I can remember the feeling I had when I was nearing the end of my 3rd trimester and approaching my due date. My feelings were like a roller coaster-I was anxious, excited, scared and wondering how the hell am I going to get through labor? I was constantly wondering if I was going to be able to tell when I was starting the labor process and if I would feel those early labor signs. Believe me when I say you will KNOW when you are going into labor. Also, believe me when I say yes labor is scary as shit, but YOU CAN DO IT and that you are a lot stronger than you think you are!
My Labor Story
It was Valentine’s day weekend. On Friday/Saturday I started to feel very intense back pain and cramps. I knew that cramping and back pain were signs of impending labor and I was ready to get this baby out! I spent endless hours googling ways to get my baby out. These are some things I found and decided to try. On Sunday-I decided to go to the mall and walk a TON. I also walked my stairs at home, did squats and bounced on a yoga ball throughout the day and evening. I had my favorite of all time Chicken Riggies for dinner because they say to have spicy food. After dinner, yup, you guessed it I had sex in a warm bath (yup double whammy!) Go to the next paragraph if you are uncomfortable but I know some of you are wondering “how the hell did you have sex in a bath this far into pregnancy?” Let me tell you it was not easy haha! Luckily, we have a jacuzzi size tub that we could both fit in. I was on top with one of my legs down (like I was on one knee) and the other leg was up in a frog-like pose and boom we went for it!
After doing all of these things, that night at 12am I started to have contractions that were 7 minutes apart. They tell you to wait at home until your contractions are closer together (3-5 minutes apart) and to try to sleep. Ha, yeah right? I absolutely could not sleep through contractions. I laid in bed managing every contraction by having a pillow between my legs and squeezing each time. I used a contraction timer app to continue to track how far apart my contractions were. Well, at about 8:30am on Monday my contractions moved closer together and they told me to go on into the hospital.
When I arrived at the hospital I went to triage which is where you go before you are actually admitted to labor and delivery. They checked my cervix and I was only 2cm dilated at this point. I couldn’t believe it because I was already in pain with my contractions and if I did not become more dilated they would send me home. I became emotional and anxious about this process. They told me to walk the halls for an hour and due to COVID I had to stay on the unit so I literally had 1 hall to walk back and forth, back and forth and wait to see if I was going to be staying and having my son, or going back home. When I was done walking they told me they wanted to do blood work due to elevated blood pressures and to make sure I was not developing preeclampsia. I was dealing with some elevated blood pressures towards the end of my pregnancy so they wanted to double check. They decided they would wait to check my cervix when the results came back from the blood tests. Well, after about an hour went by it was almost 1pm--my contractions were getting very INTENSE and it felt like I was going to literally poop myself every time I had one and blood continued to leak out every contraction. Finally I made my husband grab the nurse and tell them they needed to recheck my cervix because my contractions were becoming unbearable. The nurse grabbed the midwife and they rechecked my cervix and I went from 2cm dilated to 9cm dilated within an hour! It was time, they transferred me immediately to labor and delivery, it was time to have my son!
It’s Time to Push!
They brought me back to labor and delivery to start pushing. I could not have any medication at this point because I was too dilated so I went all natural. This was my plan and hope from the beginning. However, I did try to ask for some pain meds in triage but because I was not actually admitted yet I couldn’t have anything. In the the end I was so happy that I went all natural. I pushed for two hours straight (yup 2 full hours!!). I used a squat bar which I didn't even know existed! I literally stood on the bed holding a bar and squatted down every time I had a contraction to push. Unfortunately, my contractions were so close together that I did not have a lot of time to rest in between them. I would get two good pushes in and then on the third push I would get stuck. This was effecting the ability for me to push my baby out and I was in limbo for a while. Finally after 1.5 hours of pushing I made some solid ground and Jameson was starting to come down the birth canal. They literally call it the “ring of fire” once you're at the tail end of pushing and the baby is making their way out. They call it this because that's literally how it feels like a ring of friggen fire! It burned so bad!!!! Luckily, the ring of fire does not last long. I can remember them saying he’s coming, he’s coming PUUUUUSHHHHHH and then the burning sensation happened and within a few seconds he was here! He finally made his arrival and it was the most amazing feeling in the entire world that I will never forget. The first time you lay your eyes on your baby is the most wonderful feeling. There he was my precious special baby boy. He was finally here.
During the pushing part of labor, I strained my face so bad that I popped all the blood vessels in my eyes and around my eyes. My eyes were so swollen that it was hard to even see my baby boy for the first time after he made his arrival. This was one of the worst parts for me during my labor experience. If I could do it over again I would’ve tried to practice more breathing techniques and pushing techniques. When they tell you to push like you are pooping literally, push like you have to poop that is when you will make the most progress. Don’t be like me and push with your face or you will end up with a face like me there is a picture below. I was so embarrassed that I felt like I couldn’t take any pictures with my son for those first moments or as a family with my husband and it took 4 weeks for my face/eyes to heal.
Tune in for more stories about my recovery process after labor including: what kind of tear did I have, how long did it take to heal, what products and things did I use to help in the healing process, how long did it take for my eyes to heal, my first poop post partum and so much more!