When I learned that our baby was due so close to April I just *knew* that she was going to be an April Fool's baby. Not that I wanted that date for her birthday - I was really hoping for it to be the same as my Dad's - March 28th.
At 4am on April 1st I awoke to use the restroom. As I got out of bed I felt a little 'pop' but assumed that the baby just kicked me...I also assumed I just wet myself (sorry for the TMI but this is a birth story after all!) as I walked down the stairs. After changing my clothes I was about to head back upstairs when I felt another trickle of fluid and as I walked to the bathroom I felt a gush. I knew then that my water had broken, which has never happened to me at home before. I called the midwife, who told me to get some rest and call her back if nothing started happening in the next 6 hours. At that point I wasn't even having contractions so knew it would be a long day.
I decided to wash up before heading back to bed. As I stepped into the shower I felt another gush and glanced down, only to see bright red blood pouring down my legs. I ran out of the shower and upstairs to tell my husband to "Wake up - I'm bleeding!" and ran back to the bathroom floor to sit where I promptly called an ambulance. All I could think of was that it was probably placenta previa and that the baby could be dying (or was already as I hadn't felt her move since I woke up). My mom had this happen when she was in labor with her fifth baby and they both came close to dying - fortunately they were already at the hospital and next to the operating room when it happened.
Joe awoke from all the commotion and stood peering around the doorway, watching as the ambulance crew came inside. Once I was in the ambulance they listened for the baby's heartbeat, which they found pretty quickly. That was the best sound in the world!
Once at the hospital they hooked me up to monitors and an iv and ordered an ultra sound to check the placenta, all the while getting the anesthesia and surgery team rounded up just in case they needed to get the baby out quick. I was still bleeding and having clots. Luckily, the ultra-sound checked out fine and things started to slow down from there, while my contractions started to pick up.
We never did learn why I was bleeding. The doctor mentioned that the placenta could have started to pull away and then clot back up or that if I dilated quickly some blood vessels could have burst.
At this point I had the option of transferring to the hospital where my midwife is (an hour away) or staying here in town, where I didn't know a single doctor! After meeting the doctor on call (and knowing that he delivered my cousin's little girl three weeks earlier and she was happy with her experience) I decided to stay here in town.
As the day went on it took me 6 hours to dilate from 4cm to 5cm. I think it was the stress of how the day started, coupled with the fact that Jacob was then on his way to Iowa City with my mom to talk to the doctor and pick up his oral chemotherapy medication. Hearing the words "Palliative Care" for him didn't help my nerves any, either. I was just a jumble mess at that point.
At 1pm the doctor decided to start Pitocin, which I really didn't want. Once he left the room my contractions started to pick up and become quite uncomfortable. As the nurse came back into the room with the Pitocin I told her how I was feeling and she checked the monitors. After talking to the doctor they decided not to do the Pitocin after all since the labor had taken off.
The baby's heart beat kept dropping quite dramatically with each contraction. The doctor started to think there was a cord issue and mentioned the possibility of a C-section. At this point the pain was getting intense and I was a bundle of nerves. I decided to get an epidural to help me deal better with the matter at hand - birthing this baby.
Once the epidural took effect I was much more calm. The baby's heartbeat continued to do a roller coaster on the monitors and I was placed on oxygen on and off and moved into different positions. The doctor ordered an ultra-sound to see if the cord was wrapped around her neck or in an odd position. They thought they could see it around her neck.
Finally, at 7:15pm (I had been at the hospital for 14 hours at this point) I was 10cm and the doctor wanted me to push - hoping that the baby would descend and not be stuck by the placenta. Within four contractions she was in my arms (the quickest pushing stage ever for me!) and perfectly healthy! As a matter of fact, within just a few minutes of being born she was nursing like a champ (I've never had a baby latch on so quickly!).
While the birth did not turn out the way I had hoped the end result was perfect, which is really all that matters anyway.