Our Birth Story, Part 3

So, I’m in natural labor. Hells to the yes.

Midwife wanders in about 12:30 a.m. to see if I’ve dilated since my water broke. Nope. Cervix is still closed for business (which confuses me; how did all that water get out?!). She recommends that we proceed with the prostaglandin pill to get stuff going since there’s even less fluid around the baby now. We agree.

Charles settles in for the night and manages to catch a few hours. There’s no way I can sleep — I’M IN NATURAL LABOR BITCHES!!!! (if you don’t count the hormone pill) and the contractions keep getting worse and worse. I spend the next few hours trying to get

some rest (ha!), iPhone-ing, and staring at the contractions on the monitor. They are so cool!

Well, at this point.

At 4:30, the midwife checks again. I’m at 1.5 centimeters! The magic little pill worked on the first shot, so I don’t need any more. She says that obviously my body is ready to have the baby and we should just let it happen naturally. W00T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Charles wakes up about this time. Lucky for him the contractions are starting to get painful. I’m breathing pretty heavily through them. Since I’m not on Pitocin, we can unlatch from the monitor and walk around the L&D floor.  “Walk” is an exaggeration. We spend about 45 minutes shuffling very slowly, pausing every four minutes or so when the contractions hit. By the end of the walk, I’m burying my face in Charles’ shoulder, leaning on his entire body for support, and groaning. When we return to the room, I brush my teeth through a contraction, which, at that point, was the hardest thing I’d ever done in my life.

Unofficial doula Ash

About 6:30 a.m., BFF Ashleigh arrives. I’ve lovingly called her my “pregnancy sherpa” over the last several months because she always offered fantastic advice and amazing support. I knew that I wanted her to visit during the labor, but I never dreamed how helpful she’d be! She also visited on the morning of her own daughter’s first birthday party — what a great friend!

Ash becomes my unofficial doula, guiding me through the contractions, giving me massages and head rubbies, and offering words of support. She and Charles are a fantastic team.

My goal is to make it to 5 centimeters before requesting the epidural, which I’m pretty sure I’ll need by this point to stay sane. The midwife checks me every few hours. Progress is slow, but steady. Two centimeters… three centimeters…

At some point, Charles’ parents stop by with his uncle and aunt to give us a gift (a cute photo book of babies). Bad timing on their part because they walk in when I am about four centimeters dilated and SCREAMING MY HEAD OFF during every contraction. It was pretty intense. I think my mother arrives somewhere in there, too. I dunno. It’s a blur.

About 11 a.m., Ash leaves to go to her birthday party. By 11:30, I’ve hit my pain threshold, and I ask beg for the epidural.

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