Kelly and Olivia

June 10, 2012 at 6:14 am Leave a comment

I awoke around 6:30am on Sunday, June 10, 2012 to go to the bathroom. I noticed that I had a small amount of clear discharge, which was unusual. I had woken once during the night with a fairly strong contraction, but that had been typical for me starting at 32 weeks. Initially thought I had peed my pants but this fluid was unusual, despite feeling no contractions. I wondered if it might be something more significant, but I doubted it as I was only 36 ½ weeks pregnant and thought it was too soon to be going into labor. I decided to wait to see if there was more fluid and went and lay back down. However, by 6:45am, I was feeling more leaking and noticed that I had already filled the panty liner I was wearing. At that point, I woke Ben and told him that I thought my water had broken.

He immediately kicked into high gear, having me call the Evergreen Maternity Center. We called and the nurse suggested that I come down to the hospital to be checked because sometimes there is a fore bag of waters that breaks before the actual amniotic sack. By now it was around 7 am and they suggested that I come down within the hour. Ben had texted our doula, Shelia, to let her know that I thought my water had broken. Ben continued to be high gear, having me get in the shower, pack up some things in case it was really labor, and eat breakfast. I hadn’t even packed my hospital bag because I thought I still had weeks of time ahead of me. I ended up throwing a few things in a bag along with a small bag of toiletries that we typically had stashed for travelling. I eventually learned that I had forgotten underwear in my haste! Fortunately, I had packed a bag for the baby already. During this time, I had a couple of mild contractions and continued to leak fluid. Before we left the house, Ben decided it would be a great idea to mark the occasion by taking final photos of my pregnancy in our front yard. We finally left for the hospital a little after 8 am.

We arrived at Evergreen’s maternity center and checked in. The nurse took us to the triage area where they connected me to several machines to measure the contractions and my blood pressure. After the initial measurement of contractions, which were mild, they had me go to the bathroom to change into a hospital gown and provide a urine sample. However, when I came out of the bathroom, my water fully broke, running down my legs. The nurse looked at us and said my water had definitely had broken and the baby would be coming soon. Ben asked if we could go home to labor since the contractions were really about 15 to 10 minutes apart. The nurse urged us to stay at the hospital and walk around. However, she was going to consult with the doctor and asked us to come back in 15 minutes. Off we went, walking up stairs in the hospital and outside in the court yard. We called Ben’s sister Elaine to let her know we were in labor while we were walking. I started to have contractions a little closer together, but they were not particularly strong. They required me to breathe through them, but we kept walking and talking. We began the discussion of what we would name our daughter as we had not yet decided on a name. This was a debate we had been having for many months. However before we could make any decisions, the 15 minutes were up and we headed back to the maternity triage station. When we got back the nurse informed us that the doctor on call, Dr. Wu, strongly encouraged us to stay in the hospital because they contractions could start to get closer together and it might be too late to come back to the hospital. At that point, I was feeling the contractions more frequently, about 8 to 10 minutes apart and decided we should stay. We were assigned a room and given bracelets. By now it was around 11am. We also called Shelia, the doula and our friend Eve who would be helping with the birth to let them know that we were in checking in to the hospital and agreed they should come around noon.

After getting to the room, I decided that I wanted to walk the halls of the maternity center. I was determined that our baby would be born without any interventions and needed to keep moving to continue labor progressing. Ben and I walked the halls of the maternity center, breathing through each contraction over and over. I had started to become very hot and sweaty, but I didn’t want to stop walking. By 12:30pm, Shelia and Eve had arrived and they continued to take turns walking the hallways with me, encouraging me to drink water between contractions. By 1pm, the contractions were consistently 5 minutes or less apart. We continued to walk the halls until sometime after 2pm as the contractions continued to become more and more intense.

Around 2:30pm I decided that walking was too much. The doctor came at that point and checked on my progress; I was about 5 cm dilated. It was difficult and painful to get up on the bed to be checked. Following the exam, Shelia suggested that I get in the tub to labor. Upon getting into the tub, I found the only comfortable position was on my hands and knees, which didn’t really allow me to gain any benefit of laboring in the tub, but it was warm and a distraction. The doula brought in some electric candles and she began to squeeze my hips through the contractions which were getting stronger. I found myself doing a very low moan through the contractions and swaying my hips from side to side. Shelia and Eve each took turns squeezing my hips as the contractions came. After about a half an hour in the tub, I decided to get out and moved into a kneeling position over an exercise ball. This position seemed to help make the pain of each contraction more tolerable. My husband held my hands, focused on looking into my eyes, and said encouraging words as I worked through each contraction. I would not have been able to continue to focus on breathing and managing the pain without his love and patience that he showed me during this time. I continued to do a low moan through each contraction, almost singing. According to my doula and husband, I was singing through each contraction and would go up the scale as the contraction increased and back down as it subsided. I have no recollection of this, only that my body working very hard. The doula continued to encourage me to drink, but the contractions were causing me to feel quite nauseous. I continued to drink water as I was able. Shelia and Eve helped me several time to get up and try to labor in a supported squatting position. They supported my weight as the contractions came. However I found this position to be very painful and began to have doubts that I could go through the labor without any interventions. Shelia, Eve and my husband continued to encourage me to continue to breath and focus through each contraction. Eventually after several contractions I went back to kneeling over the ball.

After laboring in a squatting position for the second time through several contractions, I began to feel the urge to push. The nurse checked on my labor progress at that point and found that I was 8 cm dilated. The nurse went to notify Dr. Wu, the doctor on call from the OB practice to let her know that things were progressing. They also encouraged me to get up on the bed to continue to labor. The most tolerable position at this point was to be on my hand and knees leaning over the top of the bed, which was in an upright position. I continued to labor in this position for a while, until Dr. Wu arrived and checked again to see that I was 10 cm dilated. I was feeling strong urges to push at this point. The doctor had me lay back on the bed with my feet up on the labor bar and told me to push when I felt the urge to push. The urges came quickly and were very strong. I remember hearing Shelia encourage me to curl around the baby as I pushed her out. For some reason I remember looking at the clock around 5:25pm and wondering to myself how long this would go on and how badly I wanted her out. In between each contraction, I found myself breathing very rapidly and not very deep, almost like I was hyperventilating. I was feeling so exhausted by this point, I just was ready to be done. Shelia helped me to focus on controlling my breathing between contractions by making direct eye contact. As the pushing progressed, I became very focused on pushing her out and channeled all of my energy into doing just that. I think I even said “Get out” at one point. Eventually her head crowned and with several strong pushes, she was born at 6:14pm, almost 12 hours exactly after my water broke. The baby was laid on my chest and my husband cut the cord.

I delivered the placenta shortly after, but have no recollection of doing this. I did have a third degree tear and it took the doctor about 45 minutes to stich me up, but again, I was blissfully unaware.

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