When December got here and I could finally say "I am due THIS month", I woke up every morning wondering if today would be the day and went to bed each night wondering if contractions would wake me up sometime before morning. But, the days went on and nothing happened. I was enjoying my time off (my last day at work had been November 30), but since I was so sure I was going to be late, I spent that time catching up on naps instead of working on my "list of things to do before the baby comes." Luckily there were only a couple of items on the list that absolutely HAD to be done before the baby came. It took well over a month before I finally got around to starting the rest of the list.
So anyway. My pregnancy was going great. My last appointment was actually on November 21. I did not have an internal at the time but she did let me know that the baby was in a good position and "starting" to descend. My next weekly appointment would have been on Dec 1, but on Nov 30 we had a huge winter storm and most of the town closed early on Thursday and remained closed on Friday, and the parts that were closed included my dr's office. I called them back on Monday the 4th and they rescheduled me for Tuesday afternoon.
Tuesday morning came and DH and I still woke up at the time I used to get up for work... 6:45. We puttered around and had a leisurely breakfast and DH started to do a Tai Chi video that he had bought at a garage sale a few weeks before. I went about doing dishes and things, and felt two teensy pops accompanied by two small gushes around 8:30 am. I went and checked and the gushes were mostly a clear fluid w/ a little blood in it. I continued to have light bleeding right up until the birth, but I didn't worry about it because the baby kept moving throughout the day. So I called DH into the bathroom and told him that he probably needed to call work and tell them he wouldn't be in b/c my water broke (or so I thought at the time). I remained calm but he started to get excited and nervous. We still had not packed our hospital bag and he kept piling things together to take to the hospital, and being worried that I wasn't helping him pack. I instead went into the kitchen and made some almond bark-covered Oreos to give to the nurses at the hospital. After a bit, I did help DH pack so he could relax... but he only "slightly" relaxed. Then I took a shower so we could go run some last minute errands, and also b/c I didn't know when my next shower would be.
While the coated cookies cooled, DH and I stopped at the bank to get a roll of quarters (since we didn't know the cell phone policies and thought we might need to use pay phones). My old coworker asked if we were going to the hospital. We told her no, since our next destination was Toys'R'us. We went there and bought a few VERY last-minute things that we needed for the baby, and I popped them into the washer when we got home. At some point during all this we also called our doula and she was going to get to our place around 1:00 or so. We kept her updated until she was able to come. My first contractions came at about 10:30. Just in case it was the real thing, I made a strong brew of red raspberry leaf tea and drank it (I had also been drinking it throughout my pregnancy), but I was halfway done with it and threw it up in the kitchen trash can (the yogurt I'd had for breakfast also came up). DH held my hair out of the way. I "knew" while I was throwing up that "oh, this must really be labor... I'm cleaning myself out."
While the clothes were washing, I tried calling a friend of mine from LLL who wanted to do some maternity pictures for me. Her phone was turned off so she called me back, and I told her that we probably wouldn't be able to do the maternity portraits b/c I was in labor. She got VERY excited for us and asked if we were in the hospital. I told her no and she wanted us to come over and she'd do our pictures. We only lived a few blocks from her so DH and I got ready and went over to take what have to be the very latest pregnancy pictures EVER, seeing as how most people will get them around 37 weeks, etc., instead of while IN LABOR. She arranged us into different poses and for some of them, I had to wait to do the pose until a contraction ended. But the whole thing definitely took my mind off the contractions and passed some time.
We got back to our apartment and our doula had to run a quick errand, as well as DH. We had a lot of frozen juice boxes that we were going to take (and I was going to sip on them as they thawed), but we had no ice chest. DH tried going to three close places but it turns out that ice chests are a seasonal item, and nobody had any. I found a small one that I forgot we had borrowed so we were going to use that one. So DH came back and our doula came back, and by then I was laying in the bed relaxing with the contractions. By this time they would peak pretty early, and then stay at that same intensity for most of the duration, but they were still very easy to relax through. My two labor coaches said that I was doing very well. They kept feeding me juice and water and smoothies to keep me hydrated. They also gave me cheese cubes since that was the only protein that sounded appealing to me, but I was nervous eating even that since my stomach felt like it would reject things brought into it.
