After a while of waiting in uncertainty, another ob resident came in to check me. She did an internal exam and said I was just 4 cm, 80% effaced and -2 station. This was backwards progress for all three of these critical stats. You can't regress in labor--at least not that I know of. It's all just a matter of perception and this chick apparently is very conservative and sucky because this info kind of got me down. It was de ja vu all over again. With peanut, my progress in labor kept stalling out. I felt like there was something wrong with me that I couldn't progress in labor. Besides that she was fairly certain that the bleeding was not cervical, but rather evidence of a partial abruption. It was just to heavy and going on for far too long to be cervical. Because of this I had to stay on the fetal monitor continuously for my entire labor. The ob resident also suggested that if in two hours I was not making progress that she would recommend I get pitocin to induce active labor. Pitocin would almost certainly necessitate an epidural as it supresses the body's own pain easing hormone and causes more intense contractions that "natural" ones. UGH.
Mrp and I called our doula and I told her the news. Based on this info we decided that she could continue on with her scheduled appointments and we'd get back in touch later that day if I started to make progress or if I was going to get induced. Sigh.
The other thing that kind of worried me was that I had never met the midwife on call. My doula said she had heard that she was really good, but never met her either. Hmmm. Not too long after the ob resident checked me, the midwife came in to see me. I never met her before. She was a bit older than all the midwives I had seen. Turns out she's the head honcho of the entire midwife practice. And even better, she is AWESOME!
We first talked about the partial abruption. She said that although she agreed it required that I be continuously monitored, she did not think I needed to deliver urgently and that I had enough time to let nature take its course. Phew! I next told her how I wasn't progressing and she calmly responded that she was not worried I was only 4 cm because I was clearly only still in early labor. It was now almost noon, but she also said she was confident she would deliver our baby before her shift ended at 7:00 p.m. She said once I started to go, everything would move along quickly. She was very confident in me. I immediately felt confident too. We could do this!
The midwife headed out and it was just mrp, me and our awesome nurse hanging out. The nurse got me a birthing ball and set it up so I could stay on the monitor but bounce around. She even showed us how to unplug the monitor ourselves so I could pee. As long as I wasn't off too long she'd leave us alone about it. Yeah.
So, we just hung out for a while watching dvd's as I bounced on the ball. Hours went by. Nothing seemed to change. My contractions were definitely necessitating my concentration to get through them, but still not that bad. By 3:00 we started to think that there was no way in hell that we'd have this baby by 7:00. I felt tired so I laid down even though I knew it would make the contractions feel worse. I felt like I better rest while I still could because it could be a loooooong night.
Mrp got me a popsicle and I chomped on it a little as I lay there. I relaxed and rested between contractions. About a half hour into my little rest period I felt a pop and then a bigger pop and then my water broke all over the place. It was really yucky feeling. It was nuts. I was just laying there. You'd think it would happen when I got up to pee or bounced on the ball. BUt no. It burst as I lay there eating a popsicle. Go figure.
There was meconium in the amniotic fluid, but not a ton. Although this necessitated the pediatricians attending the delivery. The nurse put out the word. She told us that there was probably nothing to worry about, but it was just a precaution. She then warned us that my contractions would likely become much more intense without the amniotic sac cushioning the babies head. Oh boy!
We called our doula and she said she'd wrap up her meeting and be there in about an hour. Sounded good to us!
After the call, I got up and immediately the contractions hurt a lot more. I was still ok though. I made it to the bathroom because I felt like I had to pee. I tried to pee and clean myself up. The nurse and mrp helped me and then got me back on the ball and I started to eat my popsicle again. The next contraction came and I threw the popsicle across the room it hurt so bad. And then I just fell off a cliff. Holy ___! It hurt! I started swearing like a trucker. Then I had to puke. Mrp got the garbage can and I leaned over it hurling while my lower body felt like it was in a vice grip. Oh my god, the insanity!!!
I pleaded to be let into the shower. The nurse called the midwife and she agreed. Mrp helped me get there. In the shower the contractions just got worse and worse. It was just me and mrp. Mrp was so excited. He had tears in his eyes. He tried to comfort me, but just like in a sitcom I snarled at him in response. I pleaded for help. He offered a million things and none of them were what I needed. I pleaded for drugs. Everyone ignored me. I felt panicked and scared. This was nuts! Yet mrp was so sweetly excited. He knew he'd meet his daughter very soon. I, on the other hand, still felt like maybe I still had many hours to go. I was still having trouble trusting myself after all the false labor. Several minutes into the shower, I had the contraction of all contractions. It had to be five minutes long with no break. Just contraction on top of contraction. It felt like my hips were being screwed together. And then I felt like I had to push.
I heard them call the midwife in. She was there by the time I walked from the shower back to the bed. She didn't even check me. She knew it was time to push just by the way I was behaving. I was standing next to the bed and I started pushing. But I was so tired all ready just from the intensity of the contractions. The nurse urged me to get on the bed. She raised the back of it all the way up and told me to get on my knees and hold on to the top facing the wall. I did this and it felt like the best I could do. And then I started to scream like a savage and push. And I pushed and screamed and screamed and pushed. In the background I heard people say, "close the door!" Ha!
It felt like forever. It hurt like nothing has ever hurt before. I think all the physical pain I have ever experienced heretofore all added up would not equal this pain. To feel the baby coming out all raw with all the sharp edges is the most crazy animalistic feeling I have ever experienced. I felt like I was exploding. I was sure I was tearing every which way down there. I didn't care. I needed that baby out and I needed to be DONE!
After maybe three pushes, the babies head came out and then the next push I had to work 90 times harder to get the shoulders out but I was determined to do it in one push and I did. And then she was here! At 4:11 p.m., just 40 minutes after my water broke! Just like peanut she was whisked away by the pediatricians so I didn't get to see her right away. Apparently, the meconium and the very quick delivery left lots of gunk in her nose and throat that had to be suctioned. Mrp and I waited anxiously for the cry. It felt like forever but finally she let our her first wail. Yeah! She was ok!
Meanwhile, the midwife checked and confirmed that I did not tear at all!! Not even a little bit. NOTHING!! Woohoo! That doesn't mean it didn't hurt. Oh, it hurt. But there was no tearing. Alleluia!
After the pediatricians confirmed #2 was a-ok, I finally got to hold her. I looked at her and she looked like no one I have ever seen before. I did not recognize her. Peanut's main features resemble mine, so I definitely felt like I recognized him when he was born. But #2 looks different. She is beautiful, just as peanut was beautiful but it's kind of cool to see someone totally new. TOTALLY new. Mrp was beaming as he watched her slowly latch on and begin to nurse. We looked at each other proudly. We made this beautiful creature and we brought her into this world. We made it through a natural labor and delivery almost all by ourselves! Our doula showed up around 4:45 and there we were with babe in arms already. I guess I can progress in labor, after all! Good thing we didn't go home in the morning. I probably would have stayed there until my water broke and then had the baby in the car on the way there!
11 days later and I am still in awe of everything #2 has taught me about myself. I have a sense of trust in myself, my instincts and my body that I never had before. And I have a beautiful babe, a wonderful husband and an adorable son: a happy family all my own.