Many thanks to Amanda Fruth for sharing her 4 birth stories with us.
I have had four pregnancies, resulting in four beautiful children, and while the excitement of getting a positive on a home pregnancy test was always just as high and the pregnancies were somewhat similar, each delivery was different. With my first, I was young, still in high school actually, and had no idea what I was getting myself in to. I didn’t experience any of the dreaded morning sickness, but I sure was tired all the time, more so once I entered the second and third trimesters. I didn’t start showing until about 6 months. My pregnancy was pretty uneventful with the exception of the yucky glucose test. I failed the first one-hour test, which resulted in me having to take the awful four-hour test. It was determined that I had glucose intolerance, so I saw a dietary specialist and she gave me a few tips, but I didn’t have to be put on insulin or anything like that. Other than that my pregnancy was fairly easy.
I ended up making it all the way to my due date and then some. My doctor asked me if I wanted to be induced, so I said okay. I ended up going to the hospital at 6:00 in the morning at 40 weeks and 5 days for my scheduled induction. I got registered and settled in my room. The nurse came in to check on me and we filled out a bunch of paperwork. She also started an IV for me. I had tested positive for the Group B Strep, which I have since found out is totally random because the other three times I tested negative. Because my test had come back positive, I needed to have some antibiotics before delivery, so they got those started. The doctor came in about 8:00 and placed Cytotec to help my cervix open. I was told that it takes about four hours to really take effect. Sure enough, right about noon I started getting contractions! I decided to get an epidural to make me more comfortable because I wasn’t really sure how long this whole labor process was going to last. It’s all sort of a blur to me now, but I remember the doctor coming in to break my water. I think I only pushed for 30 minutes or less. My daughter was born at 5:07 pm, a whole 5 hours after labor really started. She weighed 7 lbs. 11 oz. and was 21 in. long.
My second delivery was sort of unexpected. I was still working at the time because I was almost 3 weeks away from my due date and given that I had to be induced with my first, I didn’t think baby would come too early. I had worked the night before and got off at 10:45 pm. I remember coming home to find out that my husband had let my dad and step-mom keep our other daughter overnight because she was already sleeping when he went to pick her up. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see her when I got home. We ended up staying up for a bit and going to bed sometime around midnight or one. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, sometime around two to go to the bathroom. As I sat down, I heard a trickling sound, but I knew I wasn’t going to the bathroom yet. It wasn’t a huge gush or anything, so I didn’t think too much of it. I went back to bed, but couldn’t go back to sleep. I stayed up for a while and realized that my underwear was wet. I started Googling about water breaking and ended up calling the hospital to see what their thoughts were. I wasn’t having any contractions, so I didn’t really think it was my bag of waters. They suggested I come in to have the fluid tested. So I took a shower and got ready, packed my bags and then woke my husband up about 5 o’clock. I remember him being very groggy and not really responding to me. He asked me what I wanted and I said that I thought we should go to the hospital. He immediately jumped out of bed! It ended up being a good thing that our other daughter had stayed at my dad’s that night so that we didn’t have to wake her up in the middle of the night. I sat by the door, waiting for my husband to get ready.
We got to the hospital about 5:30 or 6:00 I think. They took me straight to OB since I was so far along in my pregnancy and I was put in a triage room. We waited for someone to come in and test the fluid, and sure enough it was amniotic fluid! I was only dilated about 3 or 4 cm, so they got me into a regular room and started me on Pitocin. I ended up getting another epidural. The doctor came in to check on me a few times and mentioned that if I felt like I needed to use the restroom to let them know. I said ok and he left the room. As soon as he walked out, I told my husband that I was feeling a little uncomfortable and like I might need to use the restroom, so he went out to tell the nurse. The doctor came back in and checked me and said, “We’re gonna have a baby!” They barely had time to get everything ready. I pushed for maybe five minutes and our second daughter was born. She was born at 12:05, about four hours after they started the Pitocin and my contractions started. She was born 18 days early, but was healthy and weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz. and was 19.5 in. long.
My third delivery was different from the first two. I had just been to the doctor the day before for my 38-week check-up. I was dilated 3 cm at that appointment and the doctor had stripped my membranes. The day after my appointment, I remember noticing that my stomach would tighten and then relax, but I only really noticed if I was lying down doing nothing, probably because if I was up I was busy and didn’t pay any attention to it. It wasn’t painful or anything, so I really didn’t think they were contractions. My husband was home from work that day (his regular day off) and kept asking me if I was sure we couldn’t have a baby that day (he didn’t want to have to go to work the next day). I told him I was going to go get a pedicure and see if maybe that would kick-start some contractions. I hadn’t felt “right” all day; something just seemed to be off. I had heard that there is a nerve in your foot that can start contractions, so I thought a pedicure seemed like a good idea. I shaved my legs and got all ready to leave. For some reason, before I left, I decided to call my doctor’s office and talk to a triage nurse. After describing the tightening feeling in my stomach and just not feeling right, she decided that it would be a good idea to go to the hospital (it was almost time for the doctor’s office to close) and get checked since I had been dilated to 3 cm the day before. So I told me husband and we started packing our bags and called someone to come stay with our girls.
