On Wednesday July 30th afternoon I had a “squeeze in” appointment with my OB because I’d been scheduled for an induction for the 31st and she wanted to make sure it would be successful. Things weren’t looking too promising so she did a membrane sweep at my request and I was on my way.
Over the last week I’d been having lots of contractions, so it was no surprise that they continued throughout the rest of that day however now they were feeling a little more uncomfortable. I got home and started up some dinner and logged on for a Trivia Night thing at work and my contractions started to get more and more consistent. I even joked to my teammates that I might be in labor. I mostly tried to ignore it as I was trying to enjoy some of those last moments as a family of 3. We put the new baby’s car seat in the car, danced around the living room for a bit, and put Clara to bed. Thursday is also our trash day, so that night we were gathering the miscellaneous things that would need to go out and we put our cans on the street.
I stopped for a few minutes to snap this photo, even musing if it might be my last one with Carter on the inside.
Over the next several hours, my contracts became more and more painful. and were consistent and less than 5 minutes apart for the better part of two hours. When I realized I wouldn’t sleep, I called the on-call line to get their opinion and see I should come in. Luckily, it was my doctor I got to speak with and she recommended I head that way.
It took awhile for us to get out the door. I had to wake up Corey at 2 am (he usually would have been up, but decided to go to bed early that night), get our bags all together (Yeah…they weren’t exactly ready, I even ended up forgetting the diaper bag with all the baby’s stuff in it. Whoops!) and get Clara up and to my moms house. She was so cute and confused. She kept asking why she had to go and insisted we call grandma to ask her if it was okay if they had a sleepover.
Once we’d dropped of Clara with my mom, we headed to the hospital, which, lucky for me, wasn’t far away. When we got to labor and delivery, they got me all checked in and into a room. Once I was dressed in my hospital gown the nurse came and did a cervical check. She gave me bad news. “You’re still just a 1+ like when your doctor checked yesterday,” She said doubtfully. It was almost like she didn’t believe my contractions were as close together as they were. I felt so defeated. I’d felt so sure I would be further along. “How far away do you live?” she asked me, as if she was going to send me back home. “We can give you one hour or two, but if you don’t progress, you’ll have to go home.” um rude.
I chose two hours. I wasn’t about to go home. My contractions were significantly more painful that I’d remembered from Clara. They felt like fire radiating down my legs from my back. I swear they got worse the moment I laid in the hospital bed.
Corey settled in on the uncomfortable couch thing and rested while I made noises like a cow (Maybe more like a braying donkey) trying to manage the pain. I can hardly describe how bad it hurt. I was humming, singing songs, sitting up (BIG mistake…it felt so terrible to be sitting), laying back down, bracing on the hospital bed. After I felt like I just couldn’t take it anymore, probably about an hour after having checked in, I finally pressed the button for the nurse. Shifts had changed and the nurse who came in wasn’t assigned to me, but she checked me anyway. I don’t think I gave her much choice.
She checked me and said “Okay…so the reason these contractions are so intense is probably because you’ve gone from 1cm to 4 cm in an hour.” I said “Oh my god, can you give me the freaking epidural now!?” Probably a little rude. I hadn’t had an IV placed yet so she had to do that before she could call the Anesthesiologist. I honestly thought the IV poke and fidgeting to get it all placed would ease the pain of the contractions. It didn’t. I was screaming it actually sounded more like I was singing opera…very bad opera. But shortly thereafter, the IV placed and all the consent forms signed, the Anesthesiologist placed my epidural. I started to feel the effects after about 5 minutes. It was heaven-sent relief.
Not long after, my doctor came in, we made a plan for her to break my water at a certain time if it hadn’t on its own, and she checked my cervix again. Here we discovered that Carter, like Clara had been, was sunny side up (aka his face was up which can cause labor to stall and cause complications with the delivery) so we put my legs on a peanut ball, and I had to change positions every 45 minutes or so.
At this point it was around 5am. Only 3 hours had passed since I’d been checked in. After my water was broken at 6cm dilated, I progressed very quickly. I started feeling “the pressure” (ya know, like the kind that makes you want to push…) about an hour later. My doctor checked me again around 6:45am and I was fully dilated to 10cm and ready to go. It was honestly kind of nice because I was calm and it was quiet. No one but Corey and the medical staff were around…it was peaceful.
Around 7:00 I got ready to push. They adjusted the lights and did something weird to my bed. I did an “booster push” of the epidural meds and got sat up a bit to help the gravity numb me up a bit. Nine big pushes and 20 minutes later, little Carter with his full head of hair was laying on my chest and I was crying like a baby. Cater was too.
Honestly, I thought that a pandemic birth would be more stressful. There were some pandemic pieces I left out like my COVID test and how they almost wanted to swab me again and the fact that through all of this I was wearing a mask (we were allowed to take off our masks when we were alone, but had to have them on when any medical personnel was in the room, which was almost always). But it truly was so calm. Nothing at all like my first birth where we had complications, a near miss with a C-Section, severe struggles with breastfeeding…you name it. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. And at the end of it all, we got our perfect little Carter David.