So here's Little Monster's birth story. I'm really thrilled that our doula did a great job recording it all for us, because I totally wasn't in a time-conscious frame of mind at all. It's taken me almost 6 weeks to get this done, so here ya be.
The night before the big event, I was commenting to the spouse that I decidedly fit in my clothes better all of a sudden and Little Monster must have dropped (and so take out the trash right now or something). At about 3:30am, I woke up either having wet the bed sneezing (ahem. not like that happens or anything...) or my water broke, so I got out of bed. Since I gushed the whole way to the bathroom, I figured it was clearly that my water broke. I sent the spouse to fetch the waterproof blanket and set it out on the bed to attempt to get some sleep.
By a little after 4, I started timing contractions and decided to get up. The spouse called the hospital and they weren't very demanding we come in, so the waterproof blanket and I set up to get some homework done. My contractions were reasonably regular and about 5 minutes apart by 5 or 6am, so we called our doula. We figured we'd wait around at home as long as possible, and my doctor had approved waiting until 2-3 minutes apart, so we figured we had some time. (Aside: if you don't own one, you totally should get a waterproof blanket like this one (nsfw). Greatest thing ever for a wide range of uses.)
About 9 the spouse was all "Isn't it time to go to the hospital yet?" and I said no. I peeked at my contraction timer and noted that the spaces between them were getting bigger... no good.
By about 10 though, I was totally soaked and tired of being soggy and cold and decided I was ready to go gush on some chucks at the hospital. The contractions I was having were moving from irritating to almost painful, so I was hopeful.
We made some pit stops and turned up at the hospital about 11am. The best pit stop was at the spouse's HR office to pick up the Family & Medical Leave paperwork, and a pregnant lady due in May was in line ahead with lots of questions about it (like 15 minutes of questions). Then the spouse gets to the desk and is all, "Yep, FMLA paperwork for me too, my spouse is in the car in labor" and everyone in the office is scampering around. Nope, not that exciting or speedy of a labor. Everyone else was so excited and felt the need to be in a hurry, but not me and mostly not the spouse.
We checked in at the hospital and got the official test to determine my water had broken (as if the gushing for several hours wasn't enough). My doctor stopped in to say hi and good luck as she was just finished being on call, and that my second favorite doctor in the practice was on call after her (phew!). I got my IV access set up (blech but life) and our doula arrived.
We walked around for an hour or so. My doula gave me a massage with an emphasis on pressure points that induce contractions. I was pleased that this worked, at least a little bit. We walked around some more. About 3 the doctor came in to chat, said no dilation checks yet because there was no need (phew no arguing needed), and we'd consider pito.cin at 5 unless things picked up since my water had been broken over 12 hours. At this point I'd say contractions were lasting for half the length of the hallway and happening every other trip up and down, so about every 5-7 minutes and about a minute and a half, but I kept walking through them.
So then it was 5, still not a whole lot for contractions, and it was time for the drugs. Having had several hours to consider, I figured that it was needed since our best efforts at getting contractions going weren't making any headway. I also figured we had at least an hour after the doc ordered it before it turned up, so maybe something exciting would happen in that time.
And of course, nothing exciting happened. I'd been in a pretty good head space all day, just waiting and being patient with my body. This experience was so totally opposite of the labor with the kid that I figured it wasn't worth expecting anything specific to happen. While no drugs stayed my goal, I also knew that my overarching goal was a healthy baby and a healthy me at the end. While waiting around forever for my pit IV to get set up (and an antibiotic since it was so long since my water broke at this point), the spouse and my doula and I chatted that I really absolutely didn't want an epidural but if we get there, we get there. To this point we'd hardly been in the hospital room, but the pit meant constant monitoring (blech) so we set up the hypnobabies to play on our little speakers.
Truth in advertising: I never finished the home study course. I'd scheduled it out to be finished at 39 weeks, which was clearly waiting too long. Oops.
I decided that I hate head phones so everyone could just listen to my hypnobabies track. We listened to the early labor track on repeat for quite some time, until I decided I was ready for quiet. The nurses switched shifts at about 7pm, just after the IV drugs finally got started.
To say the pit was effective would be an understatement. My sad little contractions perked right up even with a low dose and I decidedly had to focus on them and nothing else.
I was very pleased that the nurse was encouraging of me being out of bed or at least not laying around on my back. Most of the time after the pit was started I spent sitting in a wooden rocking chair, rocking through pressure wave after pressure wave. It was also nice to be able to get some counter pressure for my back by having someone pressing on my knees.
Sometime after 9 but before 9:30, the doc showed up to see if the pit had done anything besides make my contractions hurt more. I had dilated to a 3, so he went to take a nap and wanted to be woken up at 11:30 to check me again. Not terribly long afterward I just couldn't make it through contractions any more. For comparison, the contractions felt a lot like I remembered transition feeling (ow ow ow), except I had maybe 20 seconds between them instead of more like a minute and I could still feel some contracting between waves.
I opted to get an IV pain med at not too long after 9:30pm, but only half a dose to start with because I knew it was one that would make me very spacy at the usual dose. Our doula asked the nurse about it, the nurse scoffed that it would do anything, but I said I was sure I only wanted half the usual dose, so I got it. Unsurprisingly it was exactly what I needed to take the peak of the pain out of the waves and help me stay focused, but I could enjoy being spaced out in the brief pauses. Somewhere in here I decided I wasn't interested in the active labor track, either because I wasn't sure I was progressing or because I was just ready to focus in silence.
I will say that it was really nice to have the hypnobabies track playing for everyone. The nurse was calm, the lab person was calm, the spouse was very relaxed, it was nice. I hadn't expected that but it helped keep everyone else from getting over excited, which in turn was helpful for me to stay focused.
About 20 minutes later I got up to use the restroom, and it took me maybe 5 minutes to get out of the rocking chair with all the continuous pressure waves. On my way back, I felt the urge to push, so I skipped the rocking chair and moved to the bed to be checked to see if I could push soon. My nurse looked positively dumbfounded that I was fully dilated and she could feel Little Monster's head. It was less than an hour since I'd last been checked.
Then the scampering began. The nurse called the doc and told him to hurry, maybe 3 more people turned up, and by the time the doc got there I was fighting really hard not to push. He barely got his gown and gloves on with help. I pushed through maybe 4 or 5 contractions, and then we had a baby girl.
She screamed as soon as she was born and kept it up for a couple of minutes until it dawned on me to ask about skin to skin, which we "of course!" could do, and Little Monster was then silent and alert. About 10 minutes after she was born she started nursing and kept at it for almost an hour, shocking everyone because babies at about 37 weeks aren't usually so awake and alert.
I spent the first two hours of her life just saying wow. Quite the tiny miracle and such a surprisingly different birth experience, but pleasantly so for the most part (aside from the evil pit). I think a big part of me was hesitant to believe that things would go well, that she'd turn up healthy and happy. It's been neat to be proven so totally wrong. Wow indeed. My tiny miracle Little Monster.