The afternoon of September 1st, I had a feeling labor was imminent. I have always had an amazing sense of intuition, from knowing I would marry Ryan before our first date, to having a gut feeling I needed to switch doctors halfway through this pregnancy. I was supposed to give two massages that day and when my first one had to cancel, I took that as a sign that I should cancel the other person. I also stopped eating. Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but I had/have an irrational fear of pooping during pushing and by not eating, I was hoping that the food in my system would, ahem, pass before the pushing was needed. Ryan and I had a running joke that he was going to feed me corn and peanuts in my sleep!
My adrenaline kicked in Monday night and I decided to not even go to bed. I was having contractions, they weren't painful yet but they were coming regularly, every 2-3 minutes. I savored the moment of putting Tucker to bed knowing that the next time I saw him, he may be a new Big Brother! I putted around the house, cruised the Internet, posted to both blogs, and bounced on my birth ball all while timing contractions. Ryan was pretty oblivious, snoring away the wee hours of the night.
Around 3am on Tuesday, the contractions were getting more painful. My doctor wanted me to go to the hospital when the contractions were 6-7 minutes apart...well they were never that far apart so I just had to go by intensity instead. I decided to call Janine (my doula) around 3:30am, just to give her a heads up so she could plan for her childcare that day. I told her I was still managing fine on my own and she wanted me to call her back when I could not talk or walk through my contractions. I continued laboring and Janine called back at 5am. I told her to go ahead and come over to our house. I had woken Ryan up, but it took some convincing on my part for him to believe "this was it." He was super helpful (SARCASM) and starting working from home on his computer. *sigh*
Janine arrived at 6am and we started trying different things to get my labor to really take off. I did lunges, pelvic rocks, walked up and down the stairs, and walked around the block. Unfortunately, my labor seemed to slow down once she arrived. We did share some good laughs about what the neighbors must be thinking as the hugely pregnant woman waddles down the street and occasionally hugs and slow dances with the other woman. Oh, the rumors we may have started!
Janine encouraged me to eat something for energy, as it could be a very long day for me. While Janine and I went on another walk, Chef Ryan whipped up some scrambled eggs for me. I was so hungry by then, I snarfed them down in no time! Poop Shmoop!
I decided that I would nurse Tucker when he woke up to see if that would increase the intensity of my contractions. When Tucker woke up around 8am, we went into the bedroom for snuggles and "Boos." While he was nursing, I decided to send Janine home. Things had slowed so much, I felt like I was wasting her time and she might as well go home and try to get some more sleep. Before Janine left, she told Ryan that we should "make love" to get things going again....Um, yeah right, Janine! :)
Nursing Tucker definitely gave me some killer contractions, so that was encouraging. Once Tucker was done, I decided to have Ryan take him to Clearwater so my In-Laws could watch him. I was really just wanting to be left alone at that point and I was already so exhausted, sleeping between contractions sounded like a great idea. I actually got some nice catnaps in between contractions but they kept getting more painful so I eventually got out of bed and paced the halls waiting for Ryan to return. I felt re-energized and ready to have my baby girl!
Ryan returned around 11:30am and I was ready to go to the hospital. I had been bleeding a little bit so I was just certain I was progressing and far enough along to be admitted. I crawled into the back of the Expedition, on my knees and leaned over the backseat while I listened to my iPod. I had Ryan call Janine because I was no longer capable of having conversation during a contraction...a very good sign! I was having about two contractions per song on the way there. I became a little panicked when I realized that Ryan missed our exit to the BirthCare Center, I was in some serious pain at that point. Come to find out, our exit was closed for construction so we had to go a few miles out of our way.
We arrived at Wesley BirthCare Center around noon and I am guessing they left us in the lobby for about 30 minutes...strange, since we seemed to be the only people there. And, of course, my labor started slowing AGAIN. We finally went back to the room, I changed into a gown and they hooked me up to the monitors while they took my health history and paged the resident. My contractions were still consistent, but they weren't nearly as strong as they had been at home and in the car on the way there.
