I had been having what most call "false labor" signs for a good month or more. I'd have lots of menstrual type cramps that were really bad, my body would start severely cleaning itself out, I'd have braxton hicks, etc. It was actually getting frustrating because I wish it would just make up it's mind! lol But I had to keep telling myself that all of these things were not "false labor" but just really early labor.
They were preparing my body which would make labor easier and/or shorter when it did come. I woke up the morning of the 19th to contractions that were definitely different than the braxton hicks. These were intense and felt mostly in my back (even though baby was LOA). I had to work through a few of them and breathe. I didn't worry about timing them because they were definitely far apart I just didn't know how far apart. But I could tell that these were different. I took a hot bath to help with the cramping/contractions and then decided to give my mom, who would be watching the boys for us, what I called a "mild alert." Something told me that we would be heading to the hospital by evening or at least in the morning. They stayed at 20-30 minutes apart for a long time and John kept trying to get me to go for a walk to keep things going. I told him that I knew I wouldn't need to keep things going that this would stay I just didn't know how fast it would progress. I decided to get cleaning and laundry done and tried to stay active. I felt really grouchy and just wanted quiet but that was hard.
We put the boys down for their naps at 11:30 and I kept cleaning and making sure everything was ready to go. I sat down to watch some TV while folding clothes and decided to start timing the contractions while I watched. They went from 15 minutes apart to about 10 pretty quickly. I told my mom she should head down and went to tell John we should call his business partner (who was our backup close babysitter) to leave in about 30 minutes to come by. John decided to tell him to be at our house at 3 instead which ended up being very wise (this was around 2:30 that all of this happened me getting a hold of my mom and him calling his business partner.). The contractions went basically from 10 minutes apart (I only timed one that was 10 minutes) to 4-5 minutes apart and I knew I shouldn't do the 5-1-1 rule because we shouldn't wait for over an hour. I knew this was it. I had one contraction in the car when we were almost to the hospital where I started feeling pressure and felt nauseated. Normally when that happens I am in transition and I'm never in transition long. I didn't want to tell John though and freak him out because I saw we only had 5 more minutes left on our trip but I was pretty relived when we pulled in! In between contractions I was able to be quite aware still and when we got to check in, I almost wanted to fake it so that they would rush us back because I knew I was a lot further along than it seemed. John said that the check in lady wanted us both to sit down and fill out paper work and he just said nope, let's get the necessary stuff done and then get us back there. Both the past two times, I have been able to skip triage completely....nope not this time. They took me back,, told me to get changed then left...for a long time (it wasn't a super long time but seemed like it). I told John I thought I was in transition and I wanted to get the mandatory 20 minutes of monitoring over with so I could get in the tub. He had to go find a nurse. She and the midwife came in and when the midwife Janice checked me, I was only at a 4!! I tried not to get discouraged but felt like I had such a long way to go still and felt stupid for thinking I was already in transition. She was very encouraging and told me I could do it and that I was "fearfully and wonderfully made." Very shortly after they all walked out, my water popped and both John and I knew that both times before that didn't happen until I was pushing. John ran and got someone and the midwife checked me again and told me I was still at a 4 but she said "I know you and I know how this normally happens" so they unhooked me and rushed me to a room that they were still cleaning out. lol
When they got me in there, John started filling the tub for me immediately and I asked when I could get in. they said they had to put in the hep. lock and do my lab work and as soon as that was done I could get in. This whole time I was on my back. NOT how I like laboring AT ALL!! It hurts worse. John knows me really well because I normally just breathe deeply through the contractions, but as soon as I start almost whimpering while I breathing, that it is almost time to push. I didn't have anymore checks but as soon as she got the hep lock in, I asked if I could get in the bath. John told me that it was too late, they kept me in triage too long and we were about to start pushing. Those were like the worst news to me at the time. The bath is what I use to really help with the pain. Not only did I have to labor on my back but I couldn't use the tub! lol Instead of it being a relief that we were almost done I was so frustrated and asked him to help me at least get on my knees. I had like three back to back contractions (they didn't really let up at this point anymore) and my music I use to help with the pain and block everything out stopped working. John said when this happened he freaked out because he knew it helped and he was really frantic trying to get it to work. I told them my body was pushing and they told me to wait for Jan the midwife (I didn't actively push but I sure didn't stop my body from doing it's thing! lol). This time around the 2nd stage was more painful than either of the other two and I thought maybe I had tore. Come to find out, Titus had his cord wrapped very tightly twice around his neck so the midwife had to do some sort of maneuver she called a somersault to get it tangled as he was coming out which is why it made it a bit more painful.
After he was delivered, I couldn't move for a bit. I don't remember this with the other two either. I had to sit and catch my breath and was still in pain for a bit, so I just sat there. lol I think all of this had to do with a few different things. One, I went from 4cm-10cm in about 45 minutes so it was fast and furious and intense (but I'm so thankful it was so quick!). Second, my water broke earlier than with the other two so there wasn't that cushion. With the first two, it didn't break until they were about to crown so I had cushion as I was pushing them down. And I think I had to recover for a bit after because it was all just so fast physically and mentally (I was still thinking I had a long way to go when my body started pushing. At that point I still thought I was at only 4cm!! lol).
I think the fastness of my active labor had to do with a few different things as well. I used raspberry leaf tea throughout my pregnancy and toward the end I was taking and inserting evening primrose capsules as well which do not induce you, but help prepare and soften the cervix which is supposed to make things faster in the end. Plus this was my third so I think that had a lot to do with it as well.
From the first contraction to him being born was about 10 hours, but I didn't even think I was in labor for the first part of the day so I don't know if I'd count that or not. But from hospital admission to delivery was 45 minutes! :P
One thing I learned was definitely listen to your body. Even though I was only at a 4, I knew I was in transition and I was. It is a lot of a mental game for me. If I had known it would have been done in 45 minutes I think I wouldn't have been so discouraged and frustrated about the tub and having to be on my back. Anyways, even though this one was intense, it wasn't bad. The last part was harder than the other two, but more mentally than anything. And I am still very glad to do it naturally because the recovery time is incredible. I felt great afterwards. No pain except for the uterine cramps and that is still true, but even those are mostly gone (and that is thanks to the red raspberry leave tea and breastfeeding). Oh, one last funny thing, the cleaning lady came in after I had the baby to clean and she said "wow that was fast! I saw you check in and you are already finished!" lol