Throughout my pregnancy with Jude, I read quite a few different birth stories from inspiring women to better prepare myself for what was to come. I loved reading those stories, and it is quite surreal to now be on the other side, writing the birth story of my sweet baby Jude. From the beginning –
About 3:00am on Saturday morning, October 14th, I awoke to contractions. I had been having contractions on and off for about a week, so I thought it was just another spurt of these. They continued though, for at least an hour, so I woke up Gabe. We downloaded an app to time contractions, and started the whole timing process.
We continued this well into the morning. My contractions weren’t really progressing to higher frequencies and they weren’t really becoming more painful, but they were consistently there. I kept debating in my head whether this was the real thing, or if it was just false labor. I couldn’t get myself to believe that I may actually really be in labor, even though I was already past my due date of October 13th.
By early afternoon, the contractions were definitely getting more intense and were coming at a much higher frequency. I thought they were pretty bad at this point, but I had no idea what was to come. 🙂 It was starting to settle in that I actually may be having a baby very soon! I think I was in shock that it could really be happening, and Gabe was just very excited.
Heading to the hospital!
Because the contractions were so timeable and were becoming a lot more painful, we decided to go into the hospital around 3:00pm that Saturday. We packed up our hospital bags and carseat, and headed to labor and delivery. They put us into a triage room, where I would be evaluated to see if I was truly in labor. I was hooked up to a contraction monitor and heart rate monitor for baby. They checked my cervix and I was dilated to 2cm and about 75 effaced. I think at this point, they probably would have sent me home because I wasn’t far enough along in the dilation process to be admitted. But before they discharged me, they checked to see if my water had broken, and sure enough it had. Earlier that morning, I thought I had just peed myself a little or something (TMI, sorry) and I had no idea my water had broken. I didn’t realize this, but you generally need to deliver within 24 hours or so of your water breaking for the safety of the baby. So I would be delivering sometime within the next 12 hours! I couldn’t believe it.
We got all checked into our room in the Birth Place and called my Mom, as she was going to be with Gabe and I through my labor and delivery. I was still feeling pretty good at this point, easily breathing through contractions and walking around. I ate a mediocre grilled cheese (eh, hospital food) and watched Harry Potter (which happened to be on TV) while I walked around the hospital room. The nurse noticed that every once in awhile when I had a contraction, immediately afterwards baby’s heart rate would dip below 100bpm, which is lower than they’d like. She said he otherwise had a very great heart rate so she thought everything was just fine, but she was going to keep an eye on it.
Our hospital room
I wasn’t progressing nearly as fast as I would have liked to, and the doctor agreed that because my water had already broken I needed to be progressing faster. When they checked me again around 7pm, I was still only dilated to 2cm.There was mention of pitocin, but I firmly wanted to have an unmedicated birth so we decided to wait a couple more hours to see it my cervix would dilate more on its own.
The pattern of Jude’s heart rate dropping continued, except now it was happening after almost every single contraction. I could sense from the nurses that this wasn’t good. They decided to hook me up to some fluids and said that if I got more hydrated, things would get better. I also needed to be hooked up to oxygen for the time being. So, I was quarantined to my bed temporarily. It was a lot more challenging to breath through contractions in bed. I much preferred walking around, bouncing on a birthing ball, and rocking on the edge of the bed. But, for the safety of Jude, I stayed in bed as instructed by the nurses.
The fluid, oxygen, and time in bed seemed to do the trick and Jude’s heart rate was no longer dropping after every contraction. The nurses gave me the OK to get up and walk around again. After a few more pretty intense contractions, I decided I wanted to try sitting in the whirlpool tub for awhile. It felt very good to sit in the warm water, and really helped with contractions. Unfortunately, my time in the tub was cut short. Jude’s heart rate began dropping again after contractions. And this time, it wasn’t coming back up. The nurses rushed in and got me out of the tub and put me back into bed. It seemed there was about 10 medical professionals in my room within seconds, and it was at this point I started to panic a little. I was again hooked up to fluids, had to wear an oxygen mask, and the doctor decided to inject fluid into my uterus.
