Quinn's birth story starts very different than I think most people’s do. I went to my 39-week appointment expecting to be weighed, checked and sent on my way. When my doctor checked me, I was three centimeters dilated about 75% effaced and Quinn’s head was down but was floating up high. She asked if I wanted to have my membranes swept. I said, “Yes, please!” I was feeling very ready to have this baby, but completely doubted that anything would happen from her sweeping my membranes. When she did it, I felt a huge gush. I knew something was off but I hadn't ever been through this before so I just brushed my fears aside and assumed it was normal. She didn’t say anything. She was on call that night so if I went into labor, I would be able to have the doctor that had followed me my whole pregnancy deliver my baby. I got up to leave and continued to leak fluid. I was really suspicious that she had broken my water right there in the office. But I kept reassuring myself that she would have obviously told me if she did because she would want me to be admitted to the hospital. So, I went to do some errands but kept leaking. I called my friend Heather who had just had Henry ten weeks prior and asked her if she leaked fluid when she had her membranes swept. “No, not at all!” she said. I decided to call the office to just check if it was possible that she could have broken my water. They told me it was a possibility and to come in and have it checked. At this point my heart was racing, I knew I was going to meet my son very soon if my water was broken. I called Aaron and let him know that I was going back to the doctor but I don’t think that he really understood what this meant. I called my mom and my mother in law and they were both waiting on pins and needles for me to be re checked by my doctor. Of course, after I was checked, sure enough my water had broken. There were no apologies from my doctor, but I didn’t say anything about it either. My doctor knew that I had planned to labor naturally, so she gave me a whole TWO hours to go home and pack my bags and meet up with Aaron to see if my body kicked into labor naturally. I guess usually she would have had me just go straight to the hospital. I really was disappointed that I couldn’t labor at home for a while, but at this point I was really too excited to meet my baby to argue with her!
I called Aaron to let him know that my water truly was broken—we were having this baby in the next 24 hours. I still don’t think he understood. I literally had to tell him to get up, leave work and come home to take me to the hospital. He later told me that he cried on the way home because he was scared and overwhelmed by what was about to happen. I, on the other hand, was too excited to cry. And I was starting to have contractions.
By the time we had stopped for food on the way to the hospital (they weren’t too happy with me about that one J), I was having manageable contractions about every 3-5 minutes. After we were checked in and I got my IV, we were allowed to walk around the unit for 45 minutes of each hour, the other 15 minutes I had to be on the monitor to make sure everything was okay with the baby. As we walked around the unit, it looked like a ghost town. It was silent. Not only was I the only person there trying to labor naturally, I was the only person my nurse had taken care of in the 6 weeks she was there who even tried to labor naturally. I was basically a weirdo and we felt it when we walked around the unit. We definitely got some stares from the nurses. OH WELL. J During that time I walked as fast as possible—I needed to get my labor going. I would stop and breathe through contractions and lean against the wall or Aaron. While walking, we got a visitor! My mom just couldn’t stay away and stopped by the unit to drop off a present. She didn’t expect us to be in the hallway and was hoping she could just slip in and out. But I’m pretty sure she was more than happy to be able to take a couple laps around the unit with us! When I got tired of walking, we would go back in the room and sit on the birthing ball. But each time I sat, my contractions became less painful—a sign my labor wasn’t progressing. So we walked and drank as much water as possibly during those first 6 or so hours.
Each time I was checked, I wasn’t progressing that much. After about 6 hours I had to convince my doctor not to start me on Pitocin to augment my labor. I knew that once I got pictocin, I wouldn’t be able to handle my contractions without pain medicine. She gave me 2 more hours. I progressed ½ cm. She gave me 2 more hours. I progressed ½ cm. At this point, when they checked me it hurt worse than any contraction that I was having and I was only 4 ½ cm. I literally wanted to scream and kick the nurse. I was exhausted and had only progressed 1 ½ cm in basically the 12 hours my water had been broken. I was overwhelmed by the thought of having to labor without pain medication but with Pitocin. I asked Aaron to call the nurse in so that I could tell her to just go ahead and get me the epidural and start the Pitocin. I had given up. Looking back, I truly am not sad about my choice. In the moment, I was devastated. I felt so defeated. My contractions continued to get worse and while I was getting my epidural, it took everything in me not to scream through my contraction. Immediately following my epidural, they checked me again. I was 5 cm. I had progressed ½ cm in 30 minutes.
Looking back I think that I was transitioning to active labor and had I been more supported by my doctor and my nurses, I possibly would have waited to get my epidural and then would have actually progressed on my own. But still, I have no regrets. My epidural was heavenly. My whole body relaxed and I was at peace. It was around midnight at this point. We settled in and tried to get some sleep. I think I sleep about a total of an hour that night. Even though I wasn’t in pain, I was way too excited to sleep. On the other hand, I think Aaron slept about 4 hours that night. J
The rest of my labor was uneventful. I progressed to 10cm around 7:00 but didn’t start to push until 7:45 because we were waiting for Quinn’s head to move down into my pelvis. I learned that I not only had one bag of water, I had three! After all there were broken, he moved down quickly. I pushed for an hour and 45 minutes. Pushing was actually somewhat enjoyable because I knew I was making progress except for the fact that I got sick and was vomiting through half of it. They gave me an anti-nausea medication and that helped a lot. My mom held one leg, Aaron the other. Never was it part of the plan for my mom to be in the room, but she was there in the waiting room and it just felt right to invite her in the room—so we did. Quinn came out and was didn’t breathe for a short period of time. We tried to stimulate him while he was on my chest but they decided quickly to cut the cord and bring him to the warmer to stimulate him. When I say we dried him, I’m serious. My NICU nurse skills kicked in and I started to try and dry and stimulate him to make him breathe while he was on my chest. I wasn’t nervous at all for some reason; I knew he just needed a second to get it together. By the time they got him to the warmer he was screaming and pink. It was the most surreal, breath taking moment of my life. It was definitely an out of body experience.
Quinn Michael Reddington was born at 9:13 AM on October 18, 2011. A mere 21 hours after my water had been broken. He weighed 8 pounds 8 ounces and was 22 inches long.
Even though things didn’t go as planned AT ALL, I am grateful for the way everything went. Quinn was born a week early and I would have had an even bigger baby had he been born any later. Even though I ended up with an epidural and Pitocin, Quinn tolerated everything wonderfully. I was able to have my mom in the delivery room because I was not in pain and was fully in control of myself. I am thankful for that. And I still got to labor naturally with my husband for 12 hours. It was an amazing experience to share with him and he was a loving and encouraging partner through it all. Labor was definitely the most painful and scary thing I’ve ever been through in my life, but looking back 2 months later, I know that I want to try to do it natural the next time around and maybe I’ll go into labor on my own and have a shorter labor. And maybe I’ll be able to be with nurses and at a hospital that is more supportive of natural labor. But I was more than blessed to give birth to a healthy screaming baby boy and I am so thankful.