Friday, October 22, 2010
The first two contractions were just before Neal got home from work. I figured these were just normal Braxton-Hicks contractions that I had been having off and on throughout the latter half of my pregnancy. Neal got home from work and I kept having the contractions somewhat regularly, so he broke out the I-phone contraction timing app, and we started to collect the data. I was having contractions every 7-10 minutes and they would last 30-40 seconds each. So, we decided to keep going about our evening. I made dinner, Neal went and rented the “Prince of Persia” and we ate and watched, all while collecting the data with the app. (I really think Neal was more excited about the app at this point than the fact that we could be in labor!) I never thought, Oh I’m in labor; I just put it off as false labor, because everyone has at least one episode of that right?! And plus, I was due on the 24th and this was just too close to the due date to be the real thing because no one actually has their baby on the due date.
The contractions were still about 7-10 minutes apart and were not increasing in intensity. I was able to breathe through each one and then keep going on about my business. We decided to go ahead and make sure the car seat was moved over to the side of the car and that there were towels in the car…just in case. I went ahead and called Talitha, our doula, and let her know what was going on. She told us to stop timing the contractions, because we would more than likely get disheartened as we kept timing them for hours without much change. Neal wasn’t too happy I told him he shouldn’t play with the timing anymore, but he put it away and we went and got ready for bed.
Neal went ahead and went to sleep, but I was just unable to lie down. Each time I had a contraction, laying down was the most painful position to be in. When you are lying on your back and your uterus is trying to go stretch out and down, it is working against gravity and is exponentially more painful. So, I kneeled on the floor in front of the sofa in our room, and rested by head on the couch. I stayed like this working through contraction after contraction. They were getting closer and closer together. Each contraction I kept reminding myself to breath, relax and say “blue”. Saying “blue” actually helped me relax and not tense up, which made the contractions less painful and easier to get through. The words of Laura, our childbirth educator, kept going through my head: “Just focus on this one contraction happening right now. Don’t think about the next one”. Still, at this point, I never thought Oh, I’m in labor.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
I woke Neal up and asked him to start timing 4 contractions. I just had to know if they were any closer together, because to me, they felt like they were becoming constant. Data showed, contractions were about 5 minutes apart and 45-90 seconds long. We were progressing. I told him I wanted to get in the bathtub and see if that would help me relax enough so that the contractions would just go away! He drew a semi-warm bath and I got in. Two contractions in I was in pure misery. It was not soothing at all for me, in fact, it made the contractions worse. I stayed in for one more, a total of three contractions, then I just had to get out. As soon as I stepped out of the bathtub, I had a bloody show. There were about 7 drops of blood on the white rug. I was leaning on Neal, and I looked down and said “do you see that”. He said he was blind because he didn’t have on his glasses or his contacts. I told him,” oh, well, there’s blood” as calmly as if it was an everyday occurrence! I went in to the toilet and cleaned up and got out one of the Niagara Falls maxi-pads that I had bought for after the baby was born. While on the toilet I had two contractions, and it was at this point that I told Neal, “I really don’t think I am going to be able to do this without pain medicine. It’s really starting to hurt TOO bad and I don’t know how much longer I have to go.” Again, Laura, our childbirth educator popped back into my head saying “as soon as you think you can’t do it anymore, you’re almost done”. So, Neal, knowing what stat I was in, called Talitha, our doula, and told her what all was happening. As soon as he started talking to her, I began the contractions that I just couldn’t breathe through anymore. The only thing I could do was say “ouch ouch ouch” really loud! Neal called the midwife, and the OB was on call that night. I had never even met him, but I was sure he would let Diane, the midwife know that we were in labor, and she would be there when we got to the hospital.
I was able to make it back into our room and kneeled on the floor once again, this time at the foot of the bed. I rested my head on the bed and just started rocking on my knees through contractions. I got my composure back and wasn’t shouting anymore. The intense pressure was almost more than I could take. I had already felt like I had to pee after every contraction for the past 8 hours, so I knew there wasn’t anything left in my bladder and this had to be the baby moving down! Neal was running around putting the birth ball, our bag, the computer, the camera, and all that stuff in the car, while I kept kneeling and rocking and breathing saying “blue” throughout each contraction. I think at this point contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting about a minute and a half. I started pushing three contractions before we left. I was thinking “we are never going to make it to the hospital, because I’m already pushing. I am so not having this baby in the car. We’ll just stay home and I’ll get in the bathroom, so not to ruin the carpet, and we’ll call 911, but I am NOT having this baby in the car!” Of course, I didn’t tell Neal I was pushing, because I thought that would have freaked him out even more.
We got in the car and I remember Neal backing out of the driveway saying “ok, it’s 3:02”. I kneeled in the backseat facing the back of the car and just hugged the headrest. Each contraction I was seriously pushing…and screaming. I just couldn’t breathe through the contractions anymore. The only thing I could do was scream. After each contraction I would try to relax as much as possible and prepare for the next contraction. The breaks in between contractions I felt completely fine and was in no pain at all, but when the contraction hit, I thought I might have to compromise and get drugs when I got to the hospital. I didn’t know how long I could go on like that, and I thought it was going to be a long time, because every first labor lasts for like 2 days right?! The hospital is about an hour from our house, and Neal made it in 46 minutes. He only ran 2 red lights, which is a miracle considering we went all the way down Highway 92, the road with a zillion red lights. I believe I only told him twice to just run the light, when I could tell he was slowing down! Remember, we were NOT having this baby in the car. In front of the Trader Joes on Highway 92 in Roswell, my water broke. I only know where we were because that was the only time I opened my eyes to make sure we were close to the hospital. Nope, we were only just half-way. I told Neal as calmly as I could that my water broke and the baby was coming. I think he sped up just a bit at this point! I went back to my readings and remembered learning about the most effective pushing positions. Well, I was in the most effective position, kneeling. So, I sat/layed on my side and crossed my legs thinking that would be less effective when I was pushing, and since I was pushing every single contraction still, I knew I had to do something.
