Before reading this, please know this is a semi-detailed account of Rowan's birth.
I feel like Rowan's birth story began a while before he was born. When we were 36 weeks, we were told he was still breech and we would likely need a C-Section. During the 36th week, we tried a few different things to get him to flip. By 37 weeks he had flipped. This is where I feel his birth story begins as this is when I started to see the signs that labor was coming. At this point, I had no idea that we wouldn't be able to meet him until 40 weeks and 1 day-September 7th.
After Rowan turned, I had all the signs of imminent labor. I could tell he had started to drop. I never had a moment of 'whoa...he dropped!', but my stomach changed shape and I could feel him lower in my abdomen. The Braxton-Hicks contractions also picked up big time once he turned around. None of them hurt still, but many of them were far stronger than they had been in the past. I actually felt uncomfortable sometimes. My stomach was frequently sore too from the workout my uterus was giving me.
Our doctor also told us we were beginning to dilate and thin during each of our next three appointments. At 37 weeks, we were 1 cm dilated and 25% thinned. At 38 weeks we were 2cm dilated and 50% thinned.
After our 38 week appointment, I woke up each day thinking "maybe today??" I knew my body was ready. But each night, I went to bed without going into labor. By the weekend (Labor Day weekend) I was a little discouraged. I really thought we would have gone into labor by then. After all, Rowan had been measuring a little bit ahead of schedule in his ultra sound...my body was displaying all the signs of being ready...we had everything in place and ready to go...so...what was the hold up.
Deep breath in...deep breath out. I spent Labor Day weekend reminding myself that Rowan knows when it's time to come out and he'll let me know when it's go time. Until then, all I could do is just take care of myself (and by proxy him) and relax as much as possible.
The week of his due date was amazing. My mom came into town on Tuesday so neither Ian nor I had to worry about cooking or cleaning. She was happy to take care of all of us. I also got to spend some time with my mom just hanging out. I only worked half days every day that week since I didn't have a whole lot to do at work and I was just mentally done with work.
When we had our 39 week appointment on 9/5, I was still at 2cm and had only gone up to 60% thinned. I was a little surprised. I felt so ready to go into labor at any time and had been having very strong Braxton Hicks contractions. I figured I would have progressed a little bit. Nope...sigh. Our doctor didn't want us to go any further than 41 weeks, so she scheduled us to be induced on 9/10 if Rowan didn't come on his own before then. Our job-go home and get ready for baby.
On our due date (9/6), I was SUPER tired all day. I just didn't have the energy for much of anything. So, I worked a half day and then went to go get a pedicure with Mom. We went for a short walk that night and I spent most of the rest of the night just laying on the couch. It felt great.
On 9/7 I woke up at about 4:30. I had slept great...4:30 was just when I had to get up to pee. At about 5:15 I started feeling real contractions. They weren't that strong, but started in my lower abdomen and like a wave went up the entirety of my uterus and then back down. They didn't last that long and were about 7-10 minutes apart. After about 30 minutes of contractions, I felt a rush of fluid. There wasn't a whole lot of liquid, but it was enough to fully wake me up. Contractions kept coming and after another 30 minutes or so there was a nother rush of fluid. I woke Ian up and we called the hospital. They forwarded us to our doctor who told us to come into the hospital. She said she wanted to make sure we were really in labor since my water had broken. I took a shower, Ian put all our stuff in the car and we eaded to the hospital. On the drive there, more fluid kept leaking out. No one told me that when your water breaks, it keeps on coming. I'm glad I put a pad on before heading out the door though...but still...eww.
Once there, we got hooked up the monitors and the nurse checked us over. She said we were 3 cm dilated and almost fully thinned. Rowan's heart rate was good and strong too-we were both in great shape! Our doctor said we had an hour to walk and make sure labor was going before she wanted to start Pitocin. So...walking we went! We walked through the halls for a solid hour.
When we got back to the room (it was about 8:45 at this time), contractions were about 2 minutes apart. They were consistantly getting stronger, but nothing too overwhelming. We got hooked up to the monitors again and the nurse checked our progress. I was at about 4cm and Rowan's heart rate was still nice and strong. At this point I was feeling pretty weak and shaky from not having eaten since about 5:30 the night before. The nurse got me some jello and a popsicle-a decision I would later regret. I sat hooked up to the monitors for about 30 minutes and at my jello and popsicle. Then we went out for a little more walking.
During the next hour of walking, the contractions became much stronger. I was struggling to find a position that felt comfortable. Rowan was pointed in the exact perfect direction (with his face towards my back), but that meant the back of his head was pressing against the lower part of my uterus-right where I was feeling the contractions-full force. If I was tilting forward at all, there was a lot of extra pressure which made the contractions more intense.
We got back to the room and I got hooked up to the monitors again. The nurse checked and I was almost at 5cm. She asked to 'play with my cervix' a little bit to get me up to 5cm. Between contractions, she stretched my cervix just a little (which was ironically the most uncomfortable part of labor) and she could say we were at 5cm. Good news with that-I could get into the tub. I was hoping to labor in water a bit to help with the pain and the nurse thought it would be a good idea to help relax my pelvis and allow Rowan to fully drop.
I got out of bed and we walked around the room a few minutes. I was still feeling really shaky and just weak all over. After a few contractions in the room, I got sick and immediately regretted eating that jello. The nurse gave me some anti-nausea medication in hopes it would make me feel better. Ian went to get me a sprite too.
The nurse said I should walk the halls for about 10 minutes to make sure our labor wasn't going to stall. While we were walking, she would fill up the tub. We did a couple of laps with some very strong contractions. When we got back to the room (it was about 11:00 at this point), I was starting to think I couldn't finish labor without getting medicine. Ian kept telling me I was doing a great job and that I could do this, but also said it was OK if I needed some pain medication. He was giving me the exact type of support I needed during our entire labor-it was wonderful. The anti-nausea medication hadn't fully kicked in yet, but it wasn't doing much for my nausea. My body just kept feeling weaker and more shaky with each step we took. I really hoped the tub would help me through labor.
I got into the tub. The first contraction in the tub wasn't that bad-strong yes, but manageable. The second contraction in the tub was the most intense feeling I had ever felt in my entire life. At that point I asked the nurse to call the anesthesiologist and have an epidural. I worked on getting out of the tub and had a couple of contractions in the process. They were strong, but not as strong as the one I had just experienced.
By the time I got to the bed, the anesthesiologist had come into the room. I don't think I said a single word to him, but just laid on the bed while he gave me the epidural. He tried to talk to me between contractions, but it didn't happen. Instead he just gave the epidural and headed out of the room.
After a few minutes, I began to feel some relief. I was in a complete daze at this point. When the nurse checked my progress again (at about noon), we were dilated to 9 1/2 cm! I had gone from about 5 cm to 9 1/2 in an hour-no wonder those couple contractions in the hall and the tub were so intense. Our nurse said she figured I went up to 8cm with that one contraction in the tub.
Our nurse left to call the doctor. She came in at about 12:30 and said we were fully dilated. She said it was time to learn how to push. We 'practiced' pushing for about 3 contractions and then they said it was time to push for real. We pushed for 2 1/2 more contractions-during the 3rd the doctor told me to stop pushing. I stopped and she pulled Rowan out at 1:09 pm. There he was...our little baby. It was crazy how quickly he came out once it was time to push.
Ian was amazing during the entire process. He never left me...except for once to go to the bathroom when he tagged out with my mom. He was positive and encouraging the entire time. He backed my decisions and never second guessed any decision I made. It was even better to see him become a daddy. He's continued to amaze me each day we're at home with Rowan. He takes such good care of him and me...I'm one lucky mom.
While our labor didn't go exactly as I had planned, I am so glad I elected to have the epidural. I don't know how I would have felt had I not had the epidural, but I do know my recovery has been...(dare I say it)...easy. I was sore in the hospital and very thankful for Motrin, but my pain was never terrible. I could get in and out of bed without any problem and walking down the halls actually felt good. I felt rested shortly after labor and even felt 'normal' after one night of 6 hours of sleep. And now, 2 weeks later, I feel as though I'm fully recovered. I'm off Motrin and feeling anxious to get back to a 'normal' routine. I'm definitely enjoying the time we have now to not have a schedule, but in a few weeks I'll be ready to start getting Rowan (and myself) on a schedule. After all, I am a bit Type A and thrive on a routine and structure. Ian's a bit more...relaxed, so I'm curious to see what Rowan will prefer =)