We got to the hospital about 5:00 and were checked into a triage room. To my surprise, I was dilated 6 cm! They told me that I would not be allowed to go home and moved me to a regular room. Baby hadn’t dropped yet, so his head hadn’t come down into the birth canal yet, which I guess is fairly common with subsequent babies. So I had to walk around the hospital for a while to try to get him into position. I remember having to come back to the room to be monitored every so often. The doctor came in and broke my water around 7:30 and then the contractions started becoming painful, so I got an epidural. My epidural ended up clotting so I had to get a second one. I started pushing before 10pm. Baby’s head was facing the wrong direction, so while I was pushing, the doctor worked to turn his head. I pushed for nearly 30 or 45 minutes before he was born. I thought he was never going to come out, but he did. He was born at 10:19pm, just over 5 hours after getting to the hospital. We hadn’t found out the sex of this baby, so it was a huge surprise to find out that it was a boy, and our first boy at that. He weighed 8 lbs. 1 oz. and was 20.5 in. long.
My fourth delivery was more like what you see on those baby shows on TLC. I had never really gotten to experience contractions with my other three because I got epidurals as soon as I did. I started getting Braxton Hicks contractions very early on, around 12 weeks. Towards the end of my pregnancy they started to become stronger, but were never very regular. I kept thinking to myself, “If these are Braxton Hicks, I hate to see what the real ones are like!” My due date was May 27, exactly 9 months from the day that we found out we were expecting. I later realized it was also the day of my oldest daughter’s pre-school graduation. Given that my second and third were nearly 2 and 3 weeks early, I figured there wouldn’t be a problem.
Throughout the entire pregnancy I had prayed that the baby wouldn’t come on his due date. It only happens in about 4% of pregnancies anyway, so of course there was no reason to worry. Little did I know that baby had other plans! The day before my due date I had a lot of errands to run, getting teacher gifts for my daughter’s teachers, and getting a few things I still needed to take to the hospital, just in case. While we were out, I noticed that it was really uncomfortable to walk and I started getting some pretty painful contractions, but they were about 20-30 min. apart. After we were done at the store, we picked up my middle child from school and went to lunch before taking my oldest to school. When we got to the restaurant we all went to the bathroom, that’s when I noticed that I had started my “bloody show.” I hadn’t ever really experienced it with the other three and I had read that it can happen weeks before baby is born, but I knew that it meant labor was near! I called my husband and let him know. I had only had 4 or 5 contractions over a few hour span, so he just brushed it off and told me to call me if anything happened. He told me just to take it easy and not worry about the house. I really wanted to make it to my daughter’s graduation, so I listened.
Later that night, before I went to bed, I started to have some more contractions, but nothing regular still. I don’t even know if I actually ever went to sleep that night or if I just dozed off between contractions. I “woke up” around 1am. I was so uncomfortable lying in bed, so I got up and watched some TV thinking it would distract me. It didn’t. I started to realize that my contractions were coming about every 10 minutes now. Around 2:00, I decided to take a warm bath thinking it would help relax me and they would go away. The water running woke up my husband, so he came in to check on me. I didn’t want him to know that I was uncomfortable, so I told him to go back to bed. Besides, there wasn’t anything he could really do for me, so I figured it was best for him to get his sleep. The warm bath didn’t help. Around 3am they started getting closer to 5 min. apart. I tried to get comfortable, but couldn’t, so I finally woke my husband up around 4:00. I told him I didn’t know what to do, but that I was just in a lot of pain. He asked how far apart my contractions were and I told him 5 min. He jumped out of bed and said, “I’m calling your dad to come over! We’re going to the hospital!” He called my dad and we started getting our things together.
I wasn’t much help because by this time they were about 2 min. apart. I don’t really remember what time it was when we got to the hospital, probably 4:30 or 5. They took me up to triage and asked me to give a urine sample, I tried, but I started to feel a lot of pressure, so the nurse checked me and said I was about 6-7cm so they immediately moved me to a regular delivery room. When we got to our room, there were 4 or 5 nurses running around, getting things ready and starting an IV for me. I couldn’t figure out why they were in such a hurry, but thinking back now, I think they thought that baby was coming soon since it was my fourth pregnancy and I was already dilated so far.
Since I had never really experienced contractions with any of my other pregnancies, the pain was all new to me. I knew was that I wanted an epidural, so once they got my IV in they pushed a bunch of fluids, so I could get one as soon as possible. Of course once I got the epidural my contractions slowed down to 3-5 min. apart. The doctor came in around 8 o’clock and broke my water; I was at 8 cm at that point. Around 9am, I started to feel a lot of pressure when I would get contractions, so my husband went to let the nurse know. She checked me and said I was 10 cm and went to get the doctor. The doctor came in and he asked me to try pushing just to see what happened. I pushed one time and he said, “Ok stop! Let’s get things ready first!” So the nurse got everything ready, I pushed 3 or 4 times, and out came our new little boy! He was born at 9:34am, six-and-a-half hours after my contractions really started picking up. Despite all the contractions and pain I was in, I think this was my easiest delivery. My husband got to pull baby out and put him on my chest. It was just me, my husband, the doctor and my nurse in the room. It was very calm and relaxing. He weighed 7 lbs. 8 oz. and was 20.5 in. long. We were so excited to have another boy. Now we have 2 girls and 2 boys. I couldn’t be a happier mom!