On October 3 I woke up at exactly 1:34 AM, thinking I had a bathroom emergency. My stomach was cramped and I was very suddenly very uncomfortable. I was 39 weeks pregnant and had found out the day before that I was only 2 centimeters dilated.
I could have my boy at any moment, but that day was probably not the moment.
I sat on the John for a few moments before realizing there was nothing happening. I refilled my water bottle and climbed back into bed, my husband lightly snoring.
And then my stomach cramped again. This time, however, I knew that this wasn’t a pregnancy emergency bathroom run.
And this wasn’t Braxton Hicks.
I grabbed my phone off the nightstand and made note of the time.
I also checked the text message that I received from my sister, weirdly enough, at 1:34 AM. #sistermoment
After a few minutes I realized I wasn’t falling back to sleep. So the dogs and I left the bedroom and took up residence on the couch, turning on the next episode in my Grey’s Anatomy binge. In my head I was thinking I would have a few more contractions, but fall asleep watching TV within the hour.
It isn’t baby day, I told myself. I had already convinced myself that I was going to be at least a week late, not five days early.
Flash forward an hour and there was no sleep in sight for this mama.
My contractions started out at 7 minutes apart. Within half an hour we had hit five minutes apart, lasting at least one minute each.
Maybe this is baby day!?
At 2:36 AM I went back into our bedroom to let my sleeping husband know that it was more than likely baby day.
“Really?” He asked, still half asleep. I nodded yes, let him know we were already at the 5-1-1 rule, and that he should go back to sleep.
My contractions continued to come just about every five minutes and lasted a minute or more for the next four hours. At that point I was thinking, this isn’t as bad as everyone said, and that I was going to have no problem delivering this baby without an epidural.
Oh. How wrong I was.
At 6 AM I decided I would jump into the shower. The contractions had steadily gotten stronger and were now coming every four minutes. Ben woke up at this point as well and made fun of me when he realized I was in the shower shaving my legs. I didn’t have anything else to do so #whynot?
Now, Ben was nervous as soon as he woke up. He made a pot of coffee and took over timing my contractions with the Baby Center app on my phone (highly recommend even if it’s only for the contraction timer!). He paced around the house and asked me if I was okay with each passing contraction. I reminded him that I was already a good four or five hours in and that I was fine.
Around 8 I decided that I needed to try and sleep a little. The contractions were still bearable and were still coming every four or five minutes.
Ben climbed into bed with me and snuggled up, rubbing my lower back because I had started to feel very tight and uncomfortable there.
When I laid down two things happened.
1.) The contractions got way stronger.
2.) They didn’t come every four minutes anymore.
I was able to get about 3 ten minute naps, each broken up by the strongest contraction I had had yet.
We then called our OB and let them know that we were in labor and that we were going to continue laboring at home. Ben and I decided that at noon we would reassess how the contractions were feeling and see if it was time to go to the hospital.
I spent the next three hours dealing with contractions, again coming every 3-5 minutes. We took the dogs on a short walk. I rolled my hips around on the exercise ball. I cleaned the dinning room and kitchen.
By 11 Ben was so worked up that he began double checking the hospital bag and loading the car.
If you’re pregnant and wondering what I packed in our hospital bag you can read all about it here!
We left for the hospital at exactly 12:00 PM. My contractions were much stronger at this point; I was no longer able to walk or talk through each one.
When we got to the hospital and into triage (at which point we found out that Ben forgot his phone at home) I was still a ball of energy and adrenaline, even with the contractions. I was nervous that they would send us home and that I hadn’t progressed as much as I thought I had.
But, thank you Jesus, I was 3 centimeters and 90% effaced! I was admitted around 1:30 PM and wheeled down to our Labor and Delivery room.
It was baby day!
A little known fact, sitting in a hospital is incredibly boring. Ben and I took a walk around the L&D wing, watched HGTV, and talked about the fact that we would soon be parents. The contractions continued to increase in strength and intensity but I muscled through using every trick from our unmedicated birth class.
Around 4 our nurse asked if we were open to the doctor breaking my water since I had only progressed another inch in dilation. I said heck yes, let’s get this how on the road. Unfortunately, the doctor was pulled into an emergency and wasn’t able to stop in until much, much later.
