KatieOlthoff.com participates in affiliate marketing and other forms of advertising. We only recommend products and services we believe in and think they will be of use to you. As such, posts on this website may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my disclosure policy. Thank you for your support of this website and our family.

Isaac’s Birth Story: All the Gory Details

We are still doing well at home – just adjusting to life with two little boys!  I finally have a somewhat coherent version of Isaac’s birth story written and I know some of you have been waiting to hear it!  There’s a brief timeline at the end if you don’t want to read the whole thing. :)
In my mind, Isaac’s birth began Sunday, March 27, at 3:00 AM, when I was woken up by painful contractions and ended 45 hours later at 11:58 PM on Monday, March 28.
Sunday morning, my contractions were about 20 minutes apart until about 5:30 AM, when I got up to start timing them. At that point, they were closer than 10 minutes, and becoming more painful. Around 7:00 AM, we made arrangements for Adam to go to church with Bart’s parents, and really thought we were probably going to the hospital soon. And then they slowed to 20 minutes again and continued that way for the rest of the day.
Sunday night/Monday morning, they picked up again; more painful and more frequent. I barely slept, but tried to avoid waking Bart. Every hour that went by, the contractions got stronger, until finally, about 2:00 AM, Bart and I got up. I needed him to help me through the pain, and I was sure that we would be heading to the hospital soon. We called my mom and gathered last minute items for the hospital bag. By the time my mom arrived, 20 minutes later, the contractions had slowed again. We sent her home and tried to sleep.
(Picture taken about 2:15 Monday morning…we thought we should probably get a 40 wk belly shot before I had the baby!)
By Monday morning, I hadn’t slept well in almost 2 days, and I was getting frustrated. I was still having contractions about 10 minutes apart, so we took Adam to daycare, loaded up the hospital bag, and headed to town. When we left Adam, I told him he’d be able to meet his brother that night!
We stopped at the chiropractor, and then called the doctor’s office to let them know what was going on. I was SURE we would be checking into the hospital soon, and I really thought we’d have the baby that afternoon. Since the contractions were still so far apart, we decided to run a couple errands and walk around, hoping to get them moving faster.
We wandered through Target, picking up a few things, and the contractions were anywhere from 8-12 minutes apart. Then, we stopped for lunch and headed to the mall. I walked for about an hour there, until they were 5-7 minutes apart. Then, we called my OB and headed there to be checked.
At that point, I was VERY frustrated. Adam’s labor, from first painful contraction to birth, was 8-9 hours. But this time, by the time my OB checked me, I had been having painful contractions for 36 hours. I wanted to have this baby without an epidural (like Adam) but I felt like every hour that went by made that less possible. I was already so tired and disheartened. I was doubting my ability to make it the rest of the way without something to ease the pain or help me sleep. I had been sure that progress would speed up, and that the baby would have been born already. I never expected that early labor would last so long!
While we waited at the OB’s office, I continued to walk. Finally, at 3:00, my OB let me know that I was 3 cm dilated and 100% effaced. I told him that he didn’t have to send me to the hospital, but I wasn’t going home. We’d go back to the mall and walk until they’d admit me. Since we live 30 minutes from the hospital, and I was sure that sitting in the car would slow things down again, I really didn’t want to go back. So, he hooked me up to the monitor for about 20 minutes, and then we headed to the hospital.
We visited my grandma, who was in the hospital, and I chowed down some donut holes, and then we checked into L&D. I was the only laboring mom there, and as soon as they let me, I started walking again. My OB checked on me before he went home, and I tried to convince him to break my water then. I was so tired and frustrated, and I really felt like that would speed things up. But he wouldn’t do it…he told me to beg the OB on call to do it, instead.
