Birth story stuff!
If you've read Rowan's birth story before, this will seem eerily similar.
At 37 weeks, on a Wednesday, I talked to my midwife about membrane stripping, and we decided we'd try it. The actual procedure was uncomfortable, but not too bad. However, later that day I started getting lower back pain and cramps and it was painful... I knew that cramping was normal after a membrane sweep, for up to three days or so, but in all the research I did, no one had as BAD of pain as I did, and the people that did, it was actual labor pains. Five days later, and I was STILL really hurting, on and off, and the breaks in between the pain were a lot less. Then on Sunday, I had a pretty easy going day, with minimal pain, and even went for a walk.
I went in for an OB appointment, at my count of 38 weeks and 3 days (the Monday after the membrane stripping). I'd started cramping with back pain again, strong, that morning. We opted to do cervical checks in the last weeks since that was how we even found out I was in labor with Rowan. I had a feeling we were at the same point, and sure enough, while doing the cervical check, the OB says, "Well, this is an odd cervical exam... not your fault, but um... you're about 6-7cm dilated, almost completely effaced and your bag of waters is extremely bulging."
I walked out and smiled at Kyle and Rowan in the waiting room, and they stood up to head out of the hospital, and I told them we were going upstairs instead of back down to the car. It was time!
I was actually starting to get more and more crampy, but they couldn't find any contractions on their monitors, but in baby's heartbeat, there was a definite pattern of ups and downs that they figured correlated to contractions, but they weren't sure. We started asking, "Okay, I get that I'm 6 centimeters or more, but if I'm not contracting... why are we still here?" They were just worried that if my water broke, she'd come flying out and we wouldn't have time to get back to the hospital if we left, which is fair, as we live 10-30 minutes away, depending on traffic. We hung out for a little bit, and Kyle and Rowan went to get food while I made some phone calls and some text messages.
We got ahold of some friends and got Rowan over to their house to stay the night. I walked around, tried sitting on a birthing ball (which felt like sitting on a baby's head and actually hurt), and finally decided it was time to get into the bath. At home with the cramps, it practically took them away. I got in the tub, with instructions from the midwife to try to squat some in there, and to do some nipple stimulation. I did, and after a bit, realized the cramps weren't being as soothed as I'd expected, and were hurting even more than before. An intelligent nurse came in and sat with me, listened to the baby's heartbeat with a handheld, waterproof monitor, and she realized that my cramping corresponded with *gasp* contractions! :) She was able to feel them with her fingers, even though the monitor "couldn't" see them. So there, you guys happy? I felt contractions. ;)
I finally got out of the tub since it wasn't helping nearly as much as I'd hoped, especially for the back pain, and instead tried leaning over the birthing ball with my husband rubbing my lower back, and it was feeling pretty good. My midwife checked and I was 8 centimeters and totally effaced.
They started bugging me about breaking my water, and I was getting upset because I knew that if they broke my water, she'd be out a lot quicker... but I also knew as soon as the hospital broke my water with Rowan, that that's when I hurt really, REALLY badly, all in my back.
After some considering, I finally decided that we'd do an epidural without narcotics and THEN break my water.
Remember, my spine is a disaster area, twisted and turned and bendy... whee. I sat on the edge of the bed, feet on a stool, for 25 minutes, talking to a really nice nurse (the one who'd felt contractions with her HAND instead of machines) while the anesthesiologist worked on getting the catheter in my back. He told me it was the MOST complicated epidural he'd ever done in his entire career, and he wants me to go back in a little bit to let him do special x-rays to see my spine and whatnot. After getting an initial numbing sensation, they came in and broke my water, and I was almost at 10cms.
I laid down, and shortly realized that I still REALLY hurt, so I pushed the button for a little more meds... and the machine starts beeping. He came in and looked, and felt my back, and realized that with the problems with my spine, laying down KINKED the catheter, so it wasn't going to work. So, I pretty much got about a 5 minute numbing for 25 minutes of sitting still (which oddly, wasn't a bad way to deal with the contractions AT ALL... and I wish I'd realized that before getting a USELESS catheter in my spine, argh).
Anyway, now I was really getting the urge to push, and we were ready to go. Considering I had full use of my legs, I had a choice of whatever position I wanted, but opted for laying on my side and practically ripping the arm off the edge of the bed. My midwife tied a knot in a sheet and had me pull on that, against her, which made me bend in half more and actually really helped with pushing. Thanks to my lovely sciatic problems, laying on my side was hurting my hip, so I had Kyle rubbing it while holding my leg up. Apparently I was pushing my butt up against him and they were afraid I was going to fall off the side of the bed, LOL, and I got blood all down the side of the bed and on the floor. Whoops? :)
20 minutes of pushing (and screaming), and Aurora was out and on my tummy at 10:54pm on Monday night, covered in lots of vernix, blowing spit bubbles and trying to eat her fingers. They delayed cord clamping for about 5 minutes or so... and I heard the sound of a hemostat being picked up (yes, I seriously know the sound... keep in mind they're the number one piercing tool, so I've used them hundreds of times) and I JERKED my arm towards the OB and grabbed his arm and said, "WAIT UNTIL IT'S DONE PULSING!" Slightly shocked, he shows me that it's already yellow and done... oops. :) Continue, dude, my bad! (Kyle said that I beat HIM to it... I'd already grabbed the guy by the time Kyle could react and had been about to do the same thing, LOL).
Pushed out a whole placenta, and then was informed I needed some stitches, so we bundled Aurora in a towel and hat and handed her to Daddy. I was annoyed at needing stitches, since I'd been doing perineal massages and had done some in the tub as well. However, it wasn't the perineum that tore - a superficial tear up the side of an inner labia, ouch!
After we were all good to go, they left us alone for awhile, and munchkin girl is a pro nurser. She barely even needs any help with her latch, and I had tons of colostrum. No eye ointment, vitamin K or Hep B shots for her either, and no one really gave me crap about it - YAY! She's also O- like me, so I didn't need a follow up RhoGAM shot.
Anyway, there. Birth story. :) So, in short, almost identical to Rowan's birth, and I should have stuck with my original plan of no damned epidural since it ended up NOT working anyway. Argh!