At this point, they let me know there was some sort of umbilical cord issue. Every time I was having a contraction, Jude’s umbilical cord was somehow getting compressed, causing his heart rate to drop. This is obviously a big deal. They let me know that if injecting fluid into my uterus didn’t work, they were going to need to do an emergency c-section. At this point in time, my contractions were really intense and I was having a hard time breathing through them in bed, so I couldn’t really focus on the fact that I may have to have a c-section. Because I didn’t have an epidural, I would be fully under anesthesia and wouldn’t even get to be awake during the birth of my son. But, I was willing to do whatever it would take to get Jude here healthy and happy.
They brought in consent forms, and from this point forward honestly everything is kind of a blur. I was in so much pain from the contractions that were happening every couple of minutes, I couldn’t move off my left side because when I did Jude’s heart rate would drop, and I was still unsure of what was going to happen. My husband signed the c-section consent forms but the nurse assured me there was still a chance that everything was going to work out, the forms were just in case things went downhill.
Thankfully, the fluid worked and Jude’s heart rate normalized, but I was going to be quarantined to my bed for the remainder of labor. Stuck lying on my side in a hard hospital bed, I could barely take the contraction pain anymore. I wanted so badly to be up and moving, utilizing all the natural pain management techniques I had studied during pregnancy. But that was just not an option due to the complications with Jude’s cord. The nurse said my body was kind of “fighting” the contractions. My stomach would tense up which was slowing my progression. I decided at that point to get an epidural. I felt I couldn’t allow my body to naturally progress through labor without one. So the anesthesiologist was in the room within 15 minutes, administering the epidural. I couldn’t wait for it to kick in and take away the pain.
Unfortunately, it didn’t really work. Nothing changed with the pain of the contractions. This was because I was having what they term “back labor.” Jude’s head was pushing up against my back through every contraction, and that is where I was feeling all the pain. But, epidurals only work on the front, not on the back, so I was still feeling every bit of this back labor pain. I remember thinking during every contraction, “It can’t get any worse than this. The pain cannot possibly get any worse than it already is, so I can handle it,” and then the contraction would end. Right before every contraction would begin, I got the “shakes.” I don’t think I ever even opened my eyes, I was so out of it. I think the only words I muttered through that last stage of contractions was “water” and then my husband would bring me a drink. Labor is no joke. I truly couldn’t have imagined how painful it was going to be until I went through it.
After what felt like forever, the nurse came in to check my cervix again. She said I was fully dilated to 10cm and I felt overwhelmed with relief at this news. It was time to start pushing, which meant all this pain would be over soon and I would be holding my baby boy in my arms! It felt like labor would never end, so finally reaching 10cm felt amazing.
Now, this is the part where the epidural came in handy. I couldn’t feel anything from my waist down, so I didn’t feel any pain while pushing. I still had the pain of the contractions, but because I was pushing through contractions it wasn’t nearly as bad. In a weird way I actually kind of enjoyed this stage of labor. I’m guessing that if I didn’t have an epidural, I wouldn’t be saying that. But it was so surreal and amazing to watch Jude making his grand entrance. They put a mirror so that I could see (at first I thought “no way I do not want a mirror” but then my husband and Mom kept getting so excited and saying things like “Oh I see the head!” and I just needed to see for myself). I pushed for about 1.5 hours, and then Jude was here! Oh man, this part was so heavenly. He was immediately placed on my chest, he was healthy, he was crying, and I just couldn’t believe this was happening.
Looking a liiiiiitle tired after almost 24 hours of labor
Jude Matthew Messler was born at 2:32am on Sunday, October 15 and our lives will never be the same! He is so sweet, so cute, so angelic, and truly just the most perfect addition to our family sent from Heavenly Father. I believe mothering is a sacred duty, and I am overwhelmed by the responsibility but also willing to do whatever it takes to raise Jude in the way Heavenly Father intended. Baby Jude, I will love you forever and ever. Thank you for joining our eternal family!