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Unmedicated Hospital Birth With Nurse Midwife

I finally managed to type up a rough draft of the whole birth story for those of you who are interested :) (FYI it's pretty detailed so it might be a bit TMI)

I was 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant when my water broke. It was Groundhog Day and fortunately, I was at home. The puddle I left on the floor at noon did not look or smell like urine, but after weeks of Braxton Hicks contractions and the loss of my mucous plug at barely 37 weeks, I was hesitant to believe that labor was just around the corner. I texted my midwife and doula, relying on their experience and insight to better determine what had just happened. They were both fairly certain that my water had indeed broken.

At 7:45 PM I got my ‘bloody show’ and I began to notice some more consistent contractions.

At 11:20 PM the contractions were roughly 6 minutes apart, lasting for 40 seconds.

I wasn’t able to sleep through the contractions so I grabbed my exercise ball and bounced while watching Grey’s Anatomy. I let John sleep until about 3 AM and then woke him up to keep me company.

At 5 AM we drove to the hospital, where we met up with Rachel. It was a Sunday morning so the hospital was eerily quiet and nearly empty. We got settled in a low-intervention room at 6:15 AM and a nurse came to do the hep-lock. She was super sweet, but inserted the needle just about my wrist joint, making it awkward and painful for me to move my right hand. I was hooked up to a fetal monitor for 20 minutes, per protocol, and subsequently given an IV for fluids. They thought the baby’s heart rate was a bit low (super normal if the baby is sleeping), but a low heart rate can also occur if the mother is dehydrated.

There was a shift change at 7 AM so I took the opportunity to ask my new nurse if she could re-do the hep-lock. She removed the needle, but had difficulty finding a different location for it. At this point I was so tired of being poked that I agreed to sign a waiver stating that I had refused the hep-lock.

My contractions had spaced themselves out and were less intense than what I had been experiencing at home. This, along with the sleep deprivation and lack of privacy (I was clearly not ready for people to be all up in my business) was devastating. I had Peace & Calming oil in the diffuser but I was feeling anything but peaceful at that moment. Rachel suggested it’d be good for us to get some breakfast while we still had the chance so she and John ran down to the cafeteria while I got in the bathtub to try to channel those ‘peace and calm’ vibes. In between tears, I scarfed down my breakfast sandwich and cafeteria coffee. John and I spent the next 2 hours holed up in the bathroom while I cried and complained about my puny contractions and my general feeling of ‘being watched’.

My midwife Jennifer came in to check on us and did a membrane sweep to help speed the process up and get my contractions going again.

I did most of my laboring in the tub and began my transition phase around 2:30 PM. When I began to feel the urge to push, I was moved to the hospital bed. I had been pushing for about an hour when my midwife told me that I HAD to push the baby out NOW. My labor team was so encouraging and I knew I was making progress, but no baby. Slowly more people began to enter the room in anticipation of an emergency situation. I did not know it at the time (fortunately, no one told me), but the baby’s heart rate was dangerously plummeting at the peak of every contraction. My midwife had let me push as long as she could before different measures had to be taken to ensure the baby’s safety. I was given a shot of lidocaine and an OBGYN rushed in and immediately told me that they were going to perform an episiotomy so that they could get the baby out quickly. Jennifer did an initial cut, but the OBGYN decided it wasn’t enough, grabbed the scissors, and made an additional cut, putting me at a 2nd degree episiotomy. With my next contraction I was finally able to push the baby out. He was born with the cord wrapped twice around his neck, but his coloring was good and he immediately let out a healthy cry.

Our sweet baby joined us earthside on Super Bowl Sunday, at 4:28 PM.

It was a somewhat traumatic end to an otherwise drama-free labor, and while an episiotomy was never something that I wanted for myself I am just glad that our baby was okay. (Side note from Rachel: her midwife said this was the second episiotomy she had ever had to do.)

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