But apparently today is the day, now is the time, and I'm going to give it my best to remember every detail. I'm assuming much like Grayson's birth story that this will be insanely long and only interesting to myself and....well, anyone who likes super long birth stories, maybe. I'm also assuming that this will take several attempts to finish, so hopefully it will be done before his first birthday ;)
So I suppose we will start at the very beginning. Throughout this pregnancy I knew I wanted to attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I didn't have a traumatic c-section, but I HATED the experience, didn't want it to happen at all, and have been bitter and angry about it ever since because it was completely and totally unnecessary. So I researched, found one of the few doctors in this area who will do a VBAC, met with him, discovered why is is the legend in the DFW area that he is, and decided to go for it. From the first time I met with Dr. Cummings, I felt completely and totally confident that I could get my VBAC. He was honest about the risks but had no hesitation in saying that he truly believed I could do it. Even the husband felt totally comfortable going forward with the VBAC plan after that first meeting, and he'd had some reservations.
So when 41 weeks rolled around and I was still super pregnant with no signs of baby making his appearance, I started to panic. I google and research everything, and every indication was showing that women who go into labor on their own are more likely to successfully VBAC. Also, after 42 weeks risks of stillbirth rise significantly, so Dr. Cummings isn't comfortable going past that, and honestly I wasn't comfortable going past 41. So I had an appointment on Friday the 23rd, when I 40 weeks + 6 days pregnant, and had my membranes stripped. Dr. C said if it were going to work, I should be in labor by Saturday night/Sunday morning. After the longest weekend of my life, which included lots of walking, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, evening primrose oil capsules, spicy food, and so on and so on, I finally started having contractions on Sunday morning around 7 AM. At first I had no idea what was going on, it just felt like I was having horrendous menstrual cramps that never let up. After about an hour of the constant pain, it went away. Then throughout the rest of that day I had painful but not too bad contractions, sporadically, ranging anywhere from 10 minutes apart to close to an hour at some points. So even though I knew nothing was really happening, I was hopeful that we were on our way.
On Monday morning, the 26th, I woke up to get ready for an appointment with Dr. Cummings. He had told me on Friday that if I were still pregnant Monday that we would need to monitor baby and make sure things were still looking good, then talk about next steps. His office is about 45 minutes to an hour from home, and at about 7 AM on our way there I started having regular contractions. These were about 8 to 10 minutes apart, but they were consistent and more painful than the day before. At his office we ran some tests on the baby, had an ultrasound to check fluids, and talked about induction. I would be 42 weeks on Saturday (Halloween), and I knew I didn't want to get that far. He said he could admit me and induce that day, or we could do Friday. I knew I didn't want to be induced right then because I was still hopeful things would happen on their own, especially since I was having contractions, but I didn't want to wait until practically 42 weeks. So we decided if nothing had happened by Wednesday at 7 PM I would come in for an induction. Which made me panic, but I knew would be for the best if we got that far.
Throughout all of this I stayed in close contact with my doula, and she was giving me suggestions and telling me what her experiences had been like with other women in similar positions. She was super encouraging and informative, and after going through the entire long, drawn out process, I can say she was worth every penny. Even the husband agrees, which is really saying something. At this point her suggestion was to continue on with what I had been trying to induce naturally, but to try and relax a bit to see if that would allow my body to do what it needed to do. For the rest of the day Monday I had regular contractions, but they never got any closer together than about six minutes, and then they would slow back down to around 10. It was insanely frustrating and I couldn't believe how long it was taking. It was also incredibly painful, which was exhausting. I kept thinking that at any minute things would really take off, but they just never did.
By about 8 PM after I had put Grayson to bed I was feeling really discouraged and frustrated. A went to bed around 10, as did my mom, because everyone wanted to rest up in case we had to go to the hospital. Everyone, including my doula, suggested that I go to bed and try and relax, but of course I couldn't do that. So I decided to try and work him out in the most aggressive way I could think of. I didn't have a birthing ball, but I sat on the ottoman in the living room, legs spread as far as I could, and bounced and rocked and did everything I could think of to try and get him to moooove down while I watched some TV and tried to take my mind off of things. And finally, finally, I started having super intense, close (er) contractions. I did this for, oh, maybe two hours? I think I lost track of time. But I completely exhausted myself and decided ok, that's all I can do. I went and laid down, fully expecting my contractions to slow way down like they had the night before, but they didn't. I told A what was going on, and he started freaking out just a little bit. After a couple of hours of me monitoring things and realizing they were pretty steady at about 5 to 6 minutes apart, he decided we should just go ahead and go to the hospital since we were close to an hour away. Since I didn't go into labor naturally last time, we had no idea what to expect. I think he thought the baby was just going to come flying out of me once things got real and he wanted to be overly cautious. Oh, how very, very wrong he ended up being.
