This is Part 2 of 2… If you are interested in reading Part 1, click here.
This was the first pregnancy that I experienced many new things. One of those was prodromal labor. It is also called false labor, however, I believe there is nothing false about it as it still can make changes to your cervix and prepare your body for birth. I started experience prodromal labor for about 4 days a week before our baby was born. For 4 days in a row, EVERY evening at around 10pm I would start getting cramping contractions. They were legit contractions and different from Braxton Hicks (BH). BH contractions for me always just felt like tightening of my whole uterus. It was uncomfortable but with a change of position or drinking water, they would go away. Real labor contractions for me have always felt like really bad menstrual cramping that comes on slow, peaks then fades away. Sometimes the pain would radiate to my lower back as well. Anyway, these contractions I experienced for the 4 nights in a row were real. Every night I would start timing them only to see them be all over the place, never getting stronger and never getting closer together. Eventually I would fall asleep and wake up feeling fine in the morning.
It is very hard to deal with prodromal labor. You think “this is it!” only to be let down. It is very emotionally and physically tiring. I am lucky to have wonderful mamas who I was able to turn to online and get some support and words of encouragement. The rest of the week after having prodromal labor, I felt awesome. No contractions or other signs of labor. My due date came arrived. I began getting lots of pressure and tons of twinges and pinches in my cervix. I was excited as I remember the same feelings before I went into labor with Braydon. I continued to feel these pains the next day when I was 40 weeks and 1 day.
That night, May 14, I started getting some mild contractions again. However, once again, they weren’t regular and I was able to fall asleep by 11:30pm.
Then, at 1 am, I woke up having a cramping contraction. It was strong enough to wake me, but not the worse pain. I got up to pee and went back to bed. As I lay in bed, I was trying to fall back to sleep. But I kept getting contractions and it was hard to sleep. I tried drinking water and moving around to see if they would subside. They did not… So I decided I would start timing them on a contraction app on my phone before waking up Kyle. The last thing I wanted to do was jump the gun. As I timed them, they would be anywhere from 2 1/2 – 8 minutes apart. They would last about 50-60 seconds. As they continued, I could feel pressure in my pelvis so I started doing pelvic rocks and squats. I was not comfortable laying in bed during them so I figured I would work with them and see if it would make them more consistent.
At around 4 am, I was still awake having them. I went pee again and this time I noticed when I wiped that I was beginning to lose my mucus plug! I was very excited about this as I knew this meant my cervix was changing and getting ready. After this I went downstairs to get myself more water. I also decided I would wake Kyle up and give him a heads up that I *might* be in early labor. I continued having contractions so I bounced and swayed on my birthing ball during them. They were now around 4-6 minutes apart, still lasting 50-60 seconds. They still weren’t any stronger though, so I decided to let Kyle sleep and that I would try to sleep as well. If this was it, I wanted to try to get more sleep considering I had only about an hour and a half of sleep so far.
However, I was not able to sleep. They continued at about 4-6 minutes apart. I would have to stop and breathe through them also. At this point, I was definitely convinced that this could very well be it and that I was in labor. Every time I peed, I was still losing plug too.
It was now 5 am, on May 15. I decided to wake Kyle again before he got up to get ready to go to work. I told him that the contractions were now 5-6 min apart and about a minute long each. I knew my midwives wanted me to call once they were 5-1-1 or 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 min for 1 hour. I didn’t know if I should call yet since some were closer to 6 minutes apart. I told him I think he should stay home for a bit before leaving in case things changed. I sent my mom a text giving her a heads up as well that I might be in labor, I wanted to be sure I told her before she headed to work as well as she would be the one to watch Shayne and Braydon. I decided to take a shower as I know sometimes the warmth might slow things or stop them if it wasn’t actual labor. I figured this would be the test to decide if I would call the midwife!
I took a shower and had 3 contractions during my shower. My shower was 15 minutes, so I knew they had to be 5 minutes apart. I had to breathe through them as well. After the shower, I had to pee again and noticed this time the plug was no longer clear but now tinged with pink blood. This told me, I should call the midwife and see what they say.
