The first time I remember waking on February 24, 2005 was 12:30 AM. I thought I was just uncomfortable and shifted positions. I woke a couple more times between then and 3:30 AM. Then I had to go to the bathroom. When I came back I noticed the uncomfortable times was coming and going, so I timed them. Sure enough, I was in labor with contractions coming about every 7 minutes. I got up to eat some breakfast and spend some of my early labor allowing Greg to get rested for the birth day.
About 5:30, I went downstairs and woke Greg to tell him I was in labor and that I was going to try a bath. I ran the bath and got in but it didn’t help much since my feet touched the end of the tub and had to be flexed. I just couldn’t relax in there so I got out.
About 6:15AM, I decided to call Cynthia, my mother-in-law. We had arranged for her to be with the children while I labored and birthed. She lives about 45 minutes away. I wanted to allow her to sleep until her normal rising time so that hopefully she could also be well-rested. She asked if she had time to get ready or if she should just sprint out the door. I told her that she could get ready first.
I then went to the dining room and sat on my birthing ball with my bed pillow on the dining room table. Contractions were okay that way. In fact, I think I may have dozed a little between them. I stayed there for about a half hour. My contractions were about 4 minutes apart and 30 seconds long. I had learned a lesson in my second-born’s labor that my contractions don’t have to be long to be quite effective.
I starting having contractions where I had to stand up and lean against the wall. After a few of those, I went into our bedroom and woke Greg to tell him to get up and get ready, if he wanted to be able to shower before I needed his assistance with labor. I also told him that I had called his mom. It was then that he realized I made a mistake earlier in telling him how long I had been in labor. I told him that I had been laboring since 3:30, when in hindsight, I probably was laboring since 12:30 or even earlier. With Moriah and Caleb, from 1st contraction to delivery had been about 18 hours and 21 hours, respectively. Thus he thought I was still pretty early in labor. It became evident that I was much further along than I had led him to believe. It was about 7:15.
I went back to my wall-leaning while Greg showered and got ready. I wandered around the house too. One of the times I wandered into the bathroom, Greg asked if I had called Barb, my CNM. I said I hadn’t. I was thinking that since I had an appointment scheduled at 9 AM, I could just go in then. Labor and thinking rationally don’t quite go hand-in-hand. I called the birthing center but no one answered since they weren’t officially open yet. I then called the paging service. Barb called back a few minutes before 8. She asked how soon I could get there and I said that we were waiting for Cynthia to get there for the children and then I said she lives in Winchester. Barb asked “Are you sure?” meaning was I sure I had time to wait but I thought she was asking if I were sure where Cynthia lived. LOL
Barb asked me to get in to the birthing center as soon as possible and I let her know that I thought I was still very early. Again, thinking in labor…. She said she would meet us there after she showered.
Greg was finishing up in the bathroom when Moriah and Caleb woke up. Cynthia arrived about the same time. This was about 8:15 AM. Greg and Cynthia got the children dressed and finished packing their bags with the last minute items, like favorite sleeping friends and hair accessories. I had a list prepared of things I thought they would need so they just had to go down the list. I was pretty much staying out of sight and using the wall-leaning during contractions. Cynthia, Moriah and Caleb left.
Greg packed the van. Again, it was helpful to have a list as to what last-minute items we needed to take. I even had him bring my birthing ball, even though I knew they had one at the birthing center. He even moved the van further to the side so I would have lots of room to get in it. As soon as I finished a contraction, we went to the van. The birthing center isn’t too far away so I knew that I would probably have two contractions on the way there. As he parked the van, I started the second contraction. He asked if he should unload stuff while I had the contraction and I said he could. As soon, as the contraction ended, I got out of the van and walked up to the birthing center. I think they were a little surprised that I should be walking by myself but in between contractions I felt okay. This was about 9:30 AM.
I was asked if I wanted the tub prepared and I said that I did. I did a few wall-leaning contractions and Greg asked if I need back counter-pressure. I was feeling the contractions in my hips at this time and I told Greg about a hip-squeeze that I had read about online. He tried it during a contraction and it helped. I still didn’t really need assistance yet so I told him to just save that technique in reserve for later labor. I didn’t want to use all my labor comfort measures too early. I was asked if two nursing students could watch the birth. They were there to shadow Barb during pre-natal appointments, but then I called. I said they could stay and I was assured they not touch or talk to me.
I got into the whirlpool and the water felt really good. I had my first internal of the whole pregnancy at this time. I was 7-8 cm and was asked if I wanted my waters broken. I asked if the position of the baby could be felt since I was concerned about a posterior baby. I couldn’t be assured that he wasn’t posterior so I opted not to have my waters broken.
I expressed my concern to Greg that it was going to be awhile since my contractions were spacing out and seemed easy to handle. I told him that I hoped they would pick up again. Almost immediately, they did. A little while after that, we tried the jets on the whirlpool but the vibration was not a good thing. They were wonderful during my first labor but they were not what I needed this time.
