Alex’s Birth Story
Every birth experience has been different for me. My first was so hard, incredibly long, and when she finally was born there were complications that were terrifying. My second birth was the text book birth, the birth experience all moms want to have, it was so easy going and progressed nicely on its own. My third was mentally terrible, I have anxiety and do not prefer unnatural birth methods if it isn’t absolutely necessary, but at my doctor’s and husband’s insistence I opted for an induction the day before my due date. It was an emotional experience I would like to never have again. Now on to my fourth and final baby, Alex, here is his birth story.
Three days before my 39-week checkup, on a Tuesday, I woke up in the middle of the night with contractions. And, I say middle of the night, but it was really 10 P.M. haha, I go to bed so early so that feels like middle of the night to me. Anyway, the contractions were strong enough to keep me awake. They were happening about every ten minutes and lasting for about a minute, so I just rested through them and knew if they grew more intense and closer together I should start focusing on them. But, at 2 A.M. they stopped and never started back up again.
Wednesday was rough, I was so exhausted from getting no sleep the night before. I went about my day like usual. My husband was on nights at this time which means he is gone from 430 P.M. until 7 A.M. Luckily, he wasn’t home because I would’ve felt terrible keeping him awake during these rough nights. Around 11 P.M. I start having contractions again, same length apart and lasting for a minute. I thought maybe my body was trying to go into labor, so I should help it along. I got up, and walked around the house, but they tapered off around 130 A.M., so I went back to bed.
I felt good Thursday, I had energy and didn’t have any aches or pains. Honestly, at this point I was beginning to get a little frustrated that I was having hours of contractions each night with no sign of labor progression. I had my doctor’s appointment Friday, so I didn’t bother calling to see if I should be concerned with all the contractions I was having. At 1030 that night they started again, but stopped at 230.
I went to my appointment Friday and I thought for sure the doctor would tell me I had dilated some during the week, but she didn’t. She told me I was still 2 cm and no different from my 38-week check. I was upset, probably because I was so tired and irritated that all the pain throughout the week had been for nothing. I told her about these nightly bouts of contractions and she said it was false labor and that it was completely normal, especially to women with more than two children. Hearing that was bittersweet, I was relieved to know it was not actual labor and that if it happened again I could try to just sleep through it, but I was frustrated that I was having painful contractions with no benefit.
Friday night my contractions started again around 11 P.M. and I just tried to sleep through them. They were a little more intense that night and closer to seven minutes apart, but at 4 A.M. they just stopped completely.
I was so tired by Saturday since I had not slept for four nights. I could not even function and just sat around all day, except when I had to feed or bathe the kids. I tried to relax as much as possible. I looked up all I could on false labor and read stories of women who had gone through weeks of this. All that accomplished was to further bum me out. I don’t know if it was just the exhaustion that kept me asleep or if I actually had no contractions, but I slept the entire night without waking once.
I had a wonderful day Sunday, I was so rested, and Zach was home, so it was a great family day. It was relaxing and enjoyable, looking back I am so thankful I had that one last day to enjoy with my family before we added a new member to the bunch. About 11 P.M. though I woke up having contractions and I thought I would try to walk around the house and do some yoga said to help baby get in position for labor. My contractions did become more intense and closer together, but at 4 A.M. when my husband was getting up for work they suddenly stopped.
Monday, I felt terrible all day. I was beyond tired, I had a headache, I was nauseous and was lying around all day. Throughout the entire day I was having contractions, but they were not lasting and not super intense, so I just tried to ignore them.
False labor is one of the most emotionally draining things I have ever dealt with. You get so excited thinking you’ll get to meet your little one that day. Then, your dreams are shot down and after a week of this constant up and down of emotions I was physically and emotionally drained. After so many letdowns you just start convincing yourself that every time contractions begin that it isn’t the real thing and the baby is not coming because that is the only way to get through it emotionally. It was just very upsetting for both Zachari and me. He too kept getting excited that each day was the day our baby was coming, and he would ask so many times if it was getting more intense and I had to tell him every day that they just stopped again. I am not a crier, but I was crying the entire day Monday, I was feeling very depressed, frustrated, and over the entire situation.
