There are two words that best describe the build up to my "big day".
"Early labor comes on gently and doesn't pick up; Early labor comes... and then goes; Labor comes at night and leaves during the daylight; or labor comes on strong and then stops......and tries to start again, only to stop again. Prodromal labor is when the uterus contracts somewhat frequently, may be strong or mild, contractions usually aren't occurring with regular intervals, but can keep a woman on alert, can keep a woman awake, and certainly can keep everyone wondering when active labor will establish."
They forgot to mention how much it SUCKS.
And so begins my story...
Monday, Sept 8
Regular contractions weren't all that surprising anymore but on this particular day, they were consistently 5-10 minutes apart for about 8 hours straight. They varied and weren't very strong, but never let up. They eventually became 3-5 minutes apart and after multiple hours of this, we headed to the hospital at 1:00am. After being monitored for about 45 minutes, contractions remained 3-5 minutes apart, but never got strong and I remained at 3cm. The floor was very busy this night so they decided to send me home and either labor there for awhile before returning, or allow it to die down. Once we got home and I laid back down, things slowed and eventually just stopped. This was incredibly discouraging and I was exhausted.
Tuesday, Sept 9 - Thursday Sept 11
The rest of that week was pretty calm. I had lots of contractions that seemed to be more intense each day, but they were more spread out and never timeable. Each day I woke up and could just tell that that day was not going to be "the day". I was okay with this as I knew she was better in there than out, but as with anyone, there is a lot of excitement and anxiousness around this time anyways and the contractions were getting so old and tiring. I wasn't sure I would have enough energy once labor finally did arrive.
Friday, Sept 12
This is when the timeable contractions started back up. They would happen for hours and just randomly stop. This continued on and off now until I had her.
Saturday, Sept 13
Hours of regular timeable contractions, intensity was increasing but still bearable. Very little appetite.
Sunday, Sept 14
Just overall very crampy and sore in my back. Felt pretty miserable all day.
Monday, Sept 15
When it all really seemed to begin. Starting around 2pm, the contractions began. Again. But this time, they hurt and decently bad. Every eight to ten minutes, I was having painful contractions in my back. I've never had bad back labor but I knew this must be what it was like. I spent most of the day laying down, as it seemed to be the only way to relieve the pain. I managed to get dinner and cupcakes made for Trey's birthday and let Tony handle the rest of the evening. By 10pm, the contractions faded away and left me with an aching body and an annoyed feeling. As I got ready for bed, I had some bleeding. I told myself as I laid down that after today I would be surprised if I didn't have a baby by this time tomorrow because it just felt so close and so real. I also decided that if these kind of days continued, I was perfectly okay being induced as I didn't know how long I could continue to feel that way.
Tuesday, Sept 16
I woke up and just knew today wasn't going to be the day. Little did I know.... I had a lot of energy and spent the morning running errands. I felt great. I had a little more bleeding that morning and my back was still aching from the day before but otherwise, I was feeling content and happy just spending the day with Trey. I spent the afternoon laying down and resting since my back was still hurting but I wasn't having distinct contractions. I was achy and sore if I was up doing stuff or moving around so the rest of the evening I laid on the couch. At 10pm we decided to get ready for bed. I stood up and instantly had a back pain again and they became more "timeable". I knew that once I laid down again, they would go away so I didn't worry about it. And I was correct. I laid down about 10:45pm and they instantly went from several minutes apart to 15-20 minutes apart, sometimes more. I fell asleep and woke up to every mild contraction and then fell back asleep. At about midnight, I woke to go to the bathroom. The second I stood up, I had a contraction that almost knocked me to the ground. I went to the bathroom and (TMI!!!) was having diarrhea. I thought maybe the pain was all from the fast food we had for lunch so I went back to bed. A few minutes later I needed to get back to the bathroom and another insane contraction hit the second I stood up. This time I grabbed my phone and headed to the bathroom so I could time them.
It was now 12:40am. This is when things got scary quickly. The first contraction I timed was four minutes apart. The next was three minutes. And the next was a minute and a half. And that is where they stayed, 90 seconds apart and lasting a minute. I had 20-30 seconds between each one and I quickly realized I couldn't move or leave the bathroom. I needed somewhere to lean with each one and I was afraid to leave the bathroom counter. I found myself moaning and if I didn't breathe through them, I struggled......a lot. I tried yelling for Tony, who was still sleeping. He couldn't hear me so I tried to rush to the bed.
