Reid’s Birth Story
Disclaimer: I mention things like membranes, dilated, poop, etc. Read at your own risk, ha!
Monday January 8th I had my 40 week appointment with my Nurse Practitioner. I’d never reached 40 weeks with my first 2 pregnancies. Norah was born 2 days early and Piper was 3 days early. My NP and I were both a little surprised I was still pregnant. Baby was doing great and I was already dilated to a 3.5. We went ahead and decided to strip my membranes. I’d read that it’s not always successful and there’s not a huge risk, so why not try. But it hurt surprisingly more than I thought it would. At the end of my appointment she said if it works, you should have the baby by tonight or tomorrow sometime! I was booked a 41 week appointment just in case and headed home.
I experienced some minor cramping throughout the day, which was to be expected after stripping the membranes. I let my family know that we may be going into labor at some point this evening, if it works, and made plans for my sister to come spend the night at our house and my mom to plan on coming to attend the birth at some point. I had no idea the timing of anything and told them I may be calling in the middle of the night or maybe not until tomorrow. Fortunately, my sister was off work and my mom was going to be able to attend the birth. At 3pm I noticed some cramping turned into a contraction or 2, but nothing consistent. I was trying not to get my hopes up in case they stopped and the stripping didn’t work. I stayed busy just getting some stuff done around the house, curled my hair, got dinner figured out.
At 4:30pm I started prepping dinner and decided my cramping was turning into definite contractions, nothing regular or alarming, but I noted it mentally and told Erin that I think they’re real contractions now. We carried on with making dinner. I was using the bathroom a lot at this point, emptying my bowels, which was totally what happened with Norah’s labor and is a good indicator you’re in labor. Erin gave the girls a bath and I changed into a skort/tank top to wear to the hospital. I started timing my contractions at 7:15pm and they were about 3 minutes apart and 45 seconds long. The whole evening we never mentioned it to the girls about what was going on. I continued to pee seriously every 10 minutes at least. We put the girls to bed and I had a contraction while standing next to Piper’s crib and Norah asked, “What are you doing?” I replied, “my belly hurts.” I didn’t want to alarm her or prompt her to ask a million questions, ha. She came out of her room a few times, telling us random stuff each time. Finally, she said, “Mom, I think the baby will be here in the morning!” And I answered, “Maybe! But you better go to bed so we can see!” She didn’t come back out after that, ha.
It’s about 7:30pm now and I told my sister to come at 8:30pm. I told my mom an update and that it seems it will be earlier than I thought. My contractions were getting strong and I was needing to stop talking during them and found some relief by swaying my hips/belly side to side quickly, like a windmill stretch. Erin loaded up our bag and birthing ball and placed a towel on the front seat. We had already installed the infant seat in his car a few weeks ago. I texted my sister at 7:56pm and said “come now!” I think we drove off around 8:15pm to Kaiser, which is all of 3 miles away from our house. We walk alllll the way down the world’s longest hallway to the birthing center, which is good and all to keep the labor coming. I had called on the way in to let them know I was on my way. When we came into the waiting room, I had to wait….seriously!? It’s 8:32pm and I texted my sister that we were waiting! My mom got there and laughed because when I was in labor with Norah, it was so busy I had to labor in the tiny triage room for hours before getting a labor room. So, this was not a good start.
Not sure what time, maybe 15-20 minutes later, I get to go back and check in at the desk. Then I have go to the bathroom and give them a urine sample and go into my triage room. They tell me to lay down and I said “No thanks, standing is better.” The nurse looked a little annoyed because that meant she had to go grab the tight stretchy band that goes over your stomach to hold the monitors on. But I’ve learned to be a little more vocal in what I need to have the labor I want. They monitored me for a few minutes and then Erin came in. The midwife came in to introduce herself and check my progress. My contractions are still about 2-3 minutes apart and 1 minute long. Seriously strong.
At this point I had to lay down and that just meant very uncomfortable contractions. I was only dilated to 4cm. (Mind you, I was 3.5cm at noon that day) I could NOT believe it. I told Erin right before she checked me that I almost didn’t want to know how far I may have been dilated because I didn’t want to get discouraged. Well, in order to be admitted they need to know your progress, which I totally understand. So, with that news, the Midwife told me to walk to halls for 1 hour and see what happens. My mom had to stay in the waiting room at this point and Erin and I took off to walk the halls. It was 9:30pm, so we knew to be back at 10:30pm to get checked again.
