Being pregnant with our third child, and third girl, was a fairly smooth experience. It started off rough with a bout of giardia, but that made morning sickness seem like a breeze. I struggled mostly in the beginning because I felt like I was gaining weight REALLY quickly. It didn’t help when a gas station attendant asked if I was pregnant with twins when I was barely 30 weeks along (seriously, who does that? Don’t even assume someone is pregnant just to be safe!). But things evened out fairly quickly.
I decided to use the certified nurse midwives at our local hospital after having such a great experience with them when I had Cora. I really liked all the midwives on staff, but was bummed when one left right at the end of my pregnancy. They were planning on hiring two new CNMs the month after I was due, but I wouldn’t have access to them. That left just one midwife who delivered babies, making my chances of actually delivering with her pretty slim. That didn’t make me too anxious since I’d had babies before, but when I tested positive for group B strep, that’s when the nerves came in. Group b strep really isn’t a big deal, but once you’re in labor you need to get IV antibiotics so that you won’t pass it on the the baby. Typically they want you to have 2 rounds of the antibiotics over 8 hours, so that meant getting to the hospital with enough time. Since I planned on having her naturally, I would much rather have labored at home for as long as possible, but the strep through a wrench in that.
My due date came and went, just like I expected it would. In fact, I told everyone I expected to have her on August 10, a week after my due date, just so I wouldn’t get my hopes up. When I went to my midwife appointment that week, I was hoping that my body had at least made some progress in the dilation department, and it had, but I was only dilated 1 cm. I made some tentative plans with my midwife about getting induced the next Monday (when I’d be 41 weeks), went on home and scrounged around for things to do. I’d really finished all of my nesting the week before so I was just bored.
Thursday and Friday were fun – James decided to begin his paternity leave those days so we did some family errands, had fun at the library, went out to eat, and watched lots of movies. I read two books (haven’t done that in a while) and tried to relax and not cry too much about still being pregnant. Saturday evening my Mom flew in and I also started having some contractions. We spent the evening timing them and talking. I figured I’d get some sleep, and then wake up when they got to be too much and we’d head to the hospital in the early morning. I had a couple good contractions around 4:30am, but fell back asleep only to wake up with them gone. I was so disappointed. I figured I’d labor the same way that I did with Cora, but I guess it really is true that every pregnancy is different.
James and I went on a long walk Sunday morning, hoping to get contractions started and move this labor forward. We walked and walked, and I contracted, but the timing was really irregular. I kept contracting all day, but never seemed to be consistent. I was exhausted and so frustrated, so we skipped church, took the girls to the park, went on another walk, then came home for naps. A couple strong contractions woke me up and pretty soon I was 5 minutes apart. We called the on call doctor who suggested we come in since I would need to get on an antibiotic as soon as possible.
As soon as we got to the hospital my contractions slowed down and got irregular again. They checked my cervix and told me I was still only a 1 or 2. I was heartbroken. The nurse and resident Doctor were sweet and tried to reassure me, but I just couldn’t believe that I’d been laboring all that day and there was barely any change. We talked to the doctor and decided that it would be best if I went home and got some sleep, then call in the morning to find out when to come in for an induction. We got some blizzards at DQ on the way home (yes, it was still Sunday, but I NEEDED ice cream after that), and then I settled into bed around 10:30.
I’d maybe slept for 20 minutes when I felt some intense low pressure, a pop, then a gush of fluid. My water broke! I’ve never had my water break before so I was completely shocked and a little freaked out. It felt like I was constantly wetting myself – labor sure isn’t the most comfy thing in the world, and it’s really messy! James and I hopped out of bed and ran back to the hospital, laughing about how we just left. Our nurse and doctor thought it was pretty funny to see us again so quickly and got us started with the IV for my antibiotic.
I’ve always thought it was ridiculous how in TV shows a woman’s water breaks and then she’s all of a sudden in full on, hard labor. I figured it just didn’t really happen that way, but like they always say, every pregnancy, baby, and labor is different. We were checked into the hospital by 11:20 and I was having very intense and very close together contractions. Because I was excited and stressed and full of adrenaline, I couldn’t stop my body from shaking. I kept trying to use my relaxation techniques but felt like I couldn’t hold it together. My well meaning, but I think in-experienced nurse struggled to get my IV in and so I had to sit through quite a few contractions in a lot of pain. After 2 unsuccessful attempts, she finally got my medicine flowing and I was able to get out of the hospital bed. It got a little easier when I could start moving, but I couldn’t find a comfortable spot to labor. My legs were shaking too much and I wasn’t mentally prepared for such intense contractions so quickly. At this point I was asking about pain meds and had decided I was going to ask for something to take the edge off (which was hard for me emotionally because I had hoped to do it naturally again). My nurse suggested we check my cervix first because I’d probably be farther along than I thought. Well, in that one hour I’d been at the hospital, I’d gone from a 1 to a 6. There wasn’t time for any pain meds, which made me feel good birth-plan wise, but terrified pain-wise.
Each contraction after that was incredibly painful, and full of crazy low pressure. It took all I could not to push too early. My body just wanted to get the baby out! We tried a different position with each contraction – standing and rocking over the bed, birth ball, hands and knees, leaning over the bed, then finally on my side using a “birth peanut” between my legs. At this point, they checked me again and I was completely dilated. They gave me the green light to push and I PUSHED. With Cora I had this whole plan with how I wanted to push – what position I wanted, how I wanted to do it timing wise, etc. Well, this time I just went for it and followed the resident’s guidance. She actually had midwifery training and had me pushing while laying on my side and panting after pushing – I felt like I was on “Call the Midwife” sans the British accents. Two contractions, and a lot of yelling later (which James will testify to), our Wendy Rose was born. We’d come back and checked into the hospital at 11:20pm and delivered at 1:51am – a very fast and furious birth!
Although I was disappointed that I couldn’t deliver with my midwife that night, the resident on call was a huge help. I think her guidance kept me from tearing this time, which I didn’t think I could even hope for since I had an episiotomy with Grace and then tore with Cora. My recovery has been so much easier this time around because of that.
I continue to be overwhelmed with how blessed I am to have this little miracle in my life. Wendy is sweet, beautiful, and a perfect addition to our family. Gracie seems to have grown up overnight – she’s helping out more and even asks for chores to do. She is loves to “play” with her and just held her for the first time today. Cora wants to hold her and kiss her a lot, but has struggled a bit with not being the baby anymore. I know it will get easier overtime, especially if I can make it a priority to give her the one on one time she needs. James had two weeks of paternity leave, which was an incredible blessing. My Mom helped us so we could all get rest and slowly adjust into being a family of five. Woah, a family of five! Crazy!