I timed a few more contractions and they were indeed now 5 minutes apart for 1 minute. It had been about an hour. So I called the on call midwife. I explained everything from when it all started at 1 am. I also explained if they felt I needed to come in that it would take about 40 minutes for my mom to get to my house PLUS at least an hour for us to get to the hospital. She told me to have my mom come over and call when my mom got to my house and we would see how things were progressing at that point. I called my mom and told her she got to take the day off work and to come over. Luckily, it was before she would left for work so that meant we wouldn’t be waiting too long for her to get to our house. During this time, I got dressed and finished packing my hospital bag.
When my mom arrived, I called the midwife before we left. Contractions were still 5 minutes apart for 1 minute. They didn’t seem any stronger, but I was still being stopped in my tracks during them not able to concentrate on anything else. I also was continuing to lose bloody plug. She told me to go ahead and leave to get to the hospital. So we got ready to leave. Braydon and Shayne were still sleeping, but I heard a stir from Shayne and he was waking up just at we were about to leave. It was about 7:40am. I went up and told him that mommy was going to go to the hospital with daddy so mommy can have the baby! He was very excited and even more excited when I said Nana was here to watch him and Braydon. I gave him a big hug and kiss and said I would see him soon and he would get to meet his new brother or sister.
Kyle and I headed out to the car and left. We didn’t know what to expect on the drive. It was morning rush hour and it could be a good drive or a bad one. We decided to stay off the main highway though as it had been quicker in the past for us when we would go to my doctor appointments. We set off, I put on my favorite Foo Fighters CD singing in between contractions and hoping the drive wouldn’t be too long. The last thing I wanted was to deliver a baby in the car. The drive when SO well. I continued having contractions. They weren’t any stronger but it seemed worse because I was buckled into a seat and couldn’t move around. They were also radiating around to my back which sucked. About halfway to the hospital, the on call midwife called to check on how the drive was going. I thought this was so sweet. I was once again reassured that I chose the right place to deliver our baby. I never would have expected them to call to see how I was doing. I told her we were halfway to the hospital and that contractions were still going. She said that Beth, one of the other midwives, was heading in to the hospital and would be waiting for us to get there.
The rest of the drive went very smooth as well. We pulled up to the main entrance of the hospital. They had complimentary valet so that was nice that we could go right in and up to labor and delivery. When we walked in, the nurses were expecting us. The nurse joked and asked what brought me in. It was nice to laugh. They brought us to the room I would be laboring and delivering in. It was a nice bright room. It was a very good size too and had a birthing tub. I was excited to try to use water as a comfort measure this time! I noticed though, that I hadn’t had a contraction since we arrived and it had been about 10 minutes. I got nervous thinking maybe I did jump the gun and that I would end up getting sent home. The nurse took some info from me and asked if she could do an exam and see where I was. This was the first cervical exam I would be having this whole pregnancy, so I was curious to see too. I got on the bed and she checked. She told me I was just about completely thinned out and 6 cm dilated but she could stretch me to 7 cm! I was so shocked to hear I was already so far along, especially considering the contractions were so bearable. So the nurse said, “oh ya, so you’re not going anywhere. We will have a baby here soon!”
I was beyond excited. I changed into what I would be laboring in. This time even though I was still birthing in a hospital, I didn’t want to feel like a sick patient wearing a huge hospital gown. I brought a birthing skirt that was handmade according to my size in the color of my choosing. I also decided I would just wear a nursing sports bra with it. This way I could move around and not feel restricted or have to mess with a hospital gown falling down because they are always so big.
The nurses pretty much left me to do my own thing. I had them bring me a birthing ball to use for comfort during contractions. I didn’t feel like I needed water yet, so held off on using the tub.
At 10am, after a few contractions on the birthing ball, the midwife came in to see how things were going. My contractions were still only about 5 min apart and not intense. She asked if she could check me, I agreed as I knew we would possibly have to do something to get things moving a bit. I was still the same and my bag of waters was still bulging. She asked how I felt about artificially rupturing my waters. Honestly, it was something I didn’t want to consider until it was really necessary. With my first birth, there were tons of interventions, rupturing the bag of waters was one of them, and interventions always mean csection to me. HOWEVER, this time was different. I went into labor on my own and I was already 7cm. I knew breaking the water would bring baby’s head down fully which would get contractions more intense and bring our baby earth side. I agreed considering the circumstances. It went very well. The water was clear and she was able to help ease the baby’s head down gently. He was in perfect position she said and that it wouldn’t be much longer.
breathing through a contraction
Contractions didn’t pick up right away but they were starting to get a bit more intense and I did notice they were starting to get closer together. I also noticed that I was getting a lot more pressure now. I still felt good though and I was handling them very well. Kyle was great support. He let me lean on him, hang on him, he “slow danced” with me while I swayed through contractions. It was so wonderful and peaceful. He helped me stay loose and not tense. I labored like this for about an hour.
