All the cool
kids moms write about their birth stories. But that’s not why I’m doing it, just to clarify. They say you forget what labor was like as soon as they put that baby in your arms. That’s not QUITE true, but on the off chance, I want to write about it so I and we can remember all the nitty-gritty, sweet and tender moments of Acadia’s birth.
On Thursday, July 19, Jason and I had the day to ourselves. We went to the pool in our neighborhood, had lunch, and when I decided to take a nap, Jason went over to a neighbor’s house to hang out with him for a while. I slept for an hour or so, then I woke up feeling funny. “Funny” in my world usually means an upset stomach from eating gluten so I headed to the bathroom. Nothing out of the ordinary, then SPLASH! my water broke IN THE TOILET! Shocked, I couldn’t believe it had actually broken in such a convenient place, I sat there for a minute…. mostly because I wasn’t sure what to do! There was A LOT of fluid! I waddled back to the living room to get my phone so I could call Jason and scrambled as fast as a pregnant lady can scramble back to the bathroom!
I called Jason and the doctor’s office. Jason was home in a flash! From another experience calling the office, I knew I would have to leave a message and the midwife on call would call me back. While I sat waiting for the midwife to call, Jason gathered our things and tried not to panic! This was about 4:30 pm. We finally heard back from Jessica, the midwife on call. She told us to come on to the hospital. I was expecting her to tell me to wait until I was having regular contractions so I was surprised. In hindsight, I probably will want to labor more at home in the future, so we’re not just waiting for contractions at the hospital.
We got the hospital around 5:30. I was expecting the television scenario of a wheelchair and rushing orderlies… Not so much. A nurse was at the front desk talking to the receptionist. I told them who I was and she calmly told the receptionist she would walk me back, that they were expecting me. I was hoping for a little urgency, but everyone was cool as a cucumber! After I waddled through the hospital leaking more amniotic fluid (!!) they got me settled into a triage room. They hooked me up to all the monitors checked my cervix (I was 2 cm dilated, which I had been for at least two weeks), and did a pH test to be sure my water had really broken, as if there was any doubt in my mind! It had indeed and Jessica decided to admit me. At that time, she gave me the option of pitocin to speed my labor up but I wanted the opportunity to try on my own first. We got our things settled in our room and then started walking the halls. After a few times around the maternity center, I was ready for a change of scenery so I tried sitting on the birthing ball which is pretty much the same as a big exercise ball. When I got tired of that, I tried the jacuzzi tub. That was the most comfortable I had been except for the temperature of the water. I guess they have a regulator on the hot water heater to prevent the water from getting too hot. When I got too chilly, we decided to walk the halls again.
Not knowing how labor would feel, we had decided before hand that I would labor as long as I could without pain medicine and when I couldn’t handle it any more to get an epidural. By about 10:00 pm, I couldn’t walk or talk through the contractions any more. When they checked my cervix, I was just 4 cm dilated so I knew we still had a LONG way to go. They had just started me on a new bag of fluid to my IV, which they have to do before they can call the anesthesiologist. I ended up curled up in the bed, dozing between contractions, with my entire body shaking from the pain. I remember waking up and turning over to see that my IV bag was empty again and was so relieved. The anesthesiologist was a regular comedian… His opening line was “Have you ever had an epidural before?” to which I replied “no”. “Neither have I”… Ba-dum-shewww. Jason thought he was funny. I was less than amused. They made Jason sit in front of me and the nurse stood in front of me. She had me hug her, basically, with my arms around her shoulders and my back curled over. There’s nothing like needles and things being inserted in your body while being told to “be still”, “breathe”, and “curl your back, don’t arch”. Not the most pleasant experience! As soon as the epidural started working, I was a much happier girl! I could still feel the pressure of the contraction but not the pain
We spent the rest of the night flipping channels–golf at 4 in the morning, non-stop news coverage of the shooting at the Batman movie (on 4 difference channels!), HG-TV, SportsCenter (I watched the same episode probably 6 different times. Each time I was a awake for a different segment, so I kept thinking it was different episodes!) Jessica came back occasionally to check my cervix and the night nurse sat with me a lot. The epidural slowed my contractions down so they gave me pitocin, which I thought I wouldn’t want because I was concerned that the pitocin would increase the intensity of my contractions so much that it would negatively affect Acadia. Jessica was very patient and not pushy at all, but explained that they would be monitoring her closely and if they saw her being affected they could take me off the pitocin and it would stop having an effect within minutes.
At 7:00 am, at the shift change, we met Teresa, our day nurse, and the new midwife on call, Lisa, came to check on me. I had seen her for my last appointment the Wednesday before when she told me she would be on call Friday and there we were! My cervix was continuing to dilate and I was becoming more effaced. SLOW progress, but progress none the less. Around 10:30 am, they told me I could start pushing. The epidural was significant enough that I was able to feel pressure but couldn’t really feel enough to push very effectively at first. Lisa went to check on another patient and Teresa and Jason helped me push. The first couple contractions, Jason felt woozy so Teresa got a chair for him to sit in. We pushed for an hour, then Lisa and the attending physician came to check on me. He was concerned that I hadn’t made much progress pushing and let me know that if I pushed for another hour and still wasn’t able to push her down much further, we would need to start thinking about a C-section. I was very opposed to that suggestion and Jason said at that point I put on my “game face” even more so than before and really started pushing more effectively. I don’t remember much about pushing, except for the few minutes I would open my eyes during each contraction to push. I’m pretty sure I dozed off between them because I had no concept of time. Another hour must have passed because the doctor came back. He was impressed by how much progress we had made. At this point, Lisa got dressed and I think stayed with me and Jason told me later that he was standing on the chair he was formally sitting in to get a better angle to help hold my legs and head. He was full of encouragement, wiping my head with a wet washcloth, and helping me drink water. I can’t imagine what delivering a baby must feel like without an epidural. I felt like I was going to be torn in two. I pushed for another hour or so. (If you’re keeping track, that’s THREE so far!)
At some point, Lisa told me I could push her out in one more contraction. Good news! Except then my contractions STOPPED. I could feel her head and it did NOT feel good! I kept asking why my contractions had stopped and no one would answer me. Jason saw Lisa and Teresa exchanging looks because Teresa was trying to find Acadia’s heartbeat with the external monitor and couldn’t find it. The only coherent thought I could form was “Please God, make my contractions start again. Please let my baby be born NOW.” Nothing happened for a good 7-8 minutes, from what Jason told me afterwards. Finally, I felt something that may or may not have been a contraction so I pushed really hard and out she came! Lisa put her right on my chest and Jason says she was a purple cone-head. I couldn’t really see anything! They got her all cleaned up, measured, and weighed. When I finally looked around the room, I was amazed at the number of people that had fit in there–at least 6! She was born at 1:57 pm on July 20; 8 pounds, 3 ounces; 19 1/2 inches long.
Whenever one of us jokes that Acadia is getting big, the other will say “It seems like yesterday that she was born”… Jokingly, but it really does seem like just yesterday and I’m pretty sure it always will.