This is long! I feel like I could have written a novel!
The Birth of Mary Anne Grace
I awoke at about 2:30 am on Thursday the 21st of Frebruary with a strong contraction. I didn’t think very much of it because I had been having a lot of prodromal labor over the last few days and the contractions seemed to really kick in late in the evening – around 2:00 or 3:00 am. I had thought I was in labor both nights before. I felt like I needed to use the bathroom so I headed in there. As soon as I sat down I felt that something was different. I looked down and noticed that I was beginning to loose my mucous plug. I began to feel really excited because with my first daughter as soon as I lost my plug labor really started to get going. I tried to lie down a little and just relax and try to get some sleep but the contractions kept coming and were getting stronger. I woke up my husband and he made me a warm bath to help relieve the contractions and to see if this was really it. At about 3:30 am I gave my doula a call and she said to rest, drink and eat a little something and to keep her posted. Dh brought me two pieces of peanut butter toast and I ate them in the tub.
My contractions continued to get stronger and were now between five and seven minutes apart. Dh called my ob to let him know that we thought I was in labor. He said to come on in whenever we were ready. When I got out of the tub I began feeling both excitement and fear. I began doubting my ability to labor unmedicated and to second guess my strength. I gave my doula a call again to ask her to come over as soon as she could. I felt that once she was here that I would feel better and more confident with her support and dh’s support. Once she arrived I laid in bed for a while and tried to rest. Her and dh supported me with encouraging words and we spoke a lot about my fears. It felt good to just cry, pray and express myself. I soon felt more confident about the birth and ready to move on. I ate more peanut butter toast, sat in the rocker and spent a lot of time in the bathroom. I was having a lot of bloody show and continued to loose my plug.
Dd awoke around 5:45 am. Thankfully my mom had flown in that afternoon to be here at her newest grandchild’s birth. My mom snuggled with her and then made her breakfast. I felt relief that she woke up before I had to leave for the hospital and I hugged her like I have never hugged her before knowing that a new baby was soon to join our family. She knew mommy was going to have the baby soon. My mom kept her busy making art projects as I labored in the bedroom, still moving from bathroom to rocking chair. I kept feeling like I needed to use the bathroom.
My contractions were becoming a steady three minutes and becoming longer so we decided that we would head to the hospital. Dd gave me a picture that she painted for our new little one. It was now around 7:30 am. During the car ride my contractions stalled out and I began to get worried thinking maybe this wasn’t it. Dh called his mom on the way and shared our exciting news. We arrived at the hospital and dh placed dd's painting next to the window. I looked at this picture often to give me strength during labor. My contractions had pretty much completely stalled out once we arrived to our hospital room. I had to sign a bunch of papers and answer a lot of questions. I felt overwhelmed and nervous. I changed into a hospital gown, got into the bed and they hooked me up to the fetal monitor. The baby sounded great and the questions continued. The nurse seemed to believe that I wasn’t in labor because I wasn’t contracting – I was beginning to think the same thing. The nurse left the room at about 8:30 (which I was relieved about) and I got out of bed and began walking around the room, hoping to get things moving again. Things did get moving. I began contracting regularly every three minutes. I relied on my doula and dh to support me during each contraction and focused on opening my cervix. My doula gave me a lot of suggestions on how to move in different ways to help with the comfort.
At 9:30 am my ob arrived to greet me and check my cervix. I was elated when I found out that I was 5 to 6 cm dilated! The baby was still far up the birth canal and the doctor wanted to do an ultrasound to make sure that he was feeling her head and not her bum. My contractions stalled again. I barely had any while the ultrasound was being done. This was an interesting part of my labor … the doctor was just taking his time when doing the ultrasound. He showed us the baby’s ear, her kidney, her leg. He printed out pictures. I was laughing at his antics but also anxious to get back off of the bed and to get things moving again. I didn’t want the labor to stop, which was a fear of mine. I kept thinking, we don’t need to see the baby’s body parts now inside of my womb, we will be meeting her soon, touching her, and seeing her outside of the womb! The whole experience actually ended up being a good stress reliever. I wasn’t concentrating on the contractions but laughing with everyone at the dr.’s jokes. We had a lot of good laughs and I was happy to hear that it was the baby’s head he was feeling and not her bum. He measured my fondues, estimated that the baby would be about 7 pounds 13 ounces and left us to continue the labor.
I once again got up and walked around and the contractions returned more steadily, much more intense, closer together, about two minutes apart, and longer. I spent some time on the birth ball and worked more and more on my breathing. My doula and dh did a wonderful job at guiding my breathing and rhythm. They then filled the tub with hot water and I got in. This helped my contractions to become more bearable. At this point I was having doubts and thought about wanting medication. Dh and my doula continued offering their support and guidance and I knew I could get through this with them beside me. My whole body was concentrating on the energy of the labor and contractions and I felt like the baby was ready to make her grand entrance. My contractions were very close together, long. I knew I was in transition. I began feeling very hot, a lot of pressure and nauseous. My ob entered the room and my doula told him that she thought I was ready to push. He checked me in the water and I was 9 cm. They asked me to get out of the tub, which was very difficult. I didn’t want to move. I finally made it from the tub to the bed.
As soon as I got on the bed I felt a pop, my bag of waters had broken. My dh jumped a little at the pop. At this point I was feeling an extreme urge to push. My ob asked me to pant so I wouldn’t tear as much. He ended up giving me local anesthetic and an episiotomy. I could not control the pushing at this point. It felt as though my body was just pushing her out on it’s own. It was as though my body was convulsing. This was a sensation that was unlike anything I have ever felt. I didn’t experience the urge to push with my first child since I had an epidural. I started feeling as though I was going to pass out and I told everyone this. I looked up at dh and this was the first time that I could see some nervousness in his eyes. My doula remained very calm and just reassured me that I would not pass out and that everything was going as it should. After about four pushes my beautiful baby girl made her entrance into the world. It was 11:33 am. The doctor laid her on my stomach. I felt overwhelmed with such joy. My doctor showed us the cord pulsing and waited for it to stop for Dh to cut it. I was proud of dh for cutting the cord since this was something he wasn’t sure about. She was weighed and then placed back on my belly. She weighed in at 7 pounds and 10 ounces. I was amazed at how much she looked like her sister with dark hair. We patiently waited for her to latch on to my breast and have her first meal. She slowly made her way to the milk and nursed for an amazing hour and a half! Mary is pure joy! She is such a blessing.
This is the birth story of our sweet Mary Anne Grace. It was a joyous and marvelous event! One of the most challenging things I have ever done, but also one of the most rewarding. I am so thankful to be a woman and to have experienced another birth. Thanks be to God!