40 Weeks (+3) – Labor & Delivery 

Sylas Orion Miller

Born: July 12, 2017

Weight: 9 pounds 11 ounces

Labor: Approx 5 hours from 6 centimeters.

Pushing: Approx 1 hour and 15 minutes

Well, Tuesday night (July 11th) went about as normal for me as could be expected. I pretty much lounged around all day, got some ice cream, took an evening catnap. Come 11pm when Jacob gets home, and I'm noticing some contractions, figure they're just Braxton hicks because they don't hurt & they're so irregular it wasn't much to jump at. We go to the store to get some treats, and I notice my contractions becoming slightly more intense, but not quite painful yet. When we get home I snack a little bit, have a couple of contractions, think I might be going into labor, and decide to go ahead and go to sleep, just in case. 

Here's where it gets fun (but not so much for me). 

I found myself having a difficult time finding a comfortable position and asking Jacob for back massages. This is when I decided to start timing the contractions. The first couple I timed were pretty spread out, but getting closer together. Jacob goes downstairs and I continue to try and sleep, but I noticed the contractions growing more intense. So, I continued to time them. Soon I needed to walk, rock, and bounce through the contractions, so I take a bath to see if that helps. I also was drinking a TON of water just in case I was dehydrated. The bath helped, and the contractions were more spread out, so I assumed I would be able to go to sleep. Nope! I called the hospital, but they weren't much help and told me they couldn't give medical advice over the phone, understandable. I decided I would shoot Jacob a text and just let him know what was going on, and he came up to check on me/hang out with me. This is where I decided to go lay on the couch, assuming the bed was too soft for my heavy hips. Wrong again! I had to get up and hang on the fridge and told Jacob we should probably get the car packed up because I had a feeling we would have a baby soon. 

I labored at home through several more contractions until I was struggling to simply breathe and rock through them, then at about 4:30am on July 12th we decided it was time to go. We went slow heading to the hospital because we figured this would be a long labor and didn't want to have hardly made any progress and get sent home.  

Once we arrived at the hospital, we checked in and got settled into a room where they started checking my vitals and monitoring my contractions. After a little while of hanging out, a couple of nurses came in to check my cervix for dilation. I was 4 centimeters, can't remember how effaced I was though. So, they told me to go take a walk for about an hour and come back. Jacob and I walked the length of the building once, because my contractions were getting pretty painful, specifically in my back and I wanted to try another bath. We got back to the room, and I hopped into a very hot bath which was quite soothing, for about 10 minutes. While I was in the tub I overheard the nurse tell Jacob the midwife we liked was the one on call and I was super relieved! I let out a quiet "yes!" under my breath. 

I knew that I had to keep moving to help the labor progress so I got out because I was really starting to feel the contractions. I sat on the birth ball for a couple of minutes, rocked and rolled my hips, then I needed to lay down. Fast forward through about 4 or 5 more contractions and I started crying because of the immense amount of pressure I was feeling in my back. The nurses would try and push down on my hips to help with the pain, but it didn't do much to relieve it. I was still somehow managing to stay partly relaxed through the contractions and had to continuously remind myself to relax my hands and feet and to let the contractions happen. I was definitely freaking out on the inside and wanting the epidural, though. 

Kate, the midwife we would be delivering with, came in and checked my cervix after listening to me through a contraction. I was dilated at 8 centimeters and 100% effaced. She guessed I was 7 centimeters and the nurse guessed I was 6, just going by how I was handling each contraction. I wasn't even there for an hour. I started to panic because of the pain, and the fact that they were telling me that they wanted me to puke, even handed Jacob a barf bag for me. Anyone who knows me knows that anything vomit related sends me into a very irrational and severe panic. Don't ask why, because I honestly have no idea. 

After checking my cervix, they started prepping the room for delivery. Kate pulled me out of bed and made me start rocking and rolling my hips, she danced with me and let me hang on her through each contraction and talked me through them. At some point she switched with Jacob and showed him how she was rocking my hips and had him take over. After 2 or 3 more contractions the anesthesiologist came in to talk to me about the epidural, sweet guy was concerned that I was bleeding all over the floor. Kate assured him I was okay and it was just bloody show. He finished explaining epidural to me and Kate then asked if I wanted to get in the bath tub again, or if I wanted the epidural. I was getting ready to say bath as another contraction started, and then I said epidural. Initially, I wanted a medication free labor and delivery, mainly so I was able to move about freely to help with laboring and not be bed ridden.

