Obligatory Disclaimer: Birth is very personal. Please keep that in mind if you would like to comment. There is a lot of judgement floating around the world of Pregnancy, Birth, and Mothering, and I don’t want to play a part in that. Birth is also a little…yucky. I use specific words, so if that isn’t your deal, skip this post. If you don’t like birth stories, skip this post. And, lastly, the long version of the story is L-O-N-G.
The Short of It:
McKinley (Mac) Cooper Galloway
Labor started at 4:30 AM. Contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, stayed that way throughout entire labor. Water broke at 7:00 AM. Left for Hospital at 2:40 PM. In Labor room at 3:15 PM. Was dilated to 6 centimeters. Went from 6-10 in 1.5 hours. Started pushing at 4:50 PM. Mac was born at 5:05 PM! Med-free Vaginal delivery. 2nd Degree tear because Mac had a hand over his face. Healthy babe and healthy Mama!
The Long of It:
I woke up around 4:30 AM with what I thought were contractions. They were coming pretty close together so I started timing them. 2-3 minutes apart. They remained 2-3 minutes apart until I was completely dilated and started pushing. I was too interested in what was happening to fall back asleep. Around 7 AM I got up to pee and then woke Jared. I excitedly told him I was in labor. He asked me questions about what it felt like and we both hoped that the baby would be coming that day. We also discussed whether he should go to work or not. I felt a small gush of fluid and ran to the bathroom. My mucous plug, and a few seconds after that my water started leaking. It continued to leak for the rest of my labor. We also immediately knew that Jared would not be going to work that day! Because my water had broken, we wanted to let the Midwives know. They said to labor at home until I couldn’t bear it anymore, and to eat and drink as I could. We labored at home by ourselves until 11:30 AM when we asked our Doula to come. I took a shower and we cleaned the house! Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc… I felt good knowing that we would be returning to a clean house! As I said my contractions continued to be 2-3 minutes apart, but they did start to ramp up in intensity. At first I would sing the ABC song to distract myself through it, but then I started needing to moan and breathe deeply through them. I bounced on the ball, and did laps around the kitchen table. Jared and our Doula took turns rubbing my back and hips. I was happy and making jokes after each contraction. We checked in with the Midwives. They listened to me during a contraction and said I was getting close, but since I was so happy between each contraction to wait a bit longer before coming in. I started to doze off in between contractions so our Doula suggested we lay in the bed for a while.
Something about walking up the stairs and hoisting myself onto our very high bed CHANGED my labor. Almost immediately I knew things were getting real. I tried to do one more contraction in the bed, but quickly started shouting that we needed to head to the hospital. I started to daze out in between contractions. I didn’t want to talk or be touched. Laborland! I had several contractions before we were headed to the hospital. I’m sure our neighbors were worried because I was loud and I couldn’t care less who heard me! We left our house at about 2:40 PM and arrived at the hospital by 3:00 PM. I had so many contractions in the parking deck, elevator (where I tried to be somewhat quiet for others sake!) and walking to Labor and Delivery. I just clung to Jared through each one. I remember being SO irritated at the check in. I had to sign so many things and answer so many questions. We were in our labor room by 3:15 PM. Trying to work through contractions while one nurse monitored the baby, another nurse was taking my vitals, the anesthesiologist was explaining all the risks of an epidural should I ask for one, etc, etc… I wanted to punch all of them! Finally I was allowed to get in the shower. I labored in there while they filled up the tub for me. They checked me in the shower and I was 6 centimeters. I was making a ton of noise and everyone kept reminding me to keep it low. SO difficult! I remember yelling back at one point, “I’M TRYING!!!” I got in the tub, which was really nice because I was able to relax into the water between contractions. Our Doula and Jared took turns spraying my back with hot water. There were handicap bars all around the tub and when I would feel a contraction coming on, I would get up on my knees and pull down on the bar as hard as I could. You never know what you’re going to want to do I guess! My arms and chest muscles were sore for days after! My body started pushing contractions and I would yell, “I’m pushing!” The MW would tell me that that was the baby moving farther down the birth canal. At one point I was convinced the baby was going to fly out of me so the MW told me to reach down and see if I could feel the baby’s head. I couldn’t which made me feel a lot better.
When the MW checked me again she felt a lip on my cervix. I had dilated to 9 centimeters so she wanted to try to push it out of the way. I got out of the tub and onto the bed. She pushed on the lip of my cervix through 2 contractions and that was the worst pain I have ever felt. Ever. There was no control, I was screaming. She wasn’t able to get it to budge so back into the tub I went. Shortly after I started yelling, “This baby is coming right now I swear it’s coming!” They had me get out of the tub and onto the bed again. I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing! I started pushing at 4:50 PM. I had dilated from 6 to 10 in 1.5 hours! I pushed through about 4-5 contractions. I kept waiting to feel the ring of fire. I also kept asking the MW if I was making any progress. I was terrified of having to push for hours. She assured me I was doing really well and I told her not to lie to me. She used her hands to show me how much of the baby’s head she could see. All the nurses thought this was great progress, but I remember despairingly telling them I didn’t think that was very much at all. They, of course, laughed at me. They also kept commenting on how much hair the baby had. Jared held one of my legs, and the Doula held the other while I clenched the bed sheet in my hands. Pushing was so hard, even though I seemed to be doing well. I jokingly say that years of constipation prepared me for pushing! Finally I felt the ring of fire. Needless to say I was screaming through that contraction. The next contraction I decided to push longer and harder than I had been because I wanted that baby out! The MW told me to reach down and feel the baby. I said no, and then she said, “Yes! Reach down and grab your baby!” I sat up slightly and grabbed our baby and pulled him onto my belly. WHAT SWEET RELIEF. We were Team Green so Jared picked up a little leg and knowingly said, “It’s a boy” and kissed me. He was born at 5:05 PM. He didn’t start crying right away and was pretty blue so the NICU nurses were rubbing him vigorously and suctioning his mouth. He started to let out whimpers so we knew he was okay. Jared cut the cord and I delivered the placenta. Felt just like everyone says it does…Jell-O. I had a 2nd degree tear because he came out with his hand covering his face! His nose and upper lip were bruised for a few days from it. Jared took a few pictures of him on my chest and then went out to tell our family!
We are so thankful that we were able to have a med-free birth like we had hoped for and a healthy baby like we had prayed for! We are also incredibly glad that we made the choice to hire a Doula. She was invaluable to us! She knew exactly what we needed at every step of the way.
Feel free to ask any questions you might have in the comment section, or feel free to email me!