Not Your Typical Labor

I woke up Wednesday morning around 1:00 am with contractions that were fairly far apart, enough for me to go back to sleep in between each one. By about 2:30 am I was waking up fairly regularly, probably about every 10 minutes. I knew they were not close enough to start timing since I had been having contractions that were about 10 minutes apart and then stopped for a couple of days before that.

By 3:45 am I knew I needed to start timing my contractions, and they were about 2-3 minutes apart. I started to think “maybe this is it?” but didn’t want to get my hopes up because I had similar situations happen to me the couple of weeks before. By about 4:45 am contractions started to slow down to about 6-7 min apart. Bummer! I figured this is probably just false labor.

 This pattern continued for a few more hours. The contractions never slowed down more than 6-7 min apart. Meaning, if I was sleeping at this point, it was for no longer than 6-7 minute intervals. At around 6:30 am I was tired and although the contractions weren’t terrible, they still hurt, so I took a bath to see if it would help me to relax enough to go back to sleep. The bath felt good and helped me through contractions, but they were still about 5-6 minutes apart.

Around 9:30 am they started to pick back up. I was getting slightly annoyed at this point because there was no serious labor pattern. I called my doula when they were back to about 3-4 minutes apart and told her what had been going on. She advised me that it did not sound like I was in active labor and to wait until they are regularly 3 minutes apart, longer, and stronger. At this time I knew there was no more sleeping if these contractions were going to continue.   I took my birth ball in the living room to bounce for a while. It was more comfortable to go through a contraction on the ball then to sit anywhere else.

 Basically this pattern continued all day long. Caleb and I stayed home. I went from birth ball to walking outside for a while to taking a shower.  Every time my contractions would get closer together and I would think maybe this was it, they would get farther apart. They were about 6-7 minutes apart with a random 10 or 12 minute interval thrown in. By the afternoon I was so tired I was lying on my side in the bed, and Caleb was amazed at how I would fall asleep for 5 minutes, then wake up for a contraction. I talked to my doula a few more times that day and she encouraged me to be patient until I was in active labor.

 By evening we were all hoping these contractions would just go away so I could get rest. Fast forward to 11:00 pm. Contractions were still in their sporadic pattern. René (my doula) mentioned something earlier in the day about a pain medicine shot that they could give me at the hospital so that I could get some rest. At this point that sounded lovely! I was exhausted, and if I was not in labor, I wanted to go to sleep!! I was at my wits end. So, I told Caleb to take a nap and I would wake him up at 12:00 am if my contractions didn’t slow down and we would go to the hospital. Sure enough, the contractions did not slow down so we called René, who met us at Ochsner around 12:30 am.

 They told me they would check me and monitor the baby and then give me the pain medicine. Much to all of our surprise, when they checked me I was 6 cm dilated and 90% effaced without close, regular contractions.  The on-call midwife wanted to admit me. At this point my contractions had slowed down to about every 10- 12 minutes.  I was exhausted and wanted to be in labor, but I was not having consistent contractions! We walked the halls, for what felt like forever, to try to get contractions to come. It seemed like I had 3-4 contractions within 1 hour… How frustrating! I just wanted to get rest or have a baby.

 We went back to the labor room and had to make a decision. Do we stay at the hospital or do we go home? I felt torn. It seemed like the on-call midwife wanted me to stay at the hospital, but we were all so tired. I stopped and asked God what I should do, and I had a peace about staying at the hospital.

 They gave me a light dose of pain medicine around 3:30 am that immediately knocked me out! Thank goodness! Rest! Caleb and I took a nap and woke up at 6:30 am. While I was on the pain medicine I had about 4 pretty hard contractions in the bed and didn’t want to stay in bed much longer.

 It was shift change at that time and I got a new nurse and midwife (the midwife I had been seeing throughout my pregnancy, yay!). She came in around 6:45 am. and said “Look, if you want to go home and get some rest you can. We can give you that shot and you can be in the comfort of your home.” So I thought maybe we should do that. Before making a decision, she checked me just to make sure I didn’t have any progress. Again, to our surprise, I was 7-8 cm dilated.

