This birth story series is sponsored by HCA Midwest Health.
My first labor was called a precipitous labor. Fortunately in that case, I was already in the hospital for observation when my water broke and contractions started. She was born three hours later and by the time we realized I was complete, it was too late for an epidural. I really wanted one the second time around and hoped there’d be time for one. Spoiler alert: NOPE.
This time around I was expecting another fast labor, possibly even faster, but the OB warned me there was no way to know until it happened. I hoped things might be different if I went to term. My oldest was born at almost 36 weeks, and I had already passed that mark with this pregnancy with no signs of impending labor. Growth ultrasounds in the last trimester indicated that this baby would be big. The scan I did at 37 weeks suggested she was anywhere between 7 and 9 pounds. So not small, but probably not huge just yet.
By 37 weeks, her head was low down in my pelvis and causing a lot of discomfort. I was hyper paranoid about my water leaking like it did during my last pregnancy and this paranoia led us to two trips to L&D that turned out to be false alarms. One between 37 and 38 weeks, and one just 2 days before she was born.
Two nights after my last false alarm, I had some cramping at bedtime. I got out of bed and bounced on the yoga ball for awhile and did some stretches, trying to get some relief from the pain. When I got in bed around 1 a.m., I noticed the cramping had started to come and go and that I was actually contracting so I started timing them. They were anywhere from 3-6 minutes apart, sometimes with a 15-minute break if I changed positions. Usually they were about a minute long but not very painful, just annoying since I wanted to sleep. I told my husband about them and he asked if we should go in, and I said no since they were so irregular. Around 3:15, they stopped altogether and I fell asleep.
I woke up with a start at 4:20 when my water suddenly broke.
I jumped out of bed faster than I knew possible and immediately called my sister to come over and then called my doctor to tell her we were coming in. It wasn’t until after those calls that the first contraction hit, more water gushed, and I felt the intensity of the pain and knew it was going to happen fast again. My husband ran next door and woke up our neighbor to come over and wait for my sister to arrive. Our bags were already packed and in the car from the previous trip to L&D so we hopped in and sped to the hospital. Since it was the middle of the night, we hit every green light and with every contraction I told my husband to drive a little faster. They were about 2 minutes apart at this point and less than a minute long. It took a long 10 minutes to get to the hospital and my husband dropped me off at the ER entrance, and I went upstairs to check in while he parked the car.
As I climbed into bed I told them “I know there’s probably not time, but I’d really like an epidural.” When the nurse told me that involved drawing labs first I knew there was no way it was going to happen. They managed to get an IV in between contractions and when they checked me I was complete (this was probably 40 minutes after my water broke). My doctor arrived shortly thereafter when I was feeling the urge to push, and they quickly got me up into the stirrups. She was out in 4 pushes, born at 5:19 a.m., exactly 59 minutes after my water broke and active labor began. At 9lbs and 3oz she was over 3lbs larger than her big sister had been
I hadn’t even had time to change into a hospital gown so I delivered in the t-shirt I’d worn to bed!
I was thankful that my water broke in the middle of the night when we were both home and there was no traffic to battle with on our way to the hospital. I’m glad I followed my instincts and didn’t wait half an hour for my sister to arrive. Even though I expected a faster labor this time around, I was thinking maybe like, 2 hours this time, not 59 minutes!
For labor and delivery expertise, more moms in Kansas City choose an HCA Midwest Health hospital. Our OB/GYN teams at our delivering hospitals – Centerpoint Medical Center, Menorah Medical Center, Overland Park Regional Medical Center and Research Medical Center – ensure every woman has access to top-quality maternity care, including specialized services for women with high-risk pregnancies. By delivering more babies than anyone else in the region, our maternity hospitals deliver experience and safety. Learn more at hcamidwest.com/delivers.