At 36 weeks gestation I had already experienced my “I don’t want to be pregnant anymore” emotional breakdown. I had been contracting regularly for weeks and was given a prescription for Nifedipine to take as needed. At my prenatal office visit that week with my midwives group, I was dilated 1-2 centimeters and had my membranes stripped. This resulted in more painful contractions and sometimes overwhelming groin pain. I had to cut back my hours at work to two 12 hour night shifts at the hospital and spent many a day and night physically exhausted with an ice pack on my pubic bone to help ease the pain.
At my 37 week prenatal office visit, I was dilated 2-3 centimeters. I decided against them stripping my membranes this time to save myself some pain. At 38 weeks I was dilated 3-4 centimeters. Always contracting, some painful enough to stop me for a breath or two but never enough for active labor. At 39 weeks I was getting very anxious and even more emotional. My son was born quickly, right at 39 weeks but my daughter seemed to be taking her time. I was in prodromal labor for the last 3 weeks. During this week one of my exceptional midwives explained the position of my cervix. I was dilated 4-5 centimeters however; my cervix was off to the right. As an experienced Labor and Delivery nurse, this was my “aha” moment! My daughter was acynclitic!
I spent the rest of the week visiting a chiropractor and acupuncturist (that I was VERY fortunate to get in to see due to a cancellation), getting massage from my talented massage therapist and sister to release my pelvic floor muscles, and receiving gentle Rebozo adjustments and acupressure with essential oils from a wonderful nurse colleague and friend. A night or two before my 40 week prenatal visit, I was sitting on the floor watching Netflix with my mother, who consequently was sleeping on our couch the last 2 weeks in anticipation of my daughter’s arrival, and with one strong contraction I felt my daughters head drop in to place. It was a relief.
At my 40 week prenatal office visit, my husband and I were asked to schedule an induction. I started to cry. I told my midwife that I could not schedule my daughter’s birthday. At that point we decided to check my cervix and sweep my membranes again as I avoided scheduling the induction. I was dilated to 6 centimeters. Then my water broke. Pink, blood tinged fluid all over the exam table. My midwife exclaimed that she was sorry and had only ever done that once before in her 25 year career. I hugged her as she called the hospital to tell them I was coming.
For weeks I had requested that my nurse colleagues at the hospital save room 368 for me to labor and birth my daughter. That was the room my son was born in just 3 years prior. As I checked in, got my IV, and listened to my daughters heartbeat on the electronic fetal monitor; I waited for my wonderful nurse colleague and friend to arrive to “special” my nursing care. She knew of my desires for a natural and unmedicated birth as well as to have my children attend the birth. When contractions became stronger I sat in the tub. When they slowed down I got out of the tub and rocked on a birthing ball. At some point my midwife entered the room to check my cervix and break a “fore bag” of waters that had formed during the short time I had been actively laboring. I was 7-8 centimeters and contractions started to hit even harder then. I got back in the tub to ease the pain. In a couple short hours I stood up in the tub to dance with my husband and began to squat in his arms and grunt gently. It wouldn’t be long now. Suddenly I was on my hands and knees in the tub as an intense contraction came over me and my body started to push my baby out. I pooped in the tub. I said that I needed to get out of the tub and felt arms wrap around me and someone help me stand up. I walked to the bed, crawling in on my hands and knees as my boys, mother, and sister quickly entered the room. With two intensely strong pushes and a couple bad words, my daughters head was born. Seconds later I was asked by my birth team to reposition and turn onto my side so that we could deliver her body. As I turned over and the head of the bed was lowered, my daughter was born; sliding out of me and into my midwife’s awaiting hands. She was placed on my chest; crying and beautiful.
By R. Legge Konecny, RN