Ok, here goes...
I wrote a lot of this in the hospital and soon after I got home. It is not a literary masterpiece by any means. Lots of grammatical errors I am sure, but I don't have time to edit it too much and also, in it's rough form, it's kind of more pure I think. It's just what came to mind immediately when I remembered the experience. Enjoy, and sorry it is so long. You are getting 14 hours worth of material =) Also, to answer a few questions, I did not use any particular method like Bradley or hypnosis. I just read lots of birth stories, used my own experience and listened to my body as my coping techniques. And yes, if anyone is interested, I'd love to talk/help/coach although I am by no means an expert at all! I just had a goal, was committed and had a LOT of help! Thanks to everyone for all your sweet comments. I am flattered that anyone is interested in all this. I really wanted to do the birth story and slideshow for myself, but I am glad everyone has liked it. You are all so sweet.
39 weeks – September 10, 2008 –
At 7:17 am I looked at the clock with a contraction, just to take note, and said a little prayer that this would be the start of something. They kept coming and when I went to the bathroom, I was bleeding a little. At 7:30 am I called Trey and told him I thought I might be in labor. He had been at the hospital since 6 am and I told him not to leave yet, but that I’d keep him posted. I called my mom and she said she’d come over and get Sophie. I told her I wanted to finish packing, go get a pedicure and clean the house some. I wasn’t hurting, just noticing the contractions and I felt funny. I don’t know how to explain it, but I just knew something was different and this was it.
At 8:30 am my mom got to our house. Sophie had just woken up. I was rushing around trying to clean up and get things ready. I still wasn’t hurting too much so I went for a walk for 40 minutes to get the contractions stronger. I was booking it around our neighborhood. I had so much energy! When I got back, I packed Sophie a bag and my mom took her home.
After my walk things seemed to get a little more intense, so at 9:30 I called Dr Straughn’s office and told them what was going on. I knew it was still early so we decided that I’d come by the office and get checked around 1pm.
Around 10:00 am I noticed that the baby wasn’t moving much and I started getting a little nervous. I decided to skip the pedicure, called Trey and told him to go ahead and come home. I was feeling more crampy, had an upset stomach and feeling some pressure with the contractions. I still wasn’t hurting. I was just feeling very excited and having a huge burst of energy. I just knew I had to be in labor.
By 11:00 am Trey had gotten home. We picked up the house a little, got our bags packed, loaded the car and went the office. We prayed in the car that everything would go quickly and smoothly and that we’d have a healthy baby and mommy at the end of the day.
We arrived at the office around 12:00 pm and I was contracting every 2 minutes in the waiting room. I had been too busy to actually time them all morning. Dr Straughn called me 3-4/50/-2. (I had been in the office the day earlier when she stripped my membranes and I was 1.5-2 cm). They put the baby on the monitor in the office because I hadn’t felt much movement much since the contractions started. Baby looked great so we talked to Dr Straughn. She felt like I was in early labor and would definitely deliver in the next 24 hours. So we decided to go ahead and go to L&D. I hoped to get things going with some pitocin if needed and hopefully I would deliver soon rather than in the middle of the night when Dr Straughn wasn’t there. I really wanted her to deliver me and she wasn’t on call. Also Courtney (nurse/friend) was working that day and she was going to be able to take care of me.
At 12:30 we arrived at Labor and Delivery. I was almost embarrassed to show up down there not really hurting much. I was still smiling and so happy that we were going to have the baby today. Everybody was excited that I was there. I went to room 11 with Trey and Courtney. She admitted me and started my iv.
At 1:19 pm Dr Straughn checked me and I was 4 cm/60/-2. We called our parents to tell them we were at the hospital but not to come yet. Since I hadn’t changed much and was contracting every 2 minutes but not hurting, we started pitocin. Courtney pretty much just let me tell her when to increase it. That way it wasn’t ever more than I could handle.
At 3:44 pm I was 4/70/-2. I was definitely feeling more with the contractions after we started the pitocin, but they were still very tolerable. I sat on the birthing ball and stood up some swaying back and forth. I was not in pain, just slightly uncomfortable and they felt like strong menstrual cramps really. We were talking laughing and having fun. I kept telling Courtney to increase the pitocin since I hadn’t changed much and was still handling everything without difficulty.
