To read part 2 click here.
In the days leading up to my due date, John and I did our best to distract ourselves with different distracting activities, and one night, this included making little posters for the labor and delivery room. So the first thing we did when we got to room 603 was hang 'em up!
Next, it was back on the monitor for me. It had been a little more than an hour since my contractions and baby's heartbeat had been monitored, so I was due up. I didn't realize I was allowed to stand during monitoring, so stupid me sat in the bed the whole 20 minutes, and gosh did that hurt!
Amy, our doula, arrived around 2am and we made plans to labor in the tub for a while. It wasn't a fancy tub or anything, just your standard shower with tub, but I was interested in seeing if the water relieved any of the butt contraction pressure. Unfortunately, it took a while for the tub to fill, so by the time the tub was filled up, it was almost time to be put on the monitor again. But this time, since our expert Amy was there, she pointed out that I didn't have to sit on the bed while on the monitor, so at least there was that. She also whipped out this handy trick during each contraction and would push on my lower back by squeezing my hips to relieve some of the pressure. It was niiiice. I'd lean on a big birthing ball set on the bed and squat, she'd squeeze my hips, and John would stand on the other side of the ball, holding my hands and saying sweet things. We made a great birthing team.
After what felt like foreverrrrrr, we were finally off the monitor again, so into the tub I went, around 3am. I wore my green polka dot bikini top to feel more cute and keep things semi-modest (although, ok, so I wasn't wearing anything on the bottom, oops). Amy "lit" some fake candles, we turned the lights off, and John put on some relaxing music, Tibetan chant music with nature sounds in the background. So peaceful, and such a lovely way to labor.
I'm not going to say that being in the water felt much better. It did slow my contractions down just a bit, but soon they picked up in intensity so much that I started shaking uncontrollably. I'd arch my back and wiggle around a lot during the contractions to keep my bum off the hard surface, and I started doing something I never thought I'd do. I moaned. Lots and lots of moaning.
When reading up on labor and watching a few birth videos, I realized moaning and/or screaming was a thing that a lot of women did. But I was so embarrassed by it, I figured I just wouldn't do it. I didn't want to make such weird noises in front of my doula and my doctor, no way, no how. But then, in the moment, I just couldn't help it. It felt SO GOOD to vocalize. My goal all along was to stay loose and relaxed during contractions and this absolutely helped with that. So I just went with it. And honestly wasn't embarrassed in the slightest.
John and Amy could both tell things were getting serious in the tub. With all the shaking and the moaning getting louder with each contraction, we all knew what was up... TRANSITION. I was getting closer and closer to the end of labor and my body sure was showing the signs.
And then, I felt this undeniable urge to PUSH. With each contraction, it'd start like all the others. I'd squirm around for a few seconds, moan a bit, but then I just couldn't help it... I'd have this overwhelming urge to puuuuuushhhhhhh down and out. It was wild how my body just took over and made me do it. We were pretty sure I wasn't at 10cm yet, so we decided I probably shouldn't be pushing. Amy guessed it was because my water hadn't broken yet and so it was bulging into my birth canal and making my body think it had something to push out. Anyway, it's a BAD idea to push if you're not 10cm dilated yet because you can really damage your cervix, not to mention you tire yourself out way too early.
So now with each contraction, I had to do all I could to stop my body from pushing. It was not easy, nor pleasant, but we got through. I basically had two options -- pant like a dog or put my lips together and blow like a horse. Both incredibly awkward things to do for someone who's not in labor. But I was in labor gosh darn it, so I did what I had to do. And honestly, they really did help. I was able to mostly avoid the unnecessary pushing with each contraction with the doggy/horsy sound techniques, so all was good.
My husband was also the sweetest thing ever during this whole intense tub ordeal. Between contractions he'd pour water over my belly, which didn't exactly fit in the tub, and tell me stories from many of our romantic adventures -- our honeymoon, our babymoon, our wedding day. *Insert melting heart here.* And during contractions, he'd do the horsy blowy breathing thing with me and just hold my hand tight. Super husband, folks, seriously.
We also tried to get through more prayers on my labor prayer list during tub time, but if I'm being honest, it got so intense that I was way too distracted to focus on individual prayers. So instead, I'm hoping God knew that I was offering up the rest of my labor for the rest of the wonderful women on my prayer list.
By 4am, Gabby nurse was back and ready to put me on the monitor again. My tubbing time was over. But before I got hooked up, we decided it was time to check my cervix again, since things had very obviously progressed in the tub.
We were so thrilled when Gabby announced my progress.
She also said that as soon as my water broke, I'd probably be ready to push. WOWSA! We didn't want anyone breaking my water just yet, so we decided to continue laboring with water intact, but also had a feeling it'd be breaking on its own soon.
Fast forward through 20 minutes of monitoring and me laboring while holding onto the birthing ball on the bed while doing horsy noises to avoid pushing and moaning to relieve tension. Gabby wrapped up my monitoring stuff and announced, "Call me back in here when her water breaks," while walking out of the room. Not even 5 seconds later... GUSH! My water broke during another intense butt contraction!! So back into the room she came.
Even though it hadn't been long since my last cervix check, we decided to let her check again, just to see how much progress breaking my water caused. So I laid down on the bed, she checked me and...
To read part 4 click here.