Bumblebaby’s birth story starts a week before the actual delivery. I woke up on Friday, February 8th just before 6am to a contraction. It wasn’t very strong but it felt more real than the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been putting up with for months. Obviously one contraction wasn’t anything to get excited about so I attempted to go back asleep.
After feeling several more I started glancing at the clock when each contraction started and was surprised to find that they were coming about five minutes apart. I got a little excited but still decided to just go about the day as normal unless they started demanding more attention.
Once we went down for breakfast I told Micah that I was having contractions every five minutes but they weren’t painful and we would see how I was doing while grocery shopping that morning. I figured all the walking would either kick them in to gear or make them putter out. We called our moms and let them know what was going on just in case we needed them to start heading north. Chances were we wouldn’t need them but we wanted them prepared to get on the road.
We went about our normal Friday routine of breakfast burritos and grocery shopping. There were a few times while walking the aisles when a contraction would make me catch my breath but most were still the same intensity as that morning. But they were also still about 5-7 minutes apart and lasting close to a minute each.
Just before 1pm I sent a message to our moms letting them know I was still contracting and while they weren’t any closer together, they were slightly more intense than they had been. Both moms asked if they should start heading up and after discussing it for quite awhile Micah and I decided it would be best if they came up just in case this turned out to be the real thing. And to make matters a little more urgent, there was a blizzard on the way that we figured they would want to beat into town.
The contractions weren’t stopping no matter what I did so I called my brother and asked him to come over for dinner and to be here in case we needed to head to the hospital before our parents arrived. We ate homemade pizza, watched a movie, and played MarioKart with the boys to pass the time. All the while the contractions continued at the same intervals and same intensity.
My parents got to the house between 7 and 8pm and we sat around in the living room chatting. I was bouncing and rolling on my yoga ball while drinking red raspberry leaf tea. Occasionally a stronger contraction would hit but it wasn’t very often so I knew this was still early labor. Knowing we were planning an unmedicated birth we had already agreed to stay home as long as I felt comfortable. For me this meant that as long as I could walk and talk through my contractions I needed to be at home.
Micah’s parents arrived about 11pm and we continued to stay up and talk. I felt a little like a pot on the stove waiting to boil since everyone kept asking if the contractions were getting stronger or if I knew how far apart they were. I wasn’t bothering to time anything because they still felt the same. If they changed in intensity or seemed to feel closer together I figured I’d time them but without any noticeable change I just wanted to go about life as normal.
We went to bed about 1am and I had a horrible night of sleep. The contractions were stronger when I was on my side but still not enough for me to think about constantly. I tossed and turned, mostly because of excitement that this could be it, but also just because of end of the pregnancy discomfort.
In the morning the contractions were still sitting at five to seven minutes apart. I was exhausted after 24 hours of contractions that didn’t seem to be changing. I knew they must doing something because that is what contractions are for but for goodness sakes! I was absolutely ready to get the show on the road.
We decided to kick things into gear and the whole crew headed to the mall for some walking. Micah and I did several laps while the boys played at the fountain with our parents. We kept up a brisk pace and I was having to breathe through contractions more frequently. I noticed several other very pregnant mamas that seemed to be doing the same thing we were. Great minds think alike, I guess!
We hit up Pizza Ranch for lunch where I ate as much buffalo chicken, buffalo chicken pizza, and sweet chili pizza as I could handle. Spicy food is supposed to help induce labor, right? Then off to Walmart, Sam’s, Kohl’s, and Target for more shopping and walking. The contractions had picked up and I was needing to stop for several of them and sway my hips. Micah kept asking if I was doing okay or if we needed to head home but I knew the contractions still weren’t strong enough yet to go in so we kept going.
I decided to take a nap when we got back from shopping since I was so tired from a day and a half of contractions and all the walking. I figured if labor was going to progress it was going to do so whether I put in some work or not. I crashed for about two hours but several times I woke up to breathe through a contraction. I was starting to wonder if I was stalling because Bumblebaby was in a funny position or just not engaging so I had Micah help me with some Spinning Babies exercises to try and get things going. Needless to say there was no change.