 We were all in shock! I had not had a contraction at this point in almost 30 minutes or more.  I was feeling much better after resting, almost too good. So, I took a shower, blow dried my hair, put on makeup, and ate breakfast. The few contractions I had during this time were light and very spaced out. People were looking at me like “there is no way she is in labor right now”. I was feeling good after resting, showering and eating.

 We went for another walk at around maybe 8:00 am. We walked on and off for probably another couple of hours. My contractions had picked up, getting a little more intense and a little closer together. I went back in the room and sat on the ball, stood and swayed a while, and sat on the toilet. Contractions were getting more intense so I decided to get in the tub.

 I labored in the tub for a while. I was in pain, but I still felt peaceful and I could even smile in between some contractions. We had worship music playing and my diffuser diffusing sweet scent of essential oils. I felt like I was not alone in this time, and the Lord was right there with me. After about 2 hours in the tub I got out. I knew I really needed to pee but I just could not. I sat on the toilet and had a couple of hard contractions.

 At this point it had been a while so we decided to do another check to see what was going on.  When she checked me, I was 10 cm dilated and 100% effaced, but I did not feel the urge to push. I was EXHAUSTED.  I remember thinking that if I could just go to sleep and take a break, it would be so much better. I could barely keep my eyes open I was so tired. I figured I didn’t feel the urge to push because my body was just done.

 They decided to give me fluids in my IV and then to give me some Pitocin to cause contractions. All I had to do was push this baby out! I remember saying, “If you could just tell me how much longer, I could get through this.”

 The Pitocin kicked in, and the contractions got hard! By this time I was squatting on the bed, leaning on the back. I was feeling the urge to push but my contractions still weren’t that close together. They ended up bumping my Pitocin up 4 times total. We decided to move to a side-lying position because I couldn’t hold myself up any longer. They put a HUGE peanut ball between my legs that opened my legs to what felt like 2 feet in hopes to turn the baby. All I know is, it must have been working because it HURT! It was a love-hate relationship because I knew that’s what I needed but it’s not what I wanted to feel!

 After changing pushing positions a couple more times we went back to side lying with some contraption to rest my leg on so that I was spread 2 feet apart again. The baby was starting to crown, and we could see HAIR! Well THEY could see hair. They put a mirror up so that I could see too.

 I was having contractions,­­­ and they were intense, but they were not close together. I honestly was thinking “my poor baby is going to have a cone head if I don’t get him out”. So, I started to push without contractions. I was determined! I remember as soon as I made up my mind, I WILL push this baby out with or without contractions I heard my mom say, “Paige has her determined look on her face.”, and she was right!

 After I’m not sure how long, my sweet baby made it into this world. Caleb looked at me, took a deep breath from crying and announced “It’s a boy!” I couldn’t believe it! It was over and the greatest reward in the world was lying on my chest. He was just beautiful and perfect! My body was exhausted and worn down but my heart was so very full!

 I want to give credit where credit is due:

 1.       My husband who stood by my side the entire time, from sitting in long birth classes to holding my hand throughout the whole labor.

2.       My Doula, René Johnson, for helping me stay at home as long as I did and helping me to know my options throughout the whole experience.

3.       Amy Linn, my midwife, she was just flat out awesome!!

4.       ALL of Ochsner staff for making me feel welcomed and loved and making sure I was as comfortable as possible while following my every wish with a big smile.

5.       My birth photographer who not only documented the whole thing but also brought me water, gave suggestions, and encouraged me.

If you are considering going natural let me know! This wasn’t something I decided that day to do, but something I planned for months ahead. I don’t know if I could have done it without the support groups and friends I have, the Birth Help classes, the Doula I hired etc. If you have questions, ask me and I’d love to share!

Paige Crawford