You’d think I’d be a pro at the whole pregnancy thing for baby#4. But every pregnancy is different and I was so tired throughout and super smell sensitive.
The smell sensitivity started early the first trimester when shrimp were being cooked at my sister’s house for Christmas. Then a few weeks later Matt cooked up some tuna at home and the smell was SO disgusting. I didn’t fix tuna or seafood anything for months. I was very glad when that sensitivity went away. However, the smell sensitivity continued even in the third trimester…this time with my husband’s body wash he was using. Once we pinpointed what product it was, he stopped using it for my sake.
The tiredness was bad, partially due to anemia, but also due to having three other little kids to run around after. I kept waiting for the return of energy and feeling better with the second trimester but it never came. I survived rather than thrived through the pregnancy.
Another difference for this pregnancy was that we were going to attempt a VBAC for the delivery. The hospital in our town has a strict no-VBAC policy, which meant we would be delivering at a hospital in Oklahoma City, two hours away from us. I was NOT looking forward to a 2 hour drive while in labor, I can tell you that.
Labor with my first was 14 hours, my second was a c-section because she’d flipped transverse, and my third was also a c-section because we had moved across the country during that pregnancy and the hospital’s no-VBAC policy. with my third, labor started in the early A.M. hours of the day of his scheduled c-section. I had about six or so hours of labor with him and was only 4-5 cm when we got to the hospital. Because I’d not had fast labors we figured if we left right when labor started with baby #4, that we could easily do a 2 hour drive.
I had to have a few appointments with my doctor in Oklahoma City but thankfully he worked with my OB’s office in town so that I didn’t have to make the 2 hour drive for every appointment. My last appointment with him was scheduled for when I was 39 weeks. I wasn’t thrilled about driving there that day knowing that, more than likely, we’d have another trip to OKC soon for the actual delivery.
I was at my OB’s office in town for my 37 week checkup and I was 1 cm dilated. No big deal, though I’d never been dilated early at all before with the others. But at my 38 week appointment, I was 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced!!! That kinda freaked me out especially since it was still 2 days before any family would be arriving. I sat and did just the bare minimum I had to until my sister-in-law arrived from California. I didn’t want to do anything to have labor start before she was here to watch the other kids.
Once she arrived, however, I started cleaning and moving stuff around and walking around stores to encourage things to keep moving along. I was big and uncomfortable and ready for baby to come. We’d also had a last minute unexpected change of plans with the family help after delivery so I was totally okay with her coming early (so we could have the maximum amount of help after she was born) since she was already showing signs of wanting to come.
At my 39 week appointment with my OB in town, I was 3 cm dilated. All of this progression was without me having had a single contraction.
So I asked them about stripping my membranes, which they did. I’ve never had that done before but I asked for a few reasons:
1. Because I had already been progressing with dilation and effacement
2. I was okay with stripping the membranes because it was a more “natural” way to hopefully get labor started.
3. Like I said previously, we wanted to maximize the amount of time we had help after her birth.
They stripped my membranes on Monday, August 18. On Tuesday, August 19 I had my appointment scheduled in Oklahoma City.
Monday after my appointment I still had no contractions or anything. I finished sewing a play mat I’d been making that evening and went to bed.
I woke up the next morning at 6 A.M. and was rather disappointed that labor hadn’t started and assumed I would have to make the trip for my last appointment in OKC that day.
Cue 6:53 A.M. and the first contraction hit. Matt woke up at 7, right as I had the third contraction. He promptly handed me his phone with a contraction timer app on it…something I hadn’t even thought of preparing for! By this time I had already texted my doctor friend who had agreed to come by and check how far dilated I was to give us an idea of if we’d be able to make the trip to OKC. I timed a few more contractions in between getting clothes out to wear to the hospital. At this point I was still able to function between contractions. They were coming 2-3 minutes apart and lasting from 20 seconds to a minute each.
Matt knocked on the room his sister was in and told her the baby was coming. She got up and was taking care of the other kids while everything else happened.
It was some point very shortly after this that I pretty much lost all track of time and stopped timing the contractions. I had gone to the bathroom and at that point things started getting intense. I quite literally had no idea how much time had passed. Contractions were not spaced far apart and were super painful! It made me realize the labor I had gone through before was NOTHING compared to this. I’d requested drugs with the two labors I’d gone through before and these contractions made those ones seem like a very pleasant walk in the park.
