By: Chatney Thibodeau
At 36 weeks and 4 days, my water spontaneously broke on my toilet at 5pm. A classic “we don’t even have the car seat installed” moment. I called my midwife who encouraged me to eat and rest until things picked up, and joked that she would see me in the morning. I was not having contractions at this point. We tidied up the house and did all the last minute essentials. I started having some mild contractions at 7pm. We ate subway, and watched The Dog Whisperer. I called a friend and asked her to come braid my hair. It was really calm and peaceful. I unfortunately could not sleep. I think it was just pure excitement and adrenaline. But, I wanted my husband to be well rested. So, I went to the living room and labored until I felt like I could use some support.
I truly went into my birth feeling like everything that happened was “normal” and if something was to go wrong, I’d be well cared for. I felt prepared to handle interventions if they came up. I think I had the proper mindset going into labor, and that effected the outcome.
Since this was my first pregnancy I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew my contractions would be more intense since my water broke. My husband kept telling me to take it one contraction at a time. I knew the 4-1-1 rule, but my contractions were ALWAYS within that rule. My husband told me to listen to my body, and reminded me that I was talking/moving through them. At 2am we headed to the hospital because the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and over a minute long. They weren’t intense but they were noticeable and I knew I’d feel safer once we got there — no car babies, please!
When we got to the hospital I was 4cm dilated, 100% effaced, and she was at a -1 pelvic station. I had a partial IV that was unconnected so I could move freely. The nurses wanted to monitor the fetal heartbeat but the Bluetooth monitor wouldn’t work, and I refused to lay in the bed because it was too uncomfortable for me. We watched Golden Girls, and rested, and labored.
My husband was KEY to my birth. He was so knowledgeable and empowered about birth that he didn’t have a doubt in his mind that my body was capable, and that gave me so much confidence. He knew the signs of labor and would sometimes say “she’s yellow” or “she’s red” to a nurse to describe my state. Birth felt “normalized” to him as well, and it made a huge difference.
Later, I asked to be checked because I wanted to get in the water but didn’t want to do so until I was well into active labor. I was 6cm, and headed to the tub. As soon as my body hit the water I told my husband to get the nurse because I felt the urge to push. Within minutes I had gone from 6cm to 9cm and transition hit HARD. I couldn’t get comfortable in the tub, so I got out.
I was scared at how quickly transition hit me. I asked my nurse (who was INCREDIBLE) not to leave me and she quickly reassigned her epidural patient to another nurse in order to stay with me. She stroked my face and told me I was holding tension. She gave me hip squeezes, and my husband gave me sips of water & candy. I breathed my baby down, and my midwife didn’t even touch me. It was the hands off experience I had truly wanted.
Around 9:30am my midwife said “You’ll have a baby by 9:45! You’re doing amazing!” I replied with “Good because I want pancakes before they stop serving breakfast at 10am”. I have no idea why this came out of my mouth, but a nursing student jumped up and ordered me pancakes and all the fixings while I was pushing my baby out. We joked that whatever teenage waiter was going to bring my tray to my room was in for a surprise because the baby was crowning. I couldn’t get comfortable and had HORRIBLE leg labor. I ended up on my side, and in one big push my baby girl flopped right on to the bed! I truly think the fetal ejection reflex took over because I felt like my body totally did it by itself. She was 5lbs 13oz and 18 inches long.
I ate the pancakes while I was being stitched up, and they were glorious.