I was having hard, long contractions, placing my hands on the walls or hand rails to get through them while Erin applied counter-pressure on my back. I could not get through a contraction without him pressing. I wouldn’t necessarily call it “back labor”, which I had with Norah, it just felt good to have a separate contact point. I could feel the contractions spreading around the sides of my hips and in my uterus. I had to vocalize at this point to get through them. Yep, I was that lady moaning down the hallway every 2 minutes, chanting “oooohhhhh,” inhale loudly, “ahhhhhhh”. That whole hip swaying thing from just an hour ago wasn’t cutting it anymore. I was leaning over and bracing myself against the wall, and would sort of bend my knees a tad and move my weight from one foot to the other slowly during a contraction. Not sure how Erin looked trying to push on my lower back and move with me, haha. We walked for 30 minutes and my lips began to feel dry from breathing so heavy and I was thirsty. We walked back to the room, took a sip of water, got some chap stick, put my sweater back on and walked for 10 more minutes.
At this point, I was starting to feel exhausted and wanted get my ball, which my mom still had in the waiting room. It’s now 10:15pm. I know what time it was because at every nurses station we walked past in the halls I was able to see the clocks. Back into the tiny triage room we went. We placed my ball up on the bed and laid a pillow on top. I climbed on the bed, kept my knees on the bed and laid down over the ball. It felt great to rest my head and legs for a minute. I had told Erin in advance this was a position I wanted to labor in to relive pressure from my hips and get the baby in a good position as well.
2 contractions later and my water broke. If you’ve never experienced your waters breaking, I think it feels exactly like a water balloon is being squeezed out of your cervix and then pops! I felt this ballooning pressure and by the time I could think about what that feeling even was, I felt that big pop and warm water pour down my legs. I didn’t even open my eyes and shouted to Erin, “My water just broke. Tell them my water just broke and I want the gas now!”
Pause. I had been intending to try the nitrous oxide/laughing gas during my labor. It’s pretty new at Kaiser and I wanted to try it before getting an epidural, but my biggest hope was to have another natural delivery (Norah’s was natural/15 hour labor and I got an epidural with Piper after hitting transition and being in labor for 12 hours) I thought that having the gas to get me through transition would help me achieve my natural birth. This was all written out in my birth plan, in my suitcase, in the waiting room with my mom.
Once my water broke, I kid you not, I was starting to have insane pressure and feeling like I needed to push already. “Hurry!” I yell at no one in particular. Erin was out in the hall telling the nurses that my water broke and I wanted the gas. They come in and see I’m starting to freak out a little. My contractions are immediately stacking on top of one another. I’m a moaning mess and breathing loudly. Erin’s half on the bed still applying counter pressure. I’m not hooked up to any fetal monitor. No IV. They bring in a wheelchair and decide to bring me to the labor suite. I tell them my mom is still in the waiting room and needs to come with us. The nurse instructs Erin to go get her and bring her back. We get about 3 feet out the door and I’m moaning again and shouting for Erin, ha, poor guy. The nurse said, “okay daddy come back!”
We get to the labor room and I just stopped at the side of the bed and had a contraction. They offer me a gown and I said no. Have you ever had a baby before? There’s no hiding nothing at this point and I didn’t want to be fussing with clothes at the moment. Someone takes off my wet clothes and they told me to get on the bed. I said “no.” In my birth plan, you know the one no one has any idea about, I expressed how I wanted to be standing or squatting or anything but laying down this time. At this point I hear my mom in the room and she said something like, “Melanie, you’re not having a baby on the floor! Go get on the bed.” Ha. I climb on the bed and get on my knees again and face the head of the bed, resting my forearms on the head of the bed.
Holy contractions. I can’t catch my breath. I’m freaking out and starting to bear down. There’s a nurse at my head starting to ask me my medical history (bless her). I’m sorry, what? “Do you have any family history of blah blah blah…” I don’t hear half of what she’s saying because I’m focusing on the point that suddenly the pressure is so real and low that now I’m feeling like I have to poop. Great. I start shouting about how I have to poop. Someone says that’s fine. I had NO control over anything at this point. Mind you, I’m still not even admitted, hence them starting to ask questions and work on getting me in the system. They tell me they’re going to start an IV, to which I respond, “DO IT!”
I’m moaning, basically hyperventilating and yelling: I need gas *moooan* I need Fentinol…oooohhhh…. I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I can’t do it….inhale inhale… I want a cold wash cloth on my head (gosh I was so demanding but really proud about how I was vocalizing my needs…because no one really knew what I wanted still and my sweet hubby isn’t really a vocal person, especially in a chaotic scenario such as your wife yelling in pain)…mooooan… I need gas now… I’m gonna poop! -I’m telling you, there’s no hiding anything anymore. No dignity left.
