The much anticipated birth story of our 2nd blessing- Ivor Alan Griffiths.
It began on Sunday, June 1st, when I woke up and started getting ready for church. Super mild braxton hicks contractions started happening. It wasn’t anything different than what I had been feeling for the past 2 months or so. Noticeable “practice contractions” as they’re described. Not the least bit painful, just noticeable. The only difference this time was the frequency. Up until then I had only felt about 2-3 each day. But now they were coming about 2-3 every hour. So I just began keeping track of them to see how long they lasted and how frequently they were coming. About 10-15 mins apart, lasting about 1 min each. But they weren’t getting any stronger or lasting longer so I just went about my day as usual. We went to the grocery store after church, ate lunch, watched some TV, took Gwen for a walk, cooked dinner, etc.
And right around dinner time is when I noticed a difference in the strength of these “practice” contractions. They were definitely stronger than before. They got my attention and made me have to close my eyes and breathe through most of them. Still easily managed, but just required some focus. From about 6pm-10pm I kept track of them. They were coming a little more frequently now, about 7-10 mins apart. Still lasting about 1-1:30 mins each. Since this had been going on all day, and there was a noticeable change in strength, we decided it was probably time to call my doctor. The call was made around 10pm I believe. She said to give it another hour and if the contractions remained the same, or started coming more frequently, to go ahead and get to the hospital. She knew that I wanted to do as much of the laboring on my own as possible, without any meds, so she was comfortable having me wait a bit longer and labor more at home. If I definitely planned on getting an epidural, she would’ve had me come in right then.
So we double-checked the hospital bag, threw in some last minute things. Ivor decided to shave, only to have his razor die about 10 seconds in, so he looked fantastic 😉 We were both kind of giddy at this point, realizing this was probably it. Part of me still didn’t want to get my hopes up though because I didn’t want to get sent home for “false labor”. Not sure why it takes me awhile to believe I’m actually in labor. Even with Gwen, when my WATER BROKE to start labor, I wasn’t convinced until we got to the hospital and they told me “yes, you’re in real labor”. Anyway, Ivor charged his razor and was able to finish his shave. Meanwhile I kept track of the contractions. They started out great- the same frequency and strength as before (which would mean we were going to the hospital). But then toward the end of that hour window we were given, they started to vary, getting farther apart. Sigh. It was almost midnight at this point and I was sleepy. Ivor had already started drifting off. I figured if I was to get any rest at all, I should try then. See if I could sleep through these contractions. And I did sleep…for about 2 hours. Until the contractions woke me up. Another increase in strength. Definitely could not ignore these! I woke Ivor up and told him we needed to leave right away. And off we went.
We checked in at the hospital at 3:20am on 6/2. I got set up for “labor evaluation” and my nurse checked me. I was 5-6cm dilated and completely effaced. She felt the “bulging water bag” and predicted it would break soon. Labor evaluation complete: this was the real thing. That’s when Ivor sent out the initial messages to family and close friends that the little man was on his way!
I was still managing contractions well on my own and the baby was doing great. So we did some walking around the halls, which definitely helped move things along…as the contractions came way more frequently whenever I did so. My OB arrived to check on me around 6:30am. She asked if I wanted her to break my water bag, since it hadn’t yet broken on its own, to help speed things up…but she warned me that contractions would get more intense and there might not be time for an epidural (or I’d have very little time to make a decision on that). I decided to just let her do it. “The sooner this is all over, the better. I want this little guy out,” I thought. So she checked me and I was now 7-8cm dilated. I was so happy! We were almost there. She said she’d check back in with me in an hour and that there would be a good chance I’d be ready to push then.
In the meantime, they wanted to monitor the baby so I was sitting in bed and didn’t really notice the contractions getting “way more intense” like I was told they would. So when my doctor came back in and I said things still kinda felt the same, she told me to get up and move around, which I apparently could’ve been doing anyway because the cords I was hooked up to for monitoring stretch pretty far. Wish I would’ve noticed that.
So, here’s where Ron Burgundy comes in.
When I got out of bed and started moving around the room, things got out of hand quickly. The contractions quadrupled in intensity and I started to feel nauseated, and overheated, like I might pass out. Transition. After about 4-5 of them I made Ivor get the nurse back in the room. She tried talking to me to see how I wanted to get through this final stage, not knowing how quickly this stage was going to go. Do you want to go in the shower and sit on the birthing ball, take Fentanyl (the pain med that “takes the edge off”), etc? But the epidural was for sure out of the question at this point. No time. And as she was trying to talk to me, we kept getting interrupted by contractions coming one right after the other. At some point I said “get me the fentanyl now”.
And probably a minute later, “I need to push”. So much for the fentanyl idea. No time for that either.
Then everyone was suddenly in the room rushing for delivery, getting me into a better pushing position.
And I’m screaming in agony, feeling as though death were imminent.
I remember them telling me to grab my legs, tuck my chin and push with the next contraction. But in that moment, that was a ridiculous request and I couldn’t imagine being able to do such a thing. Doing anything other than lying there screaming in pain was impossible.
But then the impossible happened. I listened and did what they said. And in about 2 pushes, in 2 mins, he was out and in my arms at 7:55am.
The total time from “I need to push” to “look at your baby!”….5 mins tops?
That’s basically how everyone in the room felt lol. We all just looked around at each other like “well that just happened!”. By the way, my poor nurse had just started her shift when I was transitioning. Our introduction was basically “I’ll take that fentanyl now—wait, I need to push”, aaaaand “here’s your baby!”
I couldn’t believe that happened. I still can’t. Giving birth without any pain meds was something I always wished I could do, but never thought possible. I always knew I’d give in at some point. I’m a pansy. And I did give in…remember when I asked for the Fentanyl about 1 min before saying I need to push? Yeah. And I certainly didn’t expect to push him out so quickly either. Birth is a crazy thing. So unpredictable. But I am so thankful for such a positive experience with a great support team- my doctor and the nurses were amazing, as was my husband. He’s just as vocal, if not more-so, than the nurses lol. Hearing his voice the whole time and his encouragement meant so much to me and helped me get through that. When I said “I can’t”, he said “yes you can”. And I believed him. He’s an amazing husband.
And the result of this crazy, beautiful, whirlwind of a story…our baby boy:
He is so precious and we are so in love with him already. He’s soft and warm and cuddly. I had missed having a little newborn 🙂 I didn’t miss the being up all night thing. No, not so much. But I know how quickly time passes and before I know it, he’ll be a toddler causing trouble with his big sister.
I can’t believe we’re a family of 4. We are so blessed. Thanks to everyone who has prayed for us and wished us well and encouraged us. Please don’t stop doing that! We’ll need it now more than ever as life with “2 under 2” begins. I’m sure it will make for very entertaining blog posts, so stay tuned 🙂