Right before we left for the hospitalWe got to the hospital around 3 AM, and they sent me somewhere other than L&D for monitoring. I was checked by the on call doc, and I was dilated to a two. This was incredibly annoying, because I had been at a two that morning when Dr. Cummings checked me. I could NOT believe no progress had been made. The nurse told me that the doctor wanted me to go walk the sky bridge for an hour and then she would check me again. There is a massive sky bridge connecting the women's center to the rest of the hospital that is a quarter mile long if you walk there and back, and I had heard many stories of women trying to walk their babies out on that thing. So I shuffled over there, put in my headphones, and started walking while A tried to nap in the most uncomfortable chair I'd ever seen. Since I may be a bit stubborn and am nothing if not determined, I decided I would surpass the hour they asked me to walk and kept going for almost two hours. At this point my contractions were about three minutes apart, and I had to stop and cling on to the wall for dear life when they would hit they hurt so bad. Luckily, at 4 AM there was literally no one in that bridge other than me, so no one was witnessing this little production I had going on.
Poor Hubs had it so rough.
Sky Bridge selfie
This doesn't do it justice.
I wanted to capture the massiveness of my belly from my POV. Still doesn't capture it.
About 5 AM I went back to be checked again, and I just knew that after all that walking something had to have happened. SURELY. So she came in, checked me, and said something along the lines of "Nope. No progress." and walked out. Needless to say, I did not love this on call doc. The amazing nurse that was in there came in to talk to me and explain things and basically said they wouldn't admit me since I wasn't showing any progress, but the doctor had prescribed me an ambien so I could go home and sleep. She was so encouraging and sweet, and knew I was going for a VBAC, and she said "I'll be back tonight at 6 PM and I expect to see you in here, and I know you're going to get that VBAC! I'll see you tonight! Get some rest, girl, you're exhausted!". At this point I was actually crying I was so frustrated, which is really saying something because I'm not a big crier. I was actually more along the lines of silently sobbing and trying not to have a massive meltdown in a public place, but whatever. So I popped the ambien and we headed home.
Not long after we left we started talking and decided to just get a hotel so we would be closer to the hospital. My contractions were still close and super strong, so we knew something had to happen soon. This all was happening maybe 10-20 minutes after I took the ambien, and it is seriously all a blur. I had never taken an ambien before, and OMG. Y'all. I literally started hallucinating. I decided I wanted Starbucks, so we went through the drive through. At this point it's about 7 AM, I've been in labor with regular contractions for about 24 hours with zero sleep, and I am actually seeing things. The strange thing is I remember most of it. I remember leaning over to A and saying "Oh my Lord. Do you see that?" While pointing at the wall of the Starbucks drive thru. Of course he saw nothing. I was like "No. OK. I know I'm not actually seeing this, I know I'm not. But do you see those gremlins? They're RIGHT THERE. I mean, I know they aren't there, but I SEE THEM. They are crawling on that wall." I also thought the carpet in our hotel was coming at me, trying to get me or something. He actually had to pretty much carry me (all 41 + weeks pregnant of me) into the hotel I was so out of it. We got in the room and I'm pretty sure I basically faceplanted (or whatever a pregnant version of a faceplant is with all that belly in the way) and passed out.
After I woke up four hours later, I was still having intense contractions that were somewhat close together, I'm thinking around 5-6 minutes apart at this point. Since we were still in town and we knew the baby was going to come...eventually...we were hoping....we decided to call and see if we could get in to see my doctor. Honestly, this part is really a blur. I think the ambien hadn't totally worn off, plus only four hours of sleep didn't do much for me. From what I recall we went to see Dr. Cummings right after the lunch hour, and he did another check. I was at an "easy three" he said, and since the contractions were close he said he was going to go ahead and admit me. This was probably around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I asked if we could go get some food since I knew I wouldn't be able to eat once I'd been admitted (live and learn since I was starving the entire time I was having Grayson), and he said sure but to get to the hospital as quick as I could. Like I said, all a blur, but we went through the Panera drive through, ate in the parking lot of the hospital, and eventually checked in around 4 or 5.
Since we are now more than 34 hours into this birth story, I think I'll consider this "part one". The next part is the exciting part anyway, so we'll save it for when I have the time to really get it right :) If you've hung with me through this much of it, hooray! I'll be back soon, I hope, to finish things up and share all about my (spoiler alert!) amaaaaazing VBAC experience. Yes, it really happened!