I made the mistake of convincing myself that our baby girl would come early. Around 38 weeks was my guess. I should have known better than to think I could actually predict when she would decide she was ready to make her grand entrance. With Kolton, I had him at exactly 39 weeks. This was because since he was breech, the hospital had to schedule my c-section so I would not go into labor and need to have an emergency c-section. I made up my mind to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) from the very beginning of this pregnancy no matter what it took. I was venturing into the world of the unknown, but I was excited about it.
My beautiful baby girl decided to keep us in anticipation until six days after 40 weeks of what seemed like the longest pregnancy in history. Okay, that may be a little dramatic, but that is truly how it felt at the time. I know that only 5% of babies are actually born on their due date, so six days late really isn’t that unheard of, but it still felt like forever to me. Those last two weeks were long and excruciating. My hands and ankles were swollen, my legs were constantly on the brink of giving out and I was feeling pains with every movement, but I still had to take care of a very active 2 1/2 year old. There seemed to be no end in site. Not knowing when she would come was a very new experience for me. Towards the end, I started trying everything I knew of to induce her naturally. I had my OB sweep my membranes twice. I was taking daily walks, even though I felt like my legs would collapse at times. I was eating the spiciest foods I could get my hands on. I did yoga when I found the time, drank Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, took Primrose Oil pills, and even had an induction massage and acupuncture. I had a couple of false labors during this time, which was frustrating and disheartening. Nothing seemed to be working. My OB had finally decided that we should schedule an induction the day after I would hit 41 weeks. This was exactly what I did not want because I was afraid it would interfere with my plans for a successful VBAC. Sometimes the medicine they use to induce can cause complications which can lead to an emergency c-section. Since I had already come so far, I really did not want to let that happen.
After I hit the 40 week mark, I knew I had to step up my game. This is when I scheduled the induction massage, and 2 days later, the induction acupuncture. The massage was done by Lindsay at Harmony and focused on the pressure points that can help induce labor in women, when their bodies are ready. Lindsay did a wonderful job making me feel comfortable and as relaxed as I possibly could given the circumstances. An induction massage is not as relaxing as a regular prenatal massage, but I did not care. It is said to work within 24 hours of the massage, so after, I just waited…Nothing happened so I was on to the next, which was the induction acupuncture. This was done by Angie at Lokahi Acupuncture. Again, this focused on pressure points and relaxing your body and mind. I began early labor that night!! Woo Hoo!!
Just like any other night, I tucked Kolton into bed and fell asleep myself around 9:30pm. At 11:00pm I woke up with contractions. This is not out of the ordinary because I had been having contractions almost every day for the past three weeks. Something about these felt different though. I got up and walked around a bit. Drank some water and sat on my exercise ball. Sometimes this would cause them to stop. They didn’t stop, so I began timing them. In order to know if it is real labor, they are supposed to come consistently for an hour. They continued for over two hours, so I knew this was the real deal. I woke up Curtis and told him to be ready. He contacted his parents since they were the ones who would be looking after Kolton when we went to the hospital. In order to be admitted at the hospital, my contractions would have to be 3-5 minutes apart for at least one hour. So now we just would have to wait and continue to time them. Over the course of the night, they started to slow down. This was a little disheartening since I have had false labors in the past. They never officially stopped though. I was getting 20 minute breaks in between over the course of the night. This didn’t leave me enough time to actually sleep, but I was at least able to get a little rest. In the morning, my in-laws picked up Kolton so Curtis and I could be alone during labor. We spent the beautiful sunny day at home, timing every contraction. I was able to labor in the swimming pool and swim a few laps, which was actually pretty relaxing between contractions. This day seemed to go on forever. There were many many times that we were beginning to give up hope that this would never lead to hard labor, and then they would start back up again. Although the contractions were uncomfortable, they were still bearable at this point. My in-laws brought Kolton home around 7pm. I knew it would be another long night.
