Holland’s birth story continues on at me being 12 days overdue. If you missed it, first go read Holland’s birth story part 1, then come back here for the rest of Holland’s birth story part 2 – bringing a baby into the world!
12 days overdue
I left off at 11:30pm on Tuesday evening. I woke up after 1.5 hours of sleep and just couldn’t sleep through the contractions anymore. They weren’t unbearable or too painful, but they were sure noticeably not feeling good! After going into labor on my own with my 3rd, I can feel the difference between braxton hicks contractions, which feel like a tightness in my belly, and labor contractions, which feel like tightness paired with crampiness – almost like period cramps but worse. I was at the cramps and tightness point and it didn’t seem to be changing.
I downloaded a free contraction timer app and tried to rest as much as I could while beginning to track the contractions. During that first hour of tracking each contraction lasted a little more than a minute, but the time between them varied from 7 minutes to 15 minutes. Things were not consist yet, but I knew it was actually happening and labor was happening for real!
13 days overdue
I waited until 1:15am to text my in-laws to let them know labor had started. They were on stand by to come be with our other kids and I wanted to make they were ready in case we were going to head to the hospital that night.
And then just 45 minutes later I called and woke them up to come over. I also woke Jacob up and told him his parents were on the way. I knew it was pretty early to head to the hospital. Too early really since my contractions were not yet close, super consistent or incredibly painful. However, in the back of my mind I was reminded of the fast and furious delivery with my 3rd baby and I didn’t want to risk arriving too late, or worse, having a baby in the car!
I went downstairs and had a snack, knowing that I may not eat much throughout the night. Kiwis and pistachios in between contractions. I worked on drinking tons of water and just focusing on relaxing and breathing when a contraction would come. I could still walk through most of them so they were not yet at that debilitating point.
They arrived a bit before 3am and we took off right away to the hospital. Jacob texted our friend and my second support person Lisa that we were headed to the hospital and she also got herself ready and out the door.
We arrived at the hospital around 3:15am and went to triage with a nurse. She got me hooked onto the monitors to watch my contractions and baby’s heart rate. She also checked me and I had progressed a little from the day before to 4cm dilated, 80% effaced (I believe). When a contraction would could, I just went into my zone: eyes shut and breathing. I found I would tense a bit through my shoulders and feet, but then as I breathed my whole body would relax through the wave that a contraction is like. It builds, finds the peak, then slowly diminishes.
Lisa arrived when we were in triage and got to take over right then as our nurse and for the whole next day! We were all so happy about that. Since I still needed to make progress we began walking the halls for the next 1.5 hours. Jacob, Lisa and I just chatted as we’d walk. Walking the halls during labor is one of my favs, and it was especially nice having both of them there because when a contraction wold hit, it was conforming just listening to them talk. The last thing I wanted to do was talk, but being a little distracted by their conversation helped.
Sometime between 5-6am we got set up in our room and the water birth tub worked on being filled and set up. We got to see our midwife, Donna, that was on call then. She was one of the midwives we had during my pregnancy with Hunter, my first baby, so it was great having someone we knew, liked and trusted.
After the birthing pool was set up and filled I spent some time relaxing in it. I was feeling pretty tired after basically missing a nights sleep, so I drifted in and out of sleep as I hung off the side of the pool. The water let me relax, but I also think it slowed the time between contractions down a bit.
I got out for a bit, then laid on the bed and tried to nap for a while there. The tiredness was really setting in. During that time we had a switch in midwives and again, we were so glad to see another familiar face – Kate! She was the midwife we had during our quick and intense delivery of Nova.
We talked about options that may help my labor speed up a bit more if I wanted, like breaking my water. The one downside with that was that if there was meconium (baby’s first poop) in my water sac, having a water birth would be off the table. I wanted to wait a bit longer before possibly having my water broken because the chances of meconium in the sac were pretty likely with her being almost 2 weeks overdue.
I spent a little more time in the water, bounced on the birthing ball and resting more in bed. Contractions were consistently about 8 minutes apart, and still, uncomfortable but bearable.
Around 11:30am Kate came in again and we decided to see if I’d made more progress. I had progressed to 6cm – yay! Since I had made progress but was feeling really really tired, I decided yes to having my water broken. If it sped things up a bit I wouldn’t be against that.
After she broke my water – and yes, there was meconium in the water – I hopped on a birthing ball to bounce a bit. It seemed like after 1-2 contractions things quickly became WAY more intense and MUCH closer together.
I would be bouncing on the ball, a contraction would come and I would instantly have one knee down on a little stool, the other foot on the ground and my hands and arms resting on Jacob’s legs (he was sitting near me) with my head pressed into one of his legs. I basically supported myself on him, and once the contraction passed I’d get back on the birthing ball. But then they just kept on coming with shorter breaks, and the pain increased dramatically.
After a little while when it seemed like I was progressing towards birth time they wanted me to move onto the bed because I was really close to the warming table for the baby. It was pretty crammed in the room with the bed, birthing tub and birthing ball + myself, Lisa, Jacob and Kate, along with whoever else was in there. My back was turned to the door the entire time I was going through the quickly intensifying contractions.
They helped me move onto the bed on my hands and knees, which was the only position I wanted to be in. Everything was getting so much more intense and the pain was becoming almost unbearable, and then I began to cry. I didn’t know why really. It wasn’t from the the pain, but more an emotional release.
It was strange because the act of crying brought me comfort. I remembered where I was at during my labor wit Nova and breaking down crying, and I also knew that when that happened the end was near, so in my mind I knew I didn’t have much longer.
One of the most comforting things that was said to me during this stage came from Lisa, probably after a contraction. She told me I never had to do this again (she knew this was our last baby) – and it 100% gave me strength to know that I could do this.
How long I was in one place kind of escapes me, but it didn’t seem like very long after I moved to the bed that I began to feel pressure. My sound changed to deep more animal like moans and I began to want to push. When my body felt the urge, I started to go with it. Pushing is my favorite because I get to work through the contraction. I started pushing and after a bit asked if her head was out – it wasn’t yet. More pushing and then her head really started to make its way out! Once she started to actually make her way out I just wanted to get her out! Her hand was up by her face so to finish getting her out I felt like I had to keep working to finish birthing her and then she was out! She was here! I remember once I was holding her just saying “we did it” – she was born! It was such an emotionally happy moment actually having her there on my chest. All the work was done and the amazing final destination of having her with us has arrived.
Not too long after she was born we knew she’d be named Holland Sloan. Turns out it’s actually awesome going in with a handful of names and then deciding once we met her. I had a dream team of support between Jacob, Lisa and Kate – I couldn’t have asked for a better crew by my side!
Holland’s birth brings me so much joy to relive. Birth is amazing, empowering and such a blessing. I feel so honored and joyful to think about my 4 different and unique birth experiences.
If you want to read any more of my birth stories, I’ve linked them all below!