My due date was July 4, and I went in for a check up July 6 after not being dilated at all week prior. Doctor said I was 1cm on July 6. The morning of 7/7 comes and my hubby (Dan) goes to work like normal. I feel crampy around 8am but think it's just normal and has happened before. I shower and start to feel cramping in my thighs. I darken the living room and put on a movie as we talked about in class. I can't concentrate on the movie at all!
I text with my doula, Anne, and she says eat a nice breakfast and start to use the TENS machine. I hook up the TENS and text my hub around 10ish to come home because I still don't feel right. I have more intense burning in my thighs and am not coping as well just breathing. I text Anne that I can't focus anymore and am not able to text anyone. I am not able to eat breakfast. I throw up all the coconut water I had been forcing myself to drink that morning.
Dan takes the train home from work gets stuck in train traffic. By the time he is home around 10:45, I need counter pressure on my thighs for relief. I have bloody show and there's just so much blood; way more than I expected. He tries to make me eat cereal I can barely get it down. The TENS machine provides some relief. He tries to time contractions but can't keep up with caring for me and the app. It feels better to sit on the toilet and I start to want to bear down.
Anne comes and it's a relief! I can barely talk to her. It doesn't feel good to side lie or hang over the ball or couch. I end up giving myself a hemorrhoid from bearing down for relief. No positions we try feel good; all I want to do is sit on the toilet and bear down with each contraction. They keep telling me to stop pushing!
My water breaks—like actually what you see in the movies: A pop and a large gush all over the bedroom floor! Dan is freaked, but Anne is calm and reassuring. Dan later admits he thought the baby would be out with it on the floor, LOL! Dan calls our Doctor to tell them and my contractions are 3 minutes apart and lower back counter pressure doesn't feel good. I keep telling them I'm bearing down! They say come in to the hospital now, like I knew they would. Dan makes me a protein drink like he takes at the gym since I hadn't been able to get anything in me since the morning.
I wanna push! Anne suggest we call Uber since I was pushing and not listening to them. Trying to pant through was tough!! Gripping their arms felt good! I left marks on Dan's arm from gripping so hard. I say I want to go to the hospital! I knew that it would be okay to push there and that's what was bringing me relief.
Uber comes around 1pm. Dan forewarns him I'm in labor but water already broke. I'm going through so many pants and pads already between bleeding and leaking fluid. Car ride seems to take a while; I try not to look at traffic. I'm able to eat a little bit of a Cliff bar (thanks Anne!). I can talk in between contractions; they don't last too long, but I don't think anyone is really convinced I'm as far along now and progressing so quickly. I had wanted to stay home for as long as possible and knew once my water broke I was on a "clock" but I didn't care; I wanted to push and knew I could do that at the hospital. Driver keeps beeping his horn; Anne is calm and tells him to stop!
I bear down in the car and throw up a little more from trying not to. I make eye contact with Dan and breathe with him. He has me panting and trying not to bear down. When we get to the hospital I'm moaning loudly—being loud and vocal felt good ! I'm hunched over the security desk and they get me a wheel chair. I can hardly see at this point; everything is a blur. I'm wheeled in right away and doc says, "You're 10 cm dilated and ready to go!!" I say, "I can push!??" Doc says, "Yes!" Phew, it feels so good! It's about 2pm and there is no time for the antibiotics for my GBS strep. Doctor mentions an epidural (how it's always an option), but I just kept asking to push. I try to move myself so I'm higher up but doctor explains the angle is best lying more down. I'm given a hep lock but remember still advocating for my birth plan despite being so far along.
I go through what seems like 5 rounds of pushing. I didn't mind being coached or told what to do. It wasn't bad until she started crowning. The doctor asked if I wanted to see or feel; I say no, but he encourages me to feel her head. It's soft and mushy. I know where and how to bear down but am not giving it my all because, well, crowning sucks!!
Note about photos: This particular hospital's protocol was for partner and doula to wear a mask for the pushing stage. This is not standard in most hospital settings in NYC at the time of posting.
I have energy and feel so elated his was the exact birth I wanted! I'm on a fetal monitor but all is well. I scream a little about how much it hurts, but she's out! She comes out crying and we have immediate skin-to-skin and breastfeeding. More painful is the after birth stuff. Doc says I'm bleeding a lot and trying to get the placenta and everything out is not fun. They hook me up to oxytocin (aka pitocin) and I remember just questioning everything being so informed from class. (Lisa's note: read more on active management of this 3rd stage of labor, which is standard in NYC hospitals)
Doc says I didn't tear! Dan gets to cut the cord and do skin-to-skin as well. She gets her Vitamin K shot and I wipe off her antibiotic eye cream (Erythromycin) after it's administered (Lisa's note: In NY State, these two newborn protocols are required, not optional—see info here). There is no room ready for us upstairs, so just us—the new family of 3—get some intimate quality alone time together to just take it all in. Dan is in awe and so proud, and I feel like a superstar champion! It was everything I could've asked for! There was no time for any interventions and it was just picture perfect!
Note: This is posted, as always, with permission from new mom Alyssa, with minimal edits.