As soon as I had birthed Mattias, I thought to myself, "I will not be writing down this story." I wasn't feeling proud of myself at the end of a few very quick, but very intense hours. With just a little distance from the night he was born, I realize I am proud of myself and the way he came into the world deserves to be written down.
When Meredith was born, it was everything I had hoped it would be and more. It was relatively fast, I was able to labor naturally and for the most part, I stayed calm. I had never felt so proud of myself in my life. You can read the full story here.
I was hoping for the same experience this time around. For weeks I had thought I would go into labor. A full month before he was actually born I spent a morning contracting every five minutes for several hours and then they completely stopped. This continued to happen several times over the following weeks, leaving me frustrated and tired. Then, suddenly, the week before my due date my body felt quiet. I was sore and achy and still having some contractions, but I just felt like my body was still. Of course, I kept hoping for an early baby, but I wasn't really surprised when my due date came and went.
On Monday at my OB appointment, I asked her to strip my membranes. Right away I felt crampy and this continued all day, with some bleeding, into the night. Monday night for about two hours I had fairly strong contractions for two hours. Just as I told Chris we should maybe start getting ready to go to the hospital, they completely stopped.
Tuesday morning the cramping continued. We went about our day as normal- bible study, lunch, nap time, but by the afternoon I was feeling really irritable and asked Chris to take the afternoon off. As a family we walked to the park. I rested, Chris and Meredith played. Eventually I decided to walk a loop around the park. I could tell my contractions were starting then, but they were really random. Then we walked to Starbucks and home. By the end, I was really uncomfortable, but still, there was no consistency to the contractions.
We had dinner and started getting Meredith ready for bed. Through this time the contractions were about 7-8 minutes apart, so I was growing confident that the baby would come soon, probably early Wednesday morning. As soon as we got Meredith out of her bath, I had three strong contractions close together. I started timing them and they were about 3-4 minutes apart. I called the hospital, at 8:15, after about 45 minutes of this. I was really nervous about my labor progressing quickly since my labor with Meredith, for a first timer, was fast. They told me to come in.
Once we were in the car, they spread out again, but remained really strong. I was confident I was in labor, but was also a bit nervous about what they would say.
We parked, checked in, got settled in our room and then the doctor came in around 9:15. He checked me and I was only at 4cm. I had been at 3cm the day before, so this wasn't the most encouraging news. My contractions were also only every 6 minutes while they monitored me. He told me he wasn't sure I was in labor. I could go home or hang out for two hours when he'd check me again. I wanted to stay since the contractions felt really strong.
As soon as my 20 minutes of monitoring was up at 9:30ish, I went into the bathroom and had three incredibly strong contractions right on top of each other. It felt like there wasn't even a second between them. I couldn't get comfortable and the breathing that had helped with Meredith wasn't cutting it. I tried sitting on the toilet and leaning on counters- nothing was helping. I got a yoga ball after about 20 minutes which helped immensely, but I was still having trouble staying calm.
The contractions continued to come quickly together- probably every two or three minutes- while I, inwardly, was losing it. I wanted so badly to labor without medicine, but I was scared that this pain would continue for hours, that he'd check me in two hours and I'd still be minimally dilated. I didn't know how I could do this for two more hours. I started wanting to ask for an epidural, but I wasn't even technically admitted yet. Around 10:15 I told Chris I had to get an epidural and that I needed the nurse to come in (we were by ourselves up to this point). When she arrived, I told her that I was having a lot of trouble managing the pain and that I didn't think I could wait another hour for the doctor to check me. She said that was fine and the doctor could come now.
He came in, waited for there to be a moment between contractions and checked me. One hour later and I was at an 8! I was so relieved. I had thought I had to be progressing and I was already feeling lots of downward pressure, but I was still scared I'd be at a 4. Not that I would've had the chance to get one anyway, but once I was at an 8, I knew I could finish without any drugs.
As soon as he checked me I started feeling a ton of downward pressure. Things were buzzing in the birthing room as nurses hurried to get everything ready and I remember soon after telling them that I really felt like I had to push. The pain was so intense. It felt like my whole body would break. The not pushing was excruciating.
A new doctor came in (a woman! hooray!) and checked me. At 10:35 I was at 9.5 and my water broke as she checked me. She asked me to breathe through two more contractions and then I could start pushing. I nearly broke Chris's hand as I held it tight, trying not to push.
Soon I was pushing. Pushing stresses me out. There were multiple people telling me how to do it. Telling me to push! push! push! Telling me to pull my legs back. Telling me to breathe and push with my lungs. Too much! I was so overwhelmed, feeling exhausted and also feeling like I was preparing for a long haul. I pushed with Meredith for over an hour so I felt like I needed to conserve my energy.
I gave it my all for one or two contractions, then breathed through one. I also then felt like I was losing control and getting lost in the pain. I started saying, "Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!" over and over and the doctor said to continue doing so as Mattias' head emerged a little bit more each time I did. I did that for a few minutes and then I could feel that he was close. I pushed hard for one or two contractions and then, he was out and on my stomach!
I couldn't believe it. I kept telling them that I hadn't believed them when they told me he was so close. I was in utter shock that I pushed for such a short time. We were at the hospital for right at two hours, start to finish! I am so thankful for a fast labor, but those two hours were so intense, scary and overwhelming. I felt out of control the whole time. But, he's here. He's here and he's healthy. And already my recovery has been dramatically better.
After a long pregnancy and many months of anticipating his arrival, we are just so happy little Mattias is here. He is such an amazing addition to our family and I can't wait to see the little boy he will become.