As I awoke on Thursday morning doing my usual rituals, I noticed my cell phone flashing on the kitchen counter. Weird, that it was even on the kitchen counter...usually it is somewhere in the depths of my “bottomless” purse!* I noticed that Karen had called me at 530 AM.* I immediately checked my messages and listened. “My water broke at 3:00 this morning, we are at the hospital”!* Wow!* None of us were ready for this!* I jumped in the shower,* gathered up my bag and camera and headed north on Mopac.*
When I arrived at 10:00, Karen was already on Pitocin, a synthetic form of ocytocin used to stimulate labor.* This makes for a much harder, longer, and stronger labor.* Since her water had broken, there was no turning back, Molly was on her way, four weeks early!* Karen was dilated to just one centimeter and about 70% effaced (thinning of the cervix) when she got to the hospital, so we knew she had a long way to go....especially on a pitocin induced birth.* My timing was good, because Danny had just left for a doctor appointment that Danny and Karen had decided he shouldn’t miss. She was having contractions at least every 3-4 minutes by this time, which was quite frequent, considering she was only just one centimeter dilated....(thanks pitocin)!* She was able to talk through the contractions quite well at this point.* Just as well,* ‘cause Danny called and checked on her at least 8 times while he was gone!
* At 1:00 PM, they rechecked her progress and she was completely effaced and dilated to 3 centimeters.* I think Karen was a little disappointed she wasn’t further along by now.* Her mom arrived at the hospital around 2:30 flying in from California, that was a big comfort to Karen having her mom with her.* Contractions were getting closer and stronger and at this point, she wasn’t able to talk through her contractions anymore.* She was beginning to feel some pressure.
At 3:00 PM she was six centimeters dilated.* Yay, she was progressing really well, the pitocin was doing it’s job!* Contractions were definitely picking up in strength..Karen was using all her breathing techniques she had learned in Lamaze.* Staying on top of her contractions really seemed to help her.* At 4:00 the nurses rechecked her progress again as she was having some pushing sensations and lots of pressure....she was almost complete, just shy of 10 centimeters!* In fact when they wheeled in the cart with all the delivery paraphernalia, Karen couldn’t believe it!* (Actually, she asked if it was the food cart, she was hungry!)* As well as feeling nauseous and cold and hot and shaking and all the other things that go with the “transition” phase of labor....by the way, this is the strongest, worst part...also the shortest, thank God!
At 4:40, she was completely dilated to ten centimeters and ready to push!* In an odd way, even though one still has massive contractions, the pushing phase actually feels good......she did a great pushing the baby down the birth canal, really only pushing for a short while, maybe 5-7 times.* We all had jobs at this point, Danny was counting to 10 while she gave it her all...Grandma, while supporting a leg, was telling her how great she was doing.* I coaxed her to push correctly, maximizing her air intake and output through each contraction.* Her Doctor was encouraging, telling Karen exactly where the baby’s head was with each push, carefully and skillfully letting Karen know when to start and stop pushing as nature performed it’s miracle.*
Molly was born at 5:12 PM!* She is so beautiful!* A perfect baby!* Crying her first cry, already beginning to turn that gorgeous newborn pink colour.* We were all cheering in happiness and relief that she was finally here.* Danny couldn’t take his eyes off of his new baby girl.* Karen kept saying she couldn’t believe that Molly, moments ago, was inside of her.* And I rejoiced this emotional moment--this wonder of the every-day miracle of birth, such a profound moving experience!
I have to tell you,* I have assisted many births, and I can’t say enough times, how proud I am of Karen and Danny...they did an excellent job.* Karen had a strong conviction of having a pain medication free birth...and she did it without ANY pain meds at all.* Considering she had pitocin from the very start, I commend her.* Molly scored a 9.9 out of 10 on the apgar scoring system which is attributed to Karen having a pain-med free birth......congratulations to both of you, I am so proud of you, Karen!
PS.* Karen, I did learn some swear words I had never heard before!