My amazing friend and neighbor, Andriana, helped me out so much during this time. She made my family dinner several nights that week and helped me with the kids. The biggest thing she helped me with though was keeping my spirits up by encouraging me and reminding me that my baby would be coming any day now, even though I swore that he would never come out and he would live in my womb for the rest of eternity. Zach and I were both just so over it all at this point because we kept getting our hopes up that today would be the day and the day wasn’t coming.
So, Monday afternoon I started to feel even more nauseous. I was having stomach pains and felt miserable, so when my husband got home at 7 that evening I went and laid down in bed. I was having contractions at the point, but assumed it wasn’t anything to be concerned with. I ended up falling asleep. The contractions became more intense and woke me up around 10 P.M., but since that is the time they had been getting intense for the past week I decided to ignore them and try to sleep through them as best I could.
The contractions grew in intensity and by 1 A.M. sleeping through them or in between them was not happening. I had to start breathing through them and began timing them since they were more intense then they’d been the entire week. They were about ten minutes apart and lasting for 45 seconds. To see if they were real or false contractions I got up and walked around the house for a bit and drank some water. That had stopped them before so if it wasn’t actual labor I figured it would stop them again. They did not stop though, but they also did not seem to be coming faster or getting more intense.
My husband’s alarm started going off at 4 A.M. and I figured I would shower since I have read that the warm, relaxing water can sometimes stop false labor. Instead, the contractions became more intense in the shower, so I got out and my husband set me up on the heating pad. We debated on him staying home or not because he works about 45 minutes away, but I told him this was likely nothing and to go in. I had no change in discharge, I hadn’t lost my mucus plug at any time during those last few weeks and just figured this was not real labor so I wasn’t going to get either of our hopes up again.
Around 530 A.M. I noticed the contractions were coming close to seven minutes apart and still pretty intense. I decided to have Zach come home, he had just gotten to work lol, so that we could go to the hospital just to make sure everything was fine. I had read horror stories of moms with three kids or more going into labor and having the baby within a few hours and not making it to the hospital. I started to think that could happen to me lol, I was really freaking myself out. Andriana came over to sit with kids while we went.
We made it to the hospital at 730 A.M. The nurse checked me and said I was 3 cm and that they would monitor me and have the doctor check me when he came in. So, I sat there with the monitor on my belly and I was still having contractions about seven minutes apart. I don’t know if it was just sitting there or what caused it, but the contractions started to become less intense. I knew when I was having one, but it felt more like painful Braxton Hicks rather than contractions. I started to think that I had made a mistake coming in and could feel my excitement slowly slipping away.
At 11 A.M. the doctor came in and checked me, he said I was about 4 cm and since I hadn’t progressed much that I could go home. I was so upset because I really felt I was in labor this time and him telling me nothing was happening was definitely a letdown. I began thinking I was just having the false labor contractions again.
So, Zach and I left the hospital and stopped to grab some Sonic on the way home. Within thirty minutes, I would say around noon, the contractions really intensified. They were so painful that I couldn’t talk through them anymore, I had to just breathe and wait it out. I decided to try to lay down because I figured if I wasn’t dilated that it was false labor again and maybe lying down would stop the contractions from coming. They did not stop coming though so after an hour I started timing them and they were about seven minutes apart still, but just way more intense than earlier. I knew at this point that I was for sure in labor, at least I was praying it was real because with the intensity of pain I was in I would have killed someone if it wasn’t for real happening this time.
Around 3 P.M. our two older children went to our friends Jeff and Jessica’s house, since we would be going to the hospital soon. I really wanted to wait until the contractions were five minutes apart for at least an hour because I was still worried at that moment that I wasn’t dilating. This happened with my first child, the labor lasted for 27 hours at home and I was hardly dilating so they kept sending me home, it was such a nightmare. So, I was thinking that it was happening again, and I didn’t want to be let down like I was that morning. Looking back, I can see how that was crazy thinking and I am glad my husband pushed me to go back to the hospital.
