It all started with a gush of water. It must have been around midnight on November 4th, but I can't be sure because I didn't even wake up completely. At 12:45 I got up thinking maybe I had wet the bed and went to the bathroom to discover the blood tinged water. I wasn't noticing any contractions and perhaps because it was so late (and 2 weeks early) I didn't believe that my water had broken. I only knew something was wrong. I woke up Phil and he sleepily reassured me that everything would be okay. But I still could not sleep. Finally I asked for a priesthood blessing. I don't remember what was said, just that I felt comforted and was able to sleep until about 4 am. That's when I discovered another trickle of water. I woke Phil and told him we were going to the hospital to get checked out. We got up and started throwing things in the hospital bag. Phil went out and installed the car seat. I could not believe this was happening on MY birthday. I opened my present from Phil, a diaper bag, and threw in the baby clothes.
It's a good thing we had eaten cake the night before and gone swimming to Green Canyon to celebrate my birthday. I felt huge and even the water in the big pool felt way too hot. But it was fun to have all my family come for swimming and dinner and cake. Heading to the hospital I couldn't help but feel like this was happening because I went swimming in that hot water. I was upset that they might have to induce me since I wasn't feeling any contractions.
We entered the hospital around 5 am and I told them I thought my water had broken. We walked up to labor and delivery where my cervix was checked. I was already dilated to 5 cm and apparently was having contractions 3-5 minutes apart. I was so surprised! I faintly remember feeling a little bit of cramping in the night, but that had been happening for about 2 weeks so I didn't pay any attention. I thought to myself, well this isn't so bad! I was told that I should dilate about one centimeter an hour. I was so excited to have a baby by noon!
I told the nurse, Ginger, that it was my birthday. She said that her birthday was the next day on the 5th and that she had tried three times to have a baby on her birthday. Apparently her husband shares a birthday with his dad and loves it. She was jealous. I thought that was crazy because my whole pregnancy I had thought "Okay girl, don't come on my birthday. It's MINE." Maybe it wouldn't be so bad sharing a birthday. I got excited. Ginger said her shift was almost over but that she would be back at 6 pm but hopefully she wouldn't see me (Because I would already be in the mother/baby unit.) At 6 am a new nurse came and I was happy I would have someone who was rested and who would be around for my whole labor! Her name was Karen and she was so kind and motherly. I had run track with her son :) She read through each of my requests on my birth plan and was so great about each of them, making me feel really good about everything. All except the fact that I didn't want an IV, something my Midwife had said was fine with her. I guess it's her duty, but I didn't like being pressured so much about it. I was even told a horror story, and she got Phil thinking I must have a hep lock. She said I would have to sign a waiver form. Another nurse even brought the IV stuff into the room.While she was in the room I told Phil I really didn't appreciate being told horror stories, then told my nurse I wanted to keep thinking about it. She never brought it up again. I'm so glad I stuck to my guns!
Since it was still early in the morning and we were tired both Phil and I laid down to rest. Karen brought me jello and chicken broth, yum! At 10 am the midwife Helene came in. I was so happy to see her! She checked my cervix and it was still a 5. Helene said she would go home but have the nurse call her at noon to see if there was any change. So much for having this baby by lunch time I thought. Helene told the nurse I could have toast. (Midwifes are the best!)
This is when pitocin started being pushed, the second thing I really had to fight. Because I was committed to a natural birth I really wanted to avoid being given pitocin to speed up my delivery. Not to mention, I really didn't feel like I had been in labor for very long yet. The natural alternatives were walking and nipple stimulation. I was hooked up to a breast pump for a while. It was kind of strange and sort of uncomfortable but fine with me if it would speed things up. We walked some. My contractions started to become much more noticeable. At noon I was checked again- multiple times because the nurse was having a hard time. Ouch. Still at 5 cm. No, I'm not going to be given pitocin. Phil and I walked and walked and walked annnnnd walked. Almost like we were pioneers. Except we were in a hospital and one of us looked like a penguin. When I would have a contraction we would stop and I would lean against Phil, focusing on breathing. All day I did everything I could to relax, trusting that my body would be able to open up and deliver my baby. Every half hour we would have to go back to the delivery room so the nurse could monitor the baby's heart beat. It stayed steady the whole day. A few times we went out a side door and walked outside. It was the highlight of my labor. It was so warm and sunny for November. I had such a feeling of peace. I'm so glad that Phil was with me every step of the way. He was my rock to lean on.
