Pictures of Calista
Password is birth
During the evening of Valentine’s Day 2007, I began to feel very uncomfortable—aches and cramps. I also did not have any Braxton Hicks contractions as I normally did. I told my husband that if I still felt that way in the morning, it was probably nearing the time of the birth of our daughter.
Throughout the night I continued to have cramps and a constant soreness, to the point where I could not sleep. In the morning, the soreness persisted, but I had to prepare for my daughter’s friend to visit so I kept going. I asked for my mother to come over, who was going to care for my children while I gave birth, and told her it might be The Day, but I wasn’t at all sure.
My daughter’s friend and mother came over, as did my mother, and I continued to experience a lot of discomfort but no actual contractions. I had a hard time dealing with the needs of my children, and was frustrated with myself because I didn’t feel justified, especially if it wasn’t really in labor.
I rescheduled my midwife appointment for the early afternoon, and on my way there I had my first real contraction. It was different than a Braxton Hicks in that I felt the same tightening, but it was lower, did not make me feel out of breath, and had a definite beginning and ending.
I had my midwife check me internally, and she said I was dilated to about 3 centimeters and was 75% effaced. I had a few more contractions there. She said, by the look on my face, that I would likely be giving birth later that day or evening.
By 3 o’clock I told my husband to come home early, just in case. By 4:30 I was having contractions every 4-5 minutes. However, I could talk and even eat through them, though sometimes I had to go within myself to deal with them. I practiced thinking the words, “open” and “loose.” I worked on letting my belly all hang out during the contractions.
I called my midwife and asked if I should go to the hospital. It was now rush hour, and the hospital was 10 miles away. I’d never been there so did not know what traffic would be like. My midwife said to do what I thought, so I decided I would go but not necessarily admit myself.
Traffic was non-existent, so we got to the hospital faster than I’d hoped. My contractions were every 6 minutes but more intense. I felt silly for leaving so early, and wished I’d stayed at home longer. So, when we got to the hospital we went to the gift shop to buy gifts for our daughters from the baby, and walked a bit. When we asked where labor and delivery was, the staff thought we were visiting someone else—no one believed I was the one in labor, which made me doubt my decision even more to come at that time. My contractions were about every 4 minutes and I had to do some work through them, but I felt good.
By the time we actually were admitted and saw the midwife, it was about 7 o’clock. I was dilated to 6-7 centimeters. The midwife wasn’t sure as she said my bag of waters was bulging so much. I was told I would have to be monitored for 15 minutes out of every hour, which made me nervous—I really do not like sitting in one place during contractions. The contractions were getting to be more intense at this point.
After I was monitored, I took a shower. I wanted no one, and I talked to myself in my head the whole time. I would continue to say things like “loose” and “open.” I told my daughter repeatedly to push on the bag of waters and burst it. I visualized her doing this. I kept my knees loose, and focused on everything moving down. I relished in the tiny breaks between contractions, but as they got very intense I knew I had to prepare for the next one just so, as not being ready meant a struggle. I found swaying helped, as did telling myself “I can do this—I AM doing this.” I listened to the water of the shower, felt it on my back, and at times felt drugged and at others unprepared.
As I was nearing the point of not knowing how to handle the contractions, I felt the familiar sign of having to bear down. I hoped—would this be it? I felt that way with two contractions, and decided I should get out of the shower. Somehow I still managed to get my bra on! By the third one, I opened the bathroom door and told my husband that I had to push. Just at that time, I felt the gush of water and saw blood.
Somehow I made it to the edge of the bed. I didn’t know how I’d get up, but my midwife told me that if the contraction eased just a little, to climb up. I was kneeling on the bed. I panicked that I couldn’t push because it hurt, and I did not expect it to. My midwife told me that the baby had no room to get out and to open my legs just a bit. I did, felt tremendously better, pushed on the next contraction, and out came my daughter, Calista Rose, weighing 7 pounds and measuring 20 inches. She was born at 38 weeks on February 15 at 7:56 p.m.
I was in complete shock. I was told that my shower only lasted 25 minutes, and that my walk from the shower to the birth of my daughter was 6 minutes. I was overwhelmed and really confused as to what had just happened. I did tear, as Calista was born with her hand by her face, just as my daughter Fiona arrived—waving at the world. We are absolutely overjoyed by her arrival!