Before I begin this post, I have to thank my very kind Father in heaven. I am still completely in awe at how things all came together, and I'm so grateful.
Christina, my sister got married on Friday, June 1st. I woke up that morning to my mucous plug shedding...hopeful that it would lead to something. I then ran around helping her and everyone else get ready, attending and photographing after the wedding and then attending and photographing the reception. I was not a happy camper-mostly because the uncertainty of when I was going to have this baby, and the amount of pain I was having with contractions that would not regulate.
Saturday, the 2nd was our Gubler Family Reunion. Jon and I were the first ones at the cemetery where we were starting, followed by Katie, my cousin and midwife. After complaining to her of my very frustrating pains and lack of regulation she offered to take me over to her house a couple of streets away and at least check me to see if anything was happening. I was dilated to a 4+ and 70% effaced...progress from my appointment on Thursday. So she stripped my membranes. Like really good.
I kept having contractions, went home for lunch and then laid down for a nap. Finally as I lay down things started to regulate-5 minutes apart. Painful, but not really. I let them keep going for 2-ish hours and then got up to start putting things together. I got in the tub for a bit, cleaned up some things and packed our bags. Every time I was up they would start going faster and harder and every time I laid down and tried to relax they would settle back down to 5 mins or so apart.
When I had Paisley, my water broke at home. I really tried to help that not happen this time but doing everything I could to prevent infections and taking both Vitamin C and E. I really do think that helped keep my amniotic sac intact. Unfortunately, trying to determine when is the best time to go to the hospital was way more difficult without my water being broken. Finally, I just kind of felt like it was time because when I was up and around they were getting pretty intense.
They took me to triage and hooked me up to monitors, flat on my back and told me I had to stay that way for the next hour. The nurse checked me and said that I was still at only a 4+ and 70% effaced, which was a little discouraging considering that's where I had been that morning. Thankfully my contractions were 5 minutes apart at this point because every one was quite miserable not really being able to move. My exercise ball had been my place of choice at home because it did wonders for my hips and lower back rolling around on it through contractions. The nurse came in and explained that if I didn't progress in the next hour it would probably be best for me to head back home...something I DID NOT want to hear. It was hard not to cry.
They kept giving me water, which made me need to pee so i took the opportunity to go into the bathroom and squat through my contractions-hoping to move her down. Every time I got up they would get more and more intense, and when I would lay down they would space out-but were continuing to get more painful. She checked me again in an hour and I was at a 5-ish, so she called Katie, who thankfully was already on her way in. I overhead her explaining that she just thought this was early labor, and I guess tried to tell Katie that I thought I needed to go home!
Hearing Katie's voice was just the beginning of so many reassurances that she offered me that night. The nurse had also explained that even if I wanted to be in the tub they would be getting me out every 20 minutes to monitor me because "we have rules here" So disheartening. Katie then walked in just after that and I told her I needed to get out of the bed, and now. She helped me out of the monitors and asked me why I wanted to go home. Which was confusing, because I did not want to go home. I started walking the halls and only made it one lap before I started begging for the shower. Thankfully, she put me in my room and I got in the shower while they filled the tub. The shower was nice, but the tub was heaven. Ohhhhhhh...heaven. It instantly took away the lower back pain and contraction pain and made everything completely bearable again. She also kicked all the nurses out of my room and left me to labor in the tub-checking in ever once in a while as things started to pick up. Time at this point started to lose all meaning and became merely life between contractions.
I think it was around this point that I started to get loud-ish. Moaning was really helping me through contractions and I remember regretting that I stayed quiet while I was in labor with Paisley...so I did not hold back. I kind of feel bad for the other women laboring around me. I don't know if they could hear me or not, but it was probably a little scary. I'm remembering uttering/moaning the phrase "OOOOooooopen, OOOoooooopen" over and over again. I wanted my cervix to open.
At one point, Katie had me get out of the tub to check me. I was in very active labor and having contractions in bed was rough. Thankfully Jon was there the whole way, pushing on my knees while one of the nurses tried to start an IV. I have a hole in my hand. I really, really tried to stay still but it was hard. I was at a very stretchy 7-she could open me to a 9+ but officially I was at a 7. I was feeling SOO much pressure so she asked if she could pop my water (something I originally didn't want but very rapidly changed my mind about and I'm so glad I did). I ran and hopped back in the tub as soon as I was free. This was when things really, really started to get intense.
I've watched a lot of home birth videos where the women are in inflatable tubs-I was so glad mine was hard and plastic. I had a death grip on the sides, and through this period of transition, tried to climb the walls. The contractions were unreal. I was continually fighting with everything I had not to panic. They kept coming on top of each other. It felt the best to get on all fours, but my knees kept falling asleep so I would try to change position in-between, but it was getting to where there was no in-between. Katie rescued me. So did Jon. Jon jumped in the tub in his swim trunks and started pushing my hips together with all of his might-offering counter pressure to my lower back as well. Katie stayed 3 inches from my face and told me over and over again that I was ok, I was strong, I was a mother, I was having a baby, I could do this, I was doing this-and I repeated all of this after her. I needed to be told that I was ok. Over and over again. At one point I remember thinking that maybe I wanted and epidural and I went to tell her as a contraction was coming but it came out "I want..no, I don't want an epidural" and she agreed with me and then went back to telling me I was ok, with me repeating after her and trying to breath. I remember thinking that it was probably too late to get one, and that getting one would require getting out of the tub, and sitting still-2 things I was not willing to do at this point. I can honestly say what I was doing appealed to me more than that at the time.
I started feeling pushy. I think for some reason I always thought the urge to push would be this very obvious light switch flipping on. It was more of a transition. It started to feel pretty good to push during contractions, but not enough. Finally Katie asked me if I would get out of the tub. She could feel that it was holding me back, and thought I might be ready. I climbed out as quickly as I could in-between contractions and ran to the bed to get on all fours. I'm so glad she had me turn over because as soon as I was squatting at the end of the bed my whole world changed. It felt SO GOOD. Ohhhh, I loved to push into the contractions. She had just enough time to check, tell me I had a bit of a lip, oh and now the lip was gone, and now I was fully dilated and she had just enough time to get her gown on and my Mom in the door and Stella was out! I had one really good push for her head, then they tried to get me to stop for a second and then her body followed and suddenly I had this baby in my arms. The whole thing was beyond surreal. I guess I just thought I would be pushing for awhile so to suddenly be handed a baby really sent me into shock. And then it was over. I had no tearing or damage, the placenta followed nicely, and we have a sweet baby girl!
As I write this I have no idea how I survived. I have never had such an intense experience in all of my life. After I settled down and realized that everything took place in 3 hours (we arrived at the hospital at 7:45 and she was born around 11) it overwhelmed me even more. I am so thankful she is here. And that she came on June 2nd. I wanted her to so that my Mom could be there. And I was so done being pregnant. I can't even believe how amazing Katie was-she kept me in the game...and my sweet sweet husband. He managed to not only stay on my back, but also took over for Katie coaching whenever she was checking me or such, and also took some awesome pictures!! I feel so very blessed.