Labor was beautiful, natural, rhythmic. Time seemed to fly by. I was never concerned that I'd been in labor for too long. After a few hours we went back to the delivery room. Phil laid down on his couch bed and fell right asleep. After our early morning and not much food I knew he was wiped out and I wanted him to rest. I continued to walk circles around the room, listening to a CD of guitar lullabies we brought. Every time I had a contraction I would lean against the back of a chair and breathe. My contractions were slowly getting stronger. I laid down to rest because my feet started to hurt. The nurse came in and rubbed my back during a few contractions. Finally I had made it to 6 cm! At around 5 pm Helene came back in to check on me. She said I could get in the tub if I wanted! Yay! I hadn't expected that they would let me since my water had already broken. The nurse told Helene she would be in big trouble if we had a water birth right as her shift was supposed to end :) Walking the short distance to the tub I had to stop about three times for contractions that were now literally stopping me in my tracks. The tub was filled up with water and I got in. I was able to completely relax and it felt so good. The lights were out except for a lantern. Then my contractions started coming hard and fast. The water felt so hot. I started hollering. Everything got so intense. Helene came back and I told her I didn't think I could take it anymore! I was helped into a wheelchair and wheeled back to the delivery room. Karen said goodbye, and I remember getting out the words "thank you." The new nurse introduced herself between intense contractions- her name was Sadie. It's too bad my labor had lasted through 3 nurses! I was checked and told I was at 8 cm.
The next little while is all a blur. I think I may have peed on the floor. I threw up a couple of times. Finally it was time to push. I pushed kneeling on the floor, kneeling on the bed, and laying on my side. I even pushed on the toilet. Nothing felt comfortable.The contractions I could take, but pushing was painful and I didn't really feel the urge to. A contraction would start and I would push. Then I'd take a breath and become so overwhelmed that I couldn't push again. I lost focus. Not to mention I was sooooo tired. Between contractions I would just collapse, it was like I wasn't even present. I couldn't see the end. I started yelling that I couldn't take it anymore, that I needed something. Cut her out! I said. Give me an epidural! The nurse and midwife reassured me I could do it, that it was almost over. They said there wasn't time for an epidural. I'm glad they thought I could do it, and didn't jump at the chance to medicate me. But to me it felt like my baby was stuck and that she was never coming out. I think fear of the pain played a role. Finally after a couple of hours they agreed to call the anesthesiologist, but told me I was going to keep pushing. I tried for a while, but feebly. I had to get an IV so they could pump me with fluids. It took longer then usual for the anesthesiologist to get there, but still no baby. I sat on the edge of the bed and had to hold really still through the contractions while it was put in my back but I barely felt anything. I thought it would be painful but I guess it was nothing compared to everything else. I was told to rest up. I finally got to just lay in bed. I was so tired. When the epidural kicked in I told Phil we should call our parents. Just like that I felt great again! I knew my whole family was wondering what was going on. So we called them both and told them I was just about to push out their new grand-baby!! After that I was just ready to meet her and I wanted to get going again. I was surprised that I could still move my feet and feel my contractions, only now they were like the faint cramping that I felt in the beginning. I pushed a little, even though I was supposed to be resting up. The nurse and midwife came in and said the baby was just right there!! I was able to focus all my energy on pushing. After about a half hour I knew we were close when they called in the baby nurse who was surprise! Ginger, my first nurse. The midwife got out a big mirror and I was able to see the top of my baby's head. At 10:48 pm Lola Fern was born to a very happy new mom and dad. She was placed on my stomach and rubbed down to try to stimulate her to breathe. I remember saying "Can I just look at my baby?" I held her up hardly believing she was really here. Phil cut the umbilical cord and I was able to hold her close as we just looked at each other. Right away she wanted to nurse and kept at it off and on for about an hour. Phil held her for the first time with the biggest smile on his face.
I hardly noticed that the midwife was stitching up a 2nd degree tear. She showed me the placenta. After that the nurse put Lola on the scale. Everyone guessed she was 7 lbs something, but she was just 6 lbs 12 oz and only 18 inches long. What a doll :) The nurse helped Phil to give Lola her first bath. After I showered we were transferred to the mother/baby unit to sleep. I slept all night holding Lola in my arms supported by my nursing pillow. I couldn't get enough of snuggling her close, plus she just wanted to eat and eat. The rest of our hospital stay was spent enjoying our beautiful daughter who hadn't yet even learned to cry or spit up :) We couldn't stop taking pictures of her- she was just so perfect! We stayed one more night and then went home on election day- so we stopped and voted!
Of course my labor didn't go how I imagined or planned. I had hoped that contractions would start at home and that we would wait it out until they got intense, rush to the hospital, and have a natural birth soon after. In the end it turned out wonderfully though, with a perfectly healthy and beautiful baby as my birthday surprise.