Saturday, October 4, 2008
It all started on Monday Sept 22nd at the local King Soopers store around 4 in the evening. The first feeling was questionably a little gas, at least until it happened again 3 rows over, and then again 3 rows over. You don't want to get too excited in case it is a false alarm so we kept shopping and decided to take it easy at home and eat some dinner. My loving couch and husband prepared dinner and anxiously prepared his contraction timing charts!!! It appeared through all the signs, "bloody show" and increasing discomfort, that this was the real deal. Thanks to the 9 weeks of birthing classes and knowledge gained from our wonderful Doula instructor Jill Burbach we felt comfortably informed and understood the process.
AJ made phone calls to all the grandparents and we let Diana, our fabulous midwife, know that things had begun. This was just the beginning of AJ's challenges as he attempted to manage taking care of me (obviously focused on belly breathing through the pain), counting contraction time and duration, and reporting to all family members. He did such a wonderful job and by the time we left for the hospital he had more than 3 pages of contraction times. We planned to wait until the contractions were consistently 2 minutes apart and longer than 60 seconds in length in order to not get to the hospital too early. This was going fine until around midnight when the times were anywhere from 2-6 minutes apart but 70-140 seconds in length and getting stronger. We felt at this point it was time to go. Nanny Cribley came and got Sadie and we headed out. Don't worry the race car driver didn't drive too fast. He stayed at a steady speed of 80 most of the way. Nanny also warned him not to stop or worry about timing contractions....he got us there safe and sound.
I must say that listening to my body was the most important aspect. I was able to relax well in bed but there would always be more time in between contractions and they would be the most hellacious lengthy painful experience. We found if I walked the stairs that it would help the contractions become more consistent while continuing to get slowly stronger. Getting in the shower and sitting on the workout ball did provide some comfort more as a distraction. AJ did a wonderful job of making sure that I drank water the entire time.
Once we got to the hospital things really began!!!! They wheeled me upstairs as one of the ER check in ladies stated “Wow she really is in labor”! I don’t think they often see someone come into the hospital as far along as we were☺ The nurse, Kelly, was great and said that she needed to get 10 minutes of baby and mom monitoring for a baseline. This required me to lay in bed….NOT something I wanted to do. All of the monitoring looked fine and I quickly requested to move around. AJ and I found the best position was leaning over the bed (raised up high). Kelly did say that I was 4-5 cm dilated and my bag of waters was ready to burst at any moment. Some time later I was getting this little urge to push…..we tried getting in the shower for comfort and it worked for a little while. Eventually, with a little push from me I admit, the bag of water burst all over the delivery room floor. It was such a relief of pressure. At this point AJ was trying everything to help because the intensity was getting worse. He had wonderful massage oils to rub my back, and got all the aromatherapy oils like peppermint to sooth my pain and help with the nausea. The nurses walked in the room and mentioned how wonderful it smelled.
Once the bag of waters broke we were 1 hour into the hospital and the nurse checked me to be at 6 cm dilated. It seemed like great progression but when you’re the one with the contractions it feels like a lifetime. The baby sounded great on the monitor and thank God Diana the midwife told the nurse to just hold the monitor up to my belly once in a while, I REALLY didn’t want to lie down.
Next step was to get into the shower because I was having contractions pretty much constantly and even occasionally wanting to push for about 3 contractions at a time. The nurses were all saying, “don’t push” because they didn’t want my cervix to swell and there was no way I was dilated enough. Within the next 30-40 minutes I was in the shower wanting to push much more frequently. AJ, the master coach, consulted his birthing book and decided that I was in transition (the final minutes before final pushing stage). The nurse kept saying not to push and AJ kept telling her that I was getting close to pushing; the nurses just didn’t feel that I could have progressed so quickly. The only way to know is to check my cervix. So, I slowly made it back to bed for the check….the next words I heard were “Ok, so we’ll be calling Diana now, there is only a small portion of the cervix left on the top”. Meanwhile another nurse began bringing in all the baby equipment….THIS WAS IT!!! I do have to say that at this point I was begging AJ for pain meds and I know that he was contemplating when to give in because I was obviously serious about wanting them. Of course by this time the pain meds would have taken longer to take affect then the rest of labor.
AJ is amazing though and just kept motivating me one contraction at a time. Without his encouragement and loving distractions this never would have been possible. He really did help time move quickly and keep me focused. I did not realize how hard belly breaths would be during contractions until he had to keep reminding me and making be breath deeper….he was very in-tune to my focus.
The nurses said that Diana was 20 minutes away and didn’t want me to really push even though there is an on call OB somewhere. AJ whispered in my ear to push as I wanted but try to breath through it as we new Diana would make it. It was such a relief when I saw Diana walk in the door. Her first words were “You’re amazing girl, keep it up” and “Push when you want to, do what your body tells you”. Her experience and demeanor are the most assuring and encouraging support. She really made me feel like I was in control. I heard later that she told AJ how she was amazed at how textbook the birth went. She also mentioned that we probably should make it to the hospital a little earlier next time☺
The next step was to push Sam’s head through the pelvis. She was being a little stubborn and made me push a bit. It was pretty tired but AJ just kept telling me that we were almost there. It seemed like no progress was being made and then all of a sudden I could reach down and the crown of her head was poking out, it was amazing to feel hair!!!! A few (and I use the amount vaguely because it is impossible to describe the next set of pushing your child as it is the most amazing and excruciating experience possible) small and large pushes later and Samantha Evelyn O’Brien was lying on my chest crying delicately and looking around. We let the cord pulse until it was white and then AJ had the privilege of initiating Sam’s independence at 5:31am the 23rd of September two thousand and eight.