Marion arrived five days late on July 5th. Here is our story!
The due date for our baby was June 30th 2011. The due date came and went with no event, and I told myself to enjoy the last few days of this pregnancy, whatever they brought. I began to go walking on the track at the local college in the mornings, and began taking Evening Primrose Oil twice a day, which is supposed to help to soften the cervix ahead of labor. I had also been taking Gentle Birth Formula, an herbal tincture recommended by one of our midwives. It is taken the last five weeks of pregnancy and includes Red Raspberry Leaf and a number of other herbal supplements.
July 4th is our anniversary, and we had said all through the pregnancy that we hoped the baby would not come on July 4th, so that we could keep celebrating our anniversary, and not have to share it. The day passed uneventfully and on the evening of July 4th, we drove to Lancaster to have dinner with DH’s oldest and best friends. As we sat and chatted after dinner, I noticed that my Braxton Hicks contractions were quite strong and frequent, and finally said to DH that I thought we should go. I didn’t think that they were contractions other than Braxton Hicks, but wanted to make sure I stayed well rested just in case. They stayed strong through the car ride home, but calmed down as we got in bed, and I had a great, long sleep through the night. On Tuesday morning, July 5th, I got up at about 8am, and went walking on the track again. I felt a lot more tired, or just “off” and I didn’t do the full walk. When I got home I got my shower, still thinking to myself that I felt strange, and after that put a small load of laundry in the washer. It was a warm day, and the basement, where the laundry room is, is cooler, and so I laid down on the couch in the basement. I might have been there for ten to twenty minutes, and was feeling more Braxton Hicks contractions. Suddenly I felt a low pop down in my abdomen. I still don’t know for sure what it was, as my water was not broken, but I felt afraid that I would start leaking so I got up and went to the bathroom right away, and saw just a tiny bit of mucous. I went up and told DH that something might be happening and laid down again on the couch upstairs. Contractions started somewhere around there, mildly about 10am. The first time I looked at the clock, thinking that perhaps we should time them, it was about 10:20.
Since this is a first baby, we were prepared for a long early labor, and maybe we would be going to the hospital that evening, but the baby had other plans! DH began to help me time the contractions, and they were four minutes apart, and were lasting over a minute. The midwives and doctors had been clear that we were not supposed to call UNTIL contractions were five minutes apart and one minute long. We were utterly confused, and it took us a while to believe that this was the real thing since it was not following the pattern we expected! As I laid on the couch and we waited to see what would happen next, DH ran around watering plants and filling up the bird feeders. I even got up to try to fill the hummingbird feeder, but by then it was getting hard to move, and those contractions hurt! Finally after talking to my Mom on the phone, and because of her saying that we needed to call the hospital, DH called them at 12:40. By that time the contractions were closer to three minutes apart, and they told us (obviously) to come in. DH again rushed around to pack the car, and we finally got on the road by 1:00pm. By this point, I could not talk at all during contractions, and was doing my best to stay relaxed, which was much harder than I expected. DH said that at one point he looked over at me and thought “Wow, she is not making this up”. Thankfully we had easy traffic to the hospital, and we pulled up to the front entrance right to the valet service. I made it in to the hospital somehow, and thankfully, they got me a wheelchair right away, and took us up to labor and delivery. The first person who met us there was a nurse named Mary, and she took me in to a small examination room to check me. She asked for a urine sample which I was not able to give, and then she strapped the fetal heart monitor to my stomach, and when she checked my progress said that I was between 6 and 7 centimeters, and the baby’s head was low. I couldn’t believe it, but it made sense why my contractions were so hard and frequent. DH joked, “I guess they are not going to send you home again”, and the nurse said, “Nope, you are going to have this baby!” Things become something of a blur after this. DH thinks that we were in that examination room until just before 2:00. They took me to the delivery room, and I think I walked there on my own somehow. I remember one nurse making the comment about