Fish Mama over at LifeAsMom just had a darling baby girl and is hosting a birth story swap today. I thought I'd join in with my favorite birth thusfar, Marissa's. (Note: I wrote this just a few days after she was born.)
The date was October 28, 2005. Marissa was due in 6 days, and my mom was arriving on the 31st. I felt like I had a lot of deep cleaning to do before everything went crazy, and I had started scrubbing our downstairs vinyl floor by hand the previous day and had more than half left to go. I worked all morning on the floor, despite the remembrance that just the previous night I had commented to Grant that I should probably take it easy and not work too hard, since the baby could come at any time and I didn’t want to be too exhausted when labor began.
Grant and I had arranged with a neighbor girl, Laura, to baby sit for us that night while we went on one last date before Marissa’s arrival, to the movies. After lunch, Corban and I headed out to the movie theater to buy tickets for the new Zorro movie. Then we stopped by the grocery store to pick up some frozen pizzas, then home to get Corban down for a nap. I called Laura’s mom to inform her of the ticket times and when we needed Laura to be there. She asked how I was feeling and I replied, “No baby yet!” and laughed.
I headed downstairs to finish my Suduko puzzle from the newspaper before taking a little snooze myself. As I reclined on the couch, I felt a sharp little pain in my cervix area, as though Marissa had punched me a good one. Suddenly, I began to feel a little wet. Instantly the thought crossed my mind that my water had broken, but I was in complete denial and just kept working my puzzle. I kept feeling wetter, but continued ignoring it for several minutes, thinking, “This just can’t be happening right now”. It became impossible to ignore and I headed to the bathroom, realizing that no, I had not peed on myself and yes, this was a serious situation. Fortunately, the liquid was clear, so no worries about meconium. My heart pounding with the realization that this baby was inevitably coming, I headed upstairs to the master bathroom, in which there was a phone.
It was about 2:45 pm. I called Grant, who was driving back to work from some errands. I said, “Honey, we’re not going to make it to that movie”, to which he replied, “Are you in labor?!” very excitedly….when I said “Yes”, he wasn’t disappointed about the movie at all. He said he would be home very soon and that he would call the doctor’s office for me (he had the number more available than I did). He called me back a few minutes later and informed me that Lois, my midwife, was out of town (as he was told by the receptionist at the office) and that we were instructed to head to the hospital as soon as possible.
I couldn’t believe it, she had told me she would be around and was planning on being at my labor and delivery. Well, nothing could be done and I had to proceed anyways! I called Laura’s mom back and made arrangements for her to come over and watch Corban for the night, then jumped into the shower. I knew I had a long night ahead of me and wasn’t about to have those post-baby pictures taken with greasy hair!
Then I got to start packing. We hadn’t done any of that yet! I was so convinced that she would be late that I hadn’t made it a priority. I was having mild contractions, nothing major at all, but still leaking a lot of fluid. Grant got home, the babysitters arrived, we finally finished packing and saying goodbyes to Corban (who had gotten very clingy and obviously knew something big was happening), and headed out the door. I was so nervous about leaving Corban. He had never spent a night away from me, so I guess I was anxious for both of us! I could hardly believe that when I came back home, I would have a new baby. Life would really never be the same.
We stopped at Walgreen’s on the way, mainly to get some bottled water. Grant ended up buying a load of candy, too (great for celebrating once she was born). Once at the hospital, Grant was uploading some CDs to his MP3 player so we could have music without the boom box in the hospital room. I was uncomfortable, but still not in significant pain. We got into the hospital around 6:00.
The unit was quiet, I was instructed to change into a gown, and basically we were left alone. A nurse finally came in to start the processing paperwork, and she told us there would be a shift change at 7:00. The contractions were picking up in intensity, about every 4-5 minutes, but I was coping very well. Our nurse for the evening, Judy Lassiter, came in to meet me, and she continued with the paperwork, questions, etc. I told them I would need an IV for the antibiotics for Strep B, but it was not a rush for them. Dr. Hill showed up in the room around 8:00, examined me and said I was 3 cm dilated, 70% effaced. He told me he’d give me till morning to see if I needed Pitocin.
