I started having signs of prelabor on Tuesday, the 13th. Around 3am on the 15th, contractions became more regular but still 15-20 minutes apart. They stayed rather irregular all day, getting closer and closer together. Occasionally, I would sit down at the computer and time them using www.ContractionMaster.com. I wondered if this was it, but kept telling myself this was only pre-labor, and might go on for a week or more.
Just before Matthew got home, I decided Wyatt was going to arrive some time this weekend, maybe even tonight. I called Tabetha to make sure she could watch the kids, but she was about to leave for a football game. No big deal, it wouldn't be tonight anyway. She would be free all weekend.
When Matthew got home from work I told him we had to get ready to go, just in case, I took another chance to time the contractions they were down to 5 minutes apart. I hadn't told Matthew about the regular contractions and spacing yet. He just thought it was another day of me trying to get him to do stuff-like put the 3rd carseat in the car. Finally I told him that I thought I was at the point where normal people go to the hospital.
We called the hospital to see what spacing they like people to come in at. They said 3-5 minutes apart. Mine were 5 minutes apart then. Still thinking we had plenty of time, and that it might not even be real labor for sure, we slowly finished getting ready to go. Luckily our other neighbors could keep the kids until Tabetha got home.When we got in the car, Matthew took over the timing of contractions, with me just saying "now" to start and stop. I told him I didn't want to know what the timing was. I hadn't wanted to start using labor props too early, but finally turned on the iPod to Bellaruth Naparstek's "Music for Childbirth" as we pulled out of the driveway.
I could tell the contractions were getting more serious when I was squirming all over the backseat of the car, and "now" was the only thing I could say. When we arrived at the hospital, Matthew helped me out of the car at the door before he went to park. I asked him how far apart the contractions were and he said 2-3 minutes, lasting 2 minutes. I went inside to get checked out. I had told Matthew we were only staying if I was over 7cm dilated.
As we walked down the hallway, I heard a nurse counting like a drill sergeant for someone else's pushes. No way that would be me. I went into kill the nurse mode, defensive of my right to labor as I wanted.
When we got to the room, the nurse started handing me a gown, said they'd monitor me on my back in bed for an hour, and start an IV. I gave Matthew a look and he took care of it. Matthew told her to go read my birth plan and not come back until she had!! She never came back. She sent another nurse who turned out to be the best nurse I could have hoped for. Danielle honored my entire birthplan, with the help of Dr. McCarty. When Danielle checked my cervix, I was already 8 centimeters and fully effaced! Thank you to Huggies.com's Birthplan creator for making it SO EASY to make a birth plan! I tried other Birth Plan creator websites, but liked theirs the best. Getting it signed off on by my midwife, early in the third trimester, and put into my record was key!
With a saline lock in place of an IV, I was free to move around as needed. I squatted next to the bed, leaned over the bed and did everything I could to stay OUT of the bed. I knew getting on my back would stall things and make labor harder. Ideally, I wanted to give birth squatting, since it opens the pelvis 4 cm more than the "lithotomy position" lying on your back. It wasn't up to me though, and luckily Dr. McCarty didn't force me into any unnatural position. I let nature tell me how to move and just listened to my body - and my iPod.
Most of the time, Danielle and Dr. McCarty weren't even in the room. It was just Matthew and me. Every now and then, they would come in and I'd hold still as long as I could for them to monitor the baby with the doppler. In the 3 hours of hospital labor, they only monitored a few times, totally honoring my birth plan!
Eventually, the contractions got worse. I told Matthew that I couldn't relax anymore, and he knew I needed him. We found a position that worked, with me on my hands and knees on the bed, him squatting at the foot of the bed, and me sort of hugging his arms and pushing my head into his armpit. It was the closest possible thing to a hug.
On one contraction I pushed and my water broke all over the place. I knew he needed to go tell the doc, but I didn't want him to leave my hug. They knew things would move fast once my water broke. Around this time, my squirming ripped out my saline lock. I was now laboring in a swamp of blood and amniotic fluid.
Since my head was at the foot of the bed, they needed me to turn so the doctor could actually catch the baby. I managed to turn 90 degrees between contractions, so I could still hug Matthew on one side of the bed and Dr. McCarty could catch the baby on the other side. After a few pushes, still on my elbows and knees, with Matthew encouraging me in a soft voice, Wyatt was born. The cord had been wrapped around his neck 2 times, but the doctor slipped them off as he came out, and everything was fine.
Had I been laboring on my back or if labor had stalled due to interventions, those wraps of the cord could have had lasting complications for Wyatt, and all of us.
Oh, and by the way, when we left the hospital (another story in itself), I carried Wyatt from the room to the door in my sling, NOT in a car seat. The nurses went to the car with us to make sure he was buckled safely into a convertible car seat. So, for all of you babywearers wanting to avoid a bucket car seat, it IS possible to leave a hospital without one.