The third trimester was tough, particularly the last stretch from 34 weeks onward. That's partially why I stopped blogging at that point; everything required too much energy and brain power! On the day I hit 39 weeks, I had an OB appointment scheduled for 11:45 am. Shortly after 1 am, however, I woke up feeling something wasn't quite right. Over the next few hours, the slow leak I'd felt turned into a gush and by 5 am, I knew it was baby time. So much for my plan to decline a cervical check that day! I had a light breakfast and a quick shower, and bounced on the exercise ball for a while. A few random contractions came and went but no regular pattern emerged. At 8:30, I started getting concerned that I wasn't feeling any movement so we decided to head to the hospital.
At the hospital, triage confirmed that my water had broken and that I was barely a fingertip dilated. I was admitted and sent to walk the halls in the hopes of getting things moving, with the warning that if I wasn't in labour by 1:30 pm, they'd have to induce. Hospital policy is that once membranes have ruptured, baby needs to be out within 24 hours due to the increased risk of infection. They were willing to give me 12 hours to do it on my own but I was running out of time. All along, I'd been preparing to have a med-free birth so as I walked the halls, I was trying to make peace with the fact that it wasn't going to happen.
At 1:30, they started the oxytocin drip and we waited. I progressed steadily and labour was generally uneventful. I did have some awful back labour for a while and the nurse said my contractions were showing a couplet pattern, so they suspected that the baby may have initially been sunny side up (which could be why I didn't go into labour on my own). I was really disappointed that I couldn't use the tub in the birthing room that I'd hoped to labour in because of the continuous monitoring. I did get to try the ball and a few different positions, but the monitors made it awkward. After being checked at 4 cm, the contractions got really intense and started coming on top of each other. I was having a very hard time relaxing and breathing through them, and wasn't getting a break in between. That was the point when I decided to get the epidural. That was also the only time during the process that I cried because it felt like failure, or like giving in. I know that's not true but it was not what I'd planned or wanted beforehand, and in the moment, it was hard to accept that.
Once the epidural was placed, I was able to relax and as much as I hadn't wanted it, I think it was the best thing in the long run. I needed the rest and wouldn't have been able to without it. Around 9 pm, I was fully dilated and they gave me an hour or so to labour down before pushing. During this time, they also turned off the epidural. I started pushing around 10:30...and kept on pushing. The baby was stuck and it seemed like no matter how hard I pushed, she just wouldn't budge. We were closing in on the 24 hr limit and they told me that if she wasn't out within three hours of pushing, we'd have to decide between the forceps or vacuum to get her out. I pushed for the full three hours and made it just in the nick of time. It was agonizing and I've never been more physically exhausted in my life, but I absolutely didn't want any more interventions. Our beautiful baby girl was born at 1:49 am, weighing 7 lbs 15 oz and 20 inches long.
It would be another three days before they let us go home because my bladder stopped functioning properly after delivery. I had a really hard time with the hospital stay; I was so exhausted from the pushing that I barely remember those first moments and hours with my daughter. During the four days in total that I was there, I barely slept and the bladder issues were more than a little uncomfortable. A lot of that time still feels like a blur and it took several months before I could think about it without sadness or anxiety.
Seven months later, we've survived the roller coaster ride that is the newborn stage and it's starting it feel like we might actually know what we're doing! We have a little girl who adores her daddy, thinks peek-a-boo is the funniest game ever, gives wet kisses, and sits up like a champ. It's been so fun to watch her personality emerge. Our lives have been turned upside down and inside out, but it has been completely worth it. We wouldn't have it any other way.