A little after 11am, contractions were definitely more intense. I was getting more vocal with my moans and breathing. I decided to labor hunched over on the back of the bed. I knew laying down or being on my back was NOT how I wanted to labor or push baby out. I knew to use gravity to my advantage so kneeling on the bed would be enough to use gravity but also give me a way to rest in between contractions. After the first couple contractions on the bed, I told Kyle that I was starting to get the “pushy” feeling. After another contraction, the nurse came in to check on me and I told her about the feeling. She asked if it was new or if I had been feeling it. I said that I know I will be having to push soon. So right away she left to get the midwife.
when things got intense!
As soon as she left, another strong contraction came over me. My body started pushing on its own this time and I told Kyle to get them. He hesitated a bit because he knew the nurse had just left to get the midwife. By now the contractions were about a minute apart so the next one, I yelled “GET THEM IN HERE NOW!!!!!”
THIS WAS IT!!!
The midwife came in, I told her that I cannot resist pushing. She checked and could see baby’s head. She told me to go ahead and start pushing how I felt I needed to as she got gowned up and the nurses rushed around to get ready to have a baby. The way I was pushing, I was still hunched over the back of the bed, kneeling on my knees. I felt this was the best way and I honestly don’t think I couldn’t have moved from that position! Contractions were pretty much right on top of each other and I really couldn’t tell when one stopped and another started. All I could feel was intense pressure and the urge to push. Baby was not stopping and was ready to come out. This time I felt the baby crowning and the “ring of fire”. With my last birth, I did not feel this. One big push and the head was out. She asked if I could slow down a second because she noticed the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. Luckily, she was able to loosen it and said I could continue pushing. A couple more big pushed and the baby was out.
right after he came out, but before they took him to get oxygen
It is crazy how once the baby is out, there is no more pain. I quickly turned around and sat on the bed to see my baby. I look and saw it was a boy! ANOTHER BOY! Unfortunately, though, he was a bit blue and even though he was whimpering, they wanted to check him right away because of the fact the cord was wrapped twice plus he was holding onto it as he came out. We did not get to delay cutting the cord much because of this as well. Just goes to show how things do come up and plans change. Of course, the health of our baby boy came first. They walked him over to the warmer and Kyle went with as I waited to deliver the placenta. I was able to watch and see that they did have to give him a little oxygen and then he suddenly showed off how great his lungs were. I remember, I didn’t feel scared. I knew he was fine. They weighed him and told us he was 8 lbs even (my biggest baby) and 21 inches long. He arrived at 11:26am on 5/15/15!
One little push and I delivered the placenta. Then the nurse brought my sweet little boy to me. He was still a little pale but was doing just fine. We immediately did skin to skin and I offered the breast. He wasn’t into nursing right away as he was still a little congested from amniotic fluid in his throat which eventually we got out. As soon as that cleared out, he was super eager to nurse. I was so surprised as how well he latched on right away and went to town. Especially for only being about 30 minutes old.
Welcome Jackson Cash!
I am now 3 days postpartum as I finish up his birth story. I am still basking in the new baby warmth, smell, snuggles and the high of having another successful drug free VBAC. I cannot help but feel so strong and empowered. I am so happy and wouldn’t change a thing about Jackson’s birth… well maybe it would have been nice to try out that lovely birthing tub 😉 But it was another amazing birth. I am so surprised at how quickly it went and how well myself and my body handled it. I honestly enjoy giving birth vaginally and naturally without drugs. And although having my VBACs have been extremely healing for me, I still cannot help but have regrets and thoughts about my first birth, which was a csection. I wish I educated myself as much as I am now. I wish I would have chosen a better practice for my care. And I wish I was patient. Waiting for my last two babies to come when they were ready really was the best thing I could do. I am glad I allowed my body to go into labor on it’s own even if I went past my EDD. I hope sharing my 3 birth stories will only give hope to other moms in similar situations.
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