If I had any advice for first time parents regarding labor and delivery, it would be to have no expectations.
We did as much as we could to prepare for our son’s birth….we took a general pregnancy health class, we took a hypnobirthing class and we took a nursing class. We read books, listened to family members and we had friends and neighbors all give us advice on the process. Although these things were helpful, it’s pretty hard to prepare for the complete unknown.
I have a type A personality, so I had this crazy desire to have a plan and I really wanted to know exactly how things would play out in order to feel at ease with the whole process. There was absolutely nothing I could do to control the process, so it was quite hard for me to sit back and let things happen, but it’s all I could do.
I thought that hearing different birth stories from other couples was helpful for us so I wanted to share our’s:
The BM had light contractions here and there for weeks, so as our son’s expected date of arrival came so did the frequency of contractions. On the actual due date, they seemed to be picking up pretty regularly so we knew things were starting to happen. The following day, the strength of the contractions picked up as well. I downloaded the contraction timer app for my phone and started timing things as they picked up. We had our bags packed for the hospital and got things ready to go. We had an appointment scheduled with the midwife group that afternoon so we were thinking that they might send us over the hospital after checking out the BM. Contractions at this point were pretty steady and five or six minutes apart for hours.
My first mistake was EXPECTING the midwife to tell us to go to the hospital. Although contractions were matching up to the “head to the hospital” timing, the midwife informed us that the BM was not ready to go and to head back home. We were told that things had to pick up A LOT more and the baby was not going to be born any time soon. Later that night, things intensified as we were told they would so we called the midwife practice to let them know where things were and were told that the BM should labor at home and that the baby was still a ways away. The contractions got even more intense so around 9 that night we headed in to the hospital thinking that things must have progressed since our appointment that afternoon. I packed up the car again and we headed in. After being checked out at the hospital, we found that things had basically not progressed much at all and we were sent home.
Needless to say, we were quite frustrated at this point and had no real way of knowing how much longer it would take to get things to progress…hours? Days? We headed home and the BM’s labor intensified even more. This was the hardest part of the process for me as well because I felt completely helpless. I tried to do whatever I could to help, but when someone is in that much pain and discomfort, there is really nothing you can do. It almost killed me watching her go through that and hard for me to even bring back the memories of the time.
At around 11am the following day, we decided it was time to head in the hospital a final time. The BM truly could not take any more at home, she had not slept in two days and we were just spent at that point. When we arrived, the midwife took a look at the BM and she had only progressed another centimeter or so. We were told that they would monitor her for an hour or so then maybe send her home again if things weren’t going anywhere. After an hour or so, we realized that the BM was so uncomfortable with labor pains and exhaustion that she was unable to relax enough for her body to progress. Thankfully, the baby was checking out fine all along. We discussed options with the midwife and decided to get some drugs to help the process.
About two minutes after the epidural was given to the BM, she was able to talk, relax and even took a nap. The relief that she got was amazing. For her, it was definitely the best decision. I was even able to relax knowing that she was comfortable. The nurse and midwife left her alone for a little, coming in regularly to check on things. About three hours later the midwife came in to check the BM and she was fully dialated and asked if she was ready to push. We were both so happy and elated about how things progressed after the epidural, it was truly amazing.
Our son was born about twenty minutes later. I was able to assist with his birth and care after he was born which was truly amazing. The BM was a complete rockstar. We were truly blessed to have an excellent birth and happy, healthy baby boy.