And that’s what happened, I think. Sorry but it’s real life. I didn’t see it and someone else took care of it (again, bless them). I’m not proud of it, ha, and it’s the first time that’s happened during 3 births, but with the way things were moving, I’m not surprised at all. Now I’m legit, uncontrollably pushing but also trying not to. It’s a serious physical battle. “Where’s the gas?” I shout. The midwife gets a chance during one of the contractions to check me again and I hear her say, (because everyone is behind me at this point and Erin is still rubbing my back and my mom is up at my shoulder) I’m at 6cm. WHAT!?! I heard that and I couldn’t believe it, again. No way. Sorry, but I’m pushing. They start an IV. I’m shouting for the Fentanyl at this point because mentally I know an epidural is out of the picture, screw the gas, I need drugs. Like an hour ago. It’s roughly 10:30/40pm. My mom says calmly in my ear, “Melanie, let’s try the gas. You wanted to try the gas. It’s coming soon.” Little did I know that there was no way I was getting Fentanyl because again, not even an admitted patient=no drugs.
I’m bearing down but also trying not too because they’re telling me not to, naturally. You can’t push until you’re at a 10. I know this. I reach down and apply some counter-pressure to my perineum because it hurts. so. bad. I feel like I’m about to tear already at this point. They start shouting for the midwife to come back in, because I guess she stepped out for a minute? I’m not opening my eyes and also my back is facing everyone. I have no idea who was there ha. Someone hands me the gas mask and I start breathing like my life depended on it. Side note: the bridge of my nose was tender for 3 days after delivery because I must have been pressing it so hard against me face! No joke.
I was still breathing so rapidly that I couldn’t breathe the air back into the mask fast enough before inhaling again. I started to inhale deeeeep and long, remove the mask, and exhale over my shoulder. I did this for about 30 seconds until I could calm my breathing.
My mom snapped this picture of me with the gas. She took it at 10:46pm, right after I had calmed down.
This is where time is lost to me. The gas was beginning to work and I am breathing like a regular person now. I’m no longer trying to push. I hear people behind me. A nurse told me to lift one knee, slid some plastic or sheets or something under me and told me to lift the other knee. I’m focusing on my pain going away, for the most part, breathing, and trying to refocus. My eyes are closed the whole time. I remember taking it off my face in between breathing and saying, “My mom wants to deliver the baby.” Inhale. “She’s a paramedic.” Inhale. “Tell ‘em mom.” Ha. So bossy. Erin told me later that the midwife looked at my mom and said, “suit up grandma!”
I took off the mask again and said, “Remind me to tell you about the rainbow.” I hear some chuckling. “And I love you all.” True story. I hear someone say, “good pushing mom”. Am I pushing? I had to snap into it. I started feeling like I was crowning. That pain was still there but not as real as without gas. I remember totally being in control at this point, thinking: Yes, I feel that pressure and that I could push now and it’s gonna hurt. But I don’t think I need to push yet. I took another breathe. Waited another few seconds until more pressure came and then pushed a little more. “Good” I hear. One more deep inhale and slow push, I felt the head come out. I took one last deep breathe with the mask and took it off my face so I could come to. I pushed out the rest of the baby. Maybe a few seconds go by and I pivoted around and sat down facing everyone. Someone handed me the baby and I saw it was a boy!! Everyone else already could see but they all waited until I saw for myself. (which is great because that was definitely written in the plan!) My mom was able to assist in the delivery after his head was born, I think. Again, couldn’t see it. I hear the cord was around his neck once, like Norah.
They were wiping him down with towels and I told them to stop after a second (written down). Yay for being vocal! I just wanted to hold him, I didn’t care if he was messy. At this point a nurse said, “Oh honey, you ripped your IV out!” Sure enough, I looked down at my forearm and there’s blood dripping down. That dang IV. It was in my right arm and when I turned over my right shoulder to sit on the bed, it must have pulled out. Didn’t feel it. Curse the dang thing, I didn’t need it anyway, ha.
We did skin to skin for a bit. Erin cut the cord once it was done pulsating, which I asked about and she assured me it was done (written down). They gave me a shot of Pitocin in my arm to help with some bleeding, but honestly it was the least bleeding I had with all my deliveries! Placenta was delivered and the pushing on my abdomen was pretty painful. But it needs to be done.
Reid Cameron Rice was born at 10:58pm. 8lbs 11 oz 21” long. I went from 6cm to delivery in roughly 15 minutes, give or take. It was a whirlwind. I got my gas, which was great because it was the only thing I was going to get anyway. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re trying to have a natural birth. Maybe get admitted a littler earlier than I did, ha! I got to use it for all of 12 minutes.