getting me in the Jacuzzi, which sounded dreadful. All I wanted to do was lie down on my side on the bed, and that is what we ended up doing. They asked us a number of questions, most of which DH answered. They asked if I wanted an epidural, and DH quickly answered no since he knew I hoped to have a natural birth. The midwife came in to check me not long after we got to the room and said that I had progressed to 9 ½ centimeters, and I could begin to push if I felt like it. I was not sure that I felt the urge yet so I said I would wait. I did feel like I needed to go to the bathroom, so DH helped me to the toilet. I said it felt better sitting there, so we stayed at the toilet for several contractions. Looking back, I thought we sat there for maybe five minutes, but DH thinks it was more like twenty minutes. I remember that I was very shaky, and that the tiles on the bathroom floor started to cross. I finally lost my mucous plug in the toilet. We went back to the bed, and not long afterwards, I began to push. It took a while to get the hang of pushing, and I know that I had to learn to focus and make the pushing productive, so it went better as it went on. It is the hardest work I have ever done in my life! DH was an excellent partner, and I think there were times I listened to him more than to the midwife. He helped me remember to breathe slowly, and to rest between contractions. I pushed for about an hour and twenty minutes. The midwife said that I was beginning to tear, and she would try not to do an episiotomy. I could hardly believe it when they said the baby’s head was crowning, and when then laid it on my stomach. She was born at 4:18pm, after only a six hour labor! DH got to cut the cord. The nurse, Mary, who had been with us the whole time, said that it was a girl, and DH quickly confirmed it. I was surprised! We chose not to find out gender ahead of time, but almost everyone guessed that we would have a boy, and it was my suspicion too, but we were wrong! They rubbed her down as she lay on my stomach. She felt so small, slippery and warm. They asked if she had a name, and immediately I looked at DH and said that she should be Marion. It took us a long time to choose a girl’s name, but Marion, DH’s grandmother’s name, had slowly risen to the top, and somehow, in that moment, it clicked that it was her name. They took her to siphon out her lungs and she cried for the first time. She had quite a bit meconium in her fluid. She had plugged the amniotic fluid, so it all came out after her. They don’t think that she would have swallowed it, but siphoned her out as a precaution. They brought her back to me shortly, and laid her on my chest, skin to skin. She stayed there for several hours. They gave me some pitocin to shrink down my uterus and a liter of fluid through an IV. The placenta came out quickly, and the midwife began to sew my stitches for a second degree tear. I just held Marion, and remember feeling her all over, her tiny little bottom, and full head of hair. They didn’t even take her to bathe or weigh her until several hours later, just letting us have the time together to bond. When we finally learned her weight and height, she was 7lbs, 14oz, and 19 inches long.
She never latched on for nursing that night, but by the time we left the hospital she was doing pretty well, and each day has gotten better. She would get her hands in the way when we try to latch on, or then get frustrated and cry. The lactation consultant there had us work with her sucking on a finger, and I hand expressed some colostrum to give her with a spoon, and that would often seem to help her to focus and latch on afterwards. Now, five days later, she is nursing all the time, and doing great. We both had a lot to learn to get the hang of each other.
Overall, I couldn’t ask for a better birth experience. The midwives and nurses at the hospital were wonderful. I had wanted an un-medicated birth, and got it, although partly by default as it moved so quickly! I do remember as we drove to the hospital, before I knew how far along we were, that I wasn’t sure if I could do it or not, and understood completely why you would get an epidural. Thankfully, after knowing how far along I was, the temptation was gone, time just flew by, and it was over before I knew it. We came home from the hospital on Thursday, July 7th. My recovery is going well. Each day is better, and I have realized I like not being pregnant! I can move again!
We are loving every moment getting to know our little girl. DH plays with her and tickles her, and swings her around like a Dad should, and I feed her…a lot! She is a beautiful baby, if we do say so ourselves, and we are very blessed to have her as part of our family. We can’t wait to get to know her more and more, and already love her dearly.