I spent the last week writing out this story little by little. I definitely didn’t want to forget any of the details and I am actually surprised by how much I did remember, because in the moment everything was a blur. Parts of it felt like an out of body experience.
I want to start by saying I couldn’t have had the natural un-medicated childbirth I wanted, without the help of my amazing husband and awesome doula. Scott was admittedly a little intimidated by the intensity of the labor, but he was still there for me to lean on and provided me with great support, cold wash cloths and plenty of water. Our Doula, Sara Beth was such a great help! I felt like she knew exactly what I needed, when I needed it. She knew just when to keep quiet and support me physically, or when to quietly give encouragement verbally. I’m so grateful to both of them!
Pictures are at the end of this looooong post! 🙂
“Sunday, March 31, 2013
Our 6 year wedding anniversary and also Easter Sunday. We went to church that morning and almost as soon as the service began, I started feeling very mild contractions. The same ones I had been feeling for about a week(on March 25th I had 10 hours of pre-labor, contractions were regular and only mildly painful, I was able to breath through them and at midnight they spaced out and went away…major bummer—or so I thought! Turns out all that pre-labor made for a super quick and easy labor and delivery! Praise God!), that hadn’t turned into anything “real” yet. I didn’t think much of it, they hurt, but they weren’t bad and they seemed to be pretty far apart, so I tried to ignore them. Church was over and the contractions were still there, still mild, so once again I ignored them.
After the pre-labor episode the week before, Scott and I were emotional wrecks. We wanted so badly to meet our daughter and every day we would wake up and think “is today the day??”. It was really taking it’s toll on us! It was all we could think or talk about. We were going for walks and I was doing every stretch and exercise in the book to try and jump-start labor. Even though one of our doulas, Aimee, very calmly told me “We cannot control labor. Can’t start it or stop it…” I still tried! A huge struggle in my mind was the thought of needing to be induced, as my 41 week appointment drew near. I was scheduled on April 1, for an ultrasound, non-stress-test and blood work to ensure baby girl was doing well in there. I was worried something would be wrong and I would need to be induced immediately. I felt like I was well prepared for labor, with a doula and the birth classes–but what I didn’t think I was prepared for was natural labor on pitocin! OUCH! We tried our best to get our minds off of when labor would start, but at the same time we knew it could start any moment—it was impossible for us not to think about it!
The contractions continued all day Sunday, I was able to go about my day though, nothing that stopped me in my tracks and they were never closer than 15 minutes apart. I was getting sad that I didn’t get to go to my family’s easter dinner in NC, because we thought it was too far of a drive being almost 41 weeks pregnant. So Scott and I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood to distract ourselves and spend some time together. It was such nice weather we decided to head over to Mt. Trashmore to walk the steps for yet another time. Contractions continued, still very mild and far apart. We continued to ignore them as much as possible and tried not to read into them too much. Since it was our anniversary, we went to one of our favorite places, California Pizza Kitchen for dinner. We had a great time just talking and enjoying our time together, just the 2 of us. Little did we know we were about to become a family of 3 in a matter of hours! On the way home from the restaurant we stopped by my parents house to pick up some yummy easter eggs Alison had made. Contractions continued…
We had an early 8:30am appointment at the midwifery center the next morning, so we decided to head to bed early(and boy am I glad we did!), around 10pm.