By 9 or 10 that night I was burnt out from the contractions and starting to wonder that if I had progressed far enough that maybe a doctor would just break my water and it would help my body along. I know I had read stories of women who got stuck around five or six centimeters and that little intervention helped them have the birth they desired. Although I really wanted to avoid all interventions I figured at this point it was still a non-medicated intervention and one I could accept.
We arrived at the hospital at 10:30 on Saturday night. The nurse got me hooked up to the monitors and then checked my cervix. A whole 2-3 centimeters and still very thick, so probably about 30-50% effaced. I lost it. I started sobbing as soon as she left the room. I knew there was no way Bumblebaby was making an appearance any time soon and it felt like all the contractions had been for nothing. After an hour on the monitors the nurse said she wasn’t going to bother checking me again because she was certain I hadn’t changed and she sent us home.
I felt so defeated. How was I going to manage really intense contractions when they finally showed up? Micah was so amazing and just kept telling me how much he loved me and that Bumblebaby would come when it was the right time, we just needed to be patient. I felt so bad that our parents had driven so far, especially with a blizzard due the next day, and there would more than likely be no baby. I got home, took a unisom, and fell asleep.
Sunday morning I woke up without any contractions. They were completely gone. We made it through the blizzard and our parents went home on Monday afternoon but let us know to call if anything changed and they would head back up. At that point I was so emotionally drained I just wanted Bumblebaby to stay put. I prayed for labor to stay away at least until after Valentine’s Day.
On Friday the 15th I woke up after a very restless night. I spent most of the night on high alert because my brain had decided it wanted to pay attention to every little twinge in my body. I wasn’t having contractions at all but my mind would not shut down. Even the unisom I had taken on Thursday night didn’t help me get a decent night’s sleep. But I got out of bed and we went about our normal Friday routine.
As we were getting ready to head out and go grocery shopping I started noticing contractions. I didn’t want to get excited or put anyone on alert like the week before so I casually mentioned them to Micah but said they weren’t a big deal. We hit up a few stores and just like the week before the contractions stuck around with a few here and there that made me pause. They were closer than the week before at about three minutes apart but I was still walking and talking so we continued about our day.
We met up with Micah’s sister for lunch and I noticed that even while sitting the contractions were pretty noticeable. I don’t think anyone else at the table could tell I was having contractions but I could certainly tell!
When we got home Micah needed to go to class so I decided to take a nap while the boys were napping in the hopes that the contractions would disappear if I wasn’t paying attention to them. Despite feeling like I could sleep the contractions kept coming every three minutes and I wasn’t able to doze off for more than thirty minutes.
Micah got home a little after 3pm and I told him the contractions had gotten a little stronger but I wanted to take a shower to see if the hot water would make them taper off. Unfortunately we had just finished doing dishes and the long hot shower I was hoping for only lasted about ten minutes before the temperature wasn’t a nice level anymore. And with the contractions still coming every three minutes and requiring my attention I knew we had to let our moms know.
I sent our moms a text just after 3:30pm telling them that the contractions were back but we would keep them posted. I also sent a text to our pastor’s wife that we might need her to watch the boys since my brother was at home for the weekend. Micah’s mom called back and asked if I thought this might be the real thing. I had just gone to the bathroom where I noticed I was having bloody show so I was definitely more convinced than I was the week before. She decided to get the car packed up and start heading north. With a five to six hour drive ahead of her she wanted to get on the road before it got too dark. My parents were planning on celebrating my sister’s birthday that night so our moms made a plan to come up together once Micah’s mom got to their area.
By 4pm I was leaning on furniture and using a slow breathing technique to get through each contraction. Micah was keeping the boys distracted so I could labor how I felt comfortable. I’m not sure they ever realized what was really going on. I knew this was real now so I tried packing the last of our hospital bag and the boys’ bag between contractions.
