Born: Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Place: Phoenix Baptist Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona
Time: 6:42 am
Weight: 8 lbs. 6 oz.
Length: 21 inches
On Monday, July 25th I woke up like any other day, no signs that labor would be starting. It was my first real day of maternity leave from work. My mom was in town and Elvin was in Sacramento on a road trip. Our sprinklers had been out of whack so my mom, Max and I waited around for the sprinkler guy to show up. I felt like I really wanted to clean the house but at the time didn’t think anything of it because I had felt like that so much the last few months of pregnancy. I vacuumed and straitened up. By the time the sprinkler guy showed up and got everything straitened out it was 1:00 pm. We headed to the outlet mall in Tempe figuring some walking around would do me good.
Throughout the time we were at the mall I noticed sporadic contractions which I thought were Braxton Hicks. They were very tight but not painful at all. We shopped for a while then stopped to eat at Johnny Rockets. Shortly after eating Max fell asleep in the stroller so we decided to keep shopping and walking until he woke up. The contractions continued but stayed the same – just tight, no pain. We ended up being at the mall until about 5:00 pm – a good 4 hours, at least 3 of which I walked.
On our way home we decided to stop at the grocery store for a few things – last minute stuff I felt like I just needed to get. When we got to our exit on the freeway we noticed that a monsoon had just come through. The whole area was drenched, huge puddles everywhere and palm branches blown down. It was unbelievably humid. We got what we needed at the store and as we were getting back in the car I had a contraction strong enough to make me need to stop and lean on the car seat. Mom asked if I was ok and I said yeah – still not thinking it was anything.
When we got home we saw that two of the big fichus trees in our back yard had been blown down and our patio table had been picked up and slammed down on the patio shattering the glass table top. It had obviously been quite a storm! I went to the bathroom and found that I had lost my mucous plug – or at least a very big piece of it. I also noticed some bloody show. For the first time I thought something might be happening but didn’t want to get my hopes up because I knew that I could be loosing mucous plug for a week without labor starting. But the contractions continued and were getting stronger and were very slightly painful
I decided to call my doula, Lori, just to let her know what was going on because she lives about an hour away. We talked for a while and I explained what I was feeling and what was going on. She asked lots of questions to get a feel for what was really happening. She told me to call back before I went to bed or around 10:00 pm to update her.
I was so anxious I couldn’t sit still so I just kept straitening up around the house. Putting away things we had bought at the mall and organizing stuff that was already organized. Around 8:00 pm I got online to listen to Elvin’s game on the team’s web cast. Oddly enough he was pitching when I got on. He only pitched one inning but did really well. The announcer mentioned how he must be anxious because his wife was about to deliver their second baby any day – I got a kick out of that! I listened to the rest of the game, it felt like a good distraction from the contractions which were getting stronger.
I got Max ready for bed and we both got in my bed while he watched a video. I think he was picking up on my anxiety because he wouldn’t go to sleep. At 10:00 pm I called Lori and told her that the contractions were continuing and getting stronger and that every time I went to the bathroom there was more mucous and blood. But I couldn’t figure out a pattern to the contractions, they weren’t really consistent or regular enough to time. She said she wanted to come spend the night at my house just in case and that she would be here in about an hour and a half.
I called Elvin on his cell phone and left him a message to try to change his flight before leaving the club house. The team was flying back to Tucson in the morning with a lay over in Vegas. I wanted him to fly strait to Phoenix because at that point I felt like it really could be labor starting. I called him about 10 more times but he didn’t pick up. I also had the trainer’s cell number in case I needed to get a hold of Elvin during a game. I tried his phone twice but he didn’t answer either. Finally Elvin picked up and said “Let me call you back in 2 minutes.” I said “NO! Didn’t you get my message?! I am in labor!” We hung up right away so he could try to change his flight.
While I lay in bed with Max I realized the contractions seemed to have stopped. I started worrying that it was not the real thing and Lori was on her way for nothing.
