December 27, I felt nothing out of the ordinary (other than being nearly 40 weeks pregnant.) I felt so normal, in fact, that I ordered things on Amazon prime that day to use during labor because I basically just assumed I’d go late. (My due date was December 30). I wanted to try for a natural birth, but was open to using medicine if needed/desired. My thoughts were, I’ve never done this before, I have no idea what it will feel like, I don’t feel like I can honestly decide to not use meds or to use meds before I feel labor for the first time. So I was going in with a pretty loose plan, which I preferred.
Israel got home from work just before 5:30 and I was in bed drinking juice and trying to feel baby’s movements because he’d really slowed down. Izzy came and laid down with me for a few minutes and then I started to feel a little pain in my pelvic area, but it wasn’t much, just like hmm this is odd. When we got up, the pain started getting worse so I started walking around the apartment to see if it would go away, assuming it was false or early labor. I think Izzy knew this was it at that point (I don’t know how because it’d only been a few minutes) and he started making dinner because multiple people had said I needed to eat early on in labor.
So I started timing the pains just to see and they were only 3 minutes apart, right off the bat. So we called the doctor’s office and the midwife on call said to take a shower and see if it goes away or lessens in an hour. So I took a shower but they just started getting more painful and then I thought ok maybe these are actually contractions. While I was in the shower, I had Izzy call Jamie to ask if my pain was in the right area and if it sounded like labor. She confirmed. So when I got out, I ate and kept timing the contractions – they were 2 1/2 minutes apart now. I just kept thinking how the nurses at my classes and my midwives and doctors said since I live an hour away from DuPont in Fort Wayne, to leave when they were about 5 minutes apart. But I started at 3 minutes apart. So there was that. After an hour, they were getting stronger and closer together, so we called the midwife back and she said it was up to us if we wanted to leave yet or not, but it could still be a while. We decided to leave since I wouldn’t want to be in the car for an hour if they got much worse than they were.
So we frantically finished packing the hospital bag because it wasn’t fully ready since it was 2 days before my due date. The things I had just ordered on Amazon obviously weren’t going to be of any use to me now 🙂 Janice and Rodney were at my parent’s house already, which was good since we were frantic. The car ride to the hospital was fine, except we, of course, were stopped by a train, because Warsaw.
When we got to the hospital, they checked me and I was only 2 cm, which was really discouraging since I was already hurting quite a bit and the contractions were so close together. I still can’t believe how suddenly it all came on, none of this all day laboring at home business I always heard about. They admitted me so I wouldn’t have to drive all the way home and then back. We asked for a room with a tub, and we got the best one. It was a MASSIVE room, super nice, huge Jacuzzi tub. One of my midwives, Lindsey, was the one on call. She was the person I had had the most appointments with, so that was nice. When we got up to our room, Marianne, another midwife and the wife of the Doctor whose practice I went to, had also come in because there were like 7 moms admitted that night just from their practice. Apparently people were trying for that New Year’s baby 😉 There were other women who got there before me, so they assumed those women would deliver before I would.
They checked me when we got to the room, about 40 minutes from the first time, and I was suddenly already 7-8 cm and so we were all like oh ok, time to make a plan. I assume being in the car slowed things down, which is why I was only 2 cm when I first got there, and it progressed so quickly once I could relax. They told me it was too late to get any pain meds, which was hard to hear that I didn’t even have the option since it had gone so quickly. Suddenly, I was likely to be delivering first among all of their patients, instead of after those who got there before me. I got in the shower after a little bit to see if the warm water would help and because filling up that massive tub took ages. When they checked me again after the shower, I was 9 & 3/4. “Like in Harry Potter!!!” I exclaimed. I learned through all of this that how I cope with pain is apparently with humor 🙂 This humor trend continued the whole time until the pushing phase.
My water still hadn’t broken and was starting to come through with the baby, so they broke it at midnight and I got in the tub for early pushing. Izzy sat behind me in the tub and would whisper encouraging things in between contractions. Marianne was trying to explain how to push, but I didn’t understand while I was in the tub, so after about half hour, I got out so I could push more effectively. When I got back to the bed, she helped me so I understood where to push towards and what to do to push better. Both midwives were really helpful and encouraging the whole pushing time. Izzy helped during this phase as well and was still telling me encouraging things between contractions. And he helped me know I was making progress cause I honestly couldn’t tell. So from them breaking the water to Theo here, it was about 1 hr 20 min of pushing, made longer by doing it ineffectively while in the tub. It was definitely hard, but was a lot better once I understood how to and where to push. I didn’t feel like it felt “good” like some people say, but I just stuck in and did it.
At 1:22 am on December 28, he was born. The feeling of having him on my chest straight away and being like…you’re you…was crazy. Izzy cut the cord, we had about an hour and a half of time just the 3 of us, and then we transferred up to our room to stay. My whole body was shaking for about a 30-60 minutes after he was born, like I was freezing but I wasn’t, I assume because of the adrenaline/shock. We couldn’t decide on a name for the first day and a half because when he arrived, he didn’t look like the name we had been loosely planning on.
All up, my entire labor was only 8 hours, from first pain to Theo being here, which I was very surprised with since he was my first. Like I said, I feel it would have been even shorter if I wasn’t in the car for an hour. Yes, I had him naturally, but I’m glad I left myself the option and the grace not to, if I felt like I couldn’t.
We stayed at the hospital until that Friday. It was honestly a really great place. Izzy got meal vouchers for himself, they have a whole gluten free menu, they serve food 24 hours, the lactation consultants are wonderful, they have donor milk if you choose to breastfeed and your milk is slow to come in or baby’s latch isn’t quite right yet, there was a pull out bed/couch for Izzy…We were just really impressed.
To the FTM’s about to have a baby, honestly, it wasn’t a bad experience. Don’t let people scare you into assuming it will be horrible. Sure, it might be, but it also might not be. It was hard, yes, but it wasn’t bad. I truly believe that a good chunk of it is mental. If you believe it will be hard/painful/long/horrible, there’s a good chance it will be. Take each contraction as it comes. Don’t count how many you have had or how many you still have to get through – just remind yourself, “I am in this one contraction, it will last approximately this long, but then it will be over.” Each time. Over and over. Don’t let your mind overwhelm you or get you down. Trust your body. You may need to change positions – several times even – during labor. You will know what feels best for you. And if things don’t go according to your plan, don’t get down on yourself. You are not a failure. Everyone gets there differently. Give yourself grace.
If you’re in the Fort Wayne area, I highly highly recommend Dr. Stroud and his team at the Fertility and Midwifery Care Center for an OB, DuPont hospital as a birthplace, and Dr. Mullally at Credo Family Medicine as a pediatrician (he’s extremely kind, understanding, makes you feel respected, answers all our questions, and doesn’t make us feel rushed)