Usually a few weeks before my due date I begin feeling so sad and emotional about my children. I fear that I won’t have time for them with a new baby around, or they won’t feel loved as much as they do now. I even worry I won’t be able to show them how much I love them daily through the exhaustion and chaos of a new baby coming into the mix. So, as my husband packed up my toddler’s things to go stay with our friend I sat on his bed sobbing lol. I was a mess, a big sobbing, doubled-over-in-pain mess.
My husband wanted to take a shower before we went to the hospital and it was about 430 P.M. at that point. When he was done he finished getting our stuff ready and asked if I wanted Tom to have a bath or just let Andriana bathe him. I decided to let Andriana because now the contractions were about four minutes apart and I figured we needed to get to the hospital quickly.
It started pouring rain right before we left. It was Summer, and we live in the South, so every day it rains in the afternoon or evening. My husband was barreling out of the driveway and down the road trying to get to the hospital quickly. That really made it worse because the contractions intensified significantly when we were getting in the car and were coming about two minutes apart. There was only about a two-minute time frame without contractions on the ten-minute drive to the hospital. It felt as if I was having a constant contraction with about thirty seconds of rest on and off.
We arrived at the hospital at 6 P.M. and they immediately got me up on the exam table and the nurse checked me. Shift change had not happened yet, so it was the same nurse from that morning. She said I was 8 cm and they needed to quickly get me set up.
They took me to the birthing suite and got me hooked up to everything. I was so close to being 10 cm, but my contractions were so close together with only about a 30-45 second break in between so I asked if they could give me an epidural. Thankfully they were able to get someone up there pretty quickly to get me one before it was too late. While I still felt the entire birthing process since the epidural was given so late, the pain of the contractions was diminished significantly so I could breathe through them again without feeling like I was going to die with each one.
All my babies were born within fifteen minutes of me starting to push. I prefer not to have a doctor tell me when to start pushing since the sensation begins when your baby is ready to start the journey through the birth canal. I do not want to push for hours on end to no avail because the doctor told me to and my baby was not ready for that yet. So, the doctor knew I would let them know when I was ready and at 715 P.M. I started feeling as if I had to use the bathroom and vomit. That is my signal to start pushing, so the nurses came in and the pushing began.
For some reason it was uncomfortable for me while Alex was making his way down the birth canal. I wasn’t really in pain between pushes, but it almost felt as if he was stuck, which was uncomfortable for me. I almost passed out after each push, likely from exhaustion, and had to keep using the oxygen mask.
Zach was such an amazing support during the birth. He kept telling me how proud he was of me and how much he loved me. Just hearing his voice and feeling his touch has such a calming effect on me and because it calmed me I could focus and get through the pushing. I am so grateful to have such a supportive, loving husband.
At 749 P.M. on July 18, 2017 my sweet baby was born, 7 lbs. 8 oz. and 20 inches long. He was beautiful, and I wanted to hold him immediately, but I couldn’t. I was so exhausted that I could hardly move, and the epidural caused me to shake uncontrollably, so holding him would not have been safe. My husband held him though and was with him while they bathed and weighed him.
About an hour after he was born I had stopped shaking so badly and the nurse brought him over to me. He was perfect, holding him in my arms and against my chest for skin to skin contact was so calming and one my absolute favorite moments. He easily latched on to my breast and ate before falling asleep against my chest. It was so wonderful to finally have him in my arms.
In that moment, when I was looking into his tiny, blue eyes all the pain, sleepless nights, and frustration I had endured over the past week disappeared. God has blessed me with four healthy, beautiful children. Each of them have their own, unique birth story. This was Alex’s story.
How did your labor and birth go? Did you have false labor too? Or are you pregnant and wondering how your birth story may turn out? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to keep up with me!
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