On Friday, December 30, my due date, I went to work. Worked all day, didn't feel different at all, a little bored and more than a little concerned that my baby might never decide to come out. After I got out of work at 3:30pm, I went home and then went shopping with my mom. I had plenty of energy. We went to Trader Joe's for groceries, Target for some Christmas gifts for my cousin's son, Baby’s R Us for a mattress for the cradle and some sheets, and finally Barnes And Nobles for an address book for my cousin, another late Christmas gift. I felt strangely sad as we were driving home, so despondent. As we sat down for dinner, my husband noticed my mood and asked if I was okay. I just broke down in tears. I just wanted my baby sooo badly. "I just want to meet him. I want him to be born." I was sad like I've gotten sad for people when I really want them to be saved. I had no appetite for dinner and ended up just eating some toast with butter. Around 8:30pm, I sat down at the computer to learn how to scan my scrapbook pages into Adobe and prepare them for loading on to my web page. It was fun scanning some of my wedding scrapbook pages. Around 9:30pm I felt a small squirt of something but I thought it was just normal vaginal secretions - I had been having lots of runny, mucusy discharge for the last 24 hours, ever since I started taking my EPO pills and inserted one vaginally on Thursday night. Thursday morning we had "applied prostaglandin" to the cervix to help move things along :) We had been singing happy birthday to the baby every day for days. Anyways, so I felt a small squirt and didn't think anything of it. I got up to refill my water cup and in the kitchen I had my first real contraction but I didn't know that was what it was for sure. I thought it might be gas so I went to the bathroom and had a bowel movement - I had several of those throughout the course of the evening, all on the toilet though, thankfully. I saw a little bit of pinkish discharge on my panty liner and some in the toilet, so I put on a real pad and announced to my mom and hubby that something might be happening soon, but I wasn't sure. We called Carla, our midwife, and then decided to try and get some sleep. We lay down in bed around 10:30pm and I think I slept in between contractions, which were about 10 to 15 minutes apart and strong enough to wake me up but not terribly uncomfortable. It was exciting! Jeremiah and mom didn't sleep a wink. Their minds were racing. Eventually Jeremiah got out of bed and sat in the living room praying and reading his Bible for a while. Around 1:15am, contractions were getting worse and I decided to get up as well. As soon as I stood up, the contractions got much worse and came much faster. I took a long, hot shower for as long as the hot water lasted. The water felt great and really helped me work through the contractions - it was distracting and soothing. I decided that I really wanted to be at the hospital where there was an endless supply of hot water and where I could get in the birthing tub if I wanted to. I got dressed in comfy clothes and we started getting all our stuff together for the hospital. We timed contractions and they were consistently coming at 4 minute intervals. I called Carla again and updated her on our progress. She said that it didn't sound like a reliable pattern of labor for a first time mom and it might be false labor. We should stay at home for a little while longer and try to sleep and keep on doing what we were doing. I was very frustrated to hear this but I could still manage to talk through contractions and I thought she might be right so we agreed to stay home for a while longer.
(This is where I stopped writing the story originally with it all fresh in my mind. Now I’m going to try to recall the rest of it 2 ½ years later.)
My contractions continued to be strong and consistent. My mom began to freak that we needed to get to the hospital right away or we were going to have a baby at home. It was about 3am when we left for the hospital. We called Carla to tell her that we were on our way to the hospital. She then called the midwife in Muncie who would actually be delivering the baby.
When we arrived at the hospital, my contractions continued to be regular and strong although I could still walk with them and talk through them. We signed into triage and I was feeling an incredible urge to poop. I went into a little restroom to change into the hospital gowns and I sat on the toilet for quite a long time. When I came out, my mom had settled into a seat in triage and only Jeremiah came back with me to my little curtained of bed in triage. I laid down in the bed and my nurse arranged the little orange and blue belts around me to monitor contractions and the baby’s heart beat. Then she checked me and I was 4cm dilated. It was about 4am. Right from the start we had a hard time getting the baby’s heart beat to show up clearly on the monitor and my nurse was concerned because the baby seemed stressed. His heart rate was staying consistently in the 150s and not showing the good variability they like to see. Throughout my entire labor, Alan was facing the wrong direction and this is what made it hard to track his heart rate. This also caused me to have some intense back labor. It was very painful, especially since the nurse kept insisting that I lie flat on my back. All I could do was pray through each contraction. We didn’t use a single relaxation technique that we had prepared. Mostly because I felt uncomfortable in triage, unsettled, like I was just in a transitory place on my way to the real place where I was going to give birth. I desperately wanted to get back into the water. All our relaxation props were packed away in our suitcases and/or involved being able to get up and move around. Not long after arriving in triage I puked all over the floor the little bit of dinner I had been able to eat. This made me incredibly thirsty but I was only given ice and my nurse was not mindful to refill my cup often enough. I think my nurse was fairly new to her job and very uncomfortable with a woman experiencing a drug free natural birth. She did not offer soothing words of support and basically tried to disappear as often as she could. They were waiting for my midwife to arrive before they moved me to the natural birthing rooms. I’m not sure why I didn’t have a doula trained nurse as I had been promised. Maybe because it was during Christmas break.
I had no idea how far I was progressing or if this was just the beginning of labor. It was extremely intense and I felt like contractions were coming one on top of the other. I could hardly catch my breath in between them. They were 2 to 3 minutes apart.
I tried lying in different positions but whenever I moved, they lost the baby’s heartbeat. They could only get the heartbeat if I was flat on my back and he still wasn’t showing good variability. At 5:45ish, unbeknownst to me or my nurse, I reached transition. I refused to lie in bed any longer. I stood up and leaned against my husband through two very intense contractions. The nurse decided to move me to a regular birthing room. I walked down the hallway, stood up with Jeremiah through another strong contraction and then I said that I really really needed to poop again. The nurse insisted that I get in bed so she could just check me again before I went to the restroom. I got up into the bed and had the most severe contraction yet. I was gripping the side rails for dear life, contemplating the pain of labor and whether I would be able to stand several more hours of this or not. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do it.
I rolled over onto my back and allowed the nurse to check me. The baby was crowning. Just then my midwife arrived with Starbucks in hand. It was 6am. She put on her gloves and told me to push. I felt no urge to push. Actually, everything had stopped. I didn’t even feel contractions coming and going anymore. It was a wonderful pause and I wish that my midwife would have let me enjoy it longer but she insisted that I push right away. They watched the monitor and when it appeared that I was having another contraction they told me to push. I couldn’t really feel the contractions anymore but it feel the intense pressure of the baby’s head crowning. They lifted the back of the bed up to more of a sitting position and I wrapped my arms around my knees and pulled my legs up into my chest, pushing as hard as I could. I pushed for 15 minutes and out came baby Alan. My midwife lifted him up onto my chest immediately. It was amazing.
Alan very passionately protested being born. From the start, it was obvious that this little boy does not relish change.
He was also a binky baby right from the start. He did a great job nursing but he would have nursed all day or cried profusely without his binky.
I was in absolute awe and still am two and a half years later. Birth is amazing.