Lori arrived at a little after 11:00 pm while I was still trying to get Max to go to sleep. My mom let her in and came in to tell me she was here. I went out to talk to her but Max was yelling for me so I excused myself and left Lori and my mom to talk in the living room while I continued to try to get the boy to go to sleep. About 10 minutes later he was out and I went back out to the living room. My mom went to bed and Lori and I talked for about half an hour during which time the contractions started back up. She told me to go try to sleep and if I couldn’t sleep through the contractions at least try to rest.
I got back in bed with Max and turned on an episode of “A Baby Story” I had Tivoed. The next contraction after getting back in bed hit me like a ton of bricks – it was much stronger and much, much more painful than the others had been. I checked the clock and waited for the next one. 3 minutes later another very strong one, checked the clock again and waited. Exactly 3 minutes later, the same thing. It was killing me to lie down. I wanted to stand up and walk. I got up and leaned on the back of a desk chair during the next one. The pain was all in front and very low – just like they had been with Max.
I went back out to the living room where Lori was sitting in the dark on the couch watching TV and told her what happened. I got a stop watch and she started timing the contractions while I sat on the couch. Each time one started I had to get up. I couldn’t handle sitting through them. They had also gotten painful enough for me to not be able to talk through them. I started off by leaning on a table but Lori had me lean on the wall to be able to bend forward more letting my belly hang. I didn’t really notice a difference but stayed at the wall. I did notice however that my hands and arms where tingling – like the feeling you get when you sit in one position too long and your leg goes to sleep. I figured it was from the intensity of the pain. It turned out that the tingling lasted throughout labor and delivery.
We talked about how long I should labor at home because the hospital was about 45 minutes away with no traffic. Lori also didn’t want to let me wait too long because of the fact that I was so uncomfortable sitting through the contractions and I would need to sit in the car for quite a while to get to the hospital. The contractions continued to get stronger and more painful. They seemed to be coming only a few minutes apart. She asked what my OB, Dr. Harris, had said to do when I went into labor, if I should page him or go strait to the hospital. I realized he hadn’t told me! I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. When I had Max I went in first thing in the morning for a scheduled induction at 2 weeks past my due date and Dr. Harris just showed up for the appointment.
We decided to page him and she left my home number with the answering service. By this time I was having a hard time with the contractions – really having to stop and concentrate on breathing through them. I started feeling like we should just go to the hospital. I didn’t know how fast things would happen, my labor with Max was only 3 ½ hours – though that was an induction. I told Lori we should just go. She then realized she should have given the answering service my cell number instead of home number. She called back and let them know we were heading to the hospital.
I woke up my mom and told her we were leaving and had her get in my bed with Max. This was the first night I would ever be away from him. I worried about him waking up in bed alone and not knowing where I was. I changed clothes in the bathroom and had to stop and breath through a pretty painful contraction halfway through – my mom asked from the bed if I was ok. I said yes but that things were happening fast. I went back to the bed to kiss Maxi goodbye – I got a bit sad thinking how much his little world would have changed the next time he saw me.
By this time it was 1:30 am on July 26th – my due date. I couldn’t believe I was going to have the baby ON my due date! Lori took all my stuff out to her car and helped me get in. We reclined the seat and I held my pillows on my lap against my belly. It was the middle of the night but it was still so, so hot and still very humid. She cranked up the air and I tried to relax. We talked the entire way to the hospital but I had to stop and breathe with each contraction.
I really enjoyed talking with her and felt very comfortable. Lori taught the breast feeding class I took while pregnant with Max and she was also the lactation consultant I saw in the hospital after he was born. Then when we had a bad case of thrush at 18 months we went to see her. We kept in touch and when I got pregnant I asked her to be our doula. I knew I would need someone to be able to get through a drug free labor and delivery but also wanted a support person in case Elvin didn’t make it to the birth given that I was due right in the middle of the baseball season.