I moved over to the couch at some point and started having to concentrate more on breathing through the contractions. Our doula's DH called her to get an update and she stepped outside to take the call. My contractions by this point were about 75 seconds long and 3-4 minutes apart, but I still couldn't really believe that I was ACTUALLY GOING TO BE A MOM soon. I had to keep telling myself that, and even spoke a question out loud to my doula... I said in disbelief, "I'm really going to have a baby soon, aren't I?" She just smiled at me and said yes. Shortly after she got off the phone, I suggested that we go ahead and head towards the hospital. She said that she was going to suggest that as well. She and my DH grabbed our tons of hospital paraphernalia to load it up. I'm not sure why we packed so much stuff... we ended up only using a tiny fraction of it, and forgot something absolutely vital... a ponytail holder. My doula had a spare one of those though and put my hair up a little later when I was getting frustrated with the loose strands. (And she put it up in a hurry... I saw myself in a mirror in the postpartum room and definitely had an "interesting" hairstyle going on. )
Some women's contractions slow down or stop when they change environments like that... but not mine. I had one at the bottom of our steps before getting into the car, 3 on the road, and another in the hospital parking lot. We made our way to L&D and I had a couple of contractions while they got all my info and had me sign some forms. The signing of the forms had to wait until I was in between contractions. They sent me over to triage so they could "make sure I was really in labor." They weighed me and had me change into my gown and do a urine sample. This would have been the first sample I'd given since about 20 weeks or so... my dr's office changed management and they decided to stop the standard urinalasys at each visit and only do them when necessary. My poor sample was only about 3 drops... I could not EVEN see my stream and didn't have to go very much anyway... hope they got what they needed. I had 4 contractions while trying to change, and after 3 of them DH knocked on the door and wanted to know if I was OK in there.
Finally I got changed and headed over to my little assessment area. They had me lay on my side and hooked me up to a monitor to see baby's heartbeat and my contractions. The machine measured the intensity of the contractions by a number, and I didn't watch it but DH says that most of them went over a hundred. Baby's heartbeat was fine and barely descended at all during contractions. At one point, the nurse doing my assessment started to tell me something, but then got called away. She came back and started to say "OK, we're going to send you home tonight and have you drink lots of water..." At first I thought she was talking to me, and I briefly thought "what do you MEAN you're sending me home w/ THESE contractions?" But it turns out she was talking to a different woman in another little curtained area. She came back to me and did my exam, and said I had a bulging bag of waters and that I was dilated to a 7/8. They left me hooked up to the monitor for a bit longer, and I asked DH to pass me the trash can that I saw by the wall. I held it up to the edge of the bed and got rid of my cheese and smoothies and fruit juice from earlier.
Then they sent me over to my LDR room and I got in the bed. The on-call resident came by and introduced herself and said that she'd called my doctor and she was on her way. My nurse also introduced herself. I could no longer lie on my side during contractions. Instead, I sortof was on my hands and knees with my face way down in the crack between the bed and the bed controls, and my butt in the air. I was still somewhat relaxed during a contraction in this position, but as they got stronger it got harder and harder to relax. I started not just breathing in the contractions but vocalizing with them. My doula said to vocalize at a lower pitch to help me relax, but it was too hard to do that. I was conscious of her saying that though and did at least try.
In between contractions the nurses did their things on me. One was putting in my heplock and another wanted to take my temperature but wanted to wait until the heplock was in. I said "No hurry up and take my temp while I'm in between contractions" and she did. I wouldn't have been able to handle even the most minor of procedures during a contraction... but in between? Bring 'em on. I told the heplocking nurse about my issues with needles, and she injected my wrist with lidocaine before she put the heplock in... which I thought was weird. I still felt it anyway but neither needle made me lightheaded or anything this time. Guess I had too many other things on my mind.
I went and sat on the toilet to try and pee in between contractions, while there was still time. My water REALLY broke while I was on the toilet, and this time there was absolutely NO mistaking what happened. You know how fast the bathtub water comes out if you turn the faucet on all the way? That is how forcefully my water broke. I had always thought it would be just like a drain instead of a forceful expulsion. I looked at the color, and it was brown. I thought it was b/c I was still bleeding, but found out later that there was meconium also. (I guess green + red = brown. )
Very shortly after my water broke, I went into transition. I could not find any position that would get me through the contractions at all. I thought briefly about asking for drugs. I found that if I held my bottom closed (similar to the feeling that you have to go #2 but aren't next to a bathroom so you hold it in) was one of the only things that helped. At about 9:45 or 10:00 or so my contractions changed again, and I had to push with them. The medical team wasn't even fully in the room yet and I didn't even know if it was "ok" to push (fully dilated, etc.), I just HAD to do it. My DH and doula I don't think realized how far along I was because they still kept trying to tell me to relax.
