As soon as I pulled on my clothes, the next contraction came, and I was SHOCKED at how intense it was- it almost knocked me over. I tried walking, which I did not like at all, so I leaned over the bed and breathed through it. I made my way to the living room while Nick was getting Sage together, the contractions coming consistently and strong, so I leaned over the exercise ball- instinctually the only thing that felt good to me. Nick got our bags together and loaded the car as I worked through contractions. He asked me if I wanted to take the ball and I told him no, they had them there— and as I walked through the door and another contraction came, I changed my mind. Nick grabbed the ball and we made it down the stairs- I had to stop at the bottom to lean over the entryway with the ball and breathe through another contraction, and I began to dread the car ride.
The ride to the hospital felt like the longest ride of my life. The contractions were as intense as ever, and coming ever few minutes. My sweet 4-year old in the back seat was as well behaved as she could have been, as my seat was pushed back as far as possible (I was basically in her lap) and I braced myself against the seat and the dash at each contraction, grimacing and trying to breathe and move, which was hard when I was stuck in one position! It was beyond brutal. I tried to make productive noises, which ended up coming out more like shrieks, prompting Sage to laugh- which laboring Kristin did NOT appreciate. I yelled at her— just once— and she took it like a trooper. I apologized profusely and thankfully, she doesn’t hold it against me. I continued to labor as the contractions came closer together the closer we got to the hospital. We arrive at 12:45am.
When we arrived at the emergency entrance (it was past open hours, so we needed to buzz in) my mom and sister met us and started transferring Sage’s gear out of the car. I demanded the exercise ball as I threw myself out of the car and onto the ball on the sidewalk. I was freezing and shivering but sweating at the same time, and I shifted my hips as I leaned over the ball. The minute or two we were outside felt like an hour. My sister took Nick’s keys and parked the car as he helped me inside, and we met the L&D nurse. She was very sweet, and I don’t think she understood how far into labor I was (I didn’t even know how far into labor, I was!) when she asked if I wanted a wheelchair to bring me upstairs.
The walk from the emergency entrance to the elevator and up to the L&D floor was comical. Every few steps I had a contraction, and I was getting angrier at the minute as the nurse was asking me questions to try and get me admitted as quickly as possible (in hindsight, I know she was just doing her job and I apologized profusely after- she said she understood!). I kept stopping and leaning at the ball as the nurse and my husband tried to get me to the room as soon as possible. She told me that she was admitting me right away (I would hope so!) so we skipped triage and went straight to the room. As we were walking I started asking for pain meds- it was WAY too intense for me at this point, and I was convinced I couldn’t handle it. There were two nurses in there, now, and they told me they just had to take my vitals and hook me up to an IV for fluids for that to happen. I complied as much as possible, but it proved hard with my contractions coming so close together. Eventually they got the hep lock in for my fluids and antibiotics (I was Strep B positive) and took my blood pressure and vitals- all good (Thank the Lord!). Then they told me they needed to check me. I had a contraction or two before I could actually climb up on the bed, and I laid down on my back, which felt terrible- I cringe thinking about how much it hurt when she checked me. Then, she announced how far along I was. 6 and a half to 7 centimeters.
No wonder I was in so much pain- I was just about going into transition. I got off the bed and started laboring against the bed as they tried to monitor the baby, which was hard because I wouldn’t (couldn’t!) stay still. I kept asking for an epidural and they assured me the anesthesiologist was on the way. Meanwhile, leaning over the bed I started feeling pushy- a feeling I had never experienced with my first, and it was out of this world. This was all happening in a matter of minutes. All of a sudden, I had an uncontrollable urge to push. My body started bearing down in a way I could not control. I felt a gush of fluid as more water leaked out and the feeling only became more intense. I could literally feel her moving down the birth canal! Unreal. I didn’t want to say anything because I still really wanted pain meds- I was convinced at this point I couldn’t do it without.
A nurse passed behind me, and Nick said she took one look down and yelled to the other nurse to call the doctor. “He’s on his way,” she replied. “No, the OTHER doctor,” she replied. The other nurse glanced over- “Oh, OH- ok.”. They called the OB in and tried to convince me to get on the bed which I resisted- “If you don’t get on the bed, you’re going to have this baby on the floor!” the nurse said. Which honestly, didn’t sound like the worst thing to me at that point! Finally they got me up and I labored hands and knees on the bed. They told me not to push, that I needed to wait for the doctor. HA! You tell a woman in labor not to push when they feel the urge. I tried, but it was literally impossible.
Finally (by finally I mean about five minutes later), the doctor came in and convinced me to get on my back so he could check me. “You know you shouldn’t be pushing if you aren’t fully dilated,” he told me. Then, his face changed. “Well, you’re 10 centimeters! Looks like we’re having this baby!”. They scooched me down on the bed while he got set up and we worked on pushing. I couldn’t believe I made it this far— no epidural for me! I was having this baby naturally. I was both scared and elated— this is what I wanted! We were doing this, and baby girl would be born soon.
The doctor tried to convince me to go slowly to avoid tearing, but I knew I needed this baby out. I breathed deep, and bared down as much as I possibly could. Four, maybe five pushes later (we didn’t count, but it wasn’t many- less than ten minutes, total), and she was out. Screaming- and HUGE! (Ok, huge to me!) with a full head of hair. Poor girl even had a bruise on her head from being pushed out so fast (whoops). 1:32am. Less than an hour after we had arrived- and only two from when I went into active labor, Wren Abigail entered the world.
After all my preparations for a healthy, natural birth, once I was in it I was pretty convinced it wasn’t happening, it was so intense. Lo and behold, I got the fast, uncomplicated, unmedicated delivery I had always hoped for, and it was the most incredible thing I have ever experienced in my life. It’s an amazing thing, what our female bodies can do, and I have no doubt the years and months I spent prior preparing my body for a healthier pregnancy and birth played a part in the beautiful, quick labor and delivery I experienced. I will share more about my preparations for a healthier pregnancy, labor and delivery soon. But for now, it’s time to go snuggle with this sweet feisty babe of mine. As always, thank you for reading and following along!
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