It was February 2nd. That day I had baked a batch of cookies, swept and mopped my floor, washed Toddler Girl’s diapers and generally made my house presentable. My freezer was stocked with homemade food. I had washed every baby item in sight whether it needed it or not. I went to bed that night thinking “Okay, I can have the baby now.”
I woke up at 4:45am when I felt a small rush of liquid. Was it my water breaking? I wasn’t sure, so I got up quietly to let Mr Superhero get as much sleep as he could. When I got up I felt a little more leak out. I called my midwife’s pager and put on a pad while I waited for her to call me. She called fifteen minutes later, and I asked if my water had broken. She said probably, but the only way to know for sure was to test the fluid. Because I had tested positive for Strep B, I had to head to the hospital right away anyway to get an IV, so she told me she’d meet me there in an hour.
I called my neighbour to come over to be with Toddler Girl for a bit (she was very excited to be a part of it all!), and called my Mom to come over as soon as she could. I was due in 2 days on February 4th, so they were all waiting for me to call anytime. My parents live an hour and a half away and had been planning to come that weekend anyway, so they just left a couple hours early. By this point Mr SH was wandering around as he had noticed the phone ringing and me talking about water breakage. My neighbour came over, we got the hospital bag assembled and hopped in the car.
We live in a town with no real hospital due to budget cuts, so we got to choose which of two neighbouring towns I wanted to deliver in. I chose the one with the midwife clinic (this was also where Toddler Girl was born), so it was a forty minute drive from our house. My mother had her second child (my brother) in an hour and a half flat, so we were understandably concerned about the distance. Also it was the middle of winter. I really didn’t want to have my baby in the back of the SUV in the middle of winter! I was kind of relieved that I had to go in before my labour started so that I didn’t have to decide when to drive over.
We left the house around 5:20am. About halfway there I had a contraction. Five minutes later I had another one, and so on. They were uncomfortable, but still pretty minor. It was mostly dark but I remember seeing a moose in someone’s yard as we drove past. I hardly ever see a moose! There’s something magical about being out when everyone else is still tucked in bed. You know, other than having contractions every five minutes.
When we arrived at the hospital at 6ish, the nurse took my pad to test for amniotic fluid. I let her know that I was pretty sure my water had broken as I appeared to be in labour now. Another nurse got my IV prepped. She was pregnant too, so we chatted about our kids while Mr SH and I ate some cold pizza and cookies I had grabbed on the way out of the house. They told me that my midwife had asked them to call her when I went into labour, so that she could get some more sleep. I asked if the birthing tub was available, so they checked and said it was. There were three other women in labour that morning, but none of them were using it. I told them to fill it up as I wanted in it pronto. It was first come first serve and I was completely willing to fight other pregnant girls for it! This didn’t turn out to be necessary, but I didn’t want to take any chances. The tub is in a small room adjacent to two of the birthing rooms, so they moved me into one before they gave me the IV. By this point my contractions were strong enough that I had to stand up and grab something for each one. I don’t know why I wanted to stand up, but I did, so I went with it.
It was IV time. I am not a fan of needles because they sometimes make me faint. I feel the need to point out that I do not faint because I fear needles; I fear needles because I faint. They are very different things. The nurse wanted to give me an IV in my wrist, not my hand because it would be better for some reason? I can’t remember. What I do remember is her trying and failing to find a vein a few times, at which point I had to lie down and have a juice box. But I can’t have juice when I’m pregnant because it makes me puke! I did make it to the bathroom though.
At this point my midwife arrived. She put my IV in, and I hung around for 20 minutes getting my Strep B antibiotics while standing when I had contractions. I remember that they were getting stronger, but I didn’t feel the urge to yell yet. I did a lot of yelling with my first delivery. I was requiring Mr SH’s hand to crush however (only squeeze two fingers, and make sure they take off their rings!). They filled up the tub while I was getting the IV. Somewhere in here there was a shift change and I got a new nurse. She was great, and I loved her. I only had my midwife and one or two nurses the whole delivery, and I liked the privacy. They also kept the lights low while it was still dark out, which was nice.
I got in the tub (naked! glad to have the privacy!) around 7, and my midwife said that she was running out for breakfast because the hospital kitchen wasn’t open yet, and even if it was the food was nasty. She took our food orders and left Mr SH with instructions to keep timing the contractions. He was jealous of her cool timing app on her phone, so his advice to all the men out there is to find an app, and also the two fingers, no rings thing. They warned me that if my labour slowed, I would have to get out of the tub. I said “okay, but that’s not going to happen!” I looooved the tub. I mean, it still hurt like crap, but the warm water was nice, and it was easier to find a comfortable position. I was mostly kneeling while holding onto Mr SH’s hands, and he was out of the water, facing me. Every now and then the nurse would check the fetal heartbeat with a doppler. I remembered thinking that I hoped the midwife didn’t take too long with the breakfast run, because this baby was on its way!
