On Thanksgiving day (three days before my due date), I joked with family that my plan was to eat as much as possible to force him out! I figured if I ate a ton, he'd run out of room, and I'd get to eat as much as I wanted without being judged!! We got home from the family dinner at about 5:30pm and I was exhausted so I took a nap. I woke up at about 7:30pm and was still exhausted, and even though I knew I'd end up messing up my sleep pattern by going back to bed, I had no choice because I could barely keep my eyes open. I woke up at about 3am, and felt rested, but was frustrated that I was wide awake at 3am. I picked up a book and started reading and at about 3:30am I had my first contraction. I knew instantly that it was the real deal because it felt so much more intense than the Braxton hicks contractions I'd been having off and on. I figured I'd labor for quite a while (being that it was my first) so I just kept reading. Only what seemed like a few minutes passed by and I had another, so I decided to follow the advice from my Bradley class- drink a glass of water, take a walk, take a bath, and try to sleep and see if labor speeds up, slows down, or stops all together. I didn't feel up to a walk (and it was 3am!), but I grabbed a bottle of water and drew a bath. It seemed like the bath made things worse, and I was uncomfortable so I got out and tried laying down in bed. I couldn't even begin to get comfortable, and it seemed like my contractions were a lot closer together than they should be this early on- so I grabbed my phone to time them. They were 5 minutes apart, but only lasting 45 seconds so I figured I still had a ways to go. I drew another bath and climbed in with my book, but with the first contraction tossed the book across the bathroom. I did my best to relax, and after a while I got out of the tub to time my contractions again, but I had to concentrate so hard on relaxing through the contractions that I couldn't time them myself. Joey was at work and was supposed to get off at 7am, but at 5:30am (after 2 hours of laboring alone) I gave in and called him. He got home a little after 6, and started timing my contractions as soon as he got there- only 45 seconds long, and the first few were 4 and 5 min apart. (We had learned in class that for most, it was best to follow the 5-1-1 rule: wait to go to the hospital until your contractions are 5 minutes apart, lasting one minute for one hour.) My contractions were REALLY intense and Joey could tell I was having trouble relaxing- something I'd been practicing for months. So he asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. Our hospital was 45 minutes away and my biggest fear was getting there too soon. Knowing that I would be more comfortable laboring at home as long as possible, I told him that they needed to be longer than 45 seconds before we left. Right after our hospital conversation my contractions seemed to be coming one on top of another so he timed them- TWO minutes apart! So he then got real serious about going to the hospital and I agreed to go only if he'd promise that we would leave if I wasn't dilated to at least a 5. He agreed and off we went (it was about 7am). I was very restless in the car, but because Joey had just left work he asked if he could swing through McDonalds and get something to eat. I wanted to say no, but I knew that he'd need the energy (he had been at work for over 10 hours!) so I agreed. We got on the highway and I turned around in the seat, took the headrest off, and hugged the seat while up on my knees. My contractions bounced back and forth between being 4-5 minutes apart to being one right after the other. I so desperately wanted out of that car! We reached the first of two tolls we needed to go through before reaching the hospital. I instructed Joey to just drive through the pike pass lane (even though we didn’t have a pass). He didn’t seem to think that slowing down and paying the toll was a big deal- plus he’s an honest man J so I bit my tongue. By the time we reached the second toll I was so desperate to get there that I shouted, “Don’t you dare stop and pay the toll!“ Joey did as he was told, and went on through. (Nothing happened to us by the way… so I guess they don’t monitor that in Oklahoma?) We finally got to the hospital a little after 8am, and it took quite a while for me to walk to the elevator, ride up to the 3rd floor, and over to L&D. Why didn't I get a wheelchair everyone asks? I couldn't stand the thought of sitting so I walked ever so slowly stopping numerous times to get through contractions. They got me into a room, made me lay down to strap a monitor on me (GRRR!), and checked me- I was a 7! They told me they were calling my midwife, going to get me the wireless monitor so that I could get up from the bed, and that I needed to let them know if my water broke or if I had an urge to push. I looked at Joey and said, "You better call everyone!" So he made a few phone calls, they took some blood, and in about 45 min the midwife was there. She checked me again- I was an 8 and baby was at +1 station! She recommended breaking my water, and left us to think it over. Joey insisted it wouldn't cause problems at this point in the game (I didn't want any interventions) and when she returned we agreed to let her. She gathered her stuff, broke my water, and told me that I should let her know when I felt the urge to push. I still didn't have the wireless monitor and she could tell I was suffering in the bed so she told me I could get up and could move as far as the cords would reach. So Joey helped me up, and the second my feet hit the floor I felt the urge! They had me lay back down, told me to bear down a little, and let them know if that made it feel better. When I screamed YES, my midwife checked me- only a small lip left- and everyone went crazy rushing around grabbing things and throwing on paper outfits!! I was turned over on my side hugging the rail on the side of the bed. There wasn’t much time in between each of my contractions, and I was struggling to regain my composure. I remember losing my focus and Joey bringing me back down to earth by getting right next to my head and saying directly into my ear, “You HAVE to breathe. Remember to breathe. Slow, deep breaths.” Joey encouraged me every second, and at times it seemed like he was the only one in the room. The entire pushing phase is really a blur to me- it was even right afterward. I do remember feeling like nothing was happening through many contractions. My nurse, Francis, kept saying, “Push Push Push! You’ve almost got it! You’ve almost got it!“ I was so frustrated by her saying that because I could tell that wasn’t the case at all. I was pushing with all my might and he wasn’t budging. I imagine that was her way of encouraging me, but I didn’t like that she was insinuating that he was almost out- I knew that wasn’t true. When things started moving again they told me to feel Gabriel crowning and Joey said when I did that I started sobbing uncontrollably (I don't remember the sobbing at all), and then got down to business! I knew we were almost there when my midwife’s voice got more excited and Joey leaned in real close and said into my ear, “Don’t stop pushing!” He was out that very contraction! I only pushed for 35 minutes total (so lucky!) and got to cut the cord myself. They laid my 6 pound 10 ounce bluish colored baby boy on my stomach and I just stared at him in a state of shock.
I had imagined feeling an overwhelming sense of love and emotion in that moment, but the truth was that all I really felt was relieved that he was finally out of me! They took him across the room to clean him up, and when they brought him back to me I got to experience that whirlwind of emotion holding my precious baby boy. His little swollen blue eyes looked up at me and I melted into the bed. Years of planning, praying, daydreaming, and crying myself to sleep had all brought me to this moment. I was holding MY SON…and he was perfect.
For those of you that need the details- Gabriel David was born November 26, 2010 at 9:43am. He weighed 6 lbs 10 oz and was 19.25in long. His apgar was an 8/9- docked for color both times. He was a lovely shade of blue! J We were in fact successful with our natural childbirth, and my labor from first contraction to his arrival was just over 6 hours. They told me the next time that I should labor on the steps of the hospital instead of at home!
For those of you in the Tulsa, OK area that are now or may be pregnant soon- look into seeing my midwife, Kim Kmita. (South Tulsa Obstetrics & Gynecology Associates 918-858-0008) She was amazing!! We delivered at Saint Francis South and I could not say enough about the incredible care we received there. Every single nurse was very friendly and helpful, the food was great, the rooms nice- all around great experience! We took Bradley classes from Katherine (Kathy) Taylor. She was a terrific instructor, and is also a doula as well!! (firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-494-2804)