I wasn’t ready to have a baby at 35 weeks, but my baby was ready to be here. My water had broken earlier that evening and my husband and I were on our way to the hospital. I was hoping that we would be on our way back home in a couple of hours since I wasn’t having contractions. But when we got there and were reminded that I hadn’t had my group B strep test yet and learned that most of the time when the water breaks so early it is because there is an infection of some sort or inflammation of the uterus we decided to stay over night and get a couple doses of antibiotics in. All night I hoped that labor would start on its own and worried that I might be sick or that the baby was sick.
Nothing happened. I had a few strong contractions but nothing consistent. My husband had to go back to work to finish up a job so I sent him off the next morning and then hoped that labor would hold off until he got back. I bounced on the birth ball trying to get baby to come down lower and get contractions going. I paced the hospital room. My doula came and we talked about my options and what I was going to do.
When my husband got back to the hospital we decided to go home, try and relax and try to get labor going using any natural ways we could. I hoped we would be back that night. I worried that we wouldn’t be back. I tried essential oils, pumping/nipple stimulation, visualization, affirmations and more. Nothing was happening. I worried that we might need a c-section if things didn’t start going.
I emailed some family members and close friends and asked for prayer that labor would start naturally and that everything would be okay. My husband and I went to bed and hoped I would wake up with contractions.
Nothing happened. Again a few strong contractions but nothing timeable. My water would leak every once in a while. Sometimes there were bigger gushes than others. Usually after I was laying and stood or after baby moved a lot. All night I kept track of my temperature and using a dopplar did a twenty minute “strip” every four hours.
The next morning we went to Walmart to get a carseat and did a few errands before heading back to the hospital. While there my doctor recommended that we transfer to a larger hospital that had a NICU however my husband and I decided that we wanted to stay under the care of the doctor I had seen the entire pregnancy, we wanted to be somewhere we felt comfortable and that I felt safe. We also decided that since nothing was happening we would start a pitocin drip. I was something that I had always feared. Knowing that a labor augmented by pitocin has a greater chance of ending in a cesarean section it was not my first choice. However none of the natural options had worked, I was nearing 40 hours from when my water had broken and labor seemed a long way off.
I worried that the pitocin would stress my baby. I worried that I wouldn’t handle it well. I worried that the pitocin would make contractions way more intense than natural labor and that I would end up with another intervention. I worried that my baby would need the transfer we had refused. I worried that maybe something was wrong with baby and that was why he was coming early. I worried about almost everything. Having a preemie is worriesome.
The pitocin was started and it wasn’t too bad. Contractions within half and hour. They weren’t bad. They actually felt like normal labor contractions. Within a couple of hours I got ahold of my doula and let her know she could come whenever she wanted. When she arrived I was starting to labor very intently. My husband and doula offered encouragement and ideas. I wanted to be checked and was at a 7 and almost completely effaced. We turned off the pitocin and I got into the tub. I worried that my labor would slow in the tub or stop completely since we had turned the pitocin off. Thankfully it didn’t. It did slow for just a few minutes but soon transition started. By then I was completely in labor land. There was no time or worry. There was a contraction and there was a break, another contraction, another break. Then I felt something I hadn’t felt before.
I needed to push. Right now.
My doctor checked me and I still had a small cervical lip left. So she held it back while I pushed baby through it. I pushed through another contraction and again felt somethind I hadn’t before- the ring of fire. I wanted to stop but I was worried so I pushed through one more contraction and he was here.
Healthy and safe. He was like most other newborns. He was breathing well on his own and he was nursing well. He just was ready to be born.
There was a true knot in his cord, so maybe that was why he came early but we’ll never really know for sure.
Having a preemie is not something that I ever thought would happen to me. It was scary. I’m so glad I had the support of my husband, doula and doctor.