Ok, where were we? Oh yes, we left the hospital around 11am and I realIzed I was going to eat hopefully my last big meal, so we went for some pizza. I was having contractions off and on but nothing steady. We drove the hour-long drive home and I busied myself cleaning, doing this and that. At about 7 pm I noticed that my contractions were changing. They were going from just a little tightening to slightly uncomfortable and were a steady 6 mins apart. I texted my doula, who suggested a nap to see if labor was really here to stay.
I woke up from my nap at about 9:30ish and HOLY COW. So this is what they meant when they said I would have trouble talking through a contraction. Not only that but they were about 2 mins apart and lasting longer than before. I had Stephen call our doula, who talked to me through a contraction and said yep, it was go time. In typical fashion we left about an hour later. This next part is my favorite part of the story 😉
I had no idea my labor would progress so quickly. I had planned coping techniques for a long drawn out labor. A special rosary. Playlists. Flameless candles for ambiance. Little did I know I wouldn’t even have time to remember any of this. With John I literally had never even felt 1 contraction by the time I went back for surgery, so this was uncharted territory. Praise God my husband is a faster driver than I am. I was a bit worried I was going to give birth on all fours in the back seat of my van. These contractions were strong, and there was hardly any break between them. Of course it was raining and I’m pretty sure my husband still broke the sound barrier getting us to the hospital. Remember I was going for a VBAC and I had been told many horror stories of uterine rupture, so I really wanted to get on monitor ASAP.
We get to the hospital around 11pm and head to the garage to park the car…the walk to the ER was the longest walk of my adult life. More than once I was brought to my knees by a powerful contraction. My husband and best friend were troopers through all of this. Ever watch a movie where a crazy lady stumbles in the ER in the throes of labor. Yeah that was me. No shame here. It was glorious. I was positive baby was coming out right there in the ER entrance. I was feeling a need to “bear down” and just so much pain. They quickly wheeled me back. I was crying desperately for the labor and delivery nurse or my doula. They checked me, and I was fully dilated at arrival. When a labor and delivery nurse finally showed up I screamed “oh, I love you!” She was able to help me get my breathing under control, and my head focused. By midnight I had been wheeled up to my labor and delivery room, doula, husband, and photographer bff in tow…
I met my midwife that was on call. Her first name was Kathleen, and I will never forget her. 🙂 We got started pushing pretty much straight away. This was so much different from the experience with my son. I could feel the contracts helping me progress. I had hope. 100% honesty, I don’t even remember the contractions being painful during this part. This is what labor was meant to be. Then an hour had past. With each half hour that passed I began having flashbacks to my last labor. I couldn’t help but starting to feel discouraged after a couple of hours when baby hadn’t lowered any more. We had tried several positions and nothing was working. 1 more hour of pushing passed. My hope was pretty much gone. I was exhausted. The midwife suggested getting an epidural to see if that might possibly help relax and help baby move further. So even though I didn’t originally want it, I got an epidural… Sitting still for that epidural was the most painful part of labor for me. My husband said he will never forget the terrifying look in my eyes as he held my hand while I had to sit perfectly still through contraction after contraction. Thankfully the epidural went in with no issue and I still had limited feeling to help with the rest of labor. The midwife suggested that I take a nap for a couple hours and then they would come back for pushing.
A nurse came in to alert me that it was getting close to time to start back up and I just fell apart. I turned to my husband and doula and through the tears I said “I’m just so “flipping” tired.” (You can use your imagination as to what word was actually said) at this exact moment my sweet little midwife walked in through the opposite side without my knowledge. I was completely mortified. I don’t use language, but it gave us all a good laugh and helped us buck up for the next hour ahead. With each push, I began to realize I wouldn’t get my VBAC. Now that doesn’t mean I wasn’t giving it my all, you better believe I was. This was just all to familiar. After one hour, my midwife very sweetly held me and told me that there just wasn’t any room, that baby just couldn’t get past my extremely small pelvis. Time for a c-section. Honestly I had never been so happy as to hear those words, and best of all I would be awake this time.
Baby was doing fine on the monitor so I had to wait a couple of hours for a OR. Surgery started. Having a caesarean awake is so bizarre. Don’t get me wrong I’m thankful I got to hear my baby girl cry, but the pressure. Hearing doctors talk about my insides, that they are looking at. Yikes. Caesarean took a little bit because I had really pushed baby down with all those contractions. Then she was here. 7 lbs 1 oz of perfection, looking just like her momma. I got to see her and give her a little smooch, before I passed out from exhaustion.
I know reading that you might think, oh poor Valerie, but y’all. That was the most healing experience I could have had. I got to labor. I was allowed to experience everything I missed out on before. I know without a doubt now what happened and that I tried absolutely everything.
What followed was not ideal. Recovery was ROUGH. I put my body through the ringer with all that pushing. Then I also developed an infection at my incision that landed me in the hospital for a week. I struggled accepting this. I started having panic attacks, which looking back now, was the beginning of postpartum depression. One day while my husband was out walking the halls getting some air he ran in to our midwife from that night who was confused as to why he was still there. She then came and sat in my room just talking through everything with me for nearly 2 hours. I can’t tell you how much this meant to me. I can’t say enough about the midwives.
I have more to say, but this one got really long, so I’ll do a part 3 tomorrow with lots of emotions, and things I learned through all of this.