I had been having contractions randomly and unpredictable since Saturday, but I woke up at 2am Monday morning with really big contractions that were 6-7 minutes apart. I tried somewhat unsuccessfully to doze between timing them, and by 3:00 they were down to 5 minutes apart and lasted a minute each. We were told to go to the hospital when they were five minutes apart, lasted a minute and had been that way for an hour, so at 3:30 I woke up Cam and said, “hey… I’ve been having very painful contractions that last a minute and are 5 minutes apart for the last 30 minutes.”
“Can you sleep through them?”
“Oh… well, goodnight then.”
And with that he turned over and went back to sleep. (He claims they said in birthing class that you should try to rest during early labor, so if both of you can’t sleep at least one of you should. I don’t remember that part.)
At 4am I woke him up again and said it had been an hour, so he got up and we got our stuff together and drove the 15 minutes (3 contractions) to the hospital. We went to labor and delivery where they monitored contractions before they decided, that yes they were large contractions every five minutes, but unfortunately, I was only dilated 1-2cm.
So they had us get up and walk laps around labor and delivery, which is one very small loop. Even with walking slowing and stopping for contractions, we passed the nurses station 20 times in an hour. Then they checked again, and there was no change, so they sent us home at 7am to do more walking, and said to come back when things progressed.
We went home, and while Cam rescheduled his day, I took a nap that consisted of roughly 4 out of every 5 minutes for an hour. We went to the wildlife preserve by our house to walk, so people didn’t get concerned when they saw me having contractions on the side of the road (it was less flooded this time if you were concerned). We walked until noon then went home, rested briefly, and went on another walk until 4pm. At that point we called my doctor and said we didn’t think anything had changed, but at that point I was tired of walking and the contractions were getting to me, so she said we could go back and have them check again.
So we got our stuff together again and started going back to the hospital. About halfway there I had a really big contraction and my water exploded. So I walked back into labor and delivery dripping wet…gross. This time they admitted us right away even thought I was only 3cm because they were worried about infection because of the fluid color. They hooked me up to an IV with antibiotics and some drugs so I could try to rest and not be exhausted before we got to pushing.
But just as I was getting quite dizzy from the medication and my doctor was on her way, the baby’s heart monitor started dropping from 130ish all the way to down to 60. In the next 3 minutes, all at once they were turning me in different positions to find one that picked his rate up, as they hooked me up to a monitor, had me breathing through an oxygen mask, put in an epidural, and prepared for a c-section. It was scary, but luckily we found that lying on my left side his heart rate picked up to at least over 100, which was safe. (Here I am looking comfortable and cute!)
And I stayed on my side without moving while I finished dilating for the next several hours. My mom and sister, Whitney, came for support. We talked while Cameron quickly tried to finish the baby blanket he was crocheting. The nurses were very surprised, and said they had never had a crocheting dad before. For the rest of our hospital stay we had nurses coming in who were told they should ask to see his “project” after which they all told him how adorable it was.
At least with the epidural I could sort of rest, although I learned that sometimes with an epidural there can be a “window” where you still have feeling- mine felt like the size of a pencil eraser, but it was the weirdest/most annoying thing that I could still feel every contraction there, while the rest of my body was clueless.
Just before 9pm, his heart rate started to drop again. At this point I was dilated to 9cm and he was descended +2. Instantly, the decision was made that we had one chance and only a few minutes to get him out, or they would be doing an emergency c-section. So with no warning, and not completely dilated, it was time to push.
I pushed as hard as I could while my mom counted (would not have made it without that!) and Cam told me what was going on. They had to do an episiotomy and use the vacuum extractor to get him out faster because they were running out of time. Finally he came out with his cord around his neck, but they were able to quickly flip it off, cut it and he was fine. (Of course, no one told me that until later which is why I was so frustrated when they didn’t bring him over to me right away, and instead took him away to make sure that everything was okay- which is why I look so distraught in all the pictures right after the birth).
Here he is all cleaned up 4 days later: