Okay! So this is it! After the failed attempt at childbirth on the Friday night, I opted to go home on Saturday morning, have a nap, and then get a couple of really good nights of sleep. I knew that my OBGYN and favourite nurse would be working on Tuesday, so I called my doctor’s office on Monday and asked her if I could meet her there, get my IV antibiotics (I was positive for group B strep) and then have my water broken. She was totally happy to do this, and we made plans for the kids to all be taken care of so that Andrew and I could head into the hospital without a panic.
I was disappointed that my body wasn’t doing it on its own, however, I knew that if my body went for it, that it would be too fast for me to get my much-needed antibiotics (to keep the baby safe and healthy on his way out into the world) and possibly too fast to find somewhere for Callum to go (I wasn’t totally thrilled about the idea of a farting, nose-picking 3 year old in the delivery room; I may have had dreads, but I ain’t no hippie).
BUT GUESS WHAT. So, I was 3cm dilated, 80% effaced going into the weekend, right? Well, I spent Monday preparing my mind and body for delivery but also doing everything I could to kickstart labour on its own. I’m not sure if it worked, but I ran 13 miles on Monday, had an excellent sleep that night, and woke up and ran another 3 miles on Tuesday morning before getting ready to leave for the hospital. Sure, I was having contractions (just like any other day for the previous 3 weeks!) and yes, I was having some show (again, nothing new, and nothing worth getting excited about) but something felt different.
I was peeling my sweaty clothes off and climbing into the shower and I just had this hunch, this feeling, that my body was doing it on its own. I had wanted to spend a long time in the shower, shaving my legs, conditioning my hair, you know, all the nice luxurious things but I couldn’t shake this feeling that something was about to go down. So I hastily swiped soap everywhere, jumped out, toweled off, threw on my clothes and told Andrew that we needed to get to the hospital. I didn’t want my water to break and then have a baby without first getting those antibiotics into me.
Once we got there, we decided to have a coffee and a snack at the Starbucks. I had to keep sitting down because I felt so much pressure down there. I was still having contractions but again, nothing different than usual! But again, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was it, and I offered up a silent prayer that maybe, just maybe, my body could do this without intervention.
We rode the elevator, saw our doctor right away and she checked me. I WAS FOUR CENTIMETERS! I cried happy tears. Once they knew that my body was doing this, they quickly hooked me up with an IV and started the antibiotics.
I needed 2 doses before the baby could come through the birth canal and the doses had to be 4 hours apart. The first dose was administered at 9:30am, and we moved over to our room and got officially admitted.
My OBGYN came into check on me at 11:30 and offered to break my water, but I told her that I’d rather wait until the second dose goes through just in case my labour goes really fast (when they broke my water with Callum, it took nearly 12 hours before I delivered him, but all this prodromal labour had me thinking that it had done its job, and that once my water broke, it would be show time). She obliged, and probably thought I was crazy, but she trusted me.
So here I was, having contractions here and there just like any other day for the past 3 weeks, but THIS time I knew they were really doing something. I just knew. It’s like I could feel each contraction in my soul or something. My mind and my body and my baby were all so connected that day; I can’t really explain it in any other way than that.
I kept looking at the clock, knowing that I could very well already be holding my baby in my arms if I had let them break my water on Saturday morning, or at 11:30 that day, but I wanted to give my body and my baby every chance I could to keep them healthy, and to show them respect, and reverence for the work about to be done. The clock ticked 1:15 (they were able to give the antibiotics a bit early), I had my second dose, and then I let out a sigh of relief. Dr. Kenyon came back in at 1:30 to check me and I was only 5cm dilated. She broke my water, and hardly any water came out. At first I was disheartened, and anxious that maybe this would turn out to be another long labour with pitocin, but I didn’t spend much time at the pity party because I got hit with HUGE contractions. Except, they were still spaced out quite a bit, or it seemed like it. I even felt my stomach growl and asked Andrew to go get me some toast with peanut butter. WELL. By the time he got back with the toast, I was on my left side, gripping the side rails of the hospital bed with my face buried in my pillow, rocking back and forth, moaning away and doing the bicycle with my legs. I smelled the peanut butter but I didn’t have a single second break between contractions to tell anyone to take it away from me. Thankfully my nurse Jen motioned to Andrew to throw it in the trash (I learned this later). I guess I went into transition pretty quick and Jen calmly told me to let her know when I start feeling the urge to push. As soon as she said that, I started feeling it and began to bear down a little. I heard her call Dr. Kenyon, who came into the room a minute later. I was still on my side but she needed to check my cervix to make sure I was ready to push so I flipped onto my back, looked at her with crazy eyes, moaned “noooooo” and then flipped back over on my side again. “FUCK,” I said sternly into my pillow, “These aren’t stopping.” Once that contraction tapered off I flipped back over, she checked me (I started shaking) and she said “Oh yeah, you go ahead, you’re ready to push.”
So then it was the weirdest thing. All of a sudden I started having breaks between contractions. Like the urge to push completely disappeared. Like time stood still and I was standing at the top of the mountain, the sun went behind the clouds, the wind stood still, everything stopped. I told Dr. Kenyon and Jen that I wasn’t good at this part. That I could handle the contractions, but that pushing wasn’t my thing. They reassured me that I could do it, and to grab my legs and pull them back and put my chin to my chest and push. I said no, I don’t think I can do it. I wasn’t panicking, I was just refusing, as if there were some other option for me, as if I could ask the ref for a substitute. And then, I had a contraction and in slow motion, my mind reasoned with my body. I was like, okay, Suzy. This is gonna hurt really, really bad, and the longer you take sitting here like a ninny, the longer it’s going to take to get him out. So I made up my mind to just give ‘er. I pulled my legs back, and pressing my right foot on Dr. Kenyon’s left thigh (I’ll never forget that for as long as I live), put my chin to my chest and pushed like a frigging Amazon woman. Teeth bared, roaring from the deepest part of my throat, from my toes, I pushed. Then, I had a break. It came on again like a wave and again I pushed from the core of the earth, from a place kept hidden except during moments like these, tapped into and drawn out by primal love, burning, his head was there, and I heard her say “he has hair!” and I panted. I blew, my lips pursed. Blow, blow, blow. Slow, slow, slow. And again, and his head was out. I shook, I shook hard, my right foot still pressed against my doctor’s thigh, her care and her composure, her trust in me and in herself held me grounded to the earth as she calmly instructed me to push out his shoulders and with the most relieving exodus, Jesse was born and placed immediately onto my chest.
Dr. Kenyon broke my water at approximately 1:40, when I was 5cm dilated, and Jesse was born at 2:19, after 4.5 minutes of pushing. So I went from 5cm to complete in about 30 minutes.
So that’s it for the birth story. I still want to do a 38 weeks pregnant and running update, and a little write-up on how it’s going after delivery, but I will have to save it for a later day!
Thanks for all your love and support!