Then my dr and the nurses came out and I got checked, and my dr said "oh, she's pushing... go ahead and let her do what she wants." I pushed when it felt good and stopped to take a new breath when I needed to. They put the monitor back on me but I was NOT thrilled with the idea. I don't know how much use they got out of it anyway because they got my heartbeat at one point and no heartbeat much of the other time b/c the baby was down so far already. My first several pushes were also with me lying on my side. They kept trying to get me to turn over a little and put my feet in the footrests so they could take away the bottom edge of the bed. I wanted to flip over, too, b/c I felt like I couldn't see anything when I was on my side. I was finally able to flip but it was several contractions before I could.
Everyone kept telling me I was doing so good, and that's all they told me. Nobody said "ok hold your breath" or "now push to a count of 10" or anything. I continued pushing with my body's urges and the head started to crown. My dr invited me to reach down and feel the head and I did so. It was so cool. I've heard of women having a mirror so they could see what was going on, but in the state of mind I was in at the time I wouldn't have been interested in a mirror.
Crowning was interesting. I kept thinking "ok surely with this push the head will be out" because of the intense stretching, but the head just kept coming and coming. Finally the head was out! I got so excited since I knew I was almost done. I waited for the next contraction and popped out the shoulders. Then there was my baby, out! They put her on my tummy for drying off. I touched her and then one of the nurses said "Help me dry her off, mama." It was weird though because even though I remember all the physical sensations, I have no visual memory of pushing... maybe my eyes were closed? I can't remember. DH was the one to quietly say "it's a girl!" We didn't find out what it was beforehand. I had had feelings that it was a girl through the whole pregnancy, but still said "Really??" after DH let me know what "flavor" baby we had. They had to take her away briefly to suction her b/c there was meconium in the water, but everything was done right in the room. Our birth plan was followed as closely as possible. (Part of the birth plan was for DH to announce the gender, and I remember the nurses reminding each other out loud to not say what it is.)
While they were working on her, one of the nurses asked if she had a name. DH and I looked at each other. We picked out Celeste first, but moved it to the middle name position instead of the first name, b/c we couldn't really find a middle name that we liked with it. Then we kept debating on the first name. He liked Vivian but I was in love with Lydia. DH smiled at me with questioning eyes, I nodded at him, then he turned to the nurses and said "Lydia Celeste."
Lydia was born at 10:28 pm, almost 12 hours after my contractions began and only 3 hours after arriving to the hospital. Not too bad for a first-time mom. I think I might have pushed slightly too fast because I did end up with a second degree tear. I did not feel ANY of the numbing shots for the stitches. DH did get to cut the cord. He watched her coming out too and later said that it didn't look like it could be happening (like too big of an object coming out of too small a hole.. )
Right after the birth I was shaking for several minutes, like I was cold... but I wasn't cold. My friends who were already moms warned me that this would happen so I wasn't worried about it.
I'll have to post the recovery/postpartum part another time. We stayed in the hospital for two nights and got home Thursday. Breastfeeding is going well. My nipples are slightly tender but her latch is good so I think it's just from all the sudden use they're getting after not having any at all over the past few months. I am still SO surprised that I went early. I hold Lydia and take care of her and nurse her, but even with all that... I still sometimes feel like I have to give her back to her mom. Then I say "Oh wait, I AM the mommy."
I am a mommy.
Andrea , child of God, wife of Tim , mama of L, B, J, J, G
I'm on a healthy mission.
4 years and 5 IVF cycles in the making, Elliott was born at home in water on 2/2/11.
What an AWSOME birth story!!!
Just wait till your second
With my first labor I had all that "pre-labor" at home too but the second baby I had NO pre-labor and cx were 3min apart from the very begining
I bet you'll be a SUPER QUICK L&D for the next one!!!
You sound like mine to a tee!!!
I so loved the profesianal belly pic part!!! How cool to have those exact pictures with those exact memories!!! HOW AWSOME!!!
You very well may be the first to have maternity pics while in labor!! LOL
What a memory!
I'm shedding happy tears for you sweetheart!!!
I bet if you had not been forced on your back and you had been able to choose your birth position you would not have even torn!
