Warning: this post has the potential to freak out those who have issues with medical squeamishness. You have been warned.
Okay, so before I give you Cora’s actual birth day story, I would like to provide a little back story. You see, my OB had been monitoring my platelets this pregnancy. For the majority of my pregnancy, they weren’t alarmingly low by any means, but low enough to keep an eye on. Your platelets help clot your blood, so you can probably understand why they are important during childbirth. The last two months, mine had been holding steady at 107 (150 is normal), but last week they dipped to 86. Not great news, especially considering that many anesthesiologists won’t give you an epidural when they are below 100. On Friday, October 4th, in the late afternoon, we saw the perinatologist, who gave me steroids to boost my platelets… solely because I wanted an epidural. She wasn’t concerned about them otherwise, because they weren’t scary low. It was to take about 48 hours for the steroids to take full effect. Baby girl was due October 6th, and I was induced a week late with Bug, so I wasn’t super worried about going into labor within those 48 hours.
Onto her birth story:
Around 7:30 on Saturday morning (October 5th), I woke up to a mild crampy contraction, not unlike those that I’d been having for a few nights. Right after that contraction, I felt a gush. Not a large gush, mind you, but a gush nonetheless. Since I had never actually gone into labor with Bug, I thought that my water had broken. So, we packed up, woke up Eli, took him to Nana & Pops’ house and went on our way to the hospital. I was having really mild contractions every 8 minutes or so. The doc on call (Dr. Stephens) checked me, I was only 3-4 cm dilated, but 80% effaced, and it turned out that my bag of waters hadn’t actually broken. Just a bunch of other lovely pregnancy related stuff had dislodged. The doc sent me home, saying he’d probably see us again within 72 hours.
I spent most of Saturday in early labor… very manageable contractions, roughly 6-10 minutes apart. Nothing that I couldn’t talk or walk or make brownies with my little man through. Hubby and I spent the day at his parents house with Bug, who sadly is sick this weekend. We watched college football, Hubby & Pops played 18 holes of golf, we napped, we ate brownies. It was actually a really nice day. I started to have more severe contractions around probably 6:00 that evening. Still about 6-8 minutes apart, but didn’t really care to talk or walk through them. We put Bug to bed and ate dinner and I went to lay down and try to relax. Contractions continued to get stronger and closer together. At this point, we were really just waiting for the 5-1-1 sign. Contractions 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long for at least an hour.
At 10:15, I had a really strong contraction and immediately after my water broke. Like, for reals this time. No mistaking it. Hubby said he heard it pop. So, again, we packed up and headed for the hospital. On the 30 or so minute drive to the hospital, contractions were impossible to talk through and about 3 minutes apart. Thank God it was late enough at night (in our retiree city) that there wasn’t much traffic. Also, thank God we had a towel in the car. We checked into Labor & Delivery just after 11:00. Yeah second time going to the hospital in one day.
When you check into L&D at our hospital, they take you into triage to make sure that a) your water really did break and b) you are really in labor. The charge nurse walked me into triage, saw a gush of fluid go down my leg and walked me right back out. I was hooked up to fetal monitors and had IV fluids by 11:15 or so, at which point the nurse checked me and I was only 4-5 cm dilated and still about 80% effaced. Read: not a lot of progress from the morning.
They took my blood to check my platelets to see if by chance they had gone up enough to get an epidural. Contractions were becoming pretty unbearable at this point. I could still breathe through them, but only with much needed coaching from Hubby. So the nurse checked me again. At 11:40, I was 5-6 cm dilated. The nurse said she could pretty much feel my cervix melt away, so she decided to call the on-call doctor (Dr. Stephens) just in case. The next 15 minutes were agony. There was a lot of screaming on my part, and I’m pretty sure I asked (or yelled, whatever) for help more than once. You know how labor looks in the movies? That was me. My amazing, incredible nurses and my calm, incredibly supportive husband were life savers in trying to keep me focused. It was somewhere in there that I realized there would be no epidural. I asked and my nurse was like, “No, the baby is coming.” At about 11:55, I told them I needed to push. They called the hospitalist (the OB employed by the hospital to be there 24/7 just in case your doctor doesn’t get there in time). He got there just in time to catch baby girl. I think I pushed 4 times. It took like 8 minutes. She was born at 12:04 am on her due date. Punctual little thing. Dr. Stephens missed it by like 2 minutes. He did get there in time to do my stitches, though!
So, let’s recap here: We went from my water breaking to having a baby in less than 2 hours. I went from 5-6cm dilated to having a baby in less than 30 minutes. With no drugs. Crazy. Town.
There never was time to send my blood off before delivery. They sent it off afterwards and my platelets were 137k. Soooo, the steroids worked, but the irony is it didn’t matter even a little bit.
In the end, I am really proud of myself for giving birth without an epidural. Hubby was sure I could do it the whole time, especially when I wasn’t so sure of myself. Our bodies amaze me. I felt so out on control during that final transitional phase of labor… but when I felt her crowning, I began to calm down a little bit. I felt like I could breathe again. I mean, there was still some intense screaming as I physically pushed, but at that point it was mostly a release. I’d also like to note that I feel much better after this birth than I did after Eli. I am less sore, less swollen. I don’t know how much of that is second baby and how much is super-fast birth. I could walk to the bathroom right after giving birth, with very little pain, which I am pretty sure is all no epidural.
Cora is perfect. She’s tiny and petite and beautiful. Because her trip down the birth canal was so quick, her little head is perfectly round and her little face isn’t swollen at all.
With so much love and blessings, we welcome Cora Hale to the world… Born 10/6/13 at 12:04 am. Weighing in at 6lbs, 7oz and 20.5 inches long.