At 6 PM my MIL and SIL arrived along with my sister, who made the trip to Cincy from Erie after working night shift (she’s a nurse!). I was still able to talk and interact at this point and told them about my night and everything up until that point. It was really nice to have other people there with us to talk to, we had grown tired of HGTV pretty quickly.
Within a half hour, everything changed.
As I moved into transition, my contractions increased and I could feel them in my back and radiating down my legs. This had been going on from the beginning, but was quickly becoming unbearable. I began to struggle coping with the pain and breathing through it.
Shout out to my amazing husband at this point. Ben was so supportive through this part of our labor. He rubbed my back, held my hand, hugged and held me while I was sitting on the toilet trying to pee (for the 10th time). He let me cry and yell and I am tearing up now just thinking about how amazing he was.
My sister held my hand and encouraged me, telling me that I was doing great. My mother-in-law ran back and forth to the sink to get cold rags on my forehead and neck.
My blood pressure spiked at some point and I had to be put on a medication for the hypertension. This however, was thanks to the pain of my back labor, and the speed at which the contractions were coming. The nurse couldn’t get a blood pressure reading without me having a contraction. They were back to back and there was no break for this mama.
At 7:15 I looked at my husband and told him I couldn’t do it, get me the drugs. I, the girl who passes our from getting her blood drawn, was no longer worried about the epidural. I needed the pain in my back to stop and I needed a break. The nurse asked if I would like her to check me first and then I could make my decision.
As she put on gloves I told myself that if I was 7 cm dilated, I wouldn’t get the epidural.
I was only 6 and expressed very clearly that I wanted the drugs and I wanted them right then and there.
At this point I had been awake and in labor for 18 hours.
I was exhausted.
At 8 PM the anesthesiologist came in and everyone but my sister had to leave the room (Ben did not want to see the epidural…wuss.)
In ten minutes, I was a new person.
The contractions still continued, but I felt nothing. I was talking and laughing with everyone and felt 100% better.
*disclaimer, things are about to begin reaching TMI levels*
At 8:30 (four freaking hours later, but whatever) the doctor came in and broke my water. Lemme tell ya, that was the weirdest feeling ever. Around this time I also had my first experience with a straight catheter, something I was incredibly nervous about but that was no problemo after the back labor contractions.
My mom and other sister (who is 13 btw) arrived around 9. I tried to take a nap at some point but was too excited now that I couldn’t feel pain. We chatted and laughed and really just had a good time.
The epidural? So worth it. However, I will go into my next birth (yes there will be another, more on that in Part 2!) with a plan to go unmedicated as well. To this day I do believe that I could have had him naturally if I had not been having such bad back labor.
Around 1AM I began to feel pain in my lower left abdomen again. The nurse checked me, I was complete! However, baby boy was turned the wrong way. The nurse put me on a peanut ball (which is literally the same thing as an exercise ball but shaped like a peanut) and called the doctor.
Now I decided I needed to nap while we waited for the doctor to get back to the hospital and was able to sleep for about 45 minutes.
At 2AM I woke up and pressed the nurse call button without a word to anyone else.
I needed to push.
My team got into place while the L&D staff got everything ready around us. I really don’t know everything that was going on at this point because I began to get very nervous about what I was about to do. Pushing was the part I was most nervous about through my whole pregnancy. To this day I do not understand how my boy’s head made it through the birth canal. Even Ben, who watched this happen, is still amazed.
Now, about pushing, I am a first time mom and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Add in the fact that I still couldn’t really feel my business down there, and I was at a loss when we went for our first practice push.
My nurse checked me again after that first practice and as the next contraction came rolling around she told me, “push where you feel my fingers.”
So I did. Then I knew, oh that’s where he is!
I did a total of 4 rounds of pushing, including the practice round, and within 18 minutes my son was on my chest and crying. His cry was, and still is, the most amazing sound I have ever heard.
My first words: “Hun he’s actually cute!”
Ben’s first words: “That’s my kid!”
Isaac Richard Hovey was born at 2:26 AM on October 4, 2018. He weighed 7Ibs 15oz and measured 20.5 inches long.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Our 4 Night Hospital Stay, coming tomorrow!