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Reading your birthstory was great. It sounded just like mine (except that I got stalled at 9+cm w/pushing ctx for 7 hours). I think if we could have cut that 7 hours down to 1.5 I would have felt I had a great, wonderful birth.
My favorite part was getting photos done while in labor. That is just so great! While I was in active labor, I meant to ask dh to take a photo of me, and forgot. We never got an "end of pregnancy" photo. I am so sad we missed that.
Anyway, I just really connected with your birth story and wanted to tell you how happy I am for you! It was like reliving my birth story without part I hated. And it gives me some hope that next time will go more smoothly.
The second album in the list has the birth pictures in it.
Andrea , child of God, wife of Tim , mama of L, B, J, J, G
I'm on a healthy mission.
We think green! Gentle mama to 3 amazing kiddos. Recovering from religion.
LIFEschooling. Extended NAKing. Graduated cloth diaperer.
While still in the labor room, one of the first things they have me do is go to the restroom. A nurse helps me walk over there just in case I felt like passing out (I didn't). I sit down and am able to pee. But b/c I hadn't really kept anything down, I didn't have to go a lot. But they were happy with that little bit. They helped me back to the bed and then all of a sudden it seemed like everyone was gone. (Oh but before they left, they put a frozen pad on my girly bits... it felt very nice.) I had a blood pressure cuff on that automatically took my pressure every several minutes. It would keep doing that for over an hour while I recovered, before they could move me upstairs. DH and our doula and I spent the time talking and just looking at our wonderful little girl.
Finally the time came to move up to the postpartum room. Our hospital still has some semi-private rooms so I requested a private one so DH could stay with me. I got put in a wheelchair, DD got put in her plastic basinette, and DH and our doula walked with us to the elevators and we all went to our room. Our doula took a seat in the corner and I got helped into bed.
Two nurses came in. One of them brought stuff for DD's first bath. She bathed DD slowly while also explaining how to do a sponge bath to DH. The other nurse occupied me with lots of handouts and instructions and explanations. But I still kept stealing glances over to DH and DD.
The rest of that first night, I had a nurse come in every hour to check my vitals. I would have been annoyed if I wasn't already so wide awake from the whole experience. Also for the first few times I had to go potty, I was supposed to call a nurse so they could measure my output. They weren't used to having women who did not have an IV (and therefore a ton of fluid to pee out). One of them even looked at my chart and said in a surprised tone, "Oh, you didn't have an IV." Oh and EVERYONE that came into the room asked me if I was passing gas OK.
Sometime during the day they gave me a nursing gown instead of the standard gown. That made it MUCH easier to breastfeed. During our LDR tour, the tour guide said that we could walk around the halls with our baby but they had to be in their little basinettes. Not b/c of fear that we'd drop them, but b/c the staff would then be alert to a baby just being carried in arms (for potential kidnapping). So on the second night when I was wide awake and bored, I took DD for a walk. I was still sore but walking felt fine and I could only pace back and forth in my room so much.
I was able to take a shower at some point, and also made use of the sitz bath a lot. It took me a while to get into the habit of using my peri bottle though. I would get all the way into the bathroom and then realize that it was still outside by the sink and have to go get it.
For each noon meal, they also sent a menu so we could request what we wanted for the dinner that night and for lunch and breakfast the next day. The hospital food was actually pretty good. I had chicken tenders and pizza among other things that I can't remember.
Lydia stayed with us the whole time except for a few brief visits to the nursery. One was when we took a class on infant safety and CPR. The others were when the pedi was doing his evaluation. If it was OUR pedi then she could have done the eval right in the room, but it was a different pedi in her group who was doing the rounds that week and he preferred to stay in the nursery. But the evals only took a minute and DH or I would walk Lydia down and then bring her right back.
We got discharged early Thursday afternoon. A nurse came by with another big folder of discharge instructions and handouts and briefly explained them to me. DH and I cleaned out the basinette of everything they said we could take. We got her situated in her carseat, and DH and his parents started taking loads down to the car (remember all the stuff we packed for labor but didn't use? ). Then they came with my wheelchair. I sat in it and had the carseat on my lap as instructed, and we walked down to the car and left. Now comes the hard and fun part... raising a baby, toddler, preschooler, child, adolescent. The stages are going to pass way too quickly. She has already changed so much.
Andrea , child of God, wife of Tim , mama of L, B, J, J, G
I'm on a healthy mission.