The resident, Dr. Davis, finally arrived along with a medical student, Dr. Witt. They asked me if it was okay if they both checked my cervix. Knowing Dr. Witt needed to learn, I consented. It was determined I was 50% effaced and dilated to 2cm. EXACTLY WHAT I WAS A MY DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENT THE LAST WEEK!!!! I HAD MADE NO PROGRESS!!! ZIP, ZERO, ZILCH! I was beyond frustrated when they told me that I was not far enough along in labor to be admitted (you must be at least 4cm dilated). I could tell they were wanting me to go home, but when you consider I live 30 minutes away and contractions were still 2-3 minutes apart, when exactly would they like me to return?!? They were not busy that day, so they said it was okay if I stayed to walk around and they would re-check me in an hour.
Around that time, Janine and my mom both arrived. I put my iPod back on and off we went walking the halls, doing lunges, sitting on the toilet, anything to get to the magic 4cm! After an hour, Dr. Davis returned, saw me with my ear buds in and asked me what I was "rocking out to." :) I told him that with Tucker's labor I listened to my cardio playlist but since that didn't work out in my favor I was taking a more "zen" approach this time. Dr. Davis and Dr. Witt both checked me again and I was only 3cm. Progress, yes, but still not enough to be admitted! Argh! Again, they talked about sending me home but I resisted.
Ryan, Janine and I went into the bathroom at this point, to have a little more privacy and the contractions really became intense! We finally figured out that I needed to labor in my own little "nest" where I didn't feel like I had an audience. That made total sense!
I was sitting on the toilet, leaning into Ryan while Janine held a fan on my face and stroked my hair. The fan became the one item I had to have and I flipped out once when it wasn't blowing directly on my face. It was weird because despite the pain of the contractions, I could feel the fan's vibrations in my lips and I tried to focus in on it. If the medical staff was in doubt that I was in labor before this, there was no doubting me now! There was a total mood shift and I meant business! My mom came in the bathroom and gave me a dose of a homeopathic remedy to aid in labor. Whether it worked, we'll never really know because things were already intense!
Ryan's main job was to physically support my body and watch the clock to tell me when the contraction was almost over. Having him do that for me was a total lifesaver! I reached up once and grabbed his face in my hands and had such an overwhelming feeling of love for him. I will never forget that moment, even if I was sitting on the toilet! ;)
Janine's job was to hold The Fan and guide Ryan, but she did so much more for me. She stroked my hair, she massaged me, but most importantly, she said the most amazing things to me during contractions. Things that kept me focused on what I was there to do: give birth naturally to my beautiful baby girl "You are so beautiful, your baby is so lucky to have you, you are such an amazing mom, you are so strong, good job, bring that baby down." Her words nearly brought me to tears on several occasions.
The doctors decided they would get a 15 minute strip test on me because the baby had some heart decelerations on the monitor when I first arrived(this was the first I'd heard that). I laid on my side in the bed while they monitored me and the baby. The contractions were brutal at this point and I was regularly having double and triple peaks. To cope with the pain, I closed my eyes, and they stayed closed for the rest of the entire labor. Janine and Ryan were my rocks. During one of my contractions, I felt a pop and I knew my water had broken. I had to wait until the contraction was over to tell anyone, it was physically impossible for me to make a peep (other than a low moan) during contractions. The nurse kind of acted like she didn't believe me....she wasn't the most likeable person...more on her later. I started shaking involuntarily...a telltale sign of major progress! If I recall correctly, this is when a man came into the room to empty the sharps container. He was not wearing any kind of uniform so I thought he was a random guy in the wrong room so I snapped on him and told him to get out. That was really my only outburst the whole time.
When my strip test was completed, Dr. Davis checked me again (I wouldn't allow Dr. Witt to check me anymore, it was just too painful). He asked me in a lighthearted tone what the magic number was. I knew in my mind I had to be 4cm to be admitted, but in my delirium I thought maybe I was further than that, so I responded with, "I don't know, shit, at 10?" Funny thing is, I have absolutely no memory of saying that, Janine told me about it later. I was finally officially admitted!
We decided to move to the jacuzzi tub. It took a few contractions to move back into the bathroom, Ryan and Janine guided me since it was no longer possible to open my eyes. Poor Ryan had one hand behind my neck to help prop me up (sitting back was too painful) and his other hand was covering a jet that was hitting my belly and spraying everywhere. What I remember most about being in the tub is that I had my big toes placed over a couple of jets. I wanted to move them at a certain point, but the second I took them off, the pain increased, so back they went. I was in the tub for about 45 minutes, but it only felt like 15 minutes, when I had the urge to push. It wasn't a strong urge, but it was kind of an aching urge. Pushing gave me a little bit of relief so I started gently pushing during contractions upon Janine's guidance.
