Zoe’s Birth Story – Wednesday, November 29, 2006
On Tuesday I hit the wall with this pregnancy. I was crampy, nauseous, sore, achy, and very done with being pregnant. It took a lot of strength not to have an emotional breakdown. I could feel one coming on.
Wednesday morning, I woke up at 6:30am to get ready for my morning class. When I went to the bathroom, I noticed a little blob of mucus in the toilet that had pink on the end. After my shower, I had more pink on the toilet paper. Bloody show – good sign! I was having contractions as I had been the entire pregnancy. These hurt, just a little, but they mostly felt tight like my usual Braxton Hicks contractions. Still, I called my doula to let her know what was going on. As it got closer to 8:30, the contractions were starting to come at 8-15 minute intervals or so, and they hurt more. I decided to skip class just in case.
Between 9 and 10 I had contractions anywhere from 4 to 8 minutes apart, and some of them definitely hurt. We called the women’s clinic and they said to come on in for a labor check. I called our doula one more time and she agreed to meet us there. At the clinic, they determined I was almost 5cm. Even though the contractions weren’t super close together, I had to focus and find a good position to stand in so I could cope with them. Hard but not frequent. I liked to stand with legs apart and my head in my hands on a desk.
We went to the hospital and started the process there. Pee in a cup, put on a gown, sign the papers. They wanted to get a monitoring strip. I asked to sit on a birthing ball while they monitored… being in bed hurt too much. It took longer than 15 minutes because the monitor for the baby’s heart kept finding my heartbeat during contractions. My doula could tell from the way the heart rate rose and fell abruptly that it was mine and not the baby’s. The contractions were fairly strong at this point, but still not super close together. Eventually, I guess the doctor and nurse got what they wanted and I took off the monitors. I wanted to get in the tub now.
The tub relaxed me. I wonder if this is what my body needed to really jumpstart labor. For me, the water doesn’t do a ton for the pain, but it does help me focus and relax and it makes labor go a heck of a lot faster. The contractions built up gradually, stronger and closer together. DH and the doula were absolutely wonderful to me. One would hold my hand, one would put counterpressure on my back, and I would press my forehead into the side of the tub. Our L&D nurse was very good to us as well. She came in just intermittently to find the baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler, and she brought me juice.
I stayed in the tub for about an hour. As the hour came to a close, the contractions hurt a lot very low.. like in a ring around my pelvis. I could start to feel pressure… every contraction felt like I had to have a bowel movement, and when it ended the urge went away. I was in a lot of pain. I started getting scared of pushing. I told the doula “I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this.” She told me it was OK to say anything I felt. I did NOT want to push the baby out. I didn’t see how this was going to happen. I felt the pressure and knew it had to come out somehow but I was so scared. I remembered too well how bad the pushing and crowning hurt last time.
I was restless and wanted out of the tub. I went to the bed and laid on my side. I made high pitched groans through the contractions now… DH pressed on my back and our doula held my hand. In between contractions I zoned out and went limp. It was a surreal feeling, I may have even come close to blacking out – but each contraction would bring me back. I didn’t care where I was or who was there anymore – I was in my own world. The nurse checked me and I was at 9+ cm! She hurried to get my buff cap in my arm – standard hospital procedure. After she was done, I felt something slimy come out of me and the bag of waters broke in a huge gush.
Our nurse pressed the call button and asked for the OB and pediatric nurse. She prepped the room as quickly as she could. I couldn’t even see it – my eyes had clouded over. Soon it sounded like a hundred voices were telling me to push, and I knew I had to. The nurse tried to get me to hold a leg up and try it, but I didn’t want to. I was scared. In one moment I brought myself back and decided I had to get the baby out NOW. I asked if I could squat. They brought out a squat bar and attached it to the bed.
I hooked my arms over the squat bar, and DH and the doula propped me up. I pushed. The pain was horrible, burning, stinging. I screamed and kept pushing. DH swore it only took 5 minutes, the longest 5 minutes of my life! At 1:45pm Zoe came shooting out all at once. The OB made a good catch! DH was so emotional. I heard him saying “she’s here, look at her, she’s beautiful!”
DH and the doula set me down gently. I couldn’t hold Zoe because her cord was too short. They clamped and cut, and then I held her skin-to-skin while the nurses dried her off and gave her oxygen and put warm blankets on us.
I am really, really happy with how the birth went.
I was scared and just this side of losing control, but I did it. The labor was short , everyone around me supported me and respected my wishes, and I was allowed to experience it on my own terms… it was my birth.