This is the story of the birth of our firstborn son, Warren Matthew. Warren was born on Friday February 28, 2014 at 4:04 AM after 28 hours of labor weighing 8 lbs even and measuring 20.5 inches long.
I had just been in to see the doctor one last time before I was supposed to deliver. Everything was going great. I was feeling relatively well, despite the bad heartburn and uncomfortable nature of the last month of pregnancy. My blood pressure was better than ever and the baby was healthy and in the correct position to be born. The doctor examined me and told me that I was just about 2 cm dilated and about 90-95% effaced. She was pretty certain that I would go into labor before the end of the upcoming weekend. If I didn’t go into labor by the following Friday, she wanted to induce me.
I planned to have a natural, medication free, labor. Of course, I was well aware that no labor ever goes as planned. I felt like I was ready to handle whatever was thrown at me. I was about to find out!
Around midnight on Thursday February 27th I woke up in quite a bit of pain. I was only 2 days away from my due date of March 1st. I really wasn’t sure if this was real labor, the early stages of labor, or just Braxton-Hicks contractions. I tried to go back to sleep, and I was able to do so until I woke up again around 3:00 AM. Tom had to get up to get ready for work at 5:00 AM, so I decided that I would try and relax and sleep a little longer until he woke up. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go back to sleep. When Tom’s alarm went off I told him that he might need to stay home today because I might be in labor. I didn’t want to be too optimistic, in case it was just false labor.
I decided that I would take a shower and get dressed while Tom worked out. If I was still having contractions by the time I got out of the shower and got dressed we would discuss Tom staying home. So I took a shower, and man did that shower feel heavenly. After I got out of the shower I got dressed, put on some makeup, and did my hair. I figured if I was going into labor I wanted to look nice, since I had the extra time.
I texted my doula Elicia, who lives close to two hours away. I told her that I suspected that I was in the beginning stages of labor and I wanted to know if she thought that Tom should stay home from work. I also didn’t want Elicia driving all the way to Plover if what I was experiencing was false labor. I described my pain to her. The contractions were getting stronger, lasting longer, and starting in my back and wrapping around to my tummy. She said that it sounded like I was definitely in labor and that Tom should stay home. She planned on getting her kids to school and then heading to our house.
Tom called his work and informed them that I was in labor and he wouldn’t be coming in. Right around the time he got done calling work, I felt like my water might have broken. It wasn’t a huge gush like some women experience, it was more of a trickle. This was right around 5:30-6:00 AM. I continued to lose “water” slowly throughout the rest of the day.
I hadn’t packed my bag for the hospital yet, so I busied myself with doing that. I also told Tom that he should pack some things as well. Thankfully I had already packed the baby’s bag, so I didn’t have to worry about that.
Elicia got to our house around 8:30-9:00 AM. I was trying to keep myself busy by playing a game on the wii and bouncing on the yoga ball. Elicia started timing my contractions and they were about 30-45 seconds long and 3-5 minutes apart. At this point I was still able to handle the contractions fairly easily.
I called my parents and sisters to let them know that I was in labor. They were so excited. They wanted to rush over and see how I was doing, but I hadn’t planned on having anyone over except for Elicia and Tom. Tom called his mom and dad and told them that we were in labor. Everyone was making predictions about when our little man would be born, and everyone seemed to think he would come before Friday. I, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure that he would be here that soon. After all, this was my first labor and I knew that it could take a really long time. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much.
Around noon my sister Lauren and her boyfriend Curtis came over to see how I was doing. My mom came over for a little bit as well because she wanted to take a few pictures. Originally I didn’t want them to come over, but I knew that it meant a lot to them to be able to experience some of my labor with me. My other sister Annie, and her boyfriend Cody, came over later in the day. By that time, I was in a lot more pain and getting kind of frustrated that people were still at my house. I tried to just roll with everything that was going on.
Annie and Cody offered to go pick me up lunch from Subway and Lauren and Curtis left. Annie brought me back a chicken sandwich and her and Cody hung out a little longer. They then said their goodbyes and wished me luck.