The nursing students came in sometime. They just sat in a corner being quiet. Whenever the baby’s heartrate had to be assessed, it was good but it wasn’t where it was supposed to be. Baby was posterior. I was told to try the hands and knees position to help Baby turn. The pool’s ledge was just the right height for me to rest my head on my arms during contractions. I was vocalizing and needing lots of counterpressure during the contractions at this point. I needed a lighter counterpressure in between contractions. I told Baby to turn. Someone asked if they could sing a song to help Baby turn. They were trying humor but I didn’t think it was funny so everyone went back to being very quiet, except for me. I did okay with contractions as long as I stayed on top of them and had my comfort measures in place. I was sitting in between contractions. I was told that this didn’t help birth Baby. At this point, I didn’t care.
They asked if they could have me empty my bladder to allow Baby some more room to descend. I was also told of a procedure in which Greg would stand behind me during a contraction and lift my belly. Thus I was gotten out of the whirlpool, walked down the hall to the birthing suite, pottied and then we tried the procedure. I peed during that contraction. We walked a few more steps towards the bed and then another contraction came and Greg lifted my belly, and involuntary pushing began. I did another contraction like that before I was gotten onto the bed. I was asked if my waters could be broken now and I asked about the position of Baby. I was assured he was where he was supposed to be so I consented.
The bed felt good and removed all the feeling of needing to push. I was told I was going to need to push Baby out but I didn’t want to. Then I heard them discussing making me stand up again to do the procedure so that I would feel the urge to push again. I didn’t want that so I started pushing. I got the shakes real bad and thus had someone holding each extremity. Greg had a hand, one nursing student had the other, the other nursing student held a foot and the doula held the other foot. I started pushing in this pretty awkward position. I ended up having them keep my legs up even between contractions. The head was born at 12:05 PM. I had the whole body out at 12:30 PM. He was immediately put onto my chest, but we overlooked getting him to latch on. I couldn’t maneuver him into position because I still had the shakes. I could only keep still if I was holding onto or pressing against something. Baby kept ending up in my armpit.
They massaged my uterus. My placenta came out at 12:40 PM. They continued to massage it so my ½ inch tear could be repaired. I hated this massage. Eventually, the tear was sewn up, only to find out that one of the pieces of gauze got sewn up in there as well. Therefore, the work had to be undone and redone.
I was telling the nursing student beside me about the “golden hour” right after birth. It is very important to get the baby latched on because many babies zonk out after this “golden hour”. Greg then says, “it has been 45 minutes since birth. You had better latch him on”. I was shocked that so much time had passed. It seemed like it had only been a few minutes. Baby nursed like a champ but it wasn’t enough since it had been so long. I was told I needed a shot of pitocin. I wanted to give Baby a longer time to nurse but was told I really needed the shot. I consented and that was the worst part of the birth. I cried because it stung so much. It hurt and burned. I didn’t cry at all during birth and this made me cry. It did its intended job, but I never want to have one of those shots again. If only we would have latched Baby on right away, I probably wouldn’t have needed the shot, in my opinion. Sometime in there, we were shown the placenta. We were told that the cord had been wrapped around his neck twice. We were also shown that there was a true knot in the cord!
After we had the chance to nurse to Baby’s content, he was weighed and measured. The two CNMs’ guesses had been 7 lbs 8 oz and 8 lb 10 oz at birth at my prenatals. Even after a couple of meconium-passings, he was 9 lb 13 oz! He was 21.5 inches long and had a 14.75 inch head. I was amazed that I birthed such a large baby.
God was so good to me during this birth. He supplied extra people for my birth through the nursing students to hold my hands and feet when I needed them to. He gave me wisdom to not have my waters broken so that Baby had more room to turn into the proper position. He provided a doula who knew of a procedure that would help me have the urge to push. He was true to His Word. I had several Scriptures that were given to me by God for birthing. Even little things that weren’t necessities were provided, like being able to allow Greg and Cynthia to each have time to get ready without having to rush around. This birthing experience was a blessing.
We named Baby Isaiah Luke after several hours of discussion.
One more testimony to throw in. When it was time to go to the bathroom, I found I couldn’t move or put any weight on my right leg. I thought it was a pulled muscle, but my doula told me that she had the exact same problem after the birth of her biggest child. She had to go see the chiropractor for a dislocated hip. With my every mention of my leg, she kept telling me of her experience. In my mind, I finally thought, “God can heal this whether it is a pulled muscle or a dislocated hip.” By the time I was released that night, 12 hours after birth, I could take small steps. By the next morning, less than 24 hours after birth, I had no pain in that leg whatsoever. God miraculously healed it. Pulled muscles don’t even heal that quickly naturally. Praise God!
My other recoveries from childbirth weren’t too bad but this one has definitely been the best. I never passed out, which I did with both my previous births, I never threw up in labor, which happened with both my others.
Wife to Greg (5.21.94)
Mama to Moriah (8.7.98 ), Caleb (1.23.02) and Isaiah (2.24.05)