Substance and Soul

Henry's Birth Story

MotherhoodSamantha WetterholmComment

SO, I had another baby.

On Sunday, July 31st (at 38 weeks + 4 days)… 

Wait, lets back up. Apparently, my labors like to dwell in the prodromal/pre-/early labor phase for days, NAY, weeks before kick starting into the real deal, active labor. I started having regular, consistent, and oh-so-real feeling contractions around 36 weeks, painful and regular enough that I had to stop working a couple weeks before I had planned. (My dental assistant would comment that she knew I was having contractions while treating my patients because my ears would get all red.) Therefore, I finally went on maternity leave at 36 weeks + 5 days. Woo!

Now if you have ever experienced long and drawn out prodromal labor then you'll know how exhausting and draining it is - both physically and emotionally - and I was beyond ready to hold my son and just give birth alreadyyyy.

Thankfully, my mom had some up a couple days before to help with Emma. I was racking my brain about what we would do with Emma if I went into labor and my mom was not here, but thankfully she was here so we did not have to take Emma to the hospital with us. 

I had a prenatal appointment several days earlier and my OB/GYN said that I was already at 3 cm and 75% effaced and it would be “any day now”. I would just have to reach a certain threshold for them to get-a-going.

Daaaays later, cut to me still at home, contracting away and not in the best of moods (read: the crankiest person ever). 

This is the face of, "let's get the show on the road".

I woke up on Sunday morning after having been contracting all night and I was just O V E R it - hence the bad mood. The contractions were somewhat regular and were about 5-8 min apart. Not getting closer together, but definitely getting worse. I wanted to stay at home as long as possible, but Paul and my mom were encouraging me just to “get checked”. I did not want to go all the way to the hospital (only ten min away but still) just to be sent home. But I finally agreed to go in because I was just so uncomfortable and miserable and ready to throw something at someone. 

So I packed up my toiletries and we threw the hospital bag and pillows in the trunk. Emma gave me a half-hearted hug as Paul and I left because her Mamaw was there and way more entertaining than her cranky/laboring mother. 

The construction on the freeway made the car ride bumpy and miserable but when I finally got to the hospital in the triage room the contractions slowed to 10 min apart and of course I rolled my eyes to the heavens because I was convinced they would just send me home. 

We arrived at the hospital around 10am and apparently a million women came into the hospital at once because it took a while for the midwife to come check me out, but it gave me a chance to close my eyes and “rest”. When the midwife came in, I told her my symptoms and that I’d been contracting for THREE WEEKS STRAIGHT. She sympathized of course and checked me out. She said I was at a “big three” (whatever that means) and that my cervix felt like butter (also, what does that mean?) and that when labor got regular, she’s sure I would deliver before her shift was over that day. (Are you sure? Reeeeally?)  

She told me that because my contractions were a little too far apart to get admitted, she could give me a dose of pitocin to help get them a little closer together. Paul and I talked about it and we agreed that it was time to just get the show on the road because I was no use to man or beast in my current state. 

Finally around 2pm I was taken to my labor room, they got the IV hooked up, and started me on the tiniest drip of pitocin. I always hate the IV part but my nurse had a magic touch and it barely hurt this time. When I had my appendix out they stuck the IV in my HAND which is completely horrible so the wrist IV was much better.

I was on the fence about an epidural, not because I was opposed to medication but because it was so strong with Emma that I could not move my legs AT ALL for hours and hours even after Emma was born. After about three hours with my contractions every four minutes they checked me again and I was at a whopping 5cm. (WHAT?! HOW ONLY 5?!) The contractions were regular (and pretty painful) and I was getting impatient (after laboring for three weeks, I felt entitled to my impatience). 

I was handling the pain and Paul was watching golf but we decided to kick things up a notch and they broke my water. (Side note: that was probably one of the strangest feelings on planet earth. Not painful, just weird.) But as soon as the midwife broke my water, they saw that my water had a lot of meconium in it and gave us a little heads up that they might need a few extra pediatricians on deck. They weren’t too worried, but were glad to have labor progressing to make sure he was alright. 

Now, they did warn me that once my water broke, labor should pick up and BOY were they right. They broke my water around 5pm and immediately things got more intense. Lots more moaning and groaning from me and a few more hand squeezes (death grips) for Paul. I finally asked for my epidural and it was very hard to stay still for it because my contractions were getting more painful by the minute. But they got it in and cranked up the juice.

At this point my contractions were - OW, OMG, PLEASE STOP - and I could not feel that my epidural was helping. I noticed my toes were tingly and slowly my legs were becoming more numb, but as far as the rest, I could feel every single unpleasant thing. Apparently I kept asking (aka screaming) why my epidural wasn’t working and the anesthesiologist suspected that my labor was progressing just too fast. 

TOO fast? I had no idea there was such a thing. Of course this made me ask myself why I waited so long for my epidural. Live and learn. 

At this point my contractions were one on top of the other and I was pretty sure my pelvis was going to break in half. I felt the urge to push and kept screaming, “I need to push, I need to push!” And Paul in his calmest voice said, “well then, push”. 

Thanks for that. 

The midwife was off with another patient so my nurse was helping me out and coaching me through the pushes. I started pushing at about 7pm and I holy MOLY did I wish that my epidural worked because, OW. I think I made did some pterodactyl/banshee screaming because my midwife came running in (probably wondering who was dying). I could not stop shaking and I was convinced I was actually dying (no, I’m not dramatic at all). I was convinced nothing was happening and that he wasn’t moving because I pushed with Emma for THREE hours and thought that I was just destined to have big-headed, stuck babies. But Paul, the midwife, and the nurse reassured me that he was right there - “He has lots of hair!” they said - and finally with all my might he burst onto the scene at 7:27pm. 

They placed him on my chest and I wept uncontrollably. Thankfully I did not need any repairs and they did all that lovely (A;LFDSKJAK;F) pushing of my uterus to get the bleeding to stop (seriously, whyyyyy?!). He hung out on my chest for a good long while and then did the weighing and measuring. 7 lbs, 14 oz and 20.5 inches. I was up and walking shortly after and thanking the good Lord that I did not need repairs. We eventually made it to my postpartum room and called my mom to check on Emma (sleeping peacefully, didn’t miss us at all, thanks E). 

So there you have it, I think. I think I’ll call this labor the longest short labor ever or the shortest long labor ever. (?) Long because I was pre-laboring for a good three weeks and short because I was only hooked up and laboring for five hours. Maybe the next one will not torture me with weeks of prodromal labor. HA.

But he’s here and he’s perfect and these past three weeks have been a crazy ride.

Absolutely perfect. Stay tuned for Emma and Henry meeting for the first time.