Curtis went to put Kolton to bed around 8:30 and that is when the real pain began. I could barely move with each excruciating contraction, but they still were not getting close enough together to be admitted at the hospital. I thought I was going to DIE!! I was actually experiences every pregnant woman’s fear…BACK LABOR!! The only way I can describe back labor is by comparing it to a baseball wrapped in spikes and attacked to a stick of dynamite on my tailbone! This was a pain I had never imagined possible. I knew I couldn’t go on much longer. It had already been 24 hours at this point and I was so exhausted! Finally, around 10:00, I called the hospital for the third time. I told them that my contractions were right around 5 minutes apart and I had to come in. The truth is, they were not consistently 5 minutes apart, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. They put me on hold for about 40 minutes trying to find us a room. Apparently they were completely booked up at the hospital we had delivered Kolton at, and had chosen to deliver Shayne at. They ended up finding us a room at another local Kaiser hospital. This was not ideal for me since I was completely unfamiliar with this other hospital. I was disappointed but really did not have much of a choice at this point.
Curtis called his parents again and told them to hurry over. We loaded up the car and waited for them to get there. The second they pulled in, I jumped in the car, knowing that another huge contraction was coming. When we arrived at the hospital, I was in tears. We didn’t know where to go and didn’t know where to park. We ended up checking in at the Emergency Room entrance where the staff was very accommodating. They put me in a wheelchair and brought my up to Labor and Delivery. The nurses tended to me very quickly and got us in a delivery room. We still were not officially admitted though. They checked my vitals as well as the baby’s vitals, but when they timed my contractions, they noticed that they were very inconsistent, ranging from 5 minutes apart to 8 minutes apart. I thought they were going to send me home then and there and I was becoming very emotional. Like my saving grace, in walked our midwife, Bethany. She was so calming and knowledgeable. Immediately, she knew that I was having severe back labor, and that was why my contractions were not remaining consistent. She checked my cervix and realized I was already 4 cm dilated and 100% effaced! Without hesitation she told me that we were being admitted and would not be going home! We were admitted at 12:00am. This was wonderful news since I knew I would finally be getting some relief. I had always considered having a 100% natural labor and delivery, but with the severity of my back labor, I knew that I would not be able to have a successful delivery unless I was able to get some rest and relief. After all, we were already 27 hours in at this point, and I hadn’t gotten more than a few hours of sleep over the course of 2 nights now. My body needed some rest, so around 2:30am, I opted for the epidural. Best decision I had made thus far! Curtis fell asleep on the fold out bed next to me, and although my sleep was constantly interrupted by the nurses checking on me and the beeping of machines, I was finally able to rest.
Around 5:30am, our nurse came in because they were not getting a good read on the baby’s vitals. She immediately realized the baby’s heartbeat had dropped and called in the whole team. I woke up in a panic! What was happening?! Bethany came in and checked me again and realized I was fully dilated and ready to deliver!! This was unexpected by everyone, including me! We thought I would be there until later that evening. Then I was informed that the umbilical cord was wrapped around my baby’s neck, and they would have to use a vacuum to get her out safely. This was always a fear of mine since I have heard so many horror stories when a vacuum has been used. I was so concerned but what was I to do? Then like a miracle, her heart rate went back up and the vacuum was no longer necessary. They told me to get ready to push!! I had to wake up Curtis first! This was all happening so quickly. Were we ready? I guess we didn’t have a choice. We had to be ready! After only 15 minutes of pushing, she arrived! I saw her come out and saw the umbilical cord around her neck. Bethany took it off quickly and gently and placed my baby girl immediately on my chest! It was the most miraculous moment of my life! She was here! The first thing we noticed was her thick, dark hair! Curtis and I both being blonde, and Kolton being blonde, were amazed and surprised! She was absolutely perfect and so beautiful! She was born on Sunday, May 31st at 6:03AM. She weighed 7 pounds and 3.3 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. It was love at first site!
After such a long pregnancy, and such a long and painful labor, I was blessed with this perfect little human, and I felt like a SUPERHERO!! WE DID IT!! Everything was worth this indescribable moment, and I would not take back a day of this journey. I have never felt prouder or stronger in my life! Of course the day I had Kolton was amazing and filled with more love than I could imagine, but this time, I was overwhelmed with pride and accomplishment!
We made sure that Kolton was the very first to see her once we were settled into our new room. He was so excited to see me but didn’t pay too much attention to his baby sister. We brought two gifts for him from his baby sister. He was able to open one each day we were there. It helped him to feel special and included. Having both of my babies in my arms for the first time was one of the happiest moments of my life! I did not know that my heart could get bigger than it already was. It literally felt like it could explode with love!
Now it’s time to figure out this whole parenting thing with two! I am excited for the challenges ahead!
TIP: I had a lot of success with infant massages with both Shayne and Kolton. Learn more about the benefits of infant massages HERE.