We arrive at the hospital, and Neal said he was going to drop me off at the ER door. I told him, no I’m walking into the hospital and you aren’t leaving me! So, he parked and we walked in, well after we paused for a contraction in the parking lot. When we got to the ER doors I had accomplished walking in to the hospital, and sat in the first wheelchair I could find! Since we had pre-registered they took me up right away. They kept Neal for some paperwork or something and he assured me he would be right up. Thankfully, it only took 1 minute for him and he met me before we even got on the elevator to go to labor and deliver. The gentleman that was wheeling me to labor and delivery I apologized to in advance saying I was probably going to yell in just a minute! He said that was fine and that he needed to wake up anyways! Somehow, I was able to not yell during the two contractions it took to get from the ER to labor and delivery. I just whimpered through each one!
We were put in the first labor and delivery room and they told me to take off my shorts because I couldn’t have a baby with them on. Genius! So, I took them off, and saw it. “The poop”. I was terrified in the early pregnancy of “the poop”. I by no means wanted to poop in front of all those people. How embarrassing would that have been?! Well, then I learned what it meant when “the poop” showed up. Everyone does it when they are pushing effectively. It is the baby’s head pushing on the intestines and the bowel as it moves further down into the birth canal. It has to get everything out of the way! So, when I learned about this, I realized that “the poop” was a good sign and that labor was almost over when it showed up! So, for me, “the poop” happened sometime in the car, so I didn’t have to do that in front of anyone! I was actually kind of excited when I saw it!
So, I climbed up on the bed, and got on my back, because they wanted to check how far I was. I told her “you can check me in a minute, right now, I have to push”. And I did. After that push, she checked and said “yep, baby is right there!”. Another contraction, another push. They were putting the fetal monitor on me at this point, and I told the nurse, you aren’t going to be able to get any data because there isn’t time. She said I had to have it anyways. I thought I started to have another contraction, and told the doctor and the nurses, here comes one, but then it died off and I told them it was just a fake out. Thankfully at this point, I wasn’t screaming through the contractions anymore. I was pushing so hard that I wasn’t even breathing. Another contraction, another push. They had me on my back and were pulling my legs back, and the doctor was “stretching” the perineum. Ouch. The whole time I was thinking, “this is the most inefficient position to do this”. So I asked if I could change positions. By the time they told me I could move, another contraction, another push on my back. They were so close together at this point I just couldn’t move. At this point, I told the doctor, because our midwife was not there, that we didn’t know what the baby’s sex was and that I wanted Neal to tell me. She said of course and that it would be any second now. Another contraction, another push and a sharp cut. The doctor had done a slight episiotomy. As soon as I felt it, I almost wanted to cry and said “oh no, I don’t want to be cut”. She assured me I was going to tear and that it was a tiny cut. Neal assured me it was tiny and that the baby’s head was right there and he could see it! The nurse asked if I wanted a mirror, and I just said “no, just get it out!” She told me she could go get the vacuum if I wanted, and I strongly, but politely told her that wouldn’t be necessary. Later, I asked the nurse if the doctor was serious about the vacuum. She told me the doctor just wanted me to push really hard the next contraction! Another contraction, another push and saying “get it out, get it out”! One more contraction, one more push, and the baby was here! It was 4:06am, 18 minutes after we walked into the hospital. Neal told me “it’s a girl” and they put her on my chest. She wasn’t crying, just wiggling. She was my baby and she was finally here! The doctor asked Neal if he wanted to cut the cord, and we told her we wanted to wait until it stopped pulsating before we cut it. So, a few minutes later, Neal cut the cord and they took her over to be bathed. The doctor told me the placenta was next. I asked her if I had to push and she said no, just relax. I was prepared for utter grossness at this point, but it was the easiest part of the whole labor. I did nothing and it didn’t hurt!
After they cleaned her up, weighed her and wrapped her in warm blankets, they gave her back to me and we started nursing immediately. She had no latching problems and was already a champ at breastfeeding! Neal was standing right there beside us and we both could not stop looking at her. I couldn’t stop shaking from the rush of hormones, but that ended after about 20 minutes. An hour after the birth I was up and walking around. I even walked from labor and delivery to our mother/baby room. I know that I felt so alert and strong after labor because I had done it without any medication! My goals were to have an un-medicated birth and not to swear or hit Neal. All goals were accomplished! Later in the day, the nurse asked me if I wanted a Motrin for the after-birth cramps. I politely declined thinking, “this nurse is crazy to think I would want drugs if I just pushed that baby out without medication, I think I can handle some cramping”!
At some point before we left labor and delivery, one of us said, “we have to name her”. We looked at her and just knew she was Amelia Jane! She was finally here!
Even though the midwife nor the doula made it for the actual birth, I am very satisfied with our birth experience. I felt empowered with knowledge throughout the entire labor, and let my body do what it knew to do. I think that even though it may seem rushed getting to the hospital with 18 minutes to spare, it was perfect for us. I think if I would have had to had labored in the hospital, that my labor would have slowed down and taken longer because I wouldn't have been as comfortable in my surroundings as I was at home. It worked out just perfectly for us.
Seconds after being born
All cleaned up
She's our baby girl!
Amelia Jane Parker
October 23, 2010
6 pounds 8 ounces