The ride to the hospital was pretty terrible. I ended up turning around in my seat so I could be on hands and knees for the contractions because sitting was not working for me. In between contractions, Ted and I talked about how crazy this all was and hoping against hope that they wouldn’t send me home. At the hospital, we had to park by the ER since the labor and delivery doors were locked for the night and I had to stop and lean on both the bike locks outside the doors and a bench right inside. I wanted to walk, but allowed the insistent wheelchair guy to help me, which probably was a good idea as it was a pretty far ways to the L&D floor.
We arrived at the desk at 9:59 and they were ready for us. A nurse took me back to triage and quickly checked me before hollering to the midwife across the hall that she was needed. I was dilated to 7 or 8 cm with a bulging bag of waters.
When we got to our room, I felt most comfortable leaning my arms and head on the bed while swaying back and forth and moaning low, trying to get back in the zone I was at home. We had an amazing group of nurses helping who got me all checked in almost without me noticing. I had to use the bathroom at one point, and the midwife seemed a little worried that I was going to deliver the baby in the toilet. Which was oddly comforting in a way-it meant she thought I was probably close.
My legs started feeling a little wobbly, so I climbed on the bed and rested on my knees with my arms and head draped over the back of the bed. I actually had heard this position described in a birth story podcast I listened to earlier that day, and decided to give it a try, which was lucky because it worked pretty well for a while. During this phase, my mind was alternating between panic and just letting my body take over and not trying to control anything.
The midwife (who, amazingly, was able to be there through the whole labor) heard me starting to make different noises during contractions and asked me to move to my side so she could check if I was fully dilated. At this point, I was feeling very pushed to my limits and starting to wonder if I would be able to do it, so hearing that my dilation was complete was a huge relief.
I had a lot of fear about pushing left over from Julian’s birth. That time, I was expecting pushing to be such a relief, but my exhausted body just wanted to sleep and didn’t want to do the hard work of pushing. I felt some of the same frustrations this time-why did I have to read all those birth stories where the baby’s head just pops out without the mom straining every muscle in her body-but did feel some relief from contractions as I bore down. And the breaks between contractions were a little longer. Dread for each contraction and excitement for what they were bringing battled it out in my mind. At a few points during pushing, I felt like I was outside of my body watching it all happen.
My water still hadn’t broken and the baby was getting very close to being born. The midwife said this was the closest she had ever been to having a baby born “in the caul.” Finally, with one last huge effort, the head was born and the membranes broke all at once. The baby’s body followed quickly, with only a tiny push and then our baby was here! All that build up to know if we had a boy or girl and the only thing I cared about in the moment was that our perfect baby was on my chest and that the labor was over. But Ted peeked and announced that it was a boy. Our Everett Oak was born at 11:17, one hour and eighteen minutes after arriving at the hospital.