Around 4:30pm I was in the living room kneeling on the couch and leaning on the armrest during contractions. They were significantly more intense than they had been even an hour before in the shower and then I felt it – the pop, gush of my water breaking. I looked at Micah and told him my water just broke. He starts scanning the couch for liquid but thankfully I had already put on a pad in anticipation of this very thing happening.
Immediately the contractions got stronger. I called our pastor’s wife, Julie, while trying to get up the stairs to go to the bathroom. I had to crawl up the stairs because of the intensity. Julie said she would be right over to hang out with the boys and Micah and I scrambled to get things pulled together to head to the hospital. When I went to the bathroom to switch pads I noticed that there was meconium on the pad and knew we needed to head in to keep Bumblebaby safe. Micah called the hospital to let them know that my water had broken and we were heading in.
Julie arrived right around 5pm and after saying goodbye to the boys and giving her a quick rundown of instructions we left. I had two contractions between the house and the car, two in the few blocks to the hospital, and five between the car and making it to the labor and delivery floor. They brought us right to our room and started the admitting process.
I needed to moan in low tones at this point to make it through each contraction. Micah would remind me to keep it low if my pitch started getting higher. He was doing counter pressure during each contraction to help with the pain and it was a lifesaver. I spent a few contractions squatting at the side of the bed while the nurse was waiting for my name to show up in the computer so she could start doing what she needed. I
told her we wanted a drug free birth and she said they would do everything to help us have the birth we wanted. This was sweet music to my ears as I was anticipating needing to make a stand against normal hospital protocols such as an IV and constant monitoring. Then the urge to push hit and it hit hard. I felt my body bearing down and I couldn’t stop it. I started yelling that I needed to push and the nurse started yelling to stop and get in the bed so she could check me. It took all my strength plus the help of the nurse and Micah to get into the bed. Her words were even more sweet music – 7 centimeters and fully effaced. I had made it to transition on my own at home!
I turned around in the bed to labor on my knees and use the back of the bed to rest my upper body. Micah continued massaging my lower back with each contraction and about two contractions later the urge to push was back. It felt like a bowling ball was trying to make it’s way out. I yelled again that I needed to push and the nurse told me to stop. She still hadn’t gotten my information into the computer and was desperately trying to get the fetal monitor on my stomach between contractions to get Bumblebaby’s heart rate. She called the nurses station to ask for help getting the bed broken down and for the doctor to head in for delivery.
She asked me to turn around on the bed again so she could check me and make sure it was okay for me to push once the doctor arrived and I really didn’t think I could make it. I’m pretty sure I had a few nurses helping at this point and sure enough I was complete. I could have told her this though as my body was pushing whether I wanted to push or not.
The doctor came in and asked that I lie down on the bed. I told him absolutely not. I was not going to push on my back. He tried telling me he couldn’t deliver the baby upside down so I said I wanted the squat bar. There was no time. The next contraction hit and I leaned up against the back of the bed, held onto the side rails, and yelled. I felt the burning ring of fire that I had read about in so many birth stories. Bumblebaby shot out all at once like a rocket. There was no chance for a head then a shoulder push.
I looked down at the little baby I had just given birth to and was shocked. “It’s a girl!” I yelled to the room. Poor Micah had gotten pushed to the wall because of all the chaos and he looked at me and then at the baby and also announced it was a girl. She took her sweet time taking that first breath and announcing her presence with a yell but when she finally did it was an amazingly beautiful noise.
Unfortunately because of the meconium they had to put her on the warmer right away to clean her up and make sure she was doing okay but within ten minutes or so she was on my chest and absolutely perfect.
Mercedes Lynn entered the world at 5:54pm, about twenty or thirty minutes after arriving at the hospital. I got my unmedicated birth that I had been preparing for for so long and it was even better than I had anticipated. I would do it again in a heartbeat.