My mom brought Sophie up to the hospital around 5 pm. She looked so cute in her big sister shirt. I got a picture of her with me sitting on the birthing ball. She definitely knew what was going on and was excited to meet the baby.
At 4:38 pm Dr Straughn checked me and I was 4 cm /75/-2. She had to leave to get her kids but told me she’d come back around 6 or 6:30. Her husband was going to be able to keep her kids for a little while. We talked about options and I felt that since things weren’t going very quickly, I wanted her to break my water so she did.
At 5:00 I was feeling the contractions more in my lower abdomen after my water was broken and wanted to get up again but only if the baby’s head had come down. Courtney checked me again and I was 4/70/0. So I felt ok getting up especially since we were able to keep the baby on the monitor even when I was standing or on the birthing ball. At this point I was only slightly more uncomfortable.
Dr straughn was back at 6:25 and I was 5/75/0. She said the head was way down. I was still talking through contractions even though I continued to get a little bit more uncomfortable. I tried not to be disappointed that things were moving slowly. I knew that we were about to turn the corner and things would start moving a lot faster. I just wanted to turn the corner soon! The whole day I tried to do whatever hurt the most as far as positions because I figured the more it hurt the more effective it was. The baby’s heartbeat looked great this whole time and stayed about 135 and was very reactive. We listened to my labor playlist on itunes and really were having fun.
Around 6:45 I forced Trey and Courtney to go eat some dinner since the Warrens had just brought food up to the hospital. At this point I was not able to talk through contractions, but was laughing and smiling in between them. Andrea (friend), Allison(sister in law) and Elaine(my sister) were in the room visiting with me. I would just say “hold on” when I started a contraction and breathe through it, then start talking again when it went away. Dr Straughn came in at 7:05 and I was 6/80/0. She felt like it wouldn’t be too much longer. Yea! By this time I was on 32 mu/min of pitocin which is a pretty good bit. Over the next hour, it was definitely getting more intense. I was alternating sitting on the bed sideways or sitting on the birthing ball. Courtney was stroking my arms and upper back while Trey put pressure on my lower back. I was still able to talk in between contractions, I just didn’t feel as smiley. They were reminding me to breathe and relax with contractions which helped so much. You wouldn’t think that would be so hard to remember. But your first instinct is to tense up.
At 7:55 pm Dr Straughn came in to check me and it about killed me to lie flat on my back. But I was 7/100/+1. Yea! I knew we were close and was so glad of it. I tried to stand up for a few contractions but it was too hard so I went back to the birthing ball.
Daphney the nurse/photographer had been in for a while taking pictures and suggested that I lie on my side with a rolled up towel under my stomach around 8:16 pm. She said that for some reason this was a great position at this point in labor to help get you complete (10 cm). So I got on my left side and Daphney was rubbing my forehead talking to me. Courtney was rubbing my arms and back. Trey was still putting pressure and rubbing my lower back. I quickly became much more uncomfortable and was really having trouble staying relaxed. Daphney told me to keep my eyes open which helped a lot. I tried to focus on something on the wall and told my body to relax with the contractions. When the contractions went away, I could totally relax and it felt so good. From about 6 cm on, in between contractions it felt like my body released something to help me relax. It was like a natural drug that made me feel sort of dreamy when the contraction started to go away. At this point, that dreamy feeling got even stronger. It was the best feeling ever when the contraction started going away. That is why I think this is totally doable, because you just do one contraction at a time.
At 8:27 pm I was nauseated and feeling tons of pressure. I knew I was in transition and started moaning a little which I couldn’t really help. I asked Courtney to turn down the pitocin because there seemed to be no break between contractions. I remember thinking, “it’s too late for me to get an epidural.” I think I even said aloud, “This is when you want the epidural.” It was the only brief moment when I started wondering why I had wanted to do this. However, the thought went through my mind and left just as quickly because I knew I was about to have to push a baby out. My whole body was tingling like it was asleep which was weird, but it was almost like a natural pain killer.
