This took me a lot longer to post than I had intended. I wrote up a word document about Claire's birth that was over 3 pages long; what follows is the short version.
I was feeling pretty exhausted on Halloween (the 2 days prior I had had a lot of energy and had finished all the readying for the baby – my nesting instinct I assume) so I had no trouble falling/staying asleep that night. Other than being tired, I felt pretty good – no backache, cramping, etc. I think we went to bed around 11pm.
The next thing I know I’m checking the time on my cell phone. 1:20am. I had been in a state of semi-consciousness and had just realized that I had had 3 fairly strong contractions pretty close together. I decided to get out of bed and walk around to see if the contractions stuck around and also to time them. I notified Ben of what was going on and told him to keep trying to sleep; I’d let him know if things were serious.
I paced and checked my google reader, while keeping track of contractions. Not wanting to get to the hospital too early, and not sure if these contractions were true labor, I said a silent prayer to know if we should leave for the hospital. I especially did not want to rouse my friend in the middle of the night to come over and sleep at my house/watch over Paige if this was not the real thing or if it was going to take a really long time. Immediately following my silent prayer I felt the need to go to the bathroom. While sitting on the toilet my water broke with a “pop” and a loud splash. There was my answer. It was 1:45am.
I went back downstairs, informed Ben it was time to get ready, and got in the shower to rinse off. After a quick shower I called my friend Kendra, really hoping she had remembered to leave her phone on. She arrived at our house 15 minutes later. I grabbed some last minute things like toiletries to add to my hospital bag, gave instructions on what to do with/say to Paige when she woke up in the morning, and after a couple of mad dashes back into the house to grab some forgotten items, we were off on our 15 minute drive to American Fork Hospital. We ran one stop sign on our way – the one closest to the hospital. I was having an intense contraction at the time and said to Ben through clenched teeth, “Don’t stop. Just run it.”
That contraction ended as Ben pulled into a parking space at the hospital. Not wanting to waste one precious contraction-free moment I jumped out of the car and walked briskly to the entrance, leaving Ben to grab what he could of our belongings and race after me. As I walked past the security guard, beach towel wrapped around my waist, I could feel the next contraction coming on. The security guard called after me inquiring why we were there. Without stopping or turning my head I yelled back, “I’m in labor.” By the time we got on the elevator to take us up to L&D the contraction was in full force. The next one hit immediately after checking in at the nurse’s station. I closed my eyes and leaned over the counter as a nurse waited patiently to take me to my room. It was 2:45 am.
Once to my room Ben helped me change into a hospital gown. I then climbed onto the hospital bed and curled up on my side, trying to stay relaxed through contractions. The nurse asked me a few questions and then checked my cervix – I was at an 8! She then asked if I wanted any pain relief. I immediately responded yes and she explained the anesthesiologist would probably place a spinal block (as opposed to an epidural) since I was already so far along. She alerted the anesthesiologist, placed the IV, and continued to ask me questions in between contractions. At one point she asked me a question during a contraction and Ben says I shushed her.
The anesthesiologist showed up in our room less than 10 minutes after being called. We had a short discussion about my options before I asked the nurse to check me again. It had been my goal to deliver without pain medication if things were progressing quickly. But I waffled on that goal as the contractions got more intense. The anesthesiologist waited while the nurse checked and I was at a 9+! The anesthesiologist told me I had already felt the worst of it and if I wanted to deliver without meds than I should go for it, with the reassurance that he would be more than happy to come right back if things began to take too long or if I changed my mind. I agreed and he left. Ben’s hand became my outlet for the pain.
Things were obviously progressing very fast. My OB hadn’t arrived at the hospital yet, in fact there were no OBs at the hospital. There was one midwife there, named Jessica, who had just finished the only other delivery that night. Jessica came in to be with me in case my doctor didn’t make it in time. I was so glad to have her there. She obviously knew what to do for women in un-medicated labor. She spoke softly, didn’t try to talk to me during contractions, and she put her fist in the small of my back during contractions. It was amazingly effective!
The doctor showed up just in time for me to start pushing. Wow, what a relief pushing was! The hardest part of the whole thing was definitely the contractions when I was going from and 8 to a 10. Pushing was exhausting, but preferable to contractions. After a few pushes they couldn’t find the baby’s heart beat. Things got pretty intense for a moment and I remember the doctor telling me the baby needed to come out on the next push. He didn’t add “or else”, but that was what it sounded like to me. Neither Ben nor I remember exactly how many times or how long I pushed, but it was probably less than 10 minutes after I started that little Claire was born. It was 3:18 am, about 1/2 hour after arriving at the hospital. The cord was wrapped around Claire's neck and despite some hearty cries she seemed to have some trouble breathing. Ben got to cut the cord, but I didn’t get to hold Claire right away. The “respiratory team” was called in and after several minutes of them working on Claire (while the OB stitched me up), I finally got to hold her. But they quickly took her away to the nursery to put her on the CPAP machine. They reassured me that she was going to be fine, but they wanted to further monitor her breathing as a precaution. Ben left with her to the nursery.
I sat and waited and rested in the delivery room while the nurses monitored my bleeding. Apparently I was bleeding a little too much. They pushed on my stomach a lot (ugh!) and gave me a shot of methergine to control the bleeding. Dad and baby returned an hour and half later and I finally got to hold and nurse our little girl!
She was a great nurser right from the start and has been a good sleeper too. She has a bit of a temper and will squawk quite loudly if something is wrong, but doesn't typically cry much, although the last few days have been more "difficult" and I suspect acid reflux. We're going to call the Dr. tomorrow to get that fixed ASAP.
I was really happy with the way my labor and delivery went. I wanted an unmedicated birth and I got one, if only because it was so quick :) I can only hope any and all future children come in less than 2 hours as well!