Fast Labor 15 Days Past This Mama’s (original) Due Date
I was so excited to see this blog post this morning, written by friend Julia West of Inspired By Births and Birth Boot Camp, that I just had to re-post it here! Julia interviewed her dear friend, Christena (who is a friend and client of mine) on her experience with being “over due.” Enjoy this fun piece! Posted with permission.
Fast Labor 15 Days Past This Mama’s Due Date
by Julia West on March 4, 2014
When we moved to Austin, this mama and I became fast friends. We bonded over our common faith, her pregnancy, natural health and our mutual love for Colorado ski slopes. I am so proud of her for showing such patience and contentment during the (many!) days that passed after her due date. She is such a sweet soul and wonderful mother, and I am happy to share my interview with her. (To all of you mamas who have waited much longer than you expected before meeting your little one, you have my respect and admiration!)
1. Tell me a little bit about your pregnancy. How you felt, how you prepared for birth and what you liked about your care provider.
I had a wonderful pregnancy. I had some morning sickness and fatigue, but overall, everything went pretty smoothly. To help prepare, we took a childbirth education class that equipped us with tons of useful information.
I was blessed to find a wonderful home birth midwife who became much more than just a care provider. She was not only an expert on prenatal care and delivery, she was an educator, an encourager, a listening ear, and a friend. The priceless relationship built with my midwife gave me so much extra emotional support and comfort during my pregnancy and labor.
2. As you neared your due date, did you feel or see signs of labor? Did you expect to deliver near your due date?
I knew I would probably go past my due date, since most first-time moms do, so I tried to mentally prepare myself for that. Three days before my due date I started having spouts of regular contractions. They were more along the lines of Braxton Hicks contractions and not painful, but sometimes I would have to stop what I was doing until they passed. Unfortunately, they would go away after about an hour or stop at night when I fell asleep. Those continued for over two weeks, so I was starting to worry I wouldn’t know “real” labor when it finally came.
3. After your due date passed, how were you emotionally? How did you handle the days that passed without going into labor?
I was doing ok emotionally, my mom had arrived in town and she helped me focus on other things and stay positive while we waited. There were definitely highs and lows, but it helped me to realize that he would have to come out at some point! I wanted to avoid a hospital induction if at all possible, but as each day passed, I knew that it was a possibility.
We saw my midwife every two to three days after I reached 41 weeks and she would do tests to assess the baby’s well being. All tests showed a healthy baby and mama so that helped me trust my body and know my baby would arrive when he was ready. Lots of praying helped, too!
4. What things did you do to encourage labor to begin?
I tried just about everything to get things rolling. I ate spicy food, walked a TON, drove on bumpy roads, had acupuncture done, my midwife did a couple membrane sweeps…. I even tried to jinx myself to go into labor in an inconvenient situation, so we went out to a couple movies and even took a day trip out of town hoping that would do the trick. If it got down to the wire, I was going to use castor oil as a last resort, but thankfully I never had to. In the end, I think it was the acupuncture that helped the most.
5. Were you ever concerned about your baby’s safety? What gave you reassurance that he was safe during the time after your EDD?
Thankfully, I was surrounded with a wonderful support group who never tried to scare me or force me into an unnecessary hospital induction. I felt very safe with the care my midwife provided and knew that if I or my baby were in danger she would transfer our care if needed. The tests my midwife did and the baby’s movements I felt helped keep any worrying to a minimum. I knew we were both healthy and that I would just have to be patient. When I was 41 weeks, 3 days, I had a biophysical profile ultrasound performed. The ultrasound showed a healthy baby and high fluid levels. The high fluid levels were a sign that the baby would be safe staying on the inside for a little while longer. We were able to adjust the due date which bought us a few extra days before I would have to go in for a hospital induction. Overall, having a birth team who trusted the birthing process was what reassured me the most.
6. How far along were you (from your original due date) when you went into labor? How did you know you were really in labor?
My original due date was April 29th and I went into labor 15 days later on May 14th. I had an acupuncture appointment at 5:15 pm that day and saw my midwife immediately after. I was having contractions 4-6 minutes apart during both appointments, but that was normal for me by now. My midwife checked me and found I was between 4-5 cm dilated (which I had been for a couple days). She said that the baby was low and everything seemed ready! I had a feeling that it might be the night and on our drive home my contractions started to get a little more uncomfortable. It wasn’t until about 8:30 that night that I knew it was the real deal; at least I hoped it better be!
7. Tell me a little bit about your birth.
Around 8:00 pm on May 14th when we got home after seeing my midwife, my contractions started to get more uncomfortable and crampy. I didn’t want my midwife waiting around our house for hours while I labored, so I told her not to come over yet and that I would check back in around 9:00. We timed contractions for the next hour and they were about 3-4 minutes apart and I could talk through them fine. At 9:00 I was still doing fine and the contractions hadn’t intensified yet, so I told my midwife I would check back in about 30-45 minutes. Fifteen minutes later, it got real. I was lying on the living room floor working hard through each contraction. We called my midwife to have her come over right away. When she arrived around 10:00 pm I had moved to my bedroom so they could set up the birthing pool in the living room. Fifteen minutes later I had the urge to push. My midwife checked me and found that I was just about complete and my bag of waters was bulging, causing a lot of pressure. She asked if I would be okay not having a water birth because we probably didn’t have enough time to get the birthing pool ready. I said that it would be fine. At that point I was ready to have my baby anywhere! My water broke a couple of contractions later and I started pushing around 11:00 pm. Forty-five minutes later our son was born at 11:45 pm on May 14th. He was 7 lbs 1 oz, 19 inches. After less than four hours of active labor, the long wait for our little boy paid off!
8. Looking back, is there anything you would change about your pregnancy or birth?
I had such a wonderful experience that it’s hard to want to change anything, but I think one thing I might do next time is to hire a birth photographer, I wish I had more pictures! Also, to get the birthing pool set up in time!