I had been having contractions pretty often throughout my third trimester but it wasn't until Tuesday, June 21st, that I started noticing how close they were getting. Wednesday morning I had my 37 week appointment and after the doctor checked me, she said that I was dilated to a three and that I was 80% effaced. I took that as good news but she told me that I could go on like that for another week or two and that I should keep track of my contractions because once they were five minutes or less apart, that meant go time. Well, I headed to work and started tracking my contractions and realized that they were about seven minutes apart and getting stronger as the day went on. Gabe decided to let his parent know so they could hit the road, just in case Canaan decided to make his arrival that night. Later that evening I noticed that my contractions were around five to six minutes apart, so around 8:00 we packed up and headed to the hospital.
On our way to the hospital, I noticed that my contractions started to slow down a bit, but we still went just to be sure. Once we got there, they got me set up to monitor my baby's heartbeat and my contractions and they told me that I was dilated to a four but still 80% effaced. After two hours they sent me home because my contractions were not progressing. This was a little upsetting but I figured it would be better for me to be home as long as I could before the baby came.
The next morning I woke up to hardly any contractions, which was so frustrating because all I wanted was to have my baby here with us. Gabe and I decided to take a really long walk to hopefully get things moving along and it actually helped. My contractions started coming about every six to seven minutes and boy, were they stronger than the day before. Gabe decided to go into work since it didn't look like we were going to be having a baby any time soon and I ran around town with my in-laws, laboring my day away. Finally, around 7:30 we decided to head to the hospital because by this point, I was having strong contractions every three to four minutes. I was a little hesitant to go back to the hospital because the last thing I wanted them to do was send me home again but I just knew this was the real deal.
When we arrived, they sent me to triage and got me settled. The nurse I had the night before was fabulous, but this new lady was not the friendliest. She acted almost as if I wasn't in labor or as if I was just another false labor patient. While I was lying there having terribly painful, very low contractions, Canaan's heart rate was at the lowest 175 and at the highest 195! The average heart rate is 150. Each time I had a contractions, his little heart rate would increase to about 180-195 and it hardly ever dropped below 175 the entire time. After about two hours, the nurse came in to check me and said that I was not dilating but that I was about 100% effaced and that she was planning on sending me home once Canaan's heart rate dropped. I was very concerned about his heart rate being so high and when I asked her about it she said I must have a happy baby....lame answer. My thought was that if I just had a happy baby, why aren't you sending me home now and why are you having to wait until his heart rate drops?
After another hour of monitoring, the nurse gave me the discharge papers and sent me home, again. This was heartbreaking for me because I was following all the labor signs and at this point I didn't know what to do anymore. I tried so hard to not let the not-so-friendly nurse see me cry and as soon as we left the room, I broke into tears. I felt like a failure and I remember telling Gabe that this was my walk of shame, as we headed down the long hallway back to the car.
At this point all our family thought we were in the hospital laboring our (my) way to having our baby. So as we drove home (me - a complete mess of tears and boogers) I called my mom to tell her the sad news. She was so wonderful and covered us with pray and gave me encouraging words which brought me peace. I finished my phone call and as we pulled into the driveway I got a really strong contraction. I asked Gabe to keep the car running because I needed the AC since this contraction was so intense. I pushed myself back into the seat and all of a sudden I heard a "pop" and felt a warm mess in my pants.
SERIOUSLY?! Did my water bag just break?
I cannot even explain to you how much pressure was relieved once my water broke. I looked over at Gabe and told him that I thought my water just broke. I kid you not, he had just put the car in park, the clock struck midnight and my contraction hit (which caused my water bag to break) and this all happened at the same time!! I got out of the car and stood up to see if it was really my water breaking and not just pee, and sure enough, the fluid leaked out and I had no control of it. Gabe grabbed the towel that I had in the car for this very reason and we headed back to the hospital.
By this point my contractions were SO intense that I thought I was going to have our baby in the car on the way to the hospital. I remember telling Gabe to drive faster because we were not going to make it. When we got to the hospital (mind you, I am soaked from my water breaking...so gross) they rushed me in and check me to be sure I had ruptured. Sure enough I did and I was already dilated to a 6.5 at this point. They went and found a room for me and not even ten minutes later, once I was in my room, they checked me again and I was already dilated to an 8! I kept telling the nurses that I felt like I was going to poop and they just kept telling me that it was the pressure of my baby's head. I made sure they knew I wanted an epidural and was hoping that I could still get one since I was dilating so quickly. While I was lying there on they bed, I started to feel faint and told the nurse that I was going to pass out. Well, it turns out that I needed to throw up instead.
Finally the anesthesiologist showed up and got me set up. Man, those epidurals are AMAZING! I kept on thanking the doctor for giving me the magic drug. Literally, that epidural was a life saver. Women that have babies without any drugs are troopers. Once the epidural was in place the nurse checked me again and I was dilated to a 9! They told me that I was so close to having to birth my baby without any drugs because of how quickly I labored. I went from a 4 to 9 in about an hour and a half. The nurse was so proud of me and said I pretty much labored the entire thing without any drugs.
After the epideral was in place and doing it's thing, I rested for about two hours or so. I must say that I have an amazing husband. He was incredibly supportive throughout the entire process and did a great job at keep me calm. After my resting time, my nurse (her name was Ashley) came in and checked me one last time. She said that Canaan was sitting really low and that it was time to push. I got this rush of energy and was ready to push so we could finally meet our little guy.
Pushing was actually the easiest part of the entire labor process. Ashley sat at the foot of my bed and Gabe was off to my left. The lights were dim and the room was so peaceful. She gave me all the tips I needed to help make this a quick and smooth process and then it was push time. It didn't take too long before Gabe and Ashley could see the top of Canaan's head. After a few more pushes, Ashley called in the doctor so we could finally deliver Canaan and that's when everything got real. I was going to be holding my baby soon. MY baby. Well, our baby.
What will he look like? How big will he be? Will he be healthy and whole? Will he know my voice?
I had so many things going through my head at this point. Oh, I forgot to mention that Canaan had pooped inside the uterus, so NICU nurses were in the room to do whatever it is they do. Another crazy thing, the doctor and nurse who delivered our baby were wearing face shields! That was a little strange to me. Thankfully none of my bodily fluids splattered on their face masks. Oh and the room was full of people and they brought in a big table loaded with medical tools. Okay so back to the story....
The doctor was ready and so was I. I wanted Canaan out SO badly to see and to hold and to love. I pushed and pushed some more and the doctor snipped and snipped some more...eek! I was really hoping to avoid getting an episiotomy but that didn't happen. I guess that is much better than tearing or having a c-section, right? So finally with a few more pushes, out came Canaan!!! I wasn't able to get a good look at him because they had to suction his mouth and nose and then immediately gave him to the NICU nurses. Gabe was able to stay by Canaan's side the entire time he was being treated and finally after about an hour (okay more like 15 minutes) I got to get a quick glimps of my son. My heart melted and I just wanted to keep him all to myself, forever. Once they measured and weighed him (6 pounds, 5 ounces and 17 inches long) they finally handed him over to me.
I did it. We did it. We brought our beautiful baby boy into this world and everything was so perfect. Everything is so perfect.