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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lucy's Story - Progressing to labor

For the majority of my prenatal appointments I was seen by one of the five midwives who work under Dr. Crabtree. I did have one other later appointment with Dr. Crabtree where we discussed in greater detail what to expect and how to plan for a successful VBAC. I came with a long list of questions, a little nervous about finding out her answers, but left feeling encouraged and optimistic.

I had my last prenatal appointment scheduled the Thursday before my due date. At that appointment the midwife I met with asked if I wanted her to check to see if I was dilated. Right away it was clear by her struggle that things weren't already happening. She concluded that if I was dilated at all, I was maybe at a one. As I left that appointment, they scheduled two more appointments for the following week - Monday and Friday - with plans in place of what to expect if labor still hadn't started on its own.

I felt pretty discouraged the rest of that day, just feeling ready to be done. Done with being pregnant. Done with the mental anguish of the unknowns of what would happen with Lucy's birth. I was just done. So, I did the most logical thing I could think of at the time - I came home and made a huge pan of enchiladas.

Later that night, I decided that more important that anything else I needed to relax. I needed to get rid of the stress and tension I was feeling. So, I took a warm bubble bath, while Marc put on the relaxing music we wanted to play at the hospital during the birth and then he read from a hypnobirthing script to help relax my entire body. It was exactly what I needed and helped so much.

The next night, Friday, after getting the boys down for the night my dad came over so that Marc and I could go on a walk. We ended up going about 1.3 miles and it felt good just to get outside on a cool evening and have some time to be alone with Marc. We did have to stop periodically for some contractions, which made me feel a little better.

Saturday night we repeated our relaxation techniques and I was even able to imagine being in the hospital and feeling the same level of relaxation and calm.

Sunday night we decided to go on another walk. This time I was feeling pretty good, so we ended up going two miles. Even if it wasn't doing anything to get things going, it was just nice to have that quiet time with Marc. We got some pretty funny stares, clearly from people knowing the only reason a woman as pregnant as I was would be out on a long walk like that.

Monday came and, from what I could tell, I still hadn't progressed since my Thursday appointment. But, when the midwife offered to check me, I reluctantly agreed. I was both surprised and elated to hear her say I was dilated to a three, although I knew to keep the excitement in check since some can be at a three for weeks before going into labor. She guessed, though, that I'd be having this baby before my Friday appointment came.

That afternoon I felt some pretty strong menstrual-like cramps while trying to take a nap with the boys, and a few strong contractions later that evening, but then nothing. I called my sister, Dawnette, just to give her a head's up. We had made plans a few months ago to have her fly out for the birth, to act as my doula during labor. She isn't certified, but she'd used hypnobirthing with her youngest and she studied up on how to fill that doula role for us. I wanted her to be ready, just in case she were to get a phone call in the middle of the night.

And, it was a good thing I had given her some warning. At 11pm, just as I was trying to fall asleep, the contractions started. They were about 10-15 minutes apart at first, then got gradually closer together and stronger in intensity. I tried to relax through them and to sleep in between, if possible. I purposely tried to keep Marc from knowing, because I wanted him to be good and rested.

I think it was almost 3am when I called Dawnette to tell her to get to the airport for her 7:20am flight. At 4am, the contractions were strong enough that my moaning woke Marc. I filled him in on what had been happening for the last five hours and he encouraged me to get in the tub to relax while he got everything all together to go to the hospital.

While he was quietly rushing around, he was also timing my contractions with an app on is iPod. In that hour my contractions were averaging 3:48 minutes apart and lasting a minute long. So, at 5am, we called my parents. My Mom came over to be here with the boys while my Dad rushed to the airport to pick up my sister. And, Marc and I rushed to the hospital, with me kneeling on the floor behind the passenger seat, leaning over the back seat. I know it sounds like an awkward arrangement, but the thought of sitting up just seemed too painful.

Marc checked us in at the front desk of Labor and Delivery, while I braced a counter off to the side and swayed through a pretty strong contraction. They got us into a triage room and we waited for someone to come in and check my progress. I was preparing myself to hear that I was still only dilated to a three, so you can imagine my surprise when the nurse said I was dilated to a seven. It was really happening! Our baby girl would be arriving soon!


KieraAnne said...

Oh man, what happened next?! I hate it when you leave us hanging like that. ;)

Becky Rose said...

So glad that Dawnette got to be there for you!