December 6, 2014 by wedandwanderlust
(( in honor of my daughter’s first birthday, I’m sharing my birth story! Just in case you missed the beginning, catch up by clicking here! ))
“Well the “take my breath away” contraction came at 5:49am on Friday morning! It woke me up out of my sleep and truly felt different from the back pain that I had already been experiencing. I timed the next few contractions and they were still 3-4 mins apart. I immediately called Asher and told him that today might be baby day and that he should head home from work. I then called my cousin/doula, Carrie, and told her it was baby day and to head on over!! Since Asher works two hours away, she took me into the office to get checked to decide whether I should go into the hospital yet. By the time we got to the office at 9:15am, I was 2-3 centimeters dilated and contractions were still 3 minutes apart. The pain I was experiencing was not fun, but I knew that they were worth it.
The doctor sent us over to head into triage. This part I was unaware of and not prepared for. I thought I would be heading into my own room, but stayed in triage for a little while for them to assess me and to wait for a room to be opened. All I wanted was my ball, music, and graham crackers! In triage, my contractions shortened to 2 minutes apart and the pain was intensifying. I could not sit for very long at this point and as much as the ball had helped in the beginning, it was no longer helping me at this point. Walking and having tennis balls shoved into my back was where I found the most relief. I had completely entered into a “zone” …my head phones were in (a mix of JJ Heller and Bob Marley), positive thoughts flowing in my head and proper labor support team (Asher & Carrie) around me. As the pain increased, all I kept thinking was that I needed to get into the tub and if I got into the tub then I would be able to continue to endure/handle the pain on my own. I only spoke three words at this point “Push” which meant push the the tennis balls as hard as possible into my lumbar region to create counter pressure, “Positive” which meant I needed positive encouragement, and “Sick” which meant I was going to vomit.
Around 5 centimeters which was about 2pm, I entered the tub. What a relief! I had the lights turned off, (nurses used a soft flashlight when they entered to check Ena’s heart rate from time to time) head phones in, and Asher saying positive things to keep me in my zone. After about an hour the pain had truly become unbearable. The water was not helping any longer and I knew at this point that I had a decision to make. I know myself and know that when I make a decision, I feel peace when I know I’ve made the right one. So, I made the decision that I needed pain relief and was ready for an epidural. I uttered my safe word “Cacao” (If you watch Portlandia, you will understand this joke.) to Asher, and he did what we discussed. He ignored my request and increased his level of positive affirmations. When I repeated it, he did the same. The third time, he asked me if I was at peace with my decision, and I told him yes. My amazing lay doula Carrie, then came in and encouraged me that only I can make this decision and that I had worked very hard to come this far and how proud she was of me for handling this so well.
After requesting the epidural, it took about an hour for me to get more fluids in my body and for the anesthesiologist to come. That hour was tough. I was at the point where I couldn’t sit nor lay nor walk. I was in this very strange position of sitting cross legged and pushing myself up off of the bed to relieve pressure off of my pelvis and had Asher and Carrie pressing and massaging very hard on my back. I had no abdominal pain. It was all in my back and pelvis. It took awhile for the epidural process to be completed because my contractions were about 45-60 seconds apart. The anesthesiologist couldn’t stop talking about the trouble his daughter was giving him.(seriously?!) The nurse told him to pipe down as I was having a girl. (wise woman) She then kept commenting on how surprised she was by strength indicated by my strong grip on her arm. (no duh!) I just wanted them all to shut up or kindly push tennis balls in my back so that maybe I could say more than 3 words. :)
Once it was complete, it took about 15 minutes to kick in and I felt much relief. I still could feel the contractions in my back but they were not nearly as intense. I was actually able to speak to my nurses now, whose faces I truly had not even noticed nor acknowledged much since I was very committed to my zone. In fact, I remember commenting on of of their tattoos and she responded with “Ah, she speaks!”
Around 4:30 my doctor checked me and I was at 7cm. At this point she told me that she was not on call that night, so sadly, she would probably not be the one to deliver our baby as she had to be home at 7pm. She told me about the doc who would be delivering, reminded the nurses that I was still allowed to drink and eat if needed, and continuously kept encouraging me about how well I was doing and how proud she was of me. We were both pretty bummed, but I knew that this was a possibility. At 7pm she returned to say goodbye and do a last check, I was 9 cm and my bag of water was just sitting there “about to pop” she said. This made us all laugh! We sadly said our goodbyes, but I was also very excited and motivated as this meant baby girl would be here soon!
To our surprise, our doctor walked back in about ten minutes later and told us that her husband had agreed to let her stay for an hour and half more! We were all pretty excited and truly relieved! She asked if I wanted her to break my water or if I wanted to wait. I waited about 10 mins and had her check me again and I was at 10cm, so I agreed to have her break it and then about 10 minutes or so later I felt like I should push. She helped guide my pushing and prevent tearing by doing perineal massage which was extremely helpful. She made a point to tell me when my pushes were effective and I chose to have a mirror to watch what was happening. It really helped to keep me motivated to see my progress.
I pushed for about 20-25 minutes and then with one strong push, our sweet Ena was right there – resting on my chest.
Felt like only a second ago we were seeing her hair, which was literally delivered first, and now she was completely here on the outside, in my arms, enveloped in love, her dad (Dad!) and I completely engrossed in the little miracle before us. There is nothing like this moment. Nothing to compare it to. No words can fully describe it. This moment will stick with me forever and I’m so thankful for it.
After I was taken care of, baby looked over, and goodbyes said to our doctor, Asher and I enjoyed our “magic hour” of just three of us. Right before the nurse left, we put Ena on my belly to see if she would crawl up to nurse, like in the video we saw, and lo and behold she actually crawled up to find my breast and latched on like a champ! It was incredible to see it in real life! The nurse was so excited because in all her years she had only heard about it, but had never actually seen it happen! We thoroughly enjoyed the time of just us while our family went to get us food. Pretty sure we were still in shock, but truly loving every millisecond of our first moments with our girl.”
So there you have it…I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed my labor experience! It was the most exhausting, painful, rewarding, miraculous experience ever. I learned so much about myself and I can truly say there isn’t anything that I regret. I remained in control of my process, my voice was heard (when I could speak that is! ;-) ) and in the end Asher and I had the wonderful pleasure of welcoming our sweet Ena Bea at 7:53 pm on Friday, December 6th, one day before her due date.
I’m so thankful for the time we took to take the Lamaze class as it truly helped us prepare mentally, physically, and spiritually for the amazing process of labor. I learned so much about myself during my labor and like I said, regret nothing about it. Yes the pain was intense, but I’d do it all over again, with or without intervention, to be able to have this precious soul here.
Happy Birthday my sweet Ena Beana!