I made it back into bed because Matt had been texting our friend and knew she was on her way over to check me. I had been in labor for less than an hour when she arrived and was moaning miserably in bed. She checked me and I was already at 6 cm.
At that point I knew I needed to force myself to get up and moving and that we weren’t going to make it to the hospital at OKC. Even with knowing I needed to get moving, I had a hard time moving at all with the pain. Matt suggested a bath to slow contractions down and I thought that sounded wonderful. I sat up in bed and moved to the edge when my water suddenly broke. I knew we had to leave then and I had to make myself get to the car. I was fully expecting to be mobbed by my three munchkins upon leaving my room but they didn’t. I was leaning on Matt to be able to walk so I’m not sure what was going through their minds.
We made it to the car and thankfully the hospital in town is at most five minutes away. It was still a miserable 5 minute drive. We parked right by the ER doors and walked in. Getting a wheelchair brought out to the car never occurred to me even though I had to stop and lean on Matt through a contraction on the very short walk in. We were met at the doors by someone with a wheelchair which I gratefully sat in. They took us to the admissions desk where Matt was handed a stack of papers to fill out.
I was incapable of speech at this point and was thinking, “Get me to a room! No time for paperwork!” I was pretty much stifling screams during each contraction and doing a pretty poor job of that. I noticed a kid about 12 in the ER with his mom and thought, “This poor kid is going to be forever traumatized by seeing this crazy lady in labor.”
Someone else came out and started to wheel us back. We got up to the right floor and into a room. It took me a couple minutes to be able to move out of the wheelchair and into the bed. Matt was very patient and encouraging. The nurses were telling me I had to get into the bed. Which I knew but I couldn’t move through the contractions. Matt was telling them I would get into the bed when I was able.
I made it into bed and I remember saying I wanted drugs. I had fully planned on getting an epidural with this baby. I also knew that if I was at 6 cm at home that if I had any chance of the epidural having time to take effect that I needed it ASAP. The nurse said she couldn’t give me drugs in that room or something like that. I think asking for drugs was the only thing I said because things were still so intense I couldn’t manage to talk. They checked to see how far dilated I was as soon as I was in the bed and said I was still at a 6. I thought, “Really?!? All this and I’m still at a 6?”
Since this was our small local hospital, the nurses were talking of prepping me for a c-section. They got the fetal monitor and contraction monitor on me and I despised them for it. I didn’t want anything touching my belly at that point. The nurses were flustered and kept scolding me to not push. At this point I was screaming through each contraction and squeezing Matt’s hand to death. Poor guy. He was still trying to get paperwork filled out for them. (Since we weren’t planning to deliver at this hospital we hadn’t pre-registered or anything)
The nurses kept scolding me about pushing and I think at least one of them was in and out of the room fairly often. Contractions were one right on top of each other at this point.
They checked again to see how far along I was and I was 8-9 cm. I was still being told not to push and I really wanted to just tell the nurses to shove it at this point. Had I been capable I probably would’ve just yelled at them because they were really annoying me. My OB came into the room and I was really glad to see him.
I was also finally not scolded for pushing. I learned the hospital uses stirrups for delivery which surprised me but I was just so glad to get to actually push that I didn’t protest. They gave me some oxygen to help and some coaching on pushing. I just had to concentrate through the pain to push properly. After pushing for a bit and her not coming, my OB mentioned using the vacuum to help get her head out. Which I didn’t want. I can’t explain it, I just didn’t want them to have to use a vacuum to help get her head out. I moved my legs out of the stirrups and braced my feet on the edge of them to push and she was promptly born.
It was a crazy wild ride. From the first contraction to when she was born, it had been 2 hours and 54 minutes exactly. From when we got wheeled into the room to her birth was only 28 minutes.
I never thought I was capable of a completely natural birth but I did it. And since things moved so quickly there was no time to prep me for a repeat c-section and I got to deliver at the local hospital. It really couldn’t have worked out any better, even though it was all unplanned.
And that is how our little 8 lb beautiful bundle of joy, Adalynn, made her entry into this great big world.