My doula Elicia has a baby of her own and was breastfeeding her. Her baby wouldn’t take a bottle, so my sister Lauren and her boyfriend Curtis had to drive to Wausau and meet Elicia’s husband to pick up the baby so Elicia could feed her. When Lauren and Curtis got to our house Elicia’s two youngest kids were screaming. I couldn’t blame them though, they were picked up by complete strangers, they were tired, and hungry. Elicia went upstairs to feed her baby while Lauren and Curtis tried to console her other child. I was very exhausted and in a lot of pain and could barely handle all of the noise. Tom took me downstairs to our room, closed the door, and started massaging my back with a tennis ball. The majority of my pain was in my back, so putting pressure on the exact spot was all that would help the pain.
Finally, Lauren, Curtis, and Elicia’s kids left and the house was quiet. My contractions seemed to be slowing down, so I decided to take a shower with some clary sage oil to try and amp up the contractions. That sage oil is really strong and I used a lot, and I mean a lot, to try and get my contractions moving. Elicia said she could smell it all the way upstairs. I also tried moving my hips in a circular motion, while in the shower, to try and get things moving.
It seemed like my contractions were possibly getting stronger, but I really couldn’t tell. Elicia had started watching the movie Blackfish on Netflix while I was in the shower, so we finished watching that movie together. Eventually I got to a point where I was pretty exhausted and my contractions seemed to be getting worse. At this point we decided to call the doctor and see if it was ok to come in. I didn’t want to go to the hospital until I couldn’t take it anymore at home. It was around 7:00 PM when we were told that we could head to the hospital.
We all hopped into our little car and started driving to the hospital. The drive is about 10 minutes, so it wasn’t terrible. I definitely could feel every single bump that we went over, though. Tom dropped me and Elicia off at the Emergency Department entrance and we went inside to check in while Tom parked the car. It was really cold outside, so I was glad that he dropped us off.
The Emergency Department was noisy and smelled very strongly of Lysol cleaner. Apparently some kid had just thrown up all over the place right before we got there. That must have been lovely and I am glad that we missed it. After we checked in a security guard came up to us with a wheelchair to take us up to our room. I didn’t want to ride in the wheelchair, I guess I am just stubborn like that, so I walked. I remember walking past a few people and one guy wished me good luck on the way up to our room.
When we got up to the third floor of the hospital, it was very quiet. I don’t think that many people were checked in while I was in labor. A nurse took us to our room and did a swab to check for amniotic fluid to see if my water had truly broken earlier that day. She came back in to tell us that it had, which was a relief. I had a strong feeling that it had broken, and the nurse seemed a little skeptical. She definitely believed me after the results came back.
After it was confirmed that my water had indeed broken, I was officially admitted to the hospital. We had to wait for the doctor to come in and check to see how far dilated I was. I put on my hospital gown and paced around waiting for her to come in. Finally she got to my room and checked me. What happened next was one of the most devastating parts of my labor. The doctor checked me and told me that I was only 2 cm dilated and 100% effaced. She also said that the little man’s head was still enclosed in the bag of water and that my water hadn’t completely broken, there was just a leak in the top portion of it. I couldn’t believe that after 17+ hours of labor I was still only 2 cm! I wanted to cry, but I managed not to just yet.
The doctor then told me that I would need to be started on Pitocin. This was a huge bummer for me, since I wanted a medication free labor. I also didn’t want an IV, but since I had to have Pitocin, they needed to start on IV. The nurse came in and started my IV. I really don’t like IV’s, so this part was a challenge for me. It’s not the pain that bothers me, it’s the feeling of the fluid going into my veins and making my body cold that makes me feel sick. Thankfully, I made it through the process without getting sick.
Once the Pitocin kicked in my contractions really amped up. Earlier in my labor, when I first got admitted to the hospital my nurse, Lisa, had asked me where I would rate my pain on a scale of 1-10. I had told her 8 and she had chuckled a little bit saying, “honey, there is no way you are at an 8 already.” I am really bad at rating my pain on a 1-10 scale, but hearing that it was only going to get worse was not helpful. She was most definitely right about it getting worse, though.
I went from what I thought was an 8 on the pain scale to much higher than a 10. I could no longer breathe through my contractions and rubbing my back was not helping. We tried walking around in the hallway for a little bit, but that wasn’t really helping. When I got back to the room Lisa suggested that I try the tub. She got the bath ready for me and I got in. I had tons of wires hooked up to me, so it was a bit of a challenge getting in the tub.
