Our rainbow baby boy was conceived on my 42nd birthday after 2 years of trying, which involved considering fertility treatments, 2 early miscarriages, and giving away all the baby items I had stored away. Every ultrasound, test, and experience related to this precious baby boy was a miracle.
I had a supportive pregnancy band, which allowed me to work out at a high-intensity gym up until 37 weeks of pregnancy! Each time I completed a 60-second set of cardio or lifting, I thought of breathing through contractions and enduring labor well.
After a long labor with my first baby, I hoped that the second time around, labor would be faster, but not too fast. Due to my age, many of the OBs at my practice were not comfortable with me going too far past the due date, although every scan revealed that the baby was growing and thriving well.
I enlisted a doula who was supportive of my choices throughout the birth and helped me think about every intervention offered to me. Towards the end of pregnancy, I had appointments with two very different OBs at my practice. One was newer, and younger and helped me schedule an induction, which I later canceled. One was closer to my own age, patient with me going as far past my due date as I desired, yet still cautious. I needed both!
At 38 and 39 weeks, I was only about 1.5 cm. I lost my mucus plug gradually in the 38th week. I was then offered and accepted a membrane sweep at 39 weeks. The patient doctor said it probably wouldn’t do anything, but with induction day looming, it was appealing to try to avoid a long stay in the hospital, waiting around for cervical ripening. Additionally, I was present for my sister’s second child’s birth. She had a sweep and gave birth 6 hours later!
While my labor did not start immediately, I did start to feel occasional “gas pain” while walking around the next 2 days, including one contraction that woke me up in the middle of the night on Thursday night and Friday night. I made my husband go with me to the library that Saturday morning in case things amped up and I needed help, but I was aware true labor could still be a week away or more or a matter of hours.
At around 2:30 AM on his due date, I felt another larger contraction, got up to pee, and discovered my pants were wetter than I thought they would be. It was not sweat: my water had broken. I tried to put a normal pad on and saw clear water leaking out. Thankfully, I had purchased disposable underwear for postpartum recovery. With each contraction, fluid gushed.
I woke my husband up, thinking we should race to the hospital, but instead called our doula who encouraged us to stay home, rest, and try to wait for labor to start on its own. However, she did say, “You will most likely have a baby tomorrow!” So, instead of going directly back to sleep, I packed my daughter’s lunches for preschool for the next 2 days, did some laundry, and then got some rest.
When we woke up the next morning, I called the on-call doctor – the insistent one – who told me I should go directly to the hospital. I knew I did not have any medical reason for doing that, so I told her I would wait until lunchtime and then decide, having read that most women go into labor on their own within 6-12 hours.
My husband and I had a beautiful day together walking around our neighborhood while grandma watched our 4-year-old daughter. I had some contractions in front of her in our bedroom, and I hope she remembers that having a baby doesn’t have to be exceedingly painful. Later in labor, I returned to the beautiful walks in my mind.
When we arrived at the hospital, I was already 3 cm and 50% effaced. I was very grateful not to have to go through cervical ripening or any other procedure to induce labor. By the time I was brought into a labor and delivery room, I was 5 cm, and agreed to start the lowest dose of pitocin to bring my contractions closer together. After about an hour, a pattern was established of contractions coming every 2-3 minutes and I quickly progressed to 8 cm!
With each contraction, I was able to maintain a good rhythm, slowly dancing with my husband, moaning, and having my doula provide counter pressure on my lower back. I could feel the ramp-up to each contraction, the intense middle part and the coming down from it. I even lunged between contractions to get the baby’s head hitting the correct part of my cervix! It felt great to work with my body; in my previous labor, I felt that I had to try to relax through contractions and had a difficult time doing so.
When I began to feel things in my crotch and butt in addition to the contractions, I asked for the epidural, and it was given just in time. After a short time on the epidural and rotating in different directions with a peanut ball between my ankles to open up the cervix further, Tobias arrived at 11:45 PM just in time for his due date. I had the shivers for an hour afterward (I did not previously know this was a side effect of an epidural), but thankfully, they subsided. He is a great gift! His name means “God is good” and enjoying him reminds me of God’s goodness daily.