At around 1:40am, I felt a pretty strong contraction, enough to wake me up, which had never happened before. I just laid there, wondering “is this it?!”. Then a couple minutes later I felt another one. These were different than my ‘pre-labor’ contractions. These were much more painful, easily twice as painful as the contractions I had felt before. I got up to use the bathroom, felt another one–ouch, that one hurt! Once I came back to bed I woke Scott up and told him what I was feeling. I didn’t want to jump to conclusions though, so I waited for a few more to come. Sure enough, they did. I worked through them, standing next to the bed, breathing deeply just like I had been taught in the birthing classes. Soon, I started feeling nauseas, Scott grabbed me a cool wash cloth for my head and neck and that helped a lot. We started timing them at this point. We had both been worried that with all of the pre-labor I had, once active labor started things would go really quickly(we were right!). The contractions were lasting 45 secs-1 minute and were 4-6 minutes apart. At this point they were so painful that I was 100% sure I was in active labor. At 2:40am, I decided to hop
in the shower to see if that would ease some of the pain, while Scott contacted our doulas to let them know what was going on. I leaned against the wall in the shower during the contractions and let the water hit my lower back, which helped. Once out of the shower, the cool rag on my forehead was my saving grace, I had to have it during every contraction. I leaned on the counter in the bathroom and swayed my hips back and forth. I knelt beside our bed and used that as support and swayed my hips. I tried sitting on the exercise ball next to the bed, but it scrunched my tummy up too much and wasn’t comfortable. These contractions were INTENSE! At 3:09(going back through my phone to look at the texts Scott sent the doulas), the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and 50 secs-1 minute. Sara Beth, our doula, called Scott at 3:20am, to listen to me during a contraction. After that, she promptly told Scott to call the midwives. 3:29am Scott called the answering service and at 3:39am Blair called. She talked to me a little bit and listened to me during a contraction. I remember her asking once it was over, “Did that one feel like it had 2 peaks?” and I told her yes, and that was the first one I had felt like that. She asked me what I wanted to do, stay home or go in. At first I wasn’t sure, because I had reallllly wanted to stay home as long as possible, but with how intense they were getting, the car ride was really becoming scary to me, so I told her I was ready to go in…to which she replied “Okay, I just woke up, so let me grab some coffee and I’ll be on my way…” She sounded a little inconvenienced, which I remember annoyed me at the moment(ha!). Also she wanted to chat about where I lived and was surprised to find out we lived just minutes from each other…I didn’t care at all and was ready to be off the phone! Scott texted Sara Beth at 3:56am to say “we are heading to the hospital, and we would like you to meet us there.” Scott gathered our bags, I grabbed my cool wash cloth and we headed out the door. I kept telling Scott that I wasn’t looking forward to the car ride and that I was scared. But I didn’t have a choice.
The car ride….oh man, the car ride, that was TOUGH! I sat in the back seat, Scott put a pillow on Addilyn’s car seat and I laid on my side, across the seat. I was laying on my left side and I remember reaching up with my right hand and grabbing the handle up above the window during the contractions. It helped me lengthen my body and take some of the pressure off my side, because the only thing worse than laying down during a contraction is laying down AND being curled up–ugh! The contractions were 2 minutes apart during the car ride and extremely intense! Luckily it was 4am and there wasn’t any traffic. The car ride was the only time that I had my doubts about if I could do it or not. I didn’t ask for drugs, I just calmly told Scott in between contractions that I wasn’t sure if I could do it.
We pulled up to the ER and I remember Scott popping the trunk, I said “What are you doing?” and he said “Getting the bags…” and I was like oh no you don’t! You are going to have to support me from falling to the floor when a contraction hits on our way in! As we were walking up to the ER, I remember a guy standing outside the door and he asked us if we “had a light”, that really annoyed me and he is lucky I was in so much pain otherwise I might’ve clocked him! Just kidding, but seriously?
I had a contraction at the entrance to the ER. I remember earlier in my pregnancy thinking about how I would be embarrassed to be seen during labor and what people would think of me. I also thought I would put makeup on before we left for the hospital–HA! We are lucky I got pants on…lol 😉 We paused in the entrance, I wrapped my arms around Scott’s neck for support and made it through that contraction. As we approached the desk I heard the lady call “we need L&D…” and soon they had a wheelchair waiting for me with a nice lady to push me up to the midwifery center. I didn’t want to sit in the wheelchair, but with the contractions coming every 2 minutes, it would have taken us days to get all the way up to the midwifery center. I remember the elevator getting stopped at one of the floors while I was having a contraction, I opened my eyes