When we got to the hospital we parked outside the ER. As I was getting out of the car my shoe broke! I was wearing rubber flip flops and the little round tab that goes through the toes into the bottom of the shoe popped out. I managed to get it back in before another contraction hit – thank goodness because I hadn’t packed any other shoes! We had to stop halfway to the door for a contraction while I leaned on a pillar.
We got into the ER and somehow they knew we were coming. I never found out how but I am guessing Dr. Harris’ answering service let them know. They took me to a little room for admitting. The lady asked me a million and one questions and got my insurance information while I tried to manage the contractions. I had to stand for each one and lean on the wall then sit back down in the chair between. Then she looked at me stone faced and asked if I was having contractions. I just laughed at her. Once she was done with me and had me labeled with an ID bracelet they had someone from labor and delivery come get me with a wheel chair. I wasn’t allowed to walk – liability they said. So I told him he would have to stop so I could stand up through the contractions. We made it all the way to the elevator and up to the third floor before I had one. The elevator doors opened and I stood up.
We got to L&D and into a room. My nurse came in introduced herself, her name was Elizabeth. She had me lay down to do a cervical check; I was three centimeters dilated with a bulging bag of water. I figured that was pretty good progress because at my last appointment a week earlier I had been 1 to 2 cm. Lori gave Elizabeth my birth plan and I asked when I could get in the whirlpool tub. She said she would have to put the monitors on me for 20 min. to get a test strip but that if everything looked good at that point I could get in the tub. I told her I couldn’t lie down through the contractions so Lori suggested we put the back of the bed all the way up and I lean on it while kneeling on the bed. I draped my arms over the back of the bed and put my head down. I was able to manage in that position for the 20 min. Elizabeth came back in and said she read my birth plan and thought it was great. She was super supportive of natural child birth and had three babies naturally herself. She had also been a nurse for several homebirths before coming to work at the hospital. I felt like the angels were smiling down on me and sent me just the kind of nurse I needed to get through the labor naturally. She said she would do whatever she could to help but would mostly stay out of our way since I had Lori there for support.
Once she got the test strip and saw that the baby looked great she let me get in the tub. It felt so good to get in the water. I heard so many stories of women laboring in water but had a hard time understanding how it could make THAT big of a difference. Well, it did! It totally took the edge off the contractions. The noise from the jets was sort of soothing as well. Lori reminded me to try to relax between contractions and she brought me water and apple juice. We continued to talk a bit through the contractions but it was getting harder. Elizabeth came in after a while with the Doppler to check the baby’s heartbeat which she did right there in the water, I didn’t have to move. I was getting pretty tired because I had been up since 8 am the morning before it was close to 3 am by that point.
After a while in the tub my butt was getting sore and I felt like I wanted to get up and move around a little. Lori helped me out and I put on a gown. We went back into the room and Lori raised the bed all the way up – it was just the right height for me to lean over on it during contractions. I asked about using the birthing ball thinking that might help. I tried to sit on it during contractions but couldn’t – I just had to be standing. So I sat on it between them to rest. Being out of the tub the contractions felt much, much stronger and I could no longer just breathe between them. I started moaning through each one, it just seemed to happen involuntarily. The pain continued to be all in front and very low. It was also starting to radiate to my upper thighs. Elizabeth checked me for the second time and I was 5 to 6. I started crying because I was in so much pain I thought I had to be farther along than that. They both told me I was making really good progress; it had only been a few hours.
I knew Elvin would be waking up around this time to head to the airport so I called him to let him know we were at the hospital and how things were progressing. He answered the phone and I immediately had to tell him to hang on – I put the phone down and moaned loudly through the contraction. When it was over I picked the phone back up and he asked me if I was ok and sounded very concerned. He asked me why I didn’t get an epidural and I told him I could do it without one. I was determined to. I told him to just get there as fast as he could.