A few minutes later at 8:32 pm I started to yell because I was feeling even more pressure. Courtney told me I was 9.5 cm and to push if I needed to. I think I screamed as they called the desk to tell them to page Dr. Straughn for delivery. Everybody started running around getting the room ready. I knew it wouldn’t be long. I couldn’t believe I was really doing this. I started pushing involuntarily and let everybody know. They told me to keep pushing and I remember being scared to. I pushed a little and it didn’t feel that good at first. The room was ready, Dr. Straughn was there, and when I started really pushing as hard as I could, it felt so much better. I couldn’t really feel the contractions anymore, I just knew when I needed to push. It was amazing how my body just knew what to do. I asked them if I was crowning. They said I was and I don’t remember this really hurting, it was just tons and tons of pressure and I was thinking, ”I have got to push this baby out, so I am going to push as hard as I possibly can.” I looked down in between contractions and saw the head crowning. I have seen this a thousand times when I was the nurse and not the patient, but I have to say it was pretty cool to see your own baby’s head crowning. I don’t remember any pain at this point just a little burning sensation. I know I was screaming during the delivery some, but I don’t remember the pain, just the adrenaline! After the next push I looked down and saw her head was out! Oh my gosh, that was so amazing. She had a loose cord around her neck and they unwrapped it easily, then her body flew out without me pushing I think. Dr. Straughn held her up and they moved the umbilical cord…. “It’s a girl, oh my gosh,” I couldn’t believe it was a girl. The whole pregnancy I had been so sure I was having a boy, but there she was so perfect and tiny. They put her up on my chest and Trey cut the umbilical cord. She was so cute and I immediately knew she was much smaller than Sophie. I couldn’t believe that Sophie had a little sister. Her face was so pretty and not swollen at all. Her head was round and perfect. I put her on my chest skin to skin and was just in total shock. I remember saying something like, “that wasn’t bad at all” which I wonder if everyone was laughing at me because two minutes before I was screaming. It really wasn’t bad and the feeling I had after she came out made it all totally worth it. I felt amazing and was so incredibly proud that I actually did it!
After I was all cleaned up, I sat up and she immediately latched on and started nursing. She was so alert right after delivery and kept looking around everywhere. She was so beautiful. Trey went and got Sophie and brought her in. She came in and I asked her if she knew what we had. She said,”It’s a girl!” even though trey hadn’t told her yet. I guess she just knew. She kept saying, “Aww, she is soooo cute.” Sophie was so excited and wanted to hold her immediately even though I was feeding her. We let Sophie get up in the bed with me and hold her then trey went to get our family. As they walked in, Sophie yelled, “it’s a girl” again. I think everybody was surprised! Then they all got a chance to hold her and we all watched as she got her first bath. We told them we were pretty sure her name was Selah Rose, but we hadn’t decided for sure. After that I got up and walked to the bathroom with almost no trouble at all and went upstairs in a wheelchair. I still felt amazing. Sophie and my mom stayed and went up to our room with us to get us settled. Sophie did not want to leave at all. But it was 11pm, so Trey walked them to the car and she went home with mom. She loved Selah and did not want to leave her. She just wanted to hold her. When Trey came back, he was so tired, but I couldn’t stop thinking about everything and replaying everything in my mind. My adrenaline was still going. I fed Selah a few more times and then sent her to the nursery at 2am and I slept for 2 hours. Boy was I tired the next day, but it was all worth it. It was the most amazing thing I think I’ve ever done. Having Sophie was different because she was my first so it was amazing just because I’d never done it before. I had an epidural though and was induced, so it was just a totally different experience. I felt so much better after this delivery and totally plan on doing it again. I had prayed so much that I would have a good experience and that God would give me the strength to have the baby naturally. Looking back, it was perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. God is so faithful. He put this desire in my heart over a year ago for some reason and He stuck with me to the end and allowed me to have this amazing spiritual experience that I will never forget. I wish everyone could have as good of an experience as I did. I know that many times in labor things don’t go as we want and we have to change plans. I feel so blessed that I was able to have my labor and delivery of Selah exactly the way I had envisioned and prayed for it to be. Now I feel like I can be an encourager to others who have the desire to do it this way. I know it is not for everyone, but I would say to anyone, if you feel like God has given you the desire, then go for it and He will be with you every step of the way.