Finally I got the monitors off and the IV in and was able to get out of the bed to move around. I headed immediately to the bathroom, and the contractions picked up as soon as I was standing. By 9:30, I was really concentrating on breathing and relaxing through contractions and was in a lot of pain, wondering if I could really do this natural childbirth thing. I told Grant I wanted to get checked, and that if I wasn’t making GOOD progress, I was seriously considering an epidural. He summoned Judy and she checked me immediately. I think we were all surprised when she announced 6 cm! Whew, I WAS making progress. At that point, I knew I could hang in there awhile longer.
I had decided that sitting on the bed was the most comfortable position for me. Grant sat behind me so I could lean on him during contractions and between them he rubbed my back with this heavenly lavender vanilla massage oil from Bath and Bodyworks. As the contractions swept over me, I put every ounce of concentration I could muster into relaxing all the muscles in my body and visualizing my cervix opening like a flower. Transition seemed like it lasted forever…..I was shaking and sweaty and convinced that I couldn’t stand another minute of pain, and at 10:30 I demanded to be checked again.
Whoa, 8-9 cm! I was almost there!!! The nurse kicked it into high gear at that point, saying she was calling Lois right away. I was confused…Lois???? I thought she was out of town. Oh, she was back and was planning on attending my birth. Thank God!! Why didn’t anyone tell me this earlier? (I later found out that Lois was not informed of how fast I was progressing and was extremely sorry that she wasn’t there to help out. She loves attending natural births and I was one of her few patients having one).
I had another urgent need to use the bathroom and managed to make it there in the few seconds between contractions. As I sat on the toilet, I could feel my body starting to push. I wasn’t doing it on purpose, and I really couldn’t stop it! It was the strangest feeling. I made it back out to the bed and told Grant we’d better get Judy in there fast.
She came in to check me again (about 10:40) and said I was fully dilated! She told me to try not to push and to pant through contractions. Lois should be there soon! Boy, that was the hardest thing ever…..to keep from pushing. My body rebelled against me and I just could not control it, panting though I was. Judy was preparing the room for delivery because she could tell I wasn’t gonna last much longer. Another nurse, Martha, came to assist. I think it was a few minutes till 11:00 when Judy determined that baby was coming NOW and I might as well push with all my might.
So I did. My goodness, the intensity of those few moments. I thought I couldn’t bear the pain, but it was exhilarating to know that I was delivering a precious baby and that my body was doing exactly what it was made to do. Marissa’s head came out and unbeknownst to me, the cord was wrapped around her neck. Grant could tell something was wrong because the color of her head was not normal; it was quite purple. Despite his immediate concern, he managed to stay completely calm and just followed Judy’s example in urging me to push.
Judy swiped the cord off Marissa’s neck with one finger and just stated firmly, “Push now, get that baby out.” I had no idea anything could be wrong, but I pushed as hard as I could and she slid out. At that very instant, Lois arrived. Marissa was handed up to my chest for a few seconds…It barely registered in my mind that she wasn’t the right color or crying….she was gurgling and wet and had so much hair and all I could think was “I did it! I did it! Thank God it’s over!”
Then I realized that Grant wasn’t cutting the cord, that Judy did it and then took Marissa away. After turning her upside down and patting her, she started crying. They got her under a warmer for a few minutes while Lois checked me out. I had a minor tear which required a few stitches (my goodness, the shots to make me numb were so painful!) and thankfully that was over quickly.
Marissa was doing fine and was brought over to me to nurse. Lois and Judy, after insuring everybody was okay, left us in peace to have some bonding time with our precious new daughter. She took to nursing right away and Grant and I just looked at her and marveled at how perfect she was. We were both still in a bit of shock at how fast the labor progressed…..we knew it would be faster than Corban’s, but we truly had no idea the total time would be just 8 hours 20 minutes. Praise GOD!!!