Ok, so I may not get to the “salami” part of this story in this post. It may be a 3-part post as sleep and eating right now are my main priorities.
So as you could probably guess from the end of Part I, I went into labor Monday night of June 25th. A night I was originally supposed to be 2 hours away from my hospital.
The day had been fine, no contractions, nothing. We ate lunch out and I told Jacob I wanted to go for a walk. As it was 95 degrees out we decided to walk around the mall. We walked/shopped for about an hour. During that time my hip was still bothering me so I didn’t really notice the occasional tightening in my lower belly. We had a microwave and fridge in our hotel room and I didn’t want to eat out again, so we went to the grocery store and got some frozen dinners and some fresh veggies. At the grocery store I stopped Jacob as we were walking and was like “yeah, there is some intense sensation going on in my belly.”
I would not call it pain, as it didn’t hurt in the traditional sense. It didn’t seem to be regular or frequent so I just figured I was having Braxton-Hicks contractions. So we go back to the hotel room, eat our dinners. It was as soon as I put food in my stomach that my body was like ‘oh no, that was not a good idea on your part.’ I got immediately nauseas. Again, I didn’t think anything of it because I am the QUEEN of being nauseas. But the cramping had increased a bit so I laid down on the bed and tried to time them.
Except I must have been timing them wrong, I thought, or not feeling them correctly because as I timed them my little ‘contraction timer’ app on my iPhone told me I was contracting about 3 minutes apart. No way, I must be doing this wrong I figured. Labor, I was told, NEVER starts this fast, especially not for first-time moms. Surely it was false-labor and would quickly pass. Again, no major pain, no strong sense that I was in labor. It’s about 7:00 pm now, I’d been having these mild cramps since about 5:00pm.
In the event I was in labor I decided I wanted to shower and clean up, I even shaved my legs as awkward as that is at 38 weeks preggo. About 8:30pm things got a lot more intense. I was walking with Jacob up and down the hotel hallway just to do something while this was all going on. Then I decided I just wanted to lay down as my contraction timer was telling me that I was contracting every 2-3 minutes now. I still thought something was wrong with how I was timing them, or it was false labor. Again, I had been told that NO first time Mom EVER labors fast, it’s HOURS long and always starts with contractions about 10 minutes, or longer, apart.
So I just laid down, breathed through them and figured if it was real labor I would know. At 9:30 my legs started shaking uncontrollably and I vomited. I figured at this point I should check in with the midwife. We call and she said that leg shaking and vomiting are signs of ‘transition’, which is a phase of labor when you go from about 8-10 centimeters dilated, but that I was just “too calm” for this to be what it was, and it was probably early or false labor.
Ok, she was the expert on this, so we just chill in the hotel room some more. About 12:30am I decide, even though I was doubtful, that I want to be checked out at the hospital. I’m sure they will send me home and tell me I’m not far enough along, but I’d rather know than not know. We try to call the midwife to tell her to meet us there. Except the paging system that night wasn’t working properly. After waiting about 20 minutes we just go to the hospital.
We get there, get checked in, they tell me the midwife has been contacted and is on the way and that they will wait to have her check me. I’m hooked up to a monitor to see the contractions. About 10 minutes pass and I tell the nurse I think she needs to check me RIGHT NOW. She looks skeptical and gives me the look of ‘ok crazy first time Mom who probably isn’t really in labor‘. And I give her the look of ‘there is no way I’d be asking you to put your hand down there unless I thought it was REALLY FREAKING important‘.
She starts to check me and her eyes literally BUG. She gasps, “You’re 9.5 centimeters dilated!” I literally yell “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?”
No, no she was not freaking kidding me. I immediately tell her I want to get in the tub, I was told I could labor in a warm spa tub and even give birth in it if I wanted. She looks at me with genuine sympathy and says “Oh honey, you’re way past that option.”
At that moment, in my head (thank God) I used every curse word I had ever heard and some I made up just for that occasion, and they were all aimed at that nurse. All our birth prep had been based on me maintaining focus so that I could birth naturally. And part of that focusing was to have a planned step-by-step guide for how I wanted my labor to go. I had planned to labor in water, and I figured the only way I would not labor in water was in the event of a medically necessary C-section. I did not need a C-section, yet I was being told I could not get in the tub. My brain short circuited on this, I just could not process why I couldn’t get in the tub.
“You have GOT to give me some other options then,” I tell the nurse. You know what my ‘options’ were according to the nurse? To give birth right then, right there. The midwife arrives and I am sure, she will see reason, she will let me get in the tub. No, no, she tells me, I can’t, and then everyone starts rushing around really fast doing lots of things, none of which involve letting me get in the tub. At this point I lose my focus, no one is letting me do the ONE thing I wanted to do for labor. And it’s then I start to feel real pain. So now I’m upset and in pain and everyone is rushing and placing an IV in me and setting up carts and equipment and all I want to do is stop. But apparently there is no ‘stopping’ at 9.5 centimeters dilated.
The midwife says if she breaks my water it will help me deliver. I point out that if she breaks my water my contractions will intensify and that just sounds like a sucky idea to me. She counters with the fact that it may intensify them, but it will also make me give birth faster, and be done with this faster. EXCELLENT POINT I tell her.
I am able through all this chaos to re-gain some grip on my focus. Jacob was doing an excellent job of supporting me and talking quietly to me and I hang onto a thread of focus. Then the midwife says that since my water is now broke that I should try pushing with the next contraction. Ok, that seems logical, why not?
Contraction comes, I try a push and immediately decide that was the DUMBEST idea in the history of ideas. So I stop. The midwife tells me to keep pushing, the contraction is still going. I tell her ‘no’, it hurt when I tried it and I could breath right through the contraction just fine with no pain. Again, she hits me with her crazy midwife logic and tells me if I don’t ‘push’ the baby won’t come out and I’ll be doing this a lot longer. Yet another EXCELLENT POINT.
And that is where my birth-story ends. Stella came out, I would say the pain was ‘manageable’ and I apparently had one of the fastest labors for a first-time mom ever (yes go ahead and make stabby-eyes at me). Which leads me to believe that had we been at our new house, 2 hours from my hospital, Stella would have had a lot more interesting entrance into this world. Because myself, the midwife, the internet (yes I ‘googled’ “how do I know if I’m in labor?”), no one, thought I was actually in labor. Meaning we probably would not have headed for the hospital in time to actually get there.
So no salami story yet, but it is coming in the next post, which I *hope* I write in the next day or two. But I think the birth circumstances are important to know to appreciate the final part in this story.