One week after her birth…. the abbreviated, messy version until I get some more rest and process everything better.
Sunday we had an incredible day with our parents in Boulder. We walked around, shopped, and dreamed of meeting this baby who was taking her sweet little time getting to us! When we got home Sunday evening, Andrew and I made a nice dinner and decided to stay in and watch a movie. As we were cleaning I had my first contraction. Since everything was so slow to start moving along, I doubted it was anything real until they continued to come. I waited through a few to tell Andrew what was going on. We tried not to get too excited because pre-labor can last days or even weeks! We started timing them a few hours later and although there was no consistent pattern, they were coming about every 10 min. I texted our midwife Anita with a heads up and she told me to go to bed and rest.
That night they came every 8-10 min or so but i managed to kinda sleep in between them. By morning they were really spread out and I thought maybe it was a false alarm. Andrew and I went on a walk in our open space, made breakfast, laid around on our back deck, read, and hung out as the contractions slowly came and went. I could talk through everything at this point, eat, and move around fine. Monday evening as the sun was setting Andrew and I took a sweet stroll around the pond behind our house stopping about every 50 yards for a contractions. The evening was absolutely perfect and I remember loving where the Lord had brought me in that moment. I was with the man I loved on a gorgeous fall evening, laboring for our first baby.
It was Monday night around 11PM when they picked up in intensity. We started timing them again and reach our 511 (5 min apart, 1 min each, for 1 hour) and called Anita. She got to the house about 2PM and came upstairs to check me. She told me I was at about 4 centimeters and I wanted to cry. How could I only be a 4 after laboring all day? She brought in all her supplies and told me to get rest when I could. She lives really close so she went home and instructed us too call her when they were 3 min apart. I hardly slept that night because the contractions were intensifying and too close together to really sleep. I was so anxious for the sun to rise so I could get out of bed and start another day.
By Tuesday morning they seemed to have slowed down again which absolutely infuriated me. I thought maybe this baby might never come! Contractions were now coming every 8 min or so. I tried hard to eat what I could and sweet Andrew tried even harder to shove nutrients down my throat so I could keep going. The day was filled with emotions running high, timing contractions, soaking up the fall sun. I sat on my birthing ball for hours, laid down, squatted, walked around all day through the pain.
It wasn’t until 5PM that they came every 3 min and man oh man were they intense. I couldn’t hardly breath let alone talk through them and any position I was in was painful. We called Anita after this lasted an hour and I was so happy to see her face when she came over. She checked me and told me I was at 8 centimeters. I almost cried (actually think I did) because finally this laboring was getting us somewhere! She called her assistant midwife, Lynnette, to hurry over. The anticipation was high because this should be the shortest, most intense part of labor. Lynnette was actually scared she would miss it! We stayed in the living room while I breathed through my contractions. The sun was setting and I remembering feeling so much peace (in between contractions of course) as the sun soaked through the windows of my home and my husband close to my side. He kept looking into my eyes and telling me over and over how beautiful I looked.
We made plans to move me upstairs to our room where we planned to give birth. I worked through the contractions upright as much as possible for the next few hours to try to use gravity. I finally got tired and had to lay down to ‘rest’. Anita checked me at about 11? The strangest thing was I couldn’t stop shaking, uncontrollably. I was getting concerned but the midwives assured me this is commonly a part of labor. I felt a little out of control when I couldn’t calm my muscles down.
Things looks like they were moving along (baby was at -1) but the upper lip of my cervix wouldn’t get out of the way. She started me on an herb that I took every 15 min for an hour to try to move that piece out of the way. I still didn’t feel the urge to push so after the hour when things didn’t seem to be progressing, we turned off the lights, turned on some calming music and tried to ‘rest’ and let my cervix open. If you’ve ever been in labor at 8 centimeters, you know that resting is not really an option but I did try. After a few hours I got in the tub to try calm myself and work through the pain. In the bath I thought I started to feel the urge to push so after a few min I asked Andrew to go get the midwives and tell me what’s going on. I was so tired and this point without sleeping or really eating for the past several days. I got out of the bath and they checked me during a contraction and at rest. I was still at 8 centimeters with baby at 0.
What was confusing was why I was stalled at this very intense spot for so long. Both Anita and Lynette admitted they hadn’t experienced this before and we started talking through options. I had been in labor since Sunday night with little sleep and little food. Baby’s heart beat was still strong and normal so she wasn’t a concern. It was me that we were concerned for. Since this had been going on so long without much food and no sleep we concluded what I really needed was rest. At home there is no way for them to afford me this so we started talking hospital transfer for an epidural. I pictured this option many times over the past 9 months, knowing I can plan the perfect birth at home all I want but God will get this baby out how he sees fit. When i pictured a potential hospital transfer I thought I would be kicking a screaming and fighting the option but I was so tired and so ready for this baby to come I was actually relieved when it was brought up. the idea of some sleep sounded too good to be true. We talked for a really long time about options (more upright laboring, more food, hospital transfer, etc). Lynette has quite a bit of experience with hospitals so she was so great to walk me through what she thought would happen. She told me things we could ask for and things they would probably do without permission and why. Anita left Andrew and I to talk and pray through what we wanted to do next. Poor Andrew was having such a hard time watching me in so much pain but also like myself wanted to realize our dream of delivering naturally at home. We talked, prayed and cried before we decided what I really needed was some rest. So, we packed up our stuff, I took a shower, and we headed to Good Samaritan in Lafayette.
