Harper’s Birth Story – Part 2

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If you haven’t already, check out part one to Harper’s birth story!

Thursday, December 6 around 8:30pm, I stared having mild contractions. Alex and I labored out in the living room on my birthing ball. I spent a TON of time on the ball leading up to labor and throughout! We tried all of the things that would indicate it was false labor: drank a lot of water, took a bath, ate something, etc., and it did not slow it down.

I was keeping our doula, Chelsea, updated at this point. I told her “it felt like my hips are being pushed apart” around 9:30pm. (Oh boy, you have no idea, Melissa!). Around midnight, I told Alex he should get some sleep, so he went to bed while I labored. I ended up taking another bath, and around 3am, I got Alex up to help me through contractions. Around 5:30am, Chelsea came over. 

Luckily, the type A person that I am planned out all of the details of early labor and what needed to be taken care of before we could go to the birth center. Weeks prior, we asked our friends if they could take our three pups to the boarding facility for us when I went into labor. So I sent them a text and they came over around 7am to pick up the pups. 

Around 7:30am, we went to the birth center and got Chick-Fil-A on the way. Friendly tip: if you are able to go through drive-thru while in labor, you’re probably not ready to head to the facility. 

To the birth center!

Camellia, one of the two midwives, checked me right when we got to the birth center and I was only 4cm dilated. Since I was 2-3cm dilated a few days prior, I was slightly discouraged.

Camellia could not admit us until I was 6cm, so we had to try to move things along or go home. I ended up walking in circles around the back porch for about 30 minutes, and I curb walked for a little bit as well (something recommended in our birth class).

Alex, Chelsea, and I decided to drive over to a local park and walk for about a mile. There were quite a few other people out there walking, and each time I had to stop to work through a contraction, we got some interesting looks. A couple of women actually stopped to ask if I was going to have the baby right there at the park (face palm).

After our 30-40 minute mile walk, we headed back over to birth center around noon. They checked her position and she was Right Occiput Anterior (ROA), and the ideal position is LOA. Harper spent a lot in ROA throughout my pregnancy, but did move over to LOA a few times, so they knew she could move over there if needed.

The whole team did a lot of exercises to help encourage Harper to move over to LOA, and she luckily ended up moving over. I moved over to the tub after that to help with contractions. I was in there so long that the water heater got overworked, so everyone scrambled to heat up water using the tea maker and other means to add to the tub. 

The other midwife, Stephanie, got to the birth center to help in the afternoon. They checked me again and found out I was at 6cm. Progress!

Harper moved back into ROA at this time, so Stephanie suggested that we bind my stomach after trying a position where I had my butt in the air and my forearms on the bed. We worked on getting her over to the left for a little while. Once Harper moved to LOA, they used a bedsheet to bind my stomach tightly to keep her on the left. 

I got back into the tub and laid on my left side to labor for a while. The midwives asked if I had the urge to push, which would feel like pressure in my rectum, but I only felt it during contractions. I tried pushing for a little bit. It didn’t feel like much was happening while pushing though. I then got out of the tub and the midwives checked me, only to find that I was at 7cm. 

At a crossroads; the toughest part

By this point, I got extremely discouraged. I had spent several hours laboring but had only progressed 1cm. It was 10pm on Friday. I started to break down. It had been 26 hours, I had eaten once, and had no sleep. I was tired and discouraged.

The midwives told me I had the option of going to the hospital to get pain relief, if that was what I wanted or needed to do. I really thought about going to the hospital at this point. If I kept progressing this slowly, I was scared I wouldn’t have the energy to push.

I talked with Alex about it and didn’t want to give up, but I was really tired. The midwives told me I had another option, which was to take something to help me sleep for a bit, to regain my strength when it came time to push.

I agreed to it, but Camellia had to meet the midwife with the drug about 45 minutes away. It had been pouring rain most of the day, and was especially strong that night. The roads in Houston were starting to flood. 

Part 3 coming soon!

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