On the morning of Saturday, November 25, 2017 (one day before my due date) I woke up at about 5:30 am to go to the bathroom. I was about to sit down on the toilet but as I was pulling off my shorts I felt a gush of liquid. I knew I was very pregnant but I didn’t think I had completely lost all bladder control. I looked at my shorts and they were pretty soaked and I had even leaked a little bit onto the bathroom rug. I sat down on the toilet and started to realize that my water had broken.
I was in disbelief. I didn’t go into labor until 41 weeks with my son so I didn’t really expect that I would go into labor early with this baby. My waters were a little yellowish and I didn’t know if that was normal or not so I was a little concerned. I also hadn’t felt any contractions yet because I had literally just woken up.
After I got a pad, I woke up my husband and told him that I thought my water had broken and then found my doctor’s phone number. I called my doctor and he suggested I get on my exercise ball and see if I could get contractions started. He said to call back in 2 hours to update him on my progress. I think my body just needed to wake up because as soon as I started bouncing on my ball the contractions started. I used an app on my phone to start timing them and realized that they were already only 3.5-4 minutes apart.
As I was doing this, my husband let his parents know to be ready to come get our son. Kai was still sleeping but we wanted them to be ready. I called our doula Madison to let her know that I was in labor. I left a message. We didn’t tell her to come yet because we weren’t sure if I would need to head to the hospital or not. SInce my contractions were already pretty close together I went to lay down for a bit. But, I was leaking too much fluid and didn’t want to get the bed dirty so I decided to get in the shower. Especially because I was already feeling the contractions in my back and knew I could point the warm water at my back to help with the pain.
I got in the shower and my husband bounced back and forth between checking on me and taking the dog out, getting our son’s stuff together, and making food. In between contractions, I was able to eat a granola bar and a yogurt and I was drinking water and some raspberry leaf tea. I tuned on my relaxing labor playlist and started going through my positive birth affirmations in my head.
At about 7:45 my husband called the doctor again to let him know that I had contractions and that they were 1 minute long and 3-4 minutes apart. He asked if we wanted to stay home a little longer as thats what he would suggest. We agreed and Dr. James asked that we call back in another 2 hours. We let the doula know that we wanted her to come meet us at our house and my in-laws were going to come pick up our son.
Starting to Get Intense
A little after 8, my son had been picked up and my husband was eating and hanging out with me in the bathroom. I was still in the shower working through contractions but doing well. My contractions went to about 2-2.5 minutes apart. All of a sudden I had the urge to throw up and out came the contents of my stomach and I continued heaving until there was nothing left. It was a little scary for a moment. I didn’t realize that as I was vomiting my mucus plug/bloody show came out (probably what caused me to vomit). My body was just out of my control. Luckily, after this episode, I didn’t throw up anymore but things were definitely getting more intense.
But our doula Madison arrived and began to help give me suggestions to help me labor. She started with having me squat while holding onto her arms during contractions. We did this for a while and then I decided that I had been in the shower for long enough and got out and got some clothes on. I wanted to lay down on the floor so in between contractions Madison let me lay down and during contractions I got onto all fours and Madison and my husband took turns squeezing my hips.
Time to Head to the Hospital
At this point (probably around 9 am) we stopped using my app to track contractions because everyone was so focused but after a little while we realized that my contractions were now under 2 mins apart. It was time to call the doctor. My husband let the doctor know and they made the decision that it was time to go to the hospital. My husband got the car ready and grabbed our bags while Madison helped me get clothes and shoes on. I got into the car with my husband and Madison drove herself to the hospital (Saddleback).
Of course the ride to the hospital is not fun. I wasn’t able to have anyone squeezing my hips or helping my cope through contractions but I told myself that one way or another I had to get to the hospital so I just had to get through it. My husband continued to play my labor playlist on the way so that helped give me something else to focus on. We made it to the hospital around 10:30 and our doula arrived just behind us. Madison actually helped me into the hospital and to L&D admitting while my husband parked the car and grabbed one of our bags.