At this point my memory of the series of events and concept of time gets foggy because I was so tired and in so much pain. Lori kept reminding me to relax and to just concentrate on getting through one contraction at a time. After a really hard contraction I started crying and told her I couldn’t do it – that I needed drugs. She just kept giving me water and juice and reminding me that I COULD do it. Some contractions were much worse than others and in between the really bad ones I felt like I could actually do it. After the really bad ones, or those that came one on top of another, I told her I couldn’t, that I just wasn’t strong enough. She was so calming and stayed so confident through the whole thing. Elizabeth put the monitor on me from time to time but she was so great, she never asked me to lie down or tried to strap the monitor to me – she just held it to my belly where ever I happened to be until she heard the heartbeat.
I decided to get back in the tub because the contractions where getting so much stronger. I stayed there for quite a while, just moaning through the contractions and relaxing between them. I even managed to fall asleep for a few minutes between contractions, which seems unbelievable. I suddenly noticed that the baby had the hiccups which I thought was so strange. Here I was going through labor and all this pain and it seemed like she was just carrying on as usual.
I started feeling really hot and nauseous. I told Lori I was going to throw up and she rushed out of the room and made it back with a bucket just in time. All I had in my stomach was apple juice and water but throwing up still sucks! Luckily that was the only time it happened. I felt too hot to stay in the tub so I got out again and put on another gown. I walked back into the room and saw out the window that the sun was coming up – it was so strange to me that it was morning already. It felt like I had been dealing with the pain forever but at the same time it felt like it had just been midnight. Elizabeth wanted to check my cervix, I was 7 to 8 at that point.
I stayed close to the bed, alternating between leaning on the bed and burying my face in pillows during contractions and leaning on the bed side table while squatting between them. The contractions were getting much more intense and I was feeling so much pressure. I just wanted my water to break. I kept feeling like I needed to squat and push during the contractions – I hoped that would make my water break but it didn’t.
Suddenly I knew I was in transition. The contractions totally changed. They went from a sort of burning feeling to a very sharp pain that I couldn’t handle. Somehow I ended up in the bathroom. The door was a sliding door with a large metal handle. I held on the handle with my right hand and put my left hand on the tile wall. During the contractions all I could do was squat while pushing on the wall with one hand and pulling on the door handle with the other. I pulled the door handle so hard that the next day the right side of my back was sore. The toilet was right behind me so I started off sitting down between contractions but eventually they were so close together I just stood. By this time I was not only moaning through the contractions I was screaming at the end of them. The pain was so intense, it was unreal. I honestly thought I wouldn’t survive through it. For the first time I started panicking. Up to that point I had managed to focus on one contraction at a time, not thinking ahead to the next and freaking out. But now when one contraction ended I was already freaking out about the next one coming. And they were coming very close together.
Elizabeth said she was calling Dr. Harris to have him come break my water. The pain was so intense because of all the pressure from the bulging bag of water. It was about 6 am by then. I am not sure how long it took between the time she said she was calling and the time he actually arrived but it felt like eternity. Elizabeth said she was putting the squatting bar on the bed for when I started pushing. Lori suggested I get on the bed and lean on it and see if that position helped. I got on the bed and tried to squat while holding the bar but it was so awkward and the contractions were so close together I could hardly move. I ended up on my hands and knees on the bed – facing the foot. Right then Dr. Harris came in and I felt so relieved. I guess I thought that since he was there it would all be over soon.
