The second birth story in our Delmarva Community Birth Stories series comes from Thrive doula Terri. Enjoy the beautiful account of her second son's birth.
I began having mild, yet uncomfortable contractions about 2am on July 4th. They would come and go and they rarely lasted longer than 30 seconds. I figured it was from walking around the carnival the previous evening with friends and family, so I tried not to think too much of it. Then, they stopped altogether by 7:30pm, just in time for fireworks and a good night’s sleep! But then, they started again on July 5th, again around 2am. I did my best to make a “nest” of pillows and blankets on the sofa and was able to cat nap until my husband woke up around 7am to get ready for work. I was very thankful that before he left, he called one of his younger sisters who didn’t have to go into work that day to come help me out with our then 2 year old son. She got there around 9am, and I was able to drift in and out of sleep on the sofa while she played with him. The contractions continued to come and go without ever really following a pattern or increasing in intensity - that is until later that afternoon.
Around 1pm, I was no longer able to get comfortable on the sofa. The contractions started to become more consistent and they were slightly more uncomfortable. I called my husband and doula to touch base with them, but told them both I was okay and didn’t need them at this point. By 1:30, I called them both back and told them that I was ready to go to hospital. I’m not sure if I was thinking logically at this point or if it was just an “intuition”, because I hadn’t been tracking my contractions long enough to know if they were following the typical “4-1-1” pattern, I just knew I needed to get to where I was going to birth.
I called the rest of my birth team as well as my other sister-in-law who was my “on call for when I go into labor” babysitter and everyone began to make their way to the house. By the time my husband and sister-in-law arrived, around 2:30, the contractions were becoming pretty strong and I was beginning to need support. This is where certain details begin to get “fuzzy” for me, but I remember my sister-in-law having to calm my husband down (he wasn’t scared or nervous, just felt very unprepared as I had very little packed and ready to go at this time) and remind him to focus on helping me and let her pack the car. My doula arrived shortly after, took one look at me, and said “yes, we need to get going!”. I told her I would leave as soon as my friend got there because she was bringing me lunch (I hadn’t eaten much that day as I hadn’t been hungry, but I had a sudden craving for whatever the “Strawberry Chicken Salad” was they sell during the summer at Wendy’s), and I was not leaving until I had that in my hands.
As soon as she pulled up, I took the salad, still in the bag, and we all loaded up in our separate cars and headed toward the hospital. I ate my salad in between contractions the whole way there. We had a long drive as I live in Hebron, but birthed in Easton, but my husband refused to do anything over 5mph! I still have no idea why as he is not typically one to be concerned about his speed, so why would you when your wife is in labor?! Then, somehow, somewhere in downtown Easton, he got lost! We drove around downtown for probably about 20 mins before we finally found our way back to where we needed to be to get to the hospital.
So we finally arrive at the the hospital around 3:45pm and make our way up to Labor & Delivery. Our entire birth team(my doula, my mother-in-law, and my two friends- yes, I had a large birth team) was waiting in the waiting area, wondering if something had happened or if I’d had the baby on the side of the road somewhere. We didn’t spend long in triage and quickly made our way to my room. We got settled in, and I got a chance to soak in the tub for a bit before that, too became uncomfortable and I decided to try something else. I went back and forth between a birthing stool and a birthing ball, relying completely on my husband for both emotional and physical support throughout each contraction. I knew my birth team was there and they were praying for me, and I remember my doula offering support here and there in the form of counter pressure or encouraging words, but my husband truly was my rock during my labor. He remained calm and strong - exactly what I needed.
At some point, I decided I wanted to labor in the bed with the “squat bar”, so my husband and doula helped me move to the bed as the nurses positioned the squat bar on the bed. After a couple of contractions in this position, I looked at my husband and told him “I’m done. I can’t do this. I want an epidural. This is too hard.”...or something along those lines. While my husband had been my main support, the nurse who had been assigned to me leaned in and spoke very gently in my ear “You can do this! You are so close! You’ve been rocking this and you’re going to continue rocking this! You can do this! Keep it up!”. She backed away and I nodded through the pain and looked and my husband and my doula and said, okay, I can do it.
It wasn’t much longer before I began to get the urge to push and nurses called for the doctor. I was so happy to see it was my favorite doctor that was on call and I loved that he stood back while I was still laboring, giving me my own space to do as I felt lead. After a short while, he suggested a different position, to which my husband and doula helped me get into as I reluctantly agreed. But that was all baby needed and within a couple pushes, he was born! 8lbs 2oz, 22in long - born at 8:34pm on July 5. He was perfect in every way!