On Friday evening, 11/16/07, I began having mild cramps. These continued on and off through Sunday afternoon sometimes increasing in intensity. But it was not until Sunday evening that they became irregular contractions which continued all day Monday. At my 38 weeks OB/GYN appt Monday morning, my dr. said I was 50% effaced and 3cm dialated. She offered to try to move my labor along then and there, send me to the hospital for induction, or let me go home and see what happens. Wanting a natural birth, I chose to go home.
Irregular contractions continued throughout the day. Sometimes I'd only have 3 within an hour. I even took an hour and a half nap in the afternoon. It was not until after 5pm when they began to get longer and closer together - generally lasting 30-40 seconds long, with an occassional minute one, and generally 5-10 minutes apart. It was not until 6pm that they began coming ever 3 minutes or so, but again were lasting 25- 40 seconds. Then, at 6:30, suddenly my water broke. Happily I made it off the sofa in time. :) I called my OB/GYN office and spoke with Dr. Bruchalski, who was on call that day. I could hear him cooking in the background and he said it was up to me whether I wanted to head to the hospital and risk induction if my labor didn't progress fast enough or stay home and wait it out and, depending on how long I waited it out, have increased risk of infection. He said I probably was not near to delivery as I was chatty on the phone and very lucid and my contractions did not meet the standard length and stability to indicate nearing delivery. Unable to decide, he said he would call me back.
I had become quite emotional even crying over the situation, including concern over the fact I was apparently in labor while James was ill, Cecilia kept crying at me unable to understand why I couldn't hold her and I was unsure of how to get the birth I wanted or if I could even do it. So, when he called back, I said I would go to the hospital and, if I got there and was only 3 or 4 cm, I would resign my original desire for a natural birth and get an epidural. We decided to try to get Cecilia her bath and into bed before we considered leaving for the hospital.
Shortly into her bath, around 7:35pm, I began to feel an inclination to either go to the bathroom or push. Not sure which it was as I was numb from the waist down last time, I told James we needed to leave immediately. The whole way to the hospital I had consistent contractions every 3 minutes but again never lasting a minute or more. Several during that ride made me want to push down, which I resisted not sure what would happen if I did. We arrived at the hospital at 8:15, were checked in and by 8:30 the nurse was checking me in labor and delivery.
I was 9 cm. The staff could not have been more stunned than I was. Immediately the nurse paged my dr. who, sure I wasn't near labor, was still 5-10 minutes away. During those 10 minutes about 6 nurses rushed around me getting a blood draw, putting in the IV, asking dozens of questions and preparing for delivery. They commented on how calm I was. Truth is I was only striving to apply the bradley Method relaxation on my bottom half....I was too tense and tired to even worry about the top half. Dr. Bruchalski arrived cool as a cucumber, which in retrospect was really good - it kept me from panicking when it seemed so much was happening very suddenly and all at once and unexpected. At 8:45 I began pushing. I wish I had been a bit more patient during the pushing but considering I had been wanting, on and off, to push for over an hour, even I can understand my anxious desire to push like crazy.
At 9:04, Felicity Catherine was born, healthy, calm, quiet and alert.
Looking back I think when I broke down crying was the emotional signal the Bradley Method talks about that signals the transition phase of labor. I thought I was losing it. Really I was nearing the end.
Dr. Bruchalski was great and even joked that the credit of the delivery went to me. He reiterated repeatedly how proud and impressed he was with me. He said I was made of "another fiber altogether." I was simply stunned at the time. I couldn't believe delivery had snuck up on me like that, although I couldn't complain.
So far Cecilia has shown cautious curiousity about Felicity, watching her sometimes but not venturing so far as to try to touch her yet. Felicity and I are home now and hopefully will get more sleep than we did in the hospital. I've about about 2 and 3 hours of sleep the last two nights, only part of that being due to Felicity waking. She is doing well and we will keep you posted about her progress.