41 weeks pregnant. Kaisa was born on the day I officially became 41 weeks pregnant. That’s the most pregnant I have ever been.
Cana was born at 38 weeks gestation (labor induced due to pre-eclampsia), Loyal was born at 40 weeks and 2 days, and Judah was born at 38 weeks (also induced for pre-eclampsia). Once you hit that estimated due date, it’s hard not to become anxious for the big event. Even though “full term” is supposed to be anywhere between 38 and 42 weeks pregnant. I read that eating fresh pineapple could help bring on labor because of a certain enzyme found in it. I ate 2 entire pineapples by myself within 2 days after my due date. It didn’t work. I tried walking around more, lifting the heavy overfilled laundry baskets that I had been making Josh move around for me before. Nothing. I tried using evening primrose oil and drinking red raspberry leaf tea as natural methods of preparing ones body for labor. I busted out the exercise ball and bounced and bounced and bounced. Nope. Nothing. Well, I shouldn’t say nothing. After all I had been having contractions anywhere from 2-5 minutes apart (depending on the night) for several hours (sometimes all night long) every night for weeks. 4 weeks. And before that I had been having them every few days or so, just not as consistently. So it wasn’t exactly true that nothing was happening, it’s just that the same thing kept happening, and then eventually stopping. There were a handful of times that I was really starting to think that those sessions of prodromal labor were going to become true labor. At least twice I was so convinced, I was about to head in to labor and delivery, and then it stalled out. Prodromal labor was not my favorite thing ever. When you have so many false alarms, it really makes you second guess yourself once labor actually HAS begun. Anyway, this is what happened. On Friday January 4th, 2 days past my due date, I was complaining to a few friends about how I just wanted labor to start, that I was desperate to avoid induction this time around. And one of these friends recommended I buy some Love Your Labor oil and have it shipped priority, so that it would arrive by Monday. Find the oil here:
Now I didn’t really believe that it would help, but I was getting desperate because I knew my doctor wanted me to consent to being induced for being “post dates” or past my due date. Even though everything I had read in pregnancy books, or literature handed to me FROM their office told me it was normal to go as long as 42 weeks pregnant. And even though I was having non-stress tests twice a week as well as weekly OB appointments to make sure the baby was ok. And she always looked great. In fact the day I was 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant I had a normal OB check-up. Everything looked good, doc shook my hand and left the room. Just when I was about to leave, his nurse came in and nonchalantly informed me that my induction was scheduled for the following Tuesday at 5am. I was in shock. Nobody asked me, they just signed me up and told me that was what I was going to do. I didn’t even argue with her, I just left, came home and wrote my doctor an email saying I wasn’t comfortable with being induced, since I wasn’t even 41 weeks yet. All that to say, I wasn’t sure that the labor oil would do any good, but at that point, I was desperate, and I thought at the very least it would smell nice and perhaps feel good used in a massage. And after reading the story of a friend who used Love Your Labor Oil it seemed at least hopeful that it could help me. Her story is here:
So that Monday I was anxiously awaiting our mail delivery, watching out the window. When it came I was so excited, but I was also nervous. I was afraid it would do nothing. I was also afraid it would work! By the time the mail came, Josh was already at work, and I didn’t want to use a bunch of the oil, have it work fast and be stuck at home with all 3 kids and no husband. But I couldn’t leave it unopened after waiting all weekend for it. So I decided to open it up and just dab a little bit on my wrists so I could smell it, and rubbed the teeniest bit on my belly, this was at 5pm. Very shortly after I started having mild, random contractions. This wasn’t unusual for me, so I didn’t pay much attention to it at first. But by about 10pm I realized that the contractions were stronger and coming consistently so I started timing them. Five minutes apart. I decided to wait until Josh got home (around 11pm), rub some more oil on my belly, sprinkle some on my pillow so I could smell it while I slept, and go to sleep. I’m not sure if I kept contracting through the night or not, because I slept fine all night until about 6am, when contractions started waking me up.
It was now Tuesday January 8th and I had a non-stress test and OB appointment scheduled for that afternoon. I decided to use more oil and really try to get things going, hoping that I would be in active labor and then wouldn’t have to go in for the appointments at all. So I poured a little labor oil into the bathtub, climbed in and slathered oil all over my belly, chest and neck. I also kept a rag nearby with oil on it for frequent sniffing. I think my bath lasted 2 or more hours. I kept adding hot water. Contractions continued all day long, 6 minutes apart, but not serious working contractions yet. And so I headed off to my appointments. I had the NST first, and everything looked great. The monitors were picking up my contractions, and they started to hurt a bit more, but I still wasn’t sure. Headed to see my OB at 5pm. He checked my cervix which was dilated 3 centimeters. Then came the fun part. My doctor trying his darndest to convince me I should be induced. Right then. Only because I was almost 41 weeks pregnant. I argued that my blood pressure was good, and my NST was good and it’s not uncommon for women to go as late as 42 weeks. He agreed with me on all counts, but said that all doctors have horror stories about babies not surviving, that he wasn’t trying to scare me, but that he had a patient whose baby started moving funny in her belly, so she came to the hospital and the baby seemed fine at first, but then later appeared to be in distress so they took her in for an emergency c-section but the baby didn’t make it. He never claimed she was post dates, but maybe she was, I don’t know. Either way, I don’t know how that story related to me. I feel terrible for the family who lost their child. But everything appeared healthy for me and Kaisa, so I wasn’t going to be induced which would put me and baby at risk for many things (uterine hyper-stimulation (which I did experience with both previous inductions), uterine rupture, baby in distress, emergency c-section…) without medical reason. He was visibly angry that I wasn’t going to consent to induction at this point. He wanted to make sure that I knew that he was going to write in my chart that he highly recommended induction, and that I refused. I said I was ok with that. He left the room and came back saying that he consulted another physician and they agreed that I should be induced that night, and he just wanted me to know that. I told him, I had been having contractions every 6 minutes all day long, and they were starting to get stronger, that I really thought I was in early labor and would probably have the baby that night, or the next day. He shook his head and left.