At this point, I had only been timing the contractions for 20 minutes. It was 1am. I told him it hadn't been long enough, that I hadn't been timing them for over an hour. My fear was getting to the hospital and being sent home again or not laboring at home long enough and spending 11-13 hours there like I did with the boys. But I could tell, this wasn't right and we needed to go. Poor Tony woke up having no idea what happened over the past hour so he was understandably confused. He called his brother who was planning to come over anytime during the night if we needed him to stay with the boys. I knew I needed to finish packing our bags but the most I could do was stick the toothbrushes in the bag since I was not about to leave the bathroom counter. I was also pretty sure I was going to throw up so that was another reason to stay right where I was. After Charlie arrived, I heard Tony explaining the situation and boys' morning routine to him and I knew I needed to hurry to the car. I grabbed a towel and trash can and ran down the stairs toward the garage as quickly as I could between contractions. The trash can was in case I got sick and I am not sure what the towel was for but grabbing onto that became the replacement for the bathroom counter.
This is where things get fuzzy. I could barely open my eyes on the drive so I quickly stopped timing the contractions. The last one I timed was at 1:30am (thank you technology for saving this information or else I would have no idea!) so I know I was still in the car, not even half way to the hospital at that point. I remember a truck running a light at 27th and Hwy2 and I considered telling Tony to do the same (but didn't). I also remember looking at the speedometer at some point and Tony was driving 10 over the speed limit. I normally would have yelled at him to slow down but I remember wanting to thank him this time. I asked Tony to call my mom, who had planned on being in the delivery room with us. (She had an hour drive.) As we got close to the hospital, I told him there was no way I could make it walking from the parking garage to the hospital. I knew he needed to pull right up to the doors and grab a wheelchair so that is what we did. Poor Tony is carrying all of the bags and pillows and everything as well as pushing me. We were barely fitting in the revolving door and if you hit the back of the doors, they stop, as if they are hitting someone. So we were suddenly stuck in the revolving doors. We couldn't move forward any more and it wouldn't move automatically if we were hitting the doors behind us. So I was using my foot to push the door manually and Tony was doing what he could as well. It slowly worked and I was super annoyed as we walked in and a security guard guy was just standing there watching us. (Thanks for the help jerk!) Thank goodness for my towel as I clenched it tightly while we made our way to the elevator and then to the 4th floor. Once we got there they wanted me to sign two papers to admit me. I signed the first and had a contraction before I could sign the second. I must have scared them or something because she said it could wait and they rushed me to a room.
I got to the room and they asked me to get into the gown. I went to the bathroom and had to yell for Tony. I was in so much pain and having so much pressure I couldn't even get undressed. Tony came in and helped me. Once he got me into the bed, he ran down to move the car. During that time, the nurse checked me and I remember hearing her say I was at 9cm! 9CM!?!?!? She yelled for another nurse to come check me to be sure she was right and the second nurse confirmed it. I remember wishing Tony was there and for some reason started feeling nervous that he wasn't going to make it back in time. I knew my mom wasn't going to make it either. She told me that if I wanted an epidural that my window was incredibly small and I needed to decide immediately. I was hoping to not get one anyways so I told them no. Of course, I now know that even if I had wanted one, I wouldn't have gotten it in time. Tony got back and was pretty shocked to hear I was at a 9. I made it through another contraction or two before I insisted I couldn't keep from pushing. The nurses suddenly seemed panicky. They had called for the on call Dr right away after realizing I was at a 9 but he still wasn't there and I couldn't wait. It was an absolute uncontrollable reaction to push. (And so begins the potential TMI so stop reading if you don't want all the gross details lol). In order to stop the pushing, the nurses kept telling me to breathe, "blow the candle" or "feather", "close my legs"....and I was back and forth between half pushing, half blowing. I felt that if I couldn't push, I was going to throw up. They got me a bag and thankfully I never did, but refraining from pushing (or attempting to) was by far the most difficult part of the entire labor. Multiple times I apologized, told them I was trying my best to stop but my body was reacting uncontrollably. I didn't know what to