***This is all viewed from after the events. Hindsight is only 20/20.***
Drum roll please…
3.18.09 Contractions started at about 4 p.m. Of course, I had Braxton Hicks contractions towards the end of my pregnancy, but never more than 5-10 in a day. These were coming every 10 minutes (give or take) and felt different. I did the Bradley list of things to determine if this was really “it.” Took a nap, ate some food, drank a bunch of water, took a bath (didn’t go on a walk that night because by the time I had finished the other things, it was dark outside). Contractions kept coming. Even with doing all these things, they stayed the same distance apart and weren’t getting worse and so I kind of figured that it was false labor. So I decided to try to sleep.
3.19.09 I woke up about every hour while I was sleeping, but still ended up getting somewhere between 6 and 8 hours. When I woke up contractions were feeling a little worse, but weren’t any closer together. I decided to busy myself by working on some last minute things like laundry and packing a diaper bag. Throughout the day, the contractions got somewhat worse and were about 7 minutes apart (still give and take a couple minutes). Towards the evening, I felt the need to lay down and concentrate on the contractions. We just sat around and watched tv and what not.
In the late evening, I started feeling a lot of pressure in my bowels and pain in my back. I tried taking a bath, but it only relieved the back pain. I layed on the couch with a heat pad on my back and tried to concentrate on other things. Contractions were no closer together, so I assumed that I wasn’t that far into my labor and the pain was going to get much worse, so I should be able to deal with this easily. At about 10 p.m., Curtis called the midwife to let them know I was in labor and see what we should be doing to relieve some of my pressure in my bowels. She said it sounded like I was constipated and I needed to drink lots of water. She gave us the options of A) coming in and getting a sleeping pill because it sounded like me and my uterus were tired, B) going into a hospital that’s closer to us to get checked (University Hospital is about an hour away), or C) stay home. Curtis asked me what I wanted to do. At this point I started crying and said I couldn’t do it anymore and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. We realized at the time that this sounded like transition, but assumed that it wasn’t really because of contractions being too far apart and all it took was some simple comforting for about a minute and I was fine. We also called our Bradley teacher and she asked lots of questions that got us to the conclusion that I just needed to rest and drink lots of water.
3.20.09 I kind of put off making the decision of whether or not to leave within my own head and therefore chose the latter. I was feeling incredibly tired at this point, so I went back and forth between laying on the bed and dozing between contractions then writhing in pain during contractions and sitting in all fours in the shower with incredibly hot water hitting my back with the contractions being semi-manageable. Curtis force fed (with love) me 4 bottles of water during this time and I kept trying to poop when I felt like I might be able to. Then comes the moment. I feel like I really could poop (this is all so lovely and modest btw), so I go to the bathroom and start to try. I wasn’t pushing during contractions. Quite honestly, I don’t think I had a contraction for the entire time I was thinking I was trying to poop. Suddenly and suprisingly, I felt pressure in my vagina along with the pressure in my bowels. I decided to check if it was really what I thought it was and was surprised that she was only about an inch from crowning and my water hadn’t broken. I told Curtis and he didn’t believe me, so he checked himself. When he felt her head, he called our Bradley teacher because she is a doula and has had an accidental home birth herself. She told him to grab towels and get ready. Then he called the midwife answering service and gave them our info for the midwife to call him back. He went and got his mom (we live in his parent’s basement) and she came downstairs. During this time I didn’t push at all because I didn’t feel an urge to. Curtis’s parents came downstairs. Curtis’s dad called 911 while Curtis grabbed towels and his mom comforted me. Curtis got me up because I needed to squat. I tried to, but Curtis’s mom couldn’t hold me up and Curtis needed to catch the baby, so I got onto all fours. I felt the urge to push, so I did. I felt the “ring of fire,” but didn’t know how to keep myself from pushing because the urge was so incredible. So apparently at some point during this, I tore. Curtis says that when she came out that she still had the amniotic sac over her head and figures it broke when her shoulders came through. She was entirely out within what I think was one contraction.
