “Five.”
I told her, “The baby will be out in ten!”
It was a huge relief to even have a number. I’d been pushing for so long that it felt like the end was never going to be in sight!
The doctor told everyone that the baby’s head was crowning. Andrew said it was 90% cool and 10% gross. They asked if I wanted to feel it, but I quickly responded NO! All I wanted at that point was to get the baby out. The doctor told me it’d be a few more pushes, and then you’d be here.
The next push is when our dear baby arrived. The doctor quickly wiped the baby off and placed it on my chest. I asked, “What is it?”
Andrew looked at me like I was crazy. He must have thought I was asking if I had a puppy or something.
I had to ask a second time, “Is it a boy or a girl?”
The blood clots were back.
need a c-section like she thinks a lot of first time moms would have needed.