Janine and Ryan helped me out of the tub and we slowly made our way back to the bed. Once I was in the bed, I was covered with a sheet. Dr. Davis checked me and I was 9cm, almost there! I was sweating, I was shaking, I was moaning. I'm sure I was not beautiful, by any means, but at that point Ryan spoke up, told me how beautiful I was, what a great mommy I am, and how proud of me he was. Ryan is not a man of many words and rarely has he said something so heartfelt to me. (By the way, it's a good thing he doesn't read the blogs because he would be totally pissed that I just "outed" him!)
It was then that Meanie Nurse tried to move my arm from holding onto the top of the bed to put my IV Hep Lock in. Um, you should never attempt to change a laboring woman's position during a contraction. Ever. I made her wait and she acted all huffy about it. For crying out loud, I had been through the entire labor without complaining, whining, or asking for anything, I don't think asking her to wait until my contraction was over was asking too much!
The room was all prepped and the bottom of the bed was dropped to the floor, so I was kind of in a semi-squat position. Dr. Depew came in, I somehow managed to open half an eye to say hi to him. He checked me at 5:40pm, said I was complete and then kind of stood back with the other medical staff and just watched. Janine and Ryan were on either side of me and I was just pushing as my body told me to. There was no counting to ten during pushes, no hustle and bustle, no voices other than Ryan and Janine. I was just allowed to do what I was meant to do.
I could actually feel her move her head from side to side trying to find the right way to come out. To my surprise, and relief, the contractions really let up once I was fully dilated. The pushing contractions were nothing compared to the dilating contractions! After a few good pushes, I could feel her head crowning. "Ring of Fire" is how I've heard it be described, and that pretty much sums it up. It was an intense burning sensation. I just kind of assumed that everyone was watching what was going on down there, but I was wrong. I was covered with a sheet and had no idea. Ryan and Dr. Depew decided to look, and she was right there! The staff started fumbling with the mirror, but there was no time and they couldn't manage to get the right angle for me anyways. My beautiful Chloe Noelle was born at 5:46pm, just 6 minutes after my doctor arrived!
When they put her on my chest, I was so surprised how little she was! She was 8lbs. 1oz. but compared to Tucker, she was a little peanut!
We let her cord finish pulsating before clamping and cutting it, which took about 10 minutes. During that time, Dr. Depew was so kind and considerate.
He asked my permission to suction her because she sounded a little wet and he looked at me shaking his head and asked me, "Did you not feel any pain?" I just said, "well, I felt the ring of fire but couldn't say anything." He said most women are screaming at that point. I shudder to think what would have happened if Ryan and Dr. Depew didn't look under the sheet when they did! Chloe just may have had her first bungee jumping experience!
After the birth, Dr. Witt came up to me and told me that the birth was the most amazing thing she's ever seen. I presume it was her first experience with natural childbirth and I was honored to show her how birth is when it is stripped down to its core. Birth is a natural, normal process that does not need intervention of any kind in the vast majority of healthy, normal pregnancies. I hope it influences her as a person, but more importantly, I hope it influences her as a doctor.
Once the cord was cut, they discovered that our temperatures were both low. I was freezing, my teeth were even chattering. They kept bringing warm blankets but that still was not doing the job. They finally asked Ryan to take off his shirt to try and warm Chloe because I was too cold myself to get the job done.
While he was holding her, they wheeled my entire bed under the heat lamp that is usually above the bassinet. They raised the bed all the way up and it was so warm and toasty! They brought Chloe back to me and we both got nice and warm after that! Finally, our families came into the room and got to meet our little girl! First up was big brother Tucker!
Obviously, I had a lot to say about Miss Chloe's arrival. I would never, ever fault a woman for opting for an epidural, so please don't look at this entry as an Epidurals are for Sissies Soapbox. Heck, I had one with Tucker and for that birth, it was the right decision for me. This time, however, I never once felt like I needed to ask for the epidural, and I attribute that to Janine and Ryan, my awesome support system! Chloe's birth was life changing for me. It was painful. It was intense. It was empowering. It made me feel like I could accomplish anything I set out to do. Everything I had hoped it would be, and more. It was beautiful.
6 years ago