I flipped over and Curtis put her on me. About a minute after she was born, the sheriff showed up. The paramedics quickly followed. We probably ended up with about 10 emergency personnel in the basement. I tried to breastfeed first thing, but couldn’t for the life of me remember anything that they told me in the classes. I was only wearing my red dress and I got frustrated because it was in the way, so I took it off. I didn’t even care that all those people saw me naked. After the paramedics showed up and started doing things, Curtis was kind of pushed into the back, but I could still see him. At some point he made a joke about how it looked “like someone died in there.” Even in all the stress and excitement, I was able to laugh. They were looking for clamps to cut the cord and I told them I didn’t want to cut it until it was done pulsating. I was able to hold them off for a couple minutes, but it was still cut before we would have liked. I understand that they were just going by procedure and they were really nice about working with me. They took the baby and checked her vitals and gave her to Curtis while they stood me up and put me on the gurney. When I stood up, the placenta came out. We went to Mckay Dee because it was the closest hospital. It was the first time any of us had been in an ambulance. Curtis rode behind me in a seat with a belt and Dea was wrapped up in towels in my arms. I tried to protest them giving me an IV, but again they needed to for procedure. There are some things that a birth plan just can’t anticipate.
When we got to the hospital, they took us into a room where the OB came in and stitched me up. She said I tore up and down. I think it was just first degree. Honestly, one of the most painful things of the night was the feeling of the anesthetic being injected into my sensitive areas. The doctor wasn’t very nice, but we found out later that she had just delivered two babies at pretty much the same time, so we understand. While she was stitching me, a nurse came over and helped me breastfeed. She latched on great. I told them I didn’t want pitocin, but they said that I was bleeding too much and gave it to me anyway. After we were done, they put me in a wheelchair and we went to the nursery to bathe her. Curtis helped and I took pictures. Then they took us to our room and our family came in and saw us.
It took a lot of effort for me to get them to take the IV out. First they said after I was in my room, then they said after I ate and drank something, then they said I had to eat a full meal, then they said I had to wait an hour after eating my full meal. We got breakfast when they opened at 6 am and then I took a nap. When I woke up I finally got the IV out. They said that I would have to stay for 48 hours because I’m Group B Strep positive and was supposed to get antibiotics during labor to prevent from passing that to Dea.
Over the next days, breastfeeding went downhill, but then we talked to a lactation consultant and things are going great now. People who visited us were: my mom (multiple times), my brother, my dad (though I was asleep when he came so I never saw him), my father (multiple times), Curtis’s mom and dad (multiple times), Curtis’s brother, and our friend Erich. Every time she went to the nursery to get checked or blood work done, Curtis went with her (except one time when he was asleep so I went with). She had high hemoglobin at one point (thick blood is how they explained it), and so she had to get supplements of pedialyte. Luckily we were able to do this my just inserting a little tube while she was breastfeeding. When they checked her blood sugar, she was fine. When they did the check four hours later on both, she was fine. The pediatrician gave us the go ahead to stop giving her the pedialyte after only a few feedings. Quite honestly she spit most of it back up anyway. My blood pressure was high when we first got there (I friggin’ gave birth in my bathroom! who’s wouldn’t be high?! lol) so they watched me while I was there. It was only high the once though.
3.21.09 In the morning, we were given the go ahead from the pediatrician to take Dea home that afternoon (w00t! early!) and then when the OB came and visited us (she was very nice this time) she said we could leave also. We had to go to a silly discharge class that a lactation consultant gave us baby formula (irony). We left at about 2:30pm.
Thus far at home, Dea has been great. She has been feeding great (with one bout of projectile vomiting that we have attributed to her eating too much at once). Kerri (our doggy) is getting better. She didn’t want me to touch her at first and is now kind of smelling Dea and then expecting to get pet. She was a bit fussy last night (and the night before at that), but over all slept surprisingly well. She loves to be held and walked around.
I’m so happy that Dea was able to chose her own birth, no matter how unexpected it ended up being. We couldn’t have ever done this without the help from our Bradley teacher and midwife. We honestly feel that our birth deviating from the plan was not anyone’s fault (even our own), it was just such an unusual labor and no one could have done things differently. Dea is just a trickster and wanted to be born in our bathroom.