As luck would have it, the OB on call also delivered Adam. He was born at 2:20 AM and she happened to be on call then, too. My nurse talked to her, went over my previous labor history, and she agreed to break my water when I was 4 cm dilated.
That gave me a surge of energy, and I walked more. But no matter how much I walked, my contractions still weren’t getting much closer together or lasting longer. They were getting more painful, and I was getting more exhausted, but other than that, it didn’t seem like I was making much progress.
Around 7 or 8 PM, I began to think about some sort of pain medication to help me sleep through the night. The nurse wouldn’t do an internal check – she didn’t think I was making any progress. I decided to labor in the whirlpool for awhile and try to relax. In the meantime, my mom arrived.
Finally, at 9:30, she agreed to check me. My contractions were still 5 minutes or more apart, and only lasting a minute. At that point, I had decided that if I hadn’t made progress, I was going to ask about pain medication to help me sleep that night. Thankfully, I didn’t have to go that route. The nurse was shocked when she checked my cervix and it was almost 6 cm dilated!
The nurse called the OB, and at about 10:30PM, she broke my water. I was ecstatic. I knew it would only be a couple of hours before I met my little guy!
As I expected, the contractions picked up in intensity very quickly. At 11PM, my nurse’s shift ended, and my new nurse came in. She was AMAZING. She had a student with her, and they both were very hands on, which I really needed at that point. She really helped me breathe through the contractions, and did a great job of applying counter pressure for my back labor. Soon after she got there, I began feeling the urge to push, although I was not fully dilated. Pushing before you are fully dilated can actually swell the cervix and cause things to slow down, so I struggled to resist the urge and let my cervix do its thing. This was the hardest part of labor for me.
Finally, I was completely dilated and ready to push. For some reason, the OB was not getting the pages my nurse kept sending. So even though she was right down the hall, she almost missed the baby’s birth. She came in and there was a flurry of activity. It was 11:50 PM, and I knew if I had the baby after midnight, I’d get to stay an extra day in the hospital. But there was no stopping me. Isaac was born at 11:58 PM, after 8 minutes of pushing.
Long, frustrating early labor until OB broke my water at 10:30 PM, then I started pushing at 11:50 PM and Isaac was born at 11:58. No pain medication.  Awesome nurses.
Sunday, March 27
3AM – woken by painful contractions, 20 minutes apart
5:30AM – contractions 10 minutes apart
7:00AM – sent Adam to Bart’s parents, contractions slowed to 20 minutes
9:00PM – contractions became more painful, but still every 20 minutes
Monday, March 28
2:00AM – I woke Bart so he could help me deal with the pain. We called my mom and she came over.
2:30AM – contractions slowed. Sent Mom home.
Morning – contractions 10 minutes apart
9:00AM – dropped Adam at daycare and told him he’d be able to meet his brother after his nap!
9:30AM – chiropractor
10:00AM – contractions 8-12 minutes apart, walked around Target, had lunch, went to mall to walk more
1:30PM – contractions 5-7 minutes apart while mall walking
3:00PM – OB’s office, 3 cm dilated, checked into hospital
9:30PM – contractions still only 5 minutes apart, lasting a minute, but I was almost 6 cm dilated!
10:30PM – OB broke my water
11:50PM – completely dilated, began pushing
11:58PM – Isaac was born!

Would you like to comment?

  1. CONGRATS!!!!!!

    May God bless,
    d from homehaven

  2. This is exactly what this newlywed needed to see! lol! j/k! He is beautiful!!

  3. Wow, Katie, that's a long time to be uncomfortable and not sleeping! I'm so glad things ended up progressing well at the end. Looking forward to hearing more about Isaac!

  4. Way to go! I, too, would like to have this next baby without pain meds (as I did with the first two) - what an awesomely strong woman you are that you labored so long and made it through!
    Isaac is beautiful!

  5. 8 minutes of pushing! You are a rock star. Congrats.
    Katie on the prairie

  6. Wow, what a long labor! But congrats!!


  7. Oh my gosh, 2 minutes away from midnight! How ironic! Wow, I can feel the exhaustion throughout the post. The trouble to endure must have been excruciating! yay for doing it all without meds! You did an AWESOME job and I am so impressed! Way to go!!!!!

  8. Congratulations! Way to go on making it all the way through such a long labor with no pain meds!