When I last left you, I was 40 weeks pregnant and still waiting for baby number two to arrive. I felt so uncomfortable—baby was just SO heavy, and I was getting impatient to meet him. Luckily, he didn’t keep us waiting too long…he was born two days later on September 29, 2017!
I woke up last Friday the 29th with contractions that were still pretty mild but somehow felt different from the ones I had been having for the past few days. They weren’t super painful, just stronger and more consistent. It was around 8:00 a.m. when I woke up, about the time I needed to wake up Little Cotton Candy to get him fed and ready for preschool. But I didn’t feel like I had it in me to get him to school by myself—I guess I just had a feeling that baby was coming soon! I went to use the restroom and then hey! There was my mucus plug. I knew that this didn’t necessarily mean the baby was on its way immediately, but this discovery added to my feeling that I was going into active labor. I called Mr. Cotton Candy, who was driving to work, and told him to turn around because we were going to have the baby today. He was stuck in traffic and so excited to turn around and come home.
Mr. Cotton Candy made it home and got Little Cotton Candy to school, and by the time he made it back home my contractions were continuing to build. I was timing them with a free app and could see they were still about seven to nine minutes apart, and lasting around a minute each. Although they say to wait to head to the hospital until your contractions are five minutes apart, I felt like we needed to leave sooner rather than later. After our move across town, we were a lot farther from our hospital, and I was afraid of getting stuck in traffic. I went ahead and gave my OB’s office a call, and the nurse told me to head to the hospital after she asked me a few questions.
We arrived at the hospital around 11 a.m. and got checked in. When the nurse examined me, I was dilated four centimeters and completely effaced. Great news! Mr. Cotton Candy and I were left alone for a bit while I continued to work my way through contractions. If you don’t remember, our plan was to go drug free, so we practiced the techniques we had learned in our Advanced Coping Strategies class. I was mostly leaning forward either on my knees or feet with my arms and head on the bed or chair, while Mr. Cotton Candy pressed in my hips or massaged my shoulders and spine using the ladder technique (start by pressing into the tops of shoulders, then move fingers down the back, pressing and holding for a few seconds). We also had some relaxing music playing on our Bluetooth speaker, and Mr. CC would occasionally offer me sniffs of the lavender essential oil we brought.
A bit later, the doctor came in to examine me—it wasn’t my OB but another one from the practice I use whom I had never met. Luckily she was amazing and I felt comfortable with her right away. She examined me and told me I was still at four centimeters but that she could break my waters to speed things up. I was nervous because I remembered how painful my contractions became last time after my water broke, but I agreed. I was excited to keep things moving! She broke my waters, and pretty quickly after that my contractions became relentless. Not only were they more painful but I wasn’t getting any breaks in between. I labored for around an hour or so of basically constant contractions that kept building in intensity. At one point, Baby Cotton Candy’s oxygen levels began to lower and they stuck an oxygen mask on me. Fortunately, they came right back up.
Pretty soon I was finished. I was having trouble collecting my breath and breathing through the contractions and I couldn’t deal anymore. I had asked for an epidural several times, but each time Mr. Cotton Candy asked me if I was sure, and I had responded with “I don’t know.” I wasn’t quite ready to give up. Finally, I just couldn’t take it, and I begged for an epidural. I felt so horrible that I wanted to crawl out of my body. (In hindsight, I must have been in transition.) But the anesthesiologist was next door, giving another laboring mom an epi, so I had to wait—the wait was excruciating. Finally, the anesthesiologist made it and started to work. I can’t remember having been so excited to see anyone in my life. Unfortunately, the epidural didn’t take on the right side, and I could still feel each contraction on half my body as it came through—meanwhile, my left lower body was almost completely numb to the point where I could not even move it. The anesthesiologist came back and redid the epidural on my right side, and I could finally relax.
Immediately the doctor examined me again, only to discover I was fully dilated and ready to push (d’oh!). She asked me if I was ready to push now or if I wanted to rest while she attended to a C-section. I decided to rest because I didn’t yet feel the urge to push, and I was just so relaxed and looking forward to a short break. As the doctor was gone, I started getting the urge to push, but since I was numb, it wasn’t too bad. I got to rest for about an hour, and then it was time!
I pushed through four or five contractions, maybe a couple more, and it became obvious that this baby was not the seven-and-a-half pounds that my doctor had estimated two days before—he was another big one. (I could have told them that!) Baby Cotton Candy’s oxygen levels began to drop again, so they put the oxygen mask back on me, and it was decided to use the vacuum to get him out as quickly as possible. One more push, and out he came! He was a bit purplish at first but recovered quickly.
At 3:46 PM, less than five hours after we arrived at the hospital, Baby Cotton Candy was born, weighing nine pounds and two ounces, and measuring 21 inches long! We were over the moon.