Finally, here's Taylor Grace's birth story! Well, the first part of it. The rest will be up next week. It only took 10 weeks :)
My due date was April 13th, and since the hospital we used was a 2 hour drive from our house we decided that James would drive me down on Sunday, April 10th so I could stay with my parents. They live about 10 minutes from the hospital. The plan was for James to have dinner with us and then head back home. Before we left our house that day, I asked James to pack a bag for himself, just in case.
Well, I started having contractions on the drive down. Nothing strong or consistent, but they were definitely there. They came and went throughout the day, and around dinner I thought maybe my water had broken. I'd listened to and read a lot of birth stories, and I knew it wasn't always a gush. Since I wasn't sure, James suggested I call one of the midwives and ask. He didn't want to leave if things were getting started.
The nurse I spoke to suggested we come in and get checked. Since it was a Sunday night we had to go through the ER, which meant I was put in a wheelchair and wheeled back to the Labor & Delivery Triage. They hooked me up to all the machines and checked things out. I was having pretty regular contractions, but they weren't painful. It turned out my water hadn't broken either. The nurse who checked me informed that I was 90% effaced, 2 centimeters dilated, and the baby was at -1 station. She assured us we would have a baby soon, maybe within hours, but that we should go back to my parents' house and wait.
Note to all medical professionals: please don't tell a first time mom she will have her baby within hours unless you are positive she will. That tiny little sentence that the nurse probably never thought twice about definitely changed my birth experience. More on that later.
That being said, I know L&D nurses work super hard and I'm so thankful for them. I'm sure this woman had no idea how much her words would affect me.
Thanks to the over excited nurse, James decided to stay the night. I started tracking contractions, but I was able to sleep because they still weren't terribly painful. We woke up Monday morning pretty sure we would have a baby that day. We went on a walk, I bounced on the yoga ball we'd brought, and we just hung out with my mom who had stayed home with us. By mid-afternoon the contractions were coming close together and getting strong, so we headed back to the hospital. Again I went to triage and they hooked me back up and checked me. I was 100% effaced and the baby was still at -1 station, but I hadn't dilated much more. The midwife suggested we go have dinner and walk around for a few hours, then come back. So we went to my favorite Mexican restaurant and walked up and down Main Street. We bought a red headband for the baby and a Melissa & Doug fire truck, then headed back to the hospital. Nothing had changed. I was still having pretty regular contractions, but they weren't strong or consistent enough. We went back to my parents' house and went back to walking up and down their long driveway.
Thankfully it was a pretty rainy week, so James ended up staying with me on Tuesday as well. At that point I gave up tracking the contractions and just went with it. I was trying various natural induction techniques (clary sage oil, eating pineapple, chugging pineapple juice, etc), but Tuesday came and went with little change. I had my 40 week appointment on Wednesday, so we decided I'd just hold off until then. We also decided that James would get up early on Wednesday and go back to our house to check on our pets and get some more clothes. The bag he packed on Sunday wasn't meant to last this long. But he was going to try to make it back for my appointment. Meanwhile I kept trying things like chugging pineapple juice. (The plus side to all those visits to triage? I ended up with several of those hospital cups.)
Contractions started to pick up throughout Wednesday morning. They were getting closer together and I was really starting to feel them. James made it back just before my appointment, so we went in for my regularly scheduled appointment. However, when I was getting checked into my appointment they noticed that I was having contractions and sent me back to triage.
Yes, that was my third time going to the triage area.
They checked me yet again. I swear, there's something about that room that just shuts down my labor, because the contractions that were coming minutes apart nearly stopped completely. The midwife said I was a little more dilated than the previous visit, but not much. At this point the midwife started talking me into an induction.
Here's part of the reason I ended up agreeing. One of my dear friends, whose baby was due three days after mine, had given birth earlier that day at the same hospital. She knew which midwife was on duty and who was coming up, and shared that knowledge with me. The midwife working that Wednesday was my least favorite one, and she would also be the midwife on call all weekend. The midwife scheduled to work on Thursday, the day they suggested I come in for an induction, was one of my favorites - she's also probably the crunchiest :)
That Wednesday afternoon, facing the prospect of being sent home yet again, I agreed to an induction the following morning after being assured that we could try several things before using Pitocin. This entire pregnancy I swore I wouldn't be induced, but there I was signing the papers. In addition to the midwife issue, I also think I was feeling pressure by family and James's work schedule. None of that pressure was intentional at all, but I was feeling it either way. And everything was magnified because we'd been so sure the baby was on her way on Sunday night!
I'm going to break here for now, and next time I'll share the actual story of her birth. I've already written most of that part, so it will be up next week. I promise!