I don’t remember when my midwife got back. 8ish maybe? By this point I was yelling. I wasn’t yelling so much because I was in crazy pain… it was more that yelling made me feel better. Maybe I was yelling the pain out of my body. Mr SH had a breakfast sandwich that looked lovely. They offered me my muffin, but I looked at them like they were crazy people. I had no time for muffins! I was too busy having a baby!
The contractions were usually a minute or two apart, but sometimes they wouldn’t quite fade away and just lingered around being annoying until the next one started. I hated those, because I didn’t get a chance to relax in between. There may have been some whimpering, and I got pep talks. Then it got really nasty for a bit and I said “Transition? Yes? Please tell me that was transition!”
The midwife put on a glove and checked me. This was my first internal check due to my water being broken already, so they didn’t want to risk infection. She said “Um, well yes I can feel the head. You have a little bit of a lip left, so maybe wait another contraction or two if you can, and then you can push!” Oh good, because if that hadn’t been transition, I would have cried. When it feels like the worst ever, it’s good to know that it actually is the worst ever.
I didn’t get a strong urge to push, but I kind of felt like maybe I should with the contractions. But I didn’t. And then I didn’t again. They told me that I had to push and I knew that, but deep down I was scared to push. I tore badly with TG and there were stitches and painkillers and tears all around. There was no way around it though, so I started pushing. My midwife told me to stop yelling because it was making my pushing less effective. She told me to try and make lower noises and divert the energy into the push. I tried, then I tried to bite my husband’s hand so he shoved a washcloth in my mouth.
After a few good pushes, she told me that I could take a break for a minute to catch my breath if I liked. But who wants to hang around taking a break with a baby’s head lodged in their vagina? Not me, that’s who. She warned me (not for the first time, but as a reminder) that because I kneeling in the water, I would have to grab the baby as soon as it came out and get it up out of the water… myself!
I pushed the head out (hallelujah!), which is odd because you know they are underwater and it makes you think that there’s a panic to get them all the way out, but really babies don’t breathe air in the womb, so they are totally okay for a little bit in the water. The rest of the baby came out and I pulled it up and onto my chest right away. Somewhere in here I got a shot of oxytocin in the arm to help deliver the placenta and avoid hemorrhaging. They wrapped a towel around us and we took a moment to breathe. There is nothing like that feeling of holding your baby for the first time on the outside. She didn’t cry — she just looked at us and we looked at her. Even without the crying, her apgar scores were nice and high. They say that water babies are often calmer, as it’s an easier transition.
They put a bunch of towels down between the tub and the bed and on the bed, and everyone helped us out of the tub. It was super awkward, as we were still attached by the umbilical cord. We were helped onto the bed and they had a look at her on my chest. Mr SH refused to cut the cord, as last time it ended in blood spraying across my face like a slasher movie. It was kind of funny, actually. I asked if I could get this placenta thing over and done with, and she gave the cord a tug and told me I could push it out, so I did. It wasn’t that bad. They asked me if I wanted to keep it and I said “No thanks! I have no plans to plant a tree over it or eat it.” Wonder Baby was rooting around already, so I put her to the breast and she nursed, 20 minutes after birth! She really was a Wonder Baby! The midwife checked my girl parts and told me that I had one very tiny tear, and no stitches were needed. I was sooo relieved!
The rest is a bit of a blur as I was happy but running on adrenaline and no sleep. I ate my muffin at some point, they checked Wonder Baby out, mostly on my chest at first, then they took her to a spot right beside me to weigh and measure her. She was wrapped up in a blanket and given to her daddy to snuggle while I took a shower. Because I didn’t have stitches, they didn’t make me wear a gown! I got to change into my yoga pants and nursing tank. We were moved to another room, which had two beds so Mr SH could stay with us. We called everyone, had a couple visitors including my mom with Toddler Girl. We stayed the night and left the next afternoon (I had high blood pressure, but this story is surely long enough already.). I was tired but felt fantastic. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt than with my first baby.
They had me down for two and a half hours active labour, and two minutes pushing. Two minutes! It felt like a couple hours to me, but I understand that I wasn’t the one timing. Wonder Baby was born at 9:30am on a Friday morning. She was 7 lbs 9 oz and 20 inches long. Beautiful. Perfect.
I feel so incredibly blessed that I was able to have a water birth, with a midwife, in a great hospital, and covered by BCMed. It was the best of all worlds.
Natural Birth Stories part 5 of 121. My Mom's Birth Story by Mrs. Bee
2. Emma's Birth Story Part 1 by Mrs. Marbles
3. Sam's Birth Story by Birth Stories
4. Baby H's Birth Story by Mrs. Hopscotch
5. Wonder Baby's Birth Story by Mrs. Superhero
6. Toddler Girl's Birth Story by Mrs. Superhero
7. How Baby HH Came to Be... by Mrs. High Heels
8. Baby J's Birth Story by Mrs. Pen
9. Susie's Birth Stories by Birth Stories
10. Baby Confetti's Birth Story by Mrs. Confetti
11. Baby Boy Heels' Birth Story by Mrs. High Heels
12. My Birth Story and Giving Birth Again by Mrs. Chocolate