Heading into the final weekend before my due date (4/20), I was becoming seriously impatient and very uncomfortable. Everyone tells you that the last few weeks of pregnancy are rough and they aren’t lying. Kevin and I kept thinking I would end up delivering the baby early because there was some confusion surrounding my due date in the beginning of my pregnancy and it was pushed back 10 days (originally it was 4/10) after an early ultrasound. I was starting to lose hope about delivering early as my due date was quickly approaching. However, Kevin told me he just “had a feeling” I would deliver on Sunday. I kept checking our horoscopes (I’m into those kinds of things) and both mine (Aries) and Kevin’s (Libra) looked very promising for Sunday. Kevin’s literally mentioned a major life change happening on Sunday. On April 15th there was a new moon in Aries which is also supposed to signify change and new beginnings.
On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, I woke up at 7am and felt some cramping that felt like light menstrual cramps. I didn’t think much of the first one, but when I had a second bought of cramping 20 minutes later, I just knew I was in labor. It didn’t feel anything like my Braxton Hicks contractions I was having throughout the third trimester. I casually timed them to see if they were consistent until Kevin woke up a little over an hour later and I remember saying, “don’t get too excited- but I think I’m in early labor.” I didn’t want to get my hopes up in case it really was just false labor, but I was pretty sure this was the real deal.
We got up, ate breakfast, and walked the dog. By the time we got back from walking him I noticed my contractions getting a little closer together and a little stronger, but not really painful- just uncomfortable. I didn’t want to say anything to my family yet until I was absolutely certain it was real labor. I casually timed them for an hour and they were now 15 minutes apart. Kevin and I made sure we threw some last minute things into our hospital bags, watched TV, and tried to just relax. I decided to call my midwife when my contractions hit ten minutes apart just to give her a heads up of what was going on. She suggested to try napping if I could and to call her when they got under 5 minutes apart. I was able to nap, and when I woke up after about an hour, my contractions were a lot stronger and seemed much closer together. I used an app to time them and they were about 5 minutes, 30 second apart. They were impossible to ignore and getting stronger very quickly. I told Kevin that I thought it was time to go in, so I called my midwife and let her know we were headed to the hospital.
The car ride was VERY tough. My pain was increasing rapidly and I just wanted to get there as fast as possible. We live about 25 minutes from the hospital, but it felt like a long ride with contractions coming in waves. We arrived at the hospital at 5:30 and I got checked to see how my labor was progressing. I was paranoid I would be sent home if I hadn’t progressed enough yet, especially because my water hadn’t broken. I had never been checked for dilation in any of my regular appointments (my midwives explained that it’s not really a good indicator of when you will go into labor anyway)- and it was a little painful. I was thrilled to hear that I was already 6cm and fully effaced, so I was being admitted. I declined pain meds and informed the staff of my birth plan to have a completely natural birth without an epidural.
When Kevin and I got into the labor/delivery room, my contractions were VERY intense and I was getting only a few minutes of relief in between them. We tried different positioning- laying down, sitting on a ball with Kevin massaging my back, standing and “slow dancing,” but I felt like nothing was really helping. I had made several playlists of music I thought I might want to listen to, but during labor what I really wanted was quiet. I wanted Kevin right next to me, encouraging me sometimes, but mostly just sitting with me and holding my hand in silence. I definitely went into myself and just focused on breathing through each one. I kept telling myself, “you can do anything for a minute” because each contraction lasted about that long (side note: I also tell myself that same thing when I’m running long distance, but it definitely applied in labor as well.).
My midwife suggested trying out the shower. I could sit in a chair with the water aimed on my belly or on my lower back to try to relieve some of the pain. I got in the shower and Kevin aimed the water at my back and it was SO helpful. Obviously, I was still in a ton of pain- that was a given at this point, but the water was warm and soothing. It’s so true that in labor all modesty goes completely out the window. Nurses were coming in and out of the bathroom to check the baby’s heart rate and see how I was doing, and I couldn’t care less that I was just hanging out in the shower. Because I was not getting an epidural, I did not have anything attached to me- no IV or fetal monitoring, so I was able to move around freely. It was REALLY nice to have that freedom. After about an hour in the shower, I finally told Kevin I wanted to get out and lay down in the bed.
Once in the bed, I started to break down. The contractions were so intense and frequent that I felt like I wasn’t getting any relief at all in between them. I started to tell Kevin that I didn’t think I could do it anymore and he kept encouraging me and telling me that I could. I started to feel a lot of pressure along with the contractions, and I knew from reading other birth stories that usually this meant it was time to start pushing. The nurse realized how quickly my contractions were coming and asked if I was alright. I told her about the pressure I was feeling and she got my midwife to come check to see how I was progressing. Thankfully, my midwife checked me and discovered that I was already 10cm and could being pushing at any time. She said my water wasn’t as full as it had been earlier, but that it wasn’t totally broken. She said she could break it for me, but to get ready because baby would descend very quickly once she did. I told her to break it (anything for relief!), and she did. I instantly felt the urge to push and began pushing with each contraction at around 8:15 pm (just 2 hours and 45 minutes after we arrived at the hospital). Pushing was INTENSE and so hard to describe. It felt like a relief to finally be pushing, but it was also really painful. Because I could move around, I pushed for a little while leaning over the birth ball, and then I switched to laying on my side. I squeezed Kevin’s hand the whole time and just kept telling myself that we were so close to meeting baby.
After 55 minutes of pushing, baby Dahms finally arrived! Kevin looked down at baby and said “it’s a boy!”– we didn’t find out the gender but I had thought baby was going to be a girl. It was a wonderful surprise and I felt such a rush of emotions. They put baby boy up on my chest right away, and after a few minutes Kevin cut the cord. I couldn’t believe this little baby was ours and that he was finally here. Tears of happiness were running down my face and it was truly the most amazing experience. We named our baby boy Connor Philip.
I delivered the placenta, but my bleeding was pretty significant. My midwife explained that I was experience a postpartum hemorrhage. Nothing too intense, but it had to be treated. She had to remove some blood clots from my uterus and I would need an IV with fluids and pitocin to help control the bleeding.
Overall, it was an absolutely amazing and intense experience. It gives me a whole new appreciation for my body to see this tiny human that Kevin and I created that I was able to deliver. Kevin was amazing and so calm throughout the delivery and he did everything I needed in each moment. I am so lucky to have him and Connor is blessed to have him as a daddy.
I am so thankful for the entire staff at WomanWise Midwifery and to the nursing staff at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery. Kevin and I are figuring out life with a newborn, but loving every minute of it. We are soaking up all of the snuggles we can get! I can’t get enough of our little boy.
Here are some pictures that were taken in the hospital the morning after Connor was born by Baby Bella Photography:
and a few from home: