The Longest Labor: A Birth Story

thelongestlabor

After what seemed like never-ending labor, our “Little Dude” has arrived! It’s been about 3 weeks since we welcomed “LD” into our family, and to say it’s been an adjustment is an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, the baby is a fantastic sleeper and eater, and practically never cries, but going from 1 child to 2 is no joke–especially when the first child is nearly 3 years-old. Bubba is slowly getting used to the new baby, and Mommy’s attachment to the new baby, but it’s been a bit rough. I’ll save that for another post.

LD’s Birth Story

Wednesday – With 3 days to go until the big due date, I visited my doctor and discovered that I was still only 1.5 cm. dilated, and the baby was still sitting “high.” This was discouraging. My first child was 9 days late, and it appeared that this kid was going to follow in his big brother’s footsteps. The doctor did a membrane sweep for good measure, and off I went, optimistic that the “sweep” would be the ticket to kick off labor. She also discussed the option of setting up a date to induce if my pregnancy surpasses my due date. I was reluctant to induce, but she explained that the body responds quickly to pitocin after you have had a baby, and she believed that my second child was ready, and I just needed a little nudge. I booked it for the following Tuesday.

Thursday – I had had mild cramps off and on since Wednesday’s membrane sweep, but nothing resembling contractions. However, I started shedding my mucus plug Thursday evening.

Friday – Early morning, I started feeling somewhat strong contractions — different from the false labor that I had experienced weeks before. I started timing my contractions with an app, and spent the entire day excited and disappointed as I felt my contractions intensify and fall off throughout the day and evening.

Saturday – My due date! The false labor from the day before continued to rise and fall starting at 3 a.m. Because this had gone on for 24 hours, and the contractions had become stronger, I decided not to leave it up to chance. I woke my husband at 4 a.m., and we called my father-in-law to come over and be home with our sleeping toddler. We called my sister, Kristin, who committed to taking care of Bubba while we’d be gone, and we called my mother, since she was going to be in the delivery room with us.

Everyone rushed to our house, and we rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately, despite the 24 hours of pain I had endured, I was only 2 cm. dilated. The nurse had me walk the halls for hours, and monitored my contractions, but because I would not progress, the hospital sent me home. I was devastated. All I could do was cry. Not just because I wanted to have my baby, but because I had dragged my family to my house (a 2 hour drive for my mom, and a 1.5 hour drive for my sister and her toddler, Ladybug). We went home, made a family day out of it, and I tried to get some rest.

Sunday – Father’s Day, no baby, contracting off and on. We decided to visit my husband’s father at his beach house and enjoy some sun and sand.

Monday – Contractions dropped off for a bit, and I surrendered to the idea that I would just be induced Tuesday morning at 12:30 a.m. I was bummed that baby did not come on his own, but felt relieved to know that there was an end to this labor in sight, and I would get to hold my son. My mom, Kristin, and Ladybug, arrived at  house to stay the night in preparation for our big morning.

Because I was scheduled to be induced, I was instructed to call the hospital Monday night to make sure they would have a bed available. I called starting at 9 p.m., and had to continue calling until Tuesday afternoon because as luck would have it, there were no available beds. Awesome. I surrendered to the fact that I would be pregnant forever.

Tuesday – I cried a lot off and on Monday into Tuesday, and my contractions came back early morning–and boy, were they STRONG! Something had to give. I was waiting around, in what I believed to be REAL labor, but I didn’t want to get sent home from the hospital if I wasn’t progressing fast enough. My husband called my OBGYN around 10 a.m. to see if she had any pull in getting me a bed. He explained to her that I had been contracting all weekend, but not progressing. She asked me to come by her office for another membrane sweep. No guarantees that it would work, but it was worth a shot. I went in for the sweep and was informed that I was a “strong 3” cm. dilated. Obviously progressing, but at a snail’s pace.

I left her office, and went home. I ate a small plate of scrambled eggs, and we called the hospital again to check the “bed status.” GREAT NEWS: We were told they would have my bed by 3 p.m. As I sat eating, I started to feel the sort of cramping that radiated throughout my entire body–REAL LABOR. I couldn’t chew, talk, or even walk. I knew this was it. Finally. It had been an hour since my sweep at the doctor’s office. I looked at my family and said: “We need to go now.”

We arrived at the hospital at 12:45 p.m., and I was immediately escorted to a room. The nurse checked me, and  said: “Wow, you’re a rock star!” Then she asked if I wanted to know how far I was dilated. I nodded. She told me that I was 6-7 cm. dilated! Wow. I had gone from 3-7 in a less than 2 hours! I was glad we headed to the hospital when we did! By the time the anesthesiologist arrived to administer my epidural, I was 8 cm. dilated. My doctor arrived, and we delivered my son by 2:41 p.m. I was so thrilled to hold my beautiful 7 pound 10 ounce baby boy, who came on his own–just in the nick of time.

To All The Moms-To-Be:

I am posting about LD’s birth so others in the same boat can find solace in the fact that even with long and exhausting false (and true) contractions, baby is coming, and everything will be okay. Obviously, we know that baby will arrive eventually, but it is so hard to stay positive when your body sends mixed signals. Hang in there, try to get some rest, let go of the need to control the situation, and trust your instincts. Be patient. You will know when it’s time.

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