After I got checked in they took me to triage while my husband and doula waited. They asked me to get undressed and give a urine sample. I was having some seriously intense contractions so I needed help changing. And there was still a lot of amniotic fluid coming out so I wasn’t sure how much of my sample was what! Anyway, the nurse quickly realized that I was definitely progressing in my labor and needed to be officially admitted. So they got me to a room quickly.
The nurse did all the usuals, checking my blood pressure, putting a monitor on the baby and checking my dilation… 5.5 cm! Well that was a relief since with my son my labor was so long but I was still hoping I would have been further along. I continued to work through the contractions with the help of Madison and my husband.
This is when it really got tough. I couldn’t get comfortable and I just kinda lost some of my control during all the stuff that the nurses had to do. I started asking about options for pain relief other than an epidural which I definitely wanted to avoid except as a last alternative. I wasn’t sure I needed anything yet but the nurse insisted on getting a heplock on me just in case.
I didnt realize it but I was probably entering transition at this time. I finally asked for the i.v. drugs and they gave me nubain. The nurse said it would just take the edge off a little bit and make me feel like I had had a glass of wine. Maybe I didn’t actually need the pain relief but at least mentally I felt like just that little bit of medicine helped me cope so much better. The nurse only gave me a half a dose to see how I would react and said that it would last 1-2 hours. I got back under control and found a good groove.
Sometime in there my doctor, Dr. James, came in to check on me. He would come in and see if I was ready to push and then leave to check on his other patients. I was resting on the back of the bed in between contractions and trying to get on all fours or squat during the contractions. At one point the nurse gave me some oxygen to hold over my face. Something about the baby getting a little affected by the contractions.
The nurse checked me again and I was at 8 cm. The drugs had worn off and I was getting tired. I asked if I could have more but it was too close to the end and the medicine I had could make the baby lethargic. I was starting to get worried again but at this point I knew I didn’t have any choice but to get through it unless I wanted to get an epidural. Little did I know I was so close! I was feeling a lot of pressure in my low back and butt and had been for most of my labor so I didn’t even realize how far along I was. I just kept waiting for a feeling like Lakey was about to fall out of my vagina or an intense urge to push. But, I didn’t ever really feel like that.
Time to Push!
The nurse finally asked if I wanted her to check me and I agreed. To my surprise, I was at 10 cm and she asked me if I wanted to push….hell yes! I guess I expected the pushing to be easier and quicker but it was hard work! The nurse brought me a squat bar on request and I started to push while in a squat and holding onto the bar. Madison and my husband started coaching me through the contractions. I did my best to use my core and push. I completely forgot about the pain of the contractions…I was entirely focused on pushing.
After a while, I really needed to rest in between contractions. I switched positions to lay down and during the contractions and pushing, Madison and Ryan helped hold my legs back. More nurses started coming in and getting set-up and Dr. James was now in the room. They were getting everything set up for the baby to come out. I kept focusing on pushing and had no sense of time but I thought that she should be out by now! But Madison and Ryan kept encouraging me that I was so close. They could see the top of her head and as she started to crown they helped me feel her head. My spirit was renewed and I pushed as hard as I could and I was definitely making noise. Dr. James got in there to help guide the baby out.
Baby Girl is Born!
The last few minutes were the most intense. I know that it was painful but I didn’t care because I was so focused on getting the baby out. Finally, I got her head out. Then I had to push again to get her shoulders and after that she slid out and then Dr. James put her on my chest. It was amazing. One moment I was so focused and pushing with all my might and the next here is this beautiful baby. I realized I had done it: I had succeeded in having my VBAC. Not only was I so elated that I finally got to meet my baby girl but I was also extremely proud of what I had accomplished.
I was crying happy tears as they started to clean me up and everything else they need to do after the baby is born. I didn’t even care what was going on down below…I was so happy! I did have a couple small tears that needed a few stitches but I felt so amazing. BUt, I couldn’t have done it without my team: a supportive OB, an experienced and awesome doula, and my amazing husband. It was so hard and intense but an experience I will never forget and that has changed me for the better.