Hanley is my fourth baby. He was a rainbow baby and a welcome surprise! I found out I was pregnant with him after a miscarriage and on my first day back at college. I couldn’t believe it, to be honest. Getting my master’s while pregnant and with four little ones seemed like a huge challenge, especially since pregnancies weren’t easy!
I knew, like I did with his older brother, that he was a boy. I was so sick with him. Morning, noon, and night I would be violently sick. I felt bad for my poor neighbor who had to witness the result of “morning” sickness every day I would leave the house. Poor guy (he and his wife were fairly old) probably thought I was hungover when he kept seeing me hunched over our stoop ridding myself of the constant nausea.
Anyway, his birth. My EDD was May 2, 2012. I actually did begin early labor that day. I had been seeing the perinatologist as I was high risk and because this would be my fist VBAC. (For those not in the know, my first two were vaginal births, but my third was an emergency cesarean). Labor picked up throughout the day, but I wanted to wait until I was in good active labor to go in. My doctors agreed that this was a good plan.
I noticed something different though than with my first two. Labor was irregular, with starts and stops, but the pain was different. Sharp and very uncomfortable. That night, there were some signs that I needed to get checked so we drove down to Norfolk General. We got there and it was confirmed I was in labor, but the pattern was weird and I wasn’t dilated or effaced a great deal. They gave me a choice to be admitted or to go home. I chose to go home as I just felt that it wasn’t time and I didn’t want to be pressured, particularly since my doctor said there was no reason for concern. He noted that many times, even for experienced birthers (lol), labor can last a…while.
The next day passed with the same routine. It would get intense but then it would fizzle. I didn’t understand it because with my first two-labor was textbook and lasted no longer than 12 hours, from start to finish. This was strange and really frustrating. And a little tiring and painful, but I was functioning pretty well.
I woke up the next day, a Friday, the 4th, in pain with heavy, regular contractions. We all got in the car and headed back to Norfolk. I knew this was the day. We had to take care of a few logistical things, but when I arrived, I was so happy to be out of the car. Traffic in Hampton Roads, especially going from the Peninsula to the Southside, is horrible. Even more so when you are in labor! I walked in and had to stop a few times to breathe and rock, but for the most part, I was talking and walking like any normal day. I was admitted and checked. I was already 8 centimeters and 95% effaced!
Well, I labored and within two hours, I was complete and baby was at a 0 station so I decided to consent to AROM. With my second baby, as soon as my water broke, she was born, so I figured this would be the same. WRONG! Water broke and then nothing happened. For an hour we waited. The pain, which was very mild to moderate before, became intense. On top of that, my partner needed to go back home, across the HRBT in the middle of the day-that was a huge mistake because that automatically means a three hour commute! While he was gone, the pain got incredibly intense as I felt a strong urge to push. I got checked and that is when we found out the likely reason for my prodromal labor. He was OP. We also found that baby was at a +1. They tried to turn him manually, which seems like it’d be painful, but it wasn’t because they got him off my bone temporarily. But, he wouldn’t budge past the pubic bone and his weight was keeping the last little bit of cervix from effacing. It’s called a cervical lip and it is a tiny bit of membrane on the os that needs to make room. His nose was pressing against it and causing some extreme pain. I have an incredibly high pain tolerance and am generally quiet when I birth. With him, all hell broke loose! When my hubs returned, I was able to manage a bit better, but it was…bad.
This went on for hours. We even had to do a really painful amnioinfusion. Finally, the doc came in 15 hours after we arrived and about 13 hours after my water broke. He detailed a few options. I could have an hour more and get a cesarean since baby was starting a few decels or I could get an epidural. I opted for the latter. The epidural helped with relaxing my cervix. It was almost instant! I was expecting a few hours, but within 20 minutes, I felt the urge to push, but it wasn’t painful-I just felt pressure. It was amazing. I had never had the epidural and was like, “Wow! This is fucking awesome!”
I pushed once and Hanley Keagan Finn came out looking up right at me at 10:00 (and some minutes-maybe 10:40?)! He never turned. His poor little face was bruised and I was so tired after some 60+ hours of labor, with 18 of those hours being fairly intense. He went right to the breast and stayed with me for hours. He is still so stubborn and very specific about what he likes.
Moral of the story? Every birth is different! And sometimes OP babies cause their mama’s grief. And the epidural is an amazing tool.
Here is that FIVE year old today! And tomorrow is his older brother’s birthday-I did consider that had Hanley waited like an hour and a half, he and Aydan would share birthdays. But after reading his story, would you want to wait even 2 hours????