As you know, I recently gave birth to my second daughter, Victoria (Tori) Heather Welsh, on Monday, February 5th, 2018 at 1:22pm EST. I was 39 weeks plus 1 day in gestation, which is considered term, so she came at a perfect time!
My birth story is interesting – it was very random, then VERY painful, VERY fast and then of course concluded with the most beautiful thing a body can do. Here are the deets!
It was Superbowl Sunday, so of course right before Pink started singing the National Anthem, I felt contractions – because babies sure do know how to time the start to their arrival perfectly lol. However, let me back up a bit.
Although I was still 6 days away from my official due date, I was pretty desperate to have this baby ASAP! I was done being pregnant. Not that I had any complications during my pregnancy, I was just tired of carrying such a large weight in front me, going to the bathroom a trillion times a night, and feeling so much lower pressure in my butt and back. I was just over it. My first daughter, Whitney, was born when I was 37 weeks plus 6 days, and since they say your second babies tend to come earlier, I just had in my head that I would never make it to 39 weeks, but I did! I really did not want to be pregnant at 40 weeks, so I decided to go up my game with the natural ways of inducing labour at home*
*Note: it is not recommended to do any at home labour inducing methods until you’re at least 39 weeks. It is always better to wait until you’re full term at 40 weeks, but 39 weeks is the earliest. Always talk to your doctor or midwife first before trying anything as every pregnancy is different.
I read an article that provided a recipe for what was called “Labour Inducing Tea”, which is basically a very, very strong version of Raspberry Leaf Tea aka the pregnancy tea. I decided to try it out because I love tea and it also didn’t sound as gross as drinking castor oil! Boy oh boy was this tea STRONG! The recipe called for drinking 4 cups of it slowly throughout the day. I think I made it through about 1/3 of the pot before I started feeling contractions. This very well could all be a coincidence, because feeling contractions 3 hours after starting the tea just doesn’t seem like real life, but hey I don’t mind giving the tea the credit!
So, back to the Superbowl. I just finished making this awesome Bacon Wrapped Butternut Squash appetizer, Pink was about to start singing, and I was about to get started on dinner, until I felt the onset of contractions. I told my husband “I’m starting to feel things happening. Let’s time them and see if it’s anything.” Sure enough they were 2-3 minutes apart, lasting about 30 seconds long. They were more uncomfortable than painful at this point. I couldn’t walk through them, but I could still talk through them. I paged my midwife and explained what was happening, and she suggested I take an Epsom salt bath. This will help either speed along my contractions to active labour (because my body is more relaxed) or it will help regulate my early labour contractions. So I abided!
While in the bath my contractions went from every 2-3 minutes to every 6-7 minutes. My midwife said I wouldn’t need to call back until they get very intense. So at this point it was just a waiting game. When I was standing, contractions came every 2-3 minutes, and lasted anywhere from 20 seconds to 40 seconds long. When I laid down, they came every 7-8 minutes and again lasted anywhere 20 seconds to 40 seconds. This is what they call “bad labour” or “false labour”. True labour is when your contractions are consistently regular and continue to progress in intensity. My intensity never progressed, and the timing was all over the place. So at this point I was expecting the contractions to stop completely, which happens often after being declared as false labour. So we decided to just go to bed, take some Tylenol and see what happens.
My contractions never stopped.
The Tylenol helped a bit with the pain, but I woke up every 20 minutes having to breathe through them because they were slowly but surely getting more intense. After doing this for 9+ hours, we woke up for the day around 7:30am to get Whitney ready for daycare. This is when I noticed them getting more intense. Still manageable, but they were progressing. My husband gave his work a heads up that I may be in labour and that he won’t be coming in. We called our midwife again and she came by for a home check. I was 2cm dilated and 50% effaced (thinned). So my labour was going somewhere, and she said she expected me to have the baby today. She asked us to call her again when they were about 4-5 minutes apart and lasting roughly 1 minute long. At that point, we would head to the hospital. A couple hours later, my contractions were OUT OF CONTROL. They were very painful. I handled them best when laying down, because standing or sitting was just too painful for me. When laying down, they were every 6 minutes, but VERY intense. In fact, I even vomited because my body was going through so much pain. They were 6 minutes apart for about an hour, and I told my husband to call the midwife because I could not do this any longer without an epidural. My midwife agreed to meet us at the hospital to do another check on how far dilated I was so that I could get submitted for an epidural.
Getting to the hospital was BRUTAL! As I mentioned, my contractions were worse when standing or sitting, so I actually tried to lay on my side in the front seat as best and safe as possible. We made it to the hospital, but it took maybe 15 minutes to get to the birthing centre from the lobby as I refused to use a wheelchair. I told them sitting through my contractions was my worst enemy at that point. When we finally made it up there, my contractions were closer and closer together and at an all time intensity.
She checked my cervix, and I was 9.5cm dilated!!!! WHAT! This was the worst news of my life because I knew right then that it was too late for an epidural. But at the same time, it was good news because I was about 1 minute away from being ready to push. So I knew it was almost over!
My next contraction was the worst ever. It lasted way too long and I felt like I was ripping every muscle in my body apart. Then right at the end of my contraction, I felt her head poking out! I yelled at the top of my lungs “SHE’S COMING OUT!” My midwives turned around, saw her crowning and put me in pushing position. They broke my water, and 3 pushes later, she was out!
I was so overwhelmed that the minute they put her on my chest, I cried (like a baby, wailing and everything) for a solid 2 minutes, from pure happiness. I was so emotional.
I couldn’t believe that I just went through all of that pain.
I couldn’t believe how fast my labour progressed from just 9am – 1:22pm that day.
I couldn’t believe that she was finally here.
It was beautiful. And so was she.
My postpartum experience is a whole other story, in which I will write about next week. Hint: there was a very big scare. But all is well now with both baby and me :).