I stayed in the tub for quite some time, but it really wasn’t helping. I was just not able to think around the pain. Tom and I had taken a Lamaze class prior to my labor, and the techniques from the class were no longer working. Tom suggested that we discuss the option of getting an epidural. At first I was very against getting an epidural, but when I realized that I might be able to get some sleep after I got one, I decided I would try it.
The nurse went to see when the anesthesiologist could get to the hospital. Of course he was on call, so it was going to take awhile before he could get there. I tried to stay in the tub until he got there, but I needed to get up and try and walk around. By this point I was so exhausted and in so much pain that I just broke down and cried. Tom was so helpful and encouraging and he stayed by my side the whole time. I honestly could not have gotten through the process without his help and encouragement. Tom and Elicia both alternated rubbing my back until the anesthesiologist arrived. My back actually got so raw that they had to stop because my skin was peeling off.
When the anesthesiologist got to my room, I climbed up on the bed and he raised it to the highest setting. I was a little nervous about getting an epidural because I don’t like the feeling of being numb or not having control. I had to lean forward with my legs dangling off the side of the bed and sit still through contractions. Sitting still was very hard, especially with the Pitocin. Tom stayed in front of me, held me hands, and kept me distracted. It felt like the anesthesiologist was taking an extra long time to put the epidural in. It turns out he had to do it twice because he missed the first time. I should have figured that out when I felt the weird tingling shooting sensation twice in my legs. I’m glad I didn’t know that he missed the first time, though.
After I got the epidural I finally had some relief. I could no longer feel my contractions, but I could still feel and move my legs. The nurse had me lie down on my back, which I didn’t like. The doctor came in and broke my water completely. We were all instructed to try and get some sleep. I think around this time it was probably close to 1:00 AM. Elicia slept on the couch and Tom instantly fell asleep on the recliner in the corner of the room. The poor guy was so exhausted.
I tried really hard to fall asleep, but I just wasn’t able to. The pain in my back was starting to return and I began to feel really nauseous. I had Elicia go and get the nurse while I pushed the button to self-administer some more medication into the catheter in my back. The medication was not helping. The nurse came back in and gave me some Zofran, which helps with nausea. She also checked me to see how far dilated I was. I was only dilated to 4 cm.
By this time, I was in a lot of pain and the epidural was no longer working. I think the nurse thought I was making it up that I was in pain. Apparently after you get an epidural the pain isn’t supposed to come back. I guess it can come back a little bit, but mine was back to what it had been before I got the epidural. All of the sudden I felt like there was a lot of pressure and that I had to push. Elicia went and got the nurse. Since she had just checked me about an hour ago and I was only 4 cm, she didn’t think I was ready to push yet. She checked me and said, “you know why you feel like you have to push? His head is right there!”
I told Tom that I was ready to start pushing and he literally shot right out of the chair that he was sleeping in. I got set up to push and Elicia held one of my legs, while Tom held the other. I pushed once and it wasn’t very effective. I knew that I needed to change how I was pushing. When the next contraction came I pushed like crazy and yelled at the nurse to just take him out of me. Of course that didn’t help and she told me that she couldn’t help me and that I needed to get him out on my own.
I was really relieved when the nurse called for the doctor because I knew I was close to meeting my son for the first time. The doctor came in and I pushed one more time. Tom said that he could see our little guy’s head. With one more push he was out and on my chest. I couldn’t believe how much relief I felt when he was finally out. It’s like all of my pain was gone and there was my baby boy. I couldn’t believe how beautiful he was! I told Tom that I wanted to name him Warren and Tom had already picked out his middle name of Matthew, so his name was set. Warren Matthew Hoeft.
Warren didn’t cry right away, so the nurses had to take him and try and get him to cry. Tom cut the cord and went with the nurses. Warren actually didn’t cry for the first time until we started to leave the hospital. It turns out he was just a really relaxed baby. He hummed quite a bit, but he didn’t cry. He was perfect and healthy. We couldn’t be any happier. I would do it all again if I had to.
Thank you God for the gift of this beautiful baby boy!