Week 40 started out with a bang at the Jackson household. Around midnight early Monday morning (Oct 7 – my due date) I was having a difficult time sleeping so I got up to take a shower. By 4am I had begun having contractions that were stopping me in my tracks and required me to use breathing and relaxing techniques. They were also coming 3 minutes apart consistently for an hour. We called the doctor around 5:30 and they gave us the go-ahead to come in. My doctor had just told me that because of where the baby is positioned he anticipated a relatively fast labor and figured once I started having contractions I would progress quickly.
When we arrived I went to triage to get assessed. I was only dilated to a 1. They sent us walking in the halls. We walked that U shaped area until we had reached 2 miles (I clocked it out of curiosity and to keep my walking record going). By this point we were really tired but at 9:30 I was still only a 1, even with the contractions coming close together and getting stronger. The nurse gave us the option to go home and figured she would see us back in the afternoon. All we wanted to do was sleep so we took her up on the offer.
When we got home I laid down and sort of slept through two movies, waking up for each contraction but so grateful I wasn’t walking. Around 2:30 we decided to make a few small laps around our apartment building to see if we could speed things up. I was determined not to go into the hospital again without making significant progress, but by 4:15pm I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to handle the 20-30 minute car ride if we didn’t leave soon. After calling the doctor we headed back.
Because we had already done the 2 hour check in list in the morning at triage, the process only took 30 minutes the second time. I was only dilated to a 2, but it was determined that I was truly in labor (thank goodness the 13 hours up to this point wasn’t false labor!) and they would be keeping us at the hospital. At 5:30 was the nurse shift changed and we met a miracle, disguised as a nurse. Megan would be with us her entire 12.5 hour shift.
Before we left triage and went to our own room Megan asked what I wanted to do for pain management. I had researched my options pretty thoroughly and never felt good about getting an epidural for this delivery. After looking into three different natural childbirth methods, Andrew and I picked and chose what we thought would work for us. Mostly just relaxing and breathing.
Megan directed us to our very own LDRP Suite (Labor, Delivery, Recovery, Postpartum). We got me set up with the monitors and IV for antibiotics. She would come in occasionally to check on the baby’s heart rate, but mostly left Andrew and I to ourselves. We got into a pretty good system with each contraction where he would push on my back to help with the painful backache and I would focus on relaxing my stomach and breathing.
Around 9 pm I was maybe a 3. Around 1 am I had reached a 5. Megan kindly turned on the warming bed for the baby and made a point to tell us that she was getting everything ready. That was a wonderful motivation booster! Around 2:30 I had reached a 7 and my water broke. By this point we hadn’t slept in 24 hours and I had been on a liquid diet during most of this time and Andrew had only eaten a few snacks. We were completely physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. I was falling asleep sitting up between contractions because it hurt too much to lie down. At this point Megan stayed with us and although I don’t remeter a whole lot I know she was really encouraging and told us we were doing well and getting close. When I no longer had the strength to stand she made sure I got into bed. I would fall asleep as soon as a contraction ended and would wake up and just struggle through each contraction because I was too tired to even think about breathing.
Finally around 5:40 I was able to push. The new nurse working with us was Julia and she was absolutely incredible. I pushed for less than 10 minutes and maybe through 3 contractions. The on call doctor, Dr. Downey, who I had met just long enough for a handshake earlier in the evening arrived just in time to deliver her. Emily Mae arrived at 5:55 am, weighing 7lbs 11oz and was 20 inches long. She was perfect in every way! They gave her right to me and I held her for at least a half hour before they took her to weigh and clean.