“God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7. This was the verse that got me through my pregnancy and labor.
I had prayed that God would provide me with a swift and safe delivery. I wanted a labor and delivery free of medications and interventions. I knew my body was created by the Almighty God to birth a child without assistance and asked Him to make this possible once “the time” came and keep the need for interventions away.
My husband, Adam, and I talked about having a homebirth or delivering at a Birth Center, but we could not afford either one. So we prayed that our hospital birth would go smoothly as I was scared of being bullied into a c-section. I took care creating my birth plan, reviewing it with my doctor and having her sign-off on it.
On August 21, 2012 I put in a full day of work and on the way home I got the prenatal massage I had been planning on getting since I got the gift certificate for Valentine’s Day. We arrived home later than usual to our neighbor mowing our grass. Adam and I burst into tears and thanked our neighbor over and over. He said he thought we were in the hospital since we weren’t home at our normal time and he wanted to help us out.
While Adam stayed outside and talked to our neighbor, I came inside and not only made dinner for the two of us, I simultaneously made an apple crisp as a thank you to our neighbors. Everything felt like a typical, normal day.
I was woken up at midnight, August 22, 2012 with a contraction. I had read numerous birth stories of women describing signs of when they were in true labor. Contractions that woke them up out of a sound sleep were one of the signs I had heard described, but I wasn’t sure if this was “it” for me. I tried to relax in my bed, slowly walk around the house in the dark, or sit in the recliner in our bedroom.
At 2:30am, I wanted Adam to know what was going on. I gently woke up my husband by saying, “Honey, don’t freak out, but I’ve been having contractions for 2 and a ½ hours now and they are pretty steady. I just wanted you to know, but you can go back to sleep.” He didn’t freak out and did go back to sleep.
I continued to relax as much as possible in between. Adam’s alarm went off at 5:30am for his normal wake up time. I told him I wanted him to stay home with me today, you know, just in case. He fixed breakfast for both of us and I took two bites and threw up. Vomiting was another sign I’d heard of for true labor, but I still wasn’t sure if this was “it”.
I did know that things were getting more intense. I could no longer breathe through each contraction and began to moan. I moved back into the bedroom where it was dark and quiet. I liked putting my upper body on my exercise ball while on my knees. I would often go to the bathroom and things would get more intense.
I decided I wanted more support and asked Adam to call our doula, Christina, and have her come over. I was very focused, but needed encouragement to remain that way. I knew the trip to the hospital still had to happen and wanted to do it while I still had my bearings.
Christina arrived and began rubbing my back, praying, and suggesting different positions to try. Now that she was there, I wanted Adam to load up the van so we could leave when I was ready. I remember one trip to the toilet where I had to lean on the door post once I stood up. As I leaned there moaning, I thought, “Why would someone do this more than once? I didn’t know what I was getting into”.
I was certain at that point that this would be my only biological child. But that decision shouldn’t be made while one is in the middle of labor, so… I tried to remain focused, but I was trying to pay attention to Adam loading our things up. Once I heard that he had everything ready to go, I wanted to get on the road.
I knew this could be the worst car ride of my life and wanted to get it out of the way. I wanted Christina to ride with us since Adam would have to concentrate on driving. As I slowly walked out to the van, Christina commented that it was a beautiful day outside; “a beautiful day to have a baby”, she said.
The ride to the hospital was about 25 minutes beginning with a few bumpy back roads. But thanks to that comment, I actually paid attention to the weather for a few moments until the next contraction happened. Praise the Lord; it wasn’t that bad of a drive especially since I spent the rest of the trip with my eyes closed.
The door opened for me to get out once we drove up to the entrance of the hospital and I met the valet attendant with a moan. The people on the sidewalk all thought I was psycho, but I really didn’t care. Once I had a break in my contractions, I got in the wheelchair they had waiting for me.
We went upstairs to the birth suite, and checked in at the window. I sat in the wheelchair moaning as the nursing staff asked Adam questions. After what seemed like an eternity, they wheeled me down the hall to the room at the end. Room 218 would be where I would give birth to my first child. Once inside, I changed into a hospital gown and tried to get into a “comfortable” position.
They checked my dilation and I was at 5cm! Along with that, they hooked me up to the monitor and started asking me a million questions right as each contraction would begin. The nurse that was asking the questions didn’t even seem to realize what I was there for as she would impatiently glare at me to answer faster.
I did answer her questions, but I glared back and almost yelled each answer. Thankfully another nurse was also working with me realized what was happening and played middle man between me and the clueless nurse. Once the “check-in” was finished, all the staff left and turned the lights off and it was back to being just me, Adam and Christina. I felt like I could finally focus again.
The moaning got progressively louder as time went on since the contractions got stronger. Every once and a while the nurse would pop in and put the monitors back on or take them off again, but she tried to be as invisible as possible.
