Joseph began trying to enter the world as early as 30 weeks. When I realized I was having contractions, I called the doctor and was admitted into the hospital, none too soon. I was already 1cm and 75% effaced. They kept me in the hospital for three days, stopped the contractions using Terbutaline, and finally released me on complete bedrest until 36 weeks.
Those 6 weeks were an eternity but, thank God, I did hold out that long. Even a little longer, actually, as I did not go into "active" labor until about 10:00pm of the day that ended my 37th week. I remember when the contractions changed. Instead of an annoying tightening and pressure they became crampy and painful. They also became every ten minutes apart. I also started to bleed. That told me more than anything that it was probably the "real thing."
When I got to the hospital I was 4cm and 90% effaced... definately on my way! I was still quite comfortable. I remained so throughout the night. Mostly I was up, either rocking in the rocking chair or walking around my room. Periodically I would have to lay on the bed, be hooked up to the fetal monitors and have my cervix checked. By about 2:00am, I was over 6cm and 100% effaced and the nurse predicted I'd have my baby before the sun rose. My husband and I were very excited.
However, as it sometimes happens, I "stalled out" at 6cm. I was having contractions, some of them getting to be quite intense, but nothing was happening. The nurse told me that if I didn't "progress" any more in an hour or so, they would put me on Pitocin, which is something I definatley did not want! I told her all I needed to do was walk around more and perhaps take a shower. My nurse did not want to let me get up out of the bed. She claimed she could not get a good heartrate on my baby and even went so far as to "buzz" him with a electric appliance to scare him into moving. I tried to tell her it was unnessessary, since I had been feeling my baby move frequently since the start of labor, but she had to do what she had to do, I guess.
Finally, she got the reading on the baby she needed to get and allowed me to get up and take a shower and walk around the room and up and down the halls. By then it was nearly 7:00am (the sun had long since risen) and the shift changed. My new nurse shared all the same philosophies about childbirth I did and encouraged me to walk, walk, walk. I continued to walk through 7cm, 8cm, and finally at 9cm they had me lie down again so they could break my water. Once they did that, the real pain hit, but by then, of course, it was too late for any meds, not that I wanted any anyway. I had to breathe and pant to keep from pushing for three or four contractions, but once I was finally allowed to push, Joseph Richard entered the world in about ten minutes and three good pushes. The pain was intense, but certainly not unbearable. Feeling him emerging from my body is a feeling I wouldn't trade for all the anesthesia in the world! I still remember how warm he was when they lay him on my stomach. He has never been, nor ever will be, that warm again... fresh from my womb as he was, still holding all my body heat. He weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces... quite large for such an early baby, and was healthy as could be.
I consider myself very blessed.