We got to the hospital about 5AM and were greeted with a wheel chair and a smiling nurse. I was so thankful the check in process was seamless because the contractions were so often and strong, I didn’t think I could do paperwork at 5AM. They wheeled us up to a large gorgeous delivery room and we started talking about what had been going on. The nurse was as shocked as we were that I had been laboring at 8 centimeters for as long as I had. She checked me and confirmed she thought I was at 8 and 0. She was so understanding and did such a great job asking questions about home birth and understanding what we had hoped for and what I wanted to do from here.
It was the end of a shift so the on-call OB marched in to tell us she was leaving soon and challenged all my decisions up until that point. She argued with me about my due date and with arms folded told me “well I can offer you pitocin and I can offer you a c-section” and then marched out. It was of the Lord that I had another contraction at that moment or I would have thrown the entire IV box at her head! Thankfully, I didn’t see her ever again. The night head nurse was the only other difficult encounter we had. She came in huffing about a decision we made months ago to not take a certain test. She asked me/demanded if I wanted to take antibiotics now. I told her I would rather not and thankfully Lynette stepped in with more questions. She failed to mention they would give a shot to the baby at birth if I didn’t take them now. WOW! She was seriously going to leave this detail out. So, I obviously agreed to get shot up with the antibiotics.
The anesthesiologist was my next visitor. He was the happiest, nicest, most beautiful man ever (ok that could be a skewed opinion because he had my life saving drugs in his magic box). But really, he was incredible. He was so understanding of our situation, he asked lots of questions, complimented my breathing & relaxing through contractions, and gave me numbness! I fell asleep a few min later only to be awoken by the Dr. Kim who was the new doctor on call. Anita had actually worked with Dr. Kim before so he knew where we had come from and what had brought us to this point. He was so honest and real with us, I automatically liked him. He told me we would try the most natural path (continue with epidural and try to vaginally get her out with no more intervention). He did walk me through the other options we might have to use if I didn’t progress anymore. He then checked me and guessed I was at a 7 (weird) so he said my c-section chances decreased in his mind. He also confirmed the same thing Anita had concluded, I had a small lip on the upper part of my cervix that wouldn’t get out of the way. We would break the water, let me sleep and check me in a few hours. The rest of the day I was in and out of sleep. Andrew slept on the couch next to me, my mom came up to the hospital, and Anita stayed the whole time!
A little after 2PM my sweet nurse came in asking if I felt the urge to push yet. That question was starting to drive me crazy since I had been hearing since the night before. Still, I didn’t feel the urge to push! She checked me and I was fully dialated and at 2! I almost couldn’t believe my ears! It was time to meet her! She had to give me a quick tutorial about pushing while laying down because I had only practiced pushing in postions that work with gravity. Then, with Andrew and one side and Anita on the other, I pushed my little heart out. It took almost 2 hours before I felt her come. Andrew cut the cord and they laid her on my stomach. The tears started flowing when I could finally touch my baby Reese.
It wasn’t seconds before a nurse came around Anita on my right side and swiped my little girl up. They rushed her to the heater and started working on her frantically. I was a little traumatized because no one was telling me what was going on! I was pretty calm but asking questions like “what are they doing?” “is she ok?” “why did they take her over there”. The room was spinning but I was still, getting no answers. It felts like eternity but finally my nurse came over and told me she would be fine. I still don’t know exactly what they were doing but I think she wasn’t breathing right away (they cut the cord way before she took her first breath which is contrary to what a midwife would do).
They finally brought my baby girl back over to me so I could see her. I wish I could describe the feeling of holding my baby for the first time but words can’t describe the romance of the moment. Andrew was teary eyed next to me as we introduced Reese to the world. A lactation nurse came in right away and hooked us up, then it was Andrew’s turn to hold his baby girl. The moment he took her and started speaking to her, she opened her eyes and looked right up at him. Love.
When we transferred to the Mom and Baby room where our families got to finally come meet her. Our nurses were amazing! They too were so understanding and helped us adjust to new baby. We were able to leave early the next morning with promises of Anita continuing our care.
The birth of Reese was little like we had planned but absolutely beautiful because we have a healthy gorgeous baby girl. I still have a lot of unanswered questions and a lot to process but praise be to God who brought a sweet soul into the world October 12th 2011.