Read Caitlin’s story of finally reaching that “uncomfortable” stage of pregnancy only to hear she was in for a bigger surprise that day!
For the first 26 weeks of my pregnancy, I lived in another state, so by the time I started seeing Valley, I had just enough time to meet with each of the midwives once (a few of them twice). Elizabeth was the first midwife I met with and my appointment with her made me feel so empowered and reassured that I was doing everything right for my first pregnancy. My previous office only gave me information if I asked for it, and when I did ask questions they often seemed annoyed. I never felt that with any of the midwives at Valley, they always validated my questions and gave me plenty of info on what to expect in the coming weeks. Jen Krebs was the midwife who delivered my baby, and I hadn’t ever had an appointment with her (I was supposed to have my first appointment with her a week later). After she introduced herself, I immediately felt comfortable and like she had been my provider for my entire pregnancy. One thing that stood out to me was that during my labor was when Jen pulled up a chair and just sat around chatting with me and my family members while we waited for things to progress. I loved that because it made me feel like she wasn’t just there to check me and to catch my baby, but she really wanted me to have a positive experience and she was there to support me.
The morning of my 37-week appointment, I woke up feeling a bit uncomfortable and figured I had reached that point in pregnancy that I’ve heard so many women complain about. At my appointment that morning I decided to get checked, just to satisfy my curiosity. I was shocked when Kathryn told me I was dilated to a 4/5 and was already 80% effaced. Kathryn told me to watch for patterns in my back pain, but that it could still be a few weeks before Foster arrived. I updated a few family members on my progress and then started some of my last minute errands. I told myself Foster would probably come no sooner than Monday, so I’d have the whole weekend to knock out my to-do list. By 3 pm I was having quite a bit of back pain and was starting to wonder if I was in labor. I tried to time the contractions, but I couldn’t tell when they were stopping and ending. When my husband got home from work, I told him I wanted to go to the hospital and get checked so I could know if this was real labor or not. We quickly packed up a hospital bag and started the drive to Mountain Point Medical Center. Before we had even made it out of our neighborhood, my husband asked if I was sure that I wanted to go and get checked since I had previously told him I wanted to labor at home for a while. I thought for about it for a second and told him I was sure, and boy was I glad I did. After a quick check the triage nurse informed me I was dilated to an 8, and before I knew it they were moving me to my room and paging the anesthesiologist. Jen was the midwife on call, and she was on her way into a c-section, so Elizabeth came in to check on me and watch my progress. Once Jen had finished with the other patient, she came back and we talked about my progress and came up with our plan, time to rest and then we would break my water. I visited with my family members and Jen and then when I was ready we broke my water. Immediately after, Foster started showing distress. I remember feeling so anxious that I would have to have a c-section and that he wouldn’t be alright, but Jen told me my baby was ready to come and there was only one way he was going to get here. I immediately felt confident and reassured that everything was going to be fine. Foster was born after about 20 minutes of pushing. Getting to finally hold him in my arms was indescribable and I was so glad that he arrived when he did.
My labor was a lot faster than I expected it to be. Contractions felt different than how I thought they would, which could have been because I mostly had back labor. I think one of the most important ways to prepare is to be educated about different birthing options and to have confidence in your body’s capabilities.
The one thing I wish I would have done different?? I would have packed my hospital bag before I went into labor!