I had no sense of time; I just had to experience each contraction as they came. I had bloody show a little at home and at the hospital, but my water bag was still intact at this point. I tried several positions, but my favorite ended up being on the birthing ball. I sat reclined on the ball, with Adam/Christina behind me.
My doctor came to see how I was progressing, I felt like I had to be close to full dilation. She checked me again and I was only at 7cm. I was a bit upset that I wasn’t further along as things were getting much more difficult. She offered to break my water to speed things up, but I honestly didn’t know if I could handle things progressing any faster.
I declined and decided to keep going as I had been. Very soon after that my water broke in little gushes with each contraction. It was strange to go most of your life holding in any discharge and for it to suddenly be ok to just let it leak all over. Once I got used to the sensation, I barely noticed the leaking.
The nurse seemed pleased that my water was breaking, but when she looked to see what color it was, that’s when things started to stray from my birth plan. In my birth plan, I instructed that my baby be placed on my chest, skin to skin, and all assessments be done this way as I delivered the placenta, etc.
But my water was tainted with meconium, which meant the baby had inhaled it as well. This meant the baby needed suctioning and attention by the NICU team immediately after delivery. The NICU nurse was informing me of this as I labored and I was absolutely crushed.
I dreamed of having that picture of me receiving my new baby and seeing her for the first time, but God’s plans are always higher than ours. They decided to continuously monitor me from this point on since I wasn’t moving around anyway, plus the meconium.
We were left alone again for me to continue to labor, but I would occasionally get the sensation that I had to push. I remembered reading in Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth about doing “horse lips” to relax your jaw and help your cervix open. Christina and Adam really had to help me do this because the urge to push was becoming more and more intense.
The nurse came and checked me again and said I was only 8-9cm and that I needed to open up just a bit more before I pushed, otherwise I would probably get swollen and pushing would be ineffective. This was my personal hell. Having the urge to push (even though it was much more than an urge at this point) and having to resist that urge.
Several times the pushy feeling would overpower my horse lips and I’d cry out and push a little. Christina and Adam would immediately try to get me to refocus and control the urge.
Again, since my sense of time was completely gone it felt like this went on forever. The nurse (which was different as there had been a shift change) reminded me that I would need to push on the bed. So I was eager to move so that I could push, but moving meant contractions became more intense. I got onto the bed and had lost my concentration to not push and do horse lips. This resulted in my going insane and looking back this was probably transition.
I was probably very loud; Adam was in my face trying to get me to get a grip. I specifically remember trying to get control because I wanted him to be proud of me at the end. I got all set up in the bed and just HAD to push. My doctor was there and asked if I wanted her to check me again, I said no, I just needed to start pushing. She was fine with that and I began pushing, which felt amazing!
The position I started out in was proving to be ineffective, so after Adam got behind me on the bed and I followed a few more pointers from the doctor, I was pushing much more effectively. My doctor, the staff, Christina and Adam were all so supportive and encouraging, cheering me on.
I could feel my baby girl moving down as I pushed and the doctor said the head was showing if I wanted to feel it. I had heard of women doing this and thought it was, well, kind of gross. But I wanted to touch my baby so bad, I reached down and felt her squishy, hair-covered head and started crying. That was such motivation to finish getting her out so I could get her in my arms!
I continued to push and feel her move down and eventually felt the “ring of fire”, but wasn’t that bad really. Once her head was completely out, the rest was a breeze. I saw her slide into the doctor’s arms and go straight to the NICU team. I sat there trying to get a look at her as they worked on her across the room and hardly noticed the doctor delivering my placenta. It did feel good when it came out though.
I didn’t have any tears, but did have a small abrasion that wouldn’t stop bleeding on its own, so I got two stitches. I finally heard my baby cry out for the first time and cried myself. Once she was stable, they wrapped her up and brought her over to meet us before taking her to the NICU nursery for observation. All that was visible was her sweet face, which I kissed and then she was gone down the hall.
I felt disgusting from sweating and bleeding everywhere, so I said I wanted to shower since I couldn’t hold my baby yet. During my shower, the nurse said that our baby was alert and rooting. I planned to breastfeed, so I had to get down the NICU as quick as I could to feed her for the first time.
Once dressed, the nurse wheeled me down the nursery with Adam following pushing my IV pole. I had become dehydrated, so they were giving me fluids and Pitocin to help my uterus contract back down. We scrubbed in, and got to meet our baby girl! She was lying under a warmer in just her diaper so I could finally see her beautiful, little body. The nurse handed her to me and I knew she was finally where she belonged, in my arms.
Doris Irene was born at 7:34pm on August 22, 2012. She was 6lbs. 15oz. and 20 inches long. Dori is named after my grandmother, Doris, and Adam’s grandmother, Irene, who are both deceased. She is fulfilling my dream of becoming a mom and thriving herself.
I wanted to share our story since I read SO many others’ while I was pregnant to help me prepare mentally for the task ahead. I can read new stories with a new understanding, having finally experienced it myself. Thank you for letting me share and for sharing your stories. To GOD be the glory!