When I got home, I used more Love Your Labor Oil and started bouncing on my exercise ball. By the time I got all the kids to bed and ate a little something, it was 9pm and contractions were definitely picking up in intensity. I sent Josh a text message letting him know I was fairly certain that she would be born that night. He asked if he should come home early, but I told him not to. By 10:30, I was sure this was it, so I called my dad and asked him to come pick up the kids. I felt bad that I had to wake the kids up, and I felt worse for my parents who would have to put them pack to sleep after having their rest disrupted like that. Cana was slightly confused and grumpy, but went to her grandpa’s car without much fuss. Judah barely woke up, as I was buckling him in. Loyal was the most confused and he just kept climbing back in bed. But finally they were all off and no sooner had they left, did Josh pull into the driveway. Things were definitely picking up speed and intensity, I was leaning over my ball and vocalizing through contractions. But I could still chat between them, so I thought I had better labor at home a while longer. My lower back was hurting, so I had Josh rub some labor oil into my back. After that the pain got much worse and I headed to bed to try and relax better through it. Josh didn’t like that, he thought we should leave for the hospital then, but I had only just entered my “serious” phase, and all my Bradley Birth books, told me I should labor through my serious emotional signpost at home for a while so that I didn’t show up at the hospital too early. After about 30-40 minutes in bed I realized I was having a harder time managing on my own and called for Josh to start the van and call labor and delivery and tell them we were coming in. I was afraid labor would stall while traveling to the hospital, but that was not the case. Back labor set in hard and it is not easy to find a comfortable position while riding in a car and hitting bumps in the road. Luckily there was little traffic and we got there very quickly. It seemed like each contraction was harder at this point and every time I moved I had another one. I had a difficult time getting out of the van and into the wheelchair Josh fetched for me.
By the time we got to the hospital it was 1:30am. After I got gowned up, a nurse was trying to help me into a wheelchair so they could move me to a different room and the gown kept flapping wide open. She was sweet and kept trying to cover me up, but it just annoyed me. I didn’t give a rip if she wheeled me down the hall stark naked. I was too busy to be bothered by such things. And if you know me at all, you know that that is really saying something! I found that standing and leaning into Josh was the only way I could relax through each contraction. She asked me if I wanted an epidural. I have always strived for a natural childbirth, but I have always failed. I decided to have my cervix checked and I would decide after that. Remember at 5pm I was a three. When they checked me again at 1:45am, I was only a 4. And by now I was HOWLING through each contraction. Not knowing how much longer I had to go, I asked for an epidural. The process for getting the epidural seemed to take forever. First there is paperwork to sign, call the anesthesiologist, give me an IV and wait until they have given me and entire bag of fluid, listen to the anesthesiologist tell me about the epidural and how it works, and what I need to do, get me in position, and wait for my contraction to end before inserting the needle… it took FOREVER. Once it was in and I settled into bed again, I could tell it was working a bit, but it was uneven, my right side was feeling a lot more pain than my left side. And the pain on my left side was slightly dulled, but not like it should be with an epidural. They told me to give it a few minutes and it would kick in. But after waiting a while, they could tell I was still way more uncomfortable than I should be so they gave me another dose. I was still waiting for it to fully kick in when I felt my water break. Right after that I announced that I was feeling pressure. The nurse asked if I felt like I needed to push, and that she would check me if I felt the urge to push, but that she would wait a few minutes to check me if it wasn’t urgent. I didn’t really feel like I had to push yet, so I said she could wait. After a couple more contractions I said I was feeling a lot of pressure and that she might want to check me. Now it was about 2:40am. Remember less than an hour ago my cervix was only a 4. There was never a chance for them to find that I had completely dilated. I never got to hear what all laboring women long to hear, “You are 10 centimeters dilated!” Instead when she checked me she announced, “Yep, you have a baby in your vagina!” Ha! The nurse told me I could push, and had another nurse rush out to find the doctor. After about 10-15 minutes of pushing, she was born at 2:55am. There was meconium in the amniotic fluid, but she breathed and cried right away, so they put her on my chest. She was so beautiful! By 3:15am she was already nursing. She weighed 8 pounds and 11 ounces and was 20 3/4 inches long. Her apgar scores were both 9.
Well, I could say more, but it took forever to get all this out, with 2 breaks to nurse the little muffin, and another break to put together a pan of enchiladas for dinner. I’m exhausted. I’ll leave you with a few pictures.