do, how to lay or move....I remember trying to move to my side or find something to grab onto or somewhere to put my feet. Nothing felt right, my body didn't know what it needed to do, I just felt I needed to do something. This quickly turned into "yelling" or moaning. At 2:09am, while trying to avoid pushing but pushing none the less, I had this HUGE....um.....burst (explosion!) where my water broke. But it didn't break, it burst. It scared the nurse, just because it was unexpected, so I of course apologized multiple times. (Yes, I apologized that my water broke.) I wasn't opening my eyes very much but the few times I did, I saw the main nurse putting on the gown, preparing to deliver this baby, and I also saw about 15 people standing around watching me or helping me. Apparently it's a "big deal" to deliver a baby without a doctor :) Thankfully he showed up right after my water broke and I was relieved to immediately start pushing. I'll spare the details of how pushing compared with an epidural and without, but to sum it up, I was pretty sure I was pooping rather than pushing out a baby, haha! I was yelling and loudly moaning a lot at this point. Thankfully the nurses were there and reminding me to hold my breath while pushing rather than yelling while pushing. I was also apologizing a lot. Apologizing for yelling and anything else I was doing. I remember asking Tony if he had the camera and saying how sad I was that my mom was missing it. I'm sure I said lots of other random things too. Tony has said he wished he could have recorded me because it was "pretty funny". :) After the next contraction and first set of pushes, I remember asking if I was even doing anything, to which of course everyone said yes! I couldn't figure out where to grab or put my hands. I think the nurse really wanted me to put my feet in the stirrups (she asked me several times) but I really wanted them (whoever it was...nurses? Tony?) to help pull my legs up to my chest. They also finally showed me where I could grab with my hands, which helped me bare down more. With the second push, I could tell she was crowning. I have heard a lot about the "ring of fire" while crowning but I did not feel this at all. I just felt like things were stretching that shouldn't be and I needed to make it stop. I pushed so hard during the previous contraction, that I needed a second to breathe between them but just having her sitting there crowning was an awful feeling. I wanted so bad to stop it, to get her out, but I knew I had to wait for the next contraction. I remember saying I couldn't do this (I was referring to letting her sit there, but I think they thought I meant I couldn't push anymore or finish with the delivery) and I was grabbing in the general area. Because of that, they were asking if I wanted to touch her head and I immediately said no, lol. They told me she had a lot of hair and I wanted to push again. I was also yelling a lot during this time, I'm sure. :) It was the next contraction and set of pushes that were the last. They grabbed her and threw her up onto the blanket they had laid on my chest. She was here!
Maci Lynn Wilbrand
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
She arrived at 2:14am. Five minutes after my water broke, five minutes after the doctor arrived, 35 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. I couldn't believe it was over. It all went so fast that I had barely had time to process it. They let me hold her longer than I remember them letting me hold the boys. We were in love, our family was complete.
The next few hours were surreal. My parents showed up at 3:30 prepared for a long night of labor. I'm sure they were shocked when they saw Tony holding this precious baby in his arms. I wanted to surprise them when they arrived. I was supposed to have already been moved to the post-partum floor by the time they arrived, but I had been losing too much blood so they kept me there longer, meaning I didn't have to explain over the phone why I was moving floors to my parents! :) I had a short list of friends and family I intended to text when I was on my way to the hospital, so they could pray and keep in touch during labor. We obviously didn't have time for any of that, so instead they received a birth announcement via text.
I continued to have an usual amount of bleeding accompanied with light headedness so I got a shot to slow it down and was told to stay in bed as much as possible until it all slowed. But other than that, this is BY FAR the best I have ever felt after having a baby. No stitches, no tearing, no swelling or pain, and no cramping! I had energy (despite skipping an entire night of sleep), I was able to get out of bed (yay for no numb legs!!), and I just felt incredibly happy and content. Maybe it was not having an epidural, maybe it was the fast labor, maybe it was knowing that this was my last time going through this. Whatever it was, I feel so happy and blessed and incredibly thankful for this precious little girl and for our perfect little family.