Let me first of all say hats off to women who go through back labor with no pain medication, because my goodness! Secondly, I am very grateful to that damn epidural, because I was able to relax and rest a little bit after being up for almost 24 hours. Kate checked my cervix after the epidural set in and I was at 9 and a half centimeters.. then 10 and he rotated his head. Did I mention his amniotic sac was still in tact? She said she wanted me to labor down before pushing, which I assume meant let Sylas come down a little further, which I was totally fine with. So, everyone left the room, Kate put a peanut ball thing between my legs and told me to take a nap and call them when I felt a strong urge to push. 

I thought I would be able to get a nap in, but once everyone left the room, I felt the urge to push. Not strong yet, but after a couple more contractions it definitely became more intense. So I told the nurse that was in the room and she went to grab Kate. 

Kate and a few other people came back into the room, suited up for delivery, then Kate removed the peanut ball from between my legs, and had me hold one leg up and tell her when I felt a contraction. She then began stretching my perineum, with both hands and warm rags. Every time I felt the urge to push, I told her, she would walk me through breathing while the contraction built and tell me when to push, which was driving me insane because, damn, when I was breathing I wanted to be pushing!  

After about 15 or 20 minutes of pushing like that, he had moved down some, and we changed positions to have gravity work with us. They sat me upright, lowered the foot of the bed, and attached what they called a squat bar for me to prop my legs up on. After a couple of weak pushes, Kate said we were going to play tug o war. She grabbed a sheet, threw it over the bar, tied a knot at each end and handed the knots to me. Then she told me that when I pushed she wanted me to pull her onto the bed. I was never actually was able to do so, but it helped me a lot. 

In between the early pushing, it was interesting to me, because I was so relaxed. We were pretty much just chilling waiting for each one and talking. The last 15 minutes is where things really got intense and he started coming down quick. It is also when I would start to scream through the second half of each push. At some point they were telling me to push harder and I yelled, "I'm pushing!" 

Throughout the whole thing Kate was applying warm compresses to my perineum and stretching it, at one point I'm almost positive she was using both hands. While the contractions were building I would try and push and they would make me breath through the first half of it. At some point in between pushes, Kate said that she's trying to stretch my hymen tissue because she didn't want it to tear and that's what was holding him up still. Eventually he came down, pretty quickly from what I remember, and he started crowning. In between compresses and stretching Kate told me I could reach down and feel his head, which was one of the craziest feelings ever! 

This is where she made me start breathing through over half of each contraction and it drove me crazy! It is also where practically everyone was telling me to keep pushing because I was starting to wear out and feel defeated. I was still pretty cohesive in between contractions though, and chatty. I joked about how sweaty I was a few times, and complained about how we had just bought a bunch of snacks before going in and left them at home. 

The final pushes were by far the most difficult for me, at one point I cried out that I couldn't do it anymore, and then when I was doing it they were telling me to stop pushing. Turns out Sylas had his hand up by his face and Kate was trying to adjust him, unfortunately I didn't give her a chance and HAD to keep pushing. When he was half way out she started yelling for me to stop and when I did, she said I could reach down and pull him out. 

Excuse my language, but holy shit! That was one of the MOST surreal experiences, and I am SO happy that I was the one to catch him. I immediately started bawling my eyes out. I couldn't believe he was really on my chest! This is where I really don't remember much of what was going on because I was busy gushing over my new baby! I love that UNMC has an hour of skin to skin as standard and delayed cord clamping. I'm not sure which happened first, but Jacob got to cut the cord, and I gave two final pushes to deliver the placenta. 

Kate said I was bleeding more than she would like, and I had a very minor tear due to Sylas throwing an elbow on his way out. She was also teaching another doctor throughout my labor and delivery, who I assume was a fresh graduate, or maybe a medical student. I can't remember his name, but he was also great. They started me on a pitocin drip for the bleeding and got to stitching me up. 

It took them about 45 minutes to stitch me up, because she was going over different scenarios and information with him while walking him through it, plus my tearing was all on the inside. The actual act of stitching only took a couple of minutes total, but they would do one stitch, she would ask him discovery questions and then talk about it, then another stitch, until the last minute where she went to town on me real quick. I didn't mind one bit, but my legs were getting kinda sore. I'm pretty sure at one point in between pushes I was able to stretch them out and prop them up on the squat bar, which was fabulous. 

I am still sore all over my whole body, which is probably from being so tense during contractions and pushing. After several baths and stretching a feel way more limber than I did the day I delivered. 

Overall, I had a wonderful birth experience and a better birth team than I could had ever asked for. It was very hard work, and slightly traumatic in the middle where I had a panic attack, but completely worth it. We are now at home with our little beeb and so very happy! 

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