Of course for him to break my water I had to lie down on the bed and the thought of that was unbearable. I told him I couldn’t handle the contractions lying down and I didn’t think I could push lying down either. He said that lying propped up was the best way so that I could pull my legs back and open my pelvis. He checked me and said I was dilated to 8 centimeters and I started crying again – I thought I was done, ready to push. He told me not to worry that since this was my second time once he broke my water I would be complete and ready to push. He broke my water and it was a bit of relief right away – a little less pressure. He said the water was clear which a relief was also. He told me to try pushing with the next contraction. Elizabeth held my left leg and Lori held my right. Elizabeth instructed me to hold the back of my legs and lean forward to push but I couldn’t. I had to hold on to the edge of the bed with both hands. I also wanted to put my head back but I tried to do what she said. I pushed one time and Dr. Harris said he saw the head and that he needed to get a gown on. He said “just give me 25 seconds!” I told him I couldn’t, I had to push. I watched him get up and scramble around to get stuff ready – I knew she was coming out fast. Then he said “I lied, I need longer than 25 seconds but not much.” He got ready and I felt another contraction starting. I started pushing and he told me to wait – to let the contraction build first. I could feel her head coming out, it felt huge. I don’t know if the contraction ended but I couldn’t stop pushing. It hurt so bad I just wanted her out so I kept pushing. I can’t describe the feeling of having her in the birth canal and pushing her out. People talk about the ring of fire when the baby crowns and I don’t remember feeling that but it was such an intense pain – like it would never end. With one more contraction she was out. I looked up and saw that Dr. Harris was holding her and suctioning her mouth. I noticed right away how long her black hair was and that she had a little dimple in her chin. I asked him if she was still a girl and he said yes. There was a huge digital clock over the bed and I looked up and saw that it was 6:42 am, I had started pushing at 6:30 am. Elvin’s flight left Sacramento at 6:40 am.
She started screaming and Dr. Harris started to clamp her cord. I told him no, to wait and he said there was no reason to wait now, it had stopped pulsing because she was crying already. Lori said it was ok so I asked him if I could cut it. I was sad Elvin wasn’t there to do it but I sort of wanted to do it myself anyway since he had cut Max’s cord. Dr. Harris clamped the cord and put the baby on my stomach then handed me the scissors. I was sort of shaky and hardly remember cutting it but I know I did. She was a little slimy – just a bit of vernix, not much blood. Elizabeth took her over to the warmer because her color was a little off. I saw her put the oxygen mask near the baby’s face but didn’t really think anything of it. Her apgars were 8/9.
Dr. Harris delivered the placenta which came out very shortly after the birth, about 5 min. later with no help at all. It was totally painless which was a relief because I thought it would hurt as well. I had one small tear; actually the scar from where I tore when Max was born tore. Dr. Harris numbed the area and stitched me up – he said it was one long stitch. Sometime during all this I said to no one in particular that I was never doing that again to which they all laughed – but at the time I was dead serious! I called Elvin’s cell phone and left him a message that his daughter had just been born and was perfect.
When he was done with me Elizabeth brought the baby over all wrapped up. She started nursing and didn’t stop for over an hour. Suddenly it seemed like everyone was gone. Dr. Harris had left, Elizabeth’s shift was over so she left and Lori had to do rounds as a LC in the post-pardum ward.
Another nurse came in and helped me with the baby so I could take a shower. It felt so great to not have the after effects of the epidural and not to be all puffy from IV fluid since I had never had an IV. I was sore but for the most part felt normal though it was strange to suddenly not have a huge belly.
Shortly after I was done and was back in the bed with the baby Elvin came through the door with all of his luggage, he had come strait from the airport. He came right over and gave me a kiss then picked up the baby. It was so sweet to see him holding her and looking at her tiny face.
Even though he didn’t understand during labor why I was so insistent on doing it naturally he told me he was proud of me for doing it. He and I both were pretty surprised that I managed it! I had my mind set on it but we both know how wimpy I usually am! But I am actually really proud of myself too for doing it. It wasn’t easy but it was so worth it. And now having some space from it I know I could do it again. I sort of have a new respect for myself and more confidence.
The fact that I went into labor on my own and wasn’t overdue was also healing for me because I had been so down on myself for having to be induced to give birth to Max. I felt like my body didn’t work and was scared that it wouldn’t again.
Looking at my two babies together is so amazing and I feel so unbelievably blessed. I thought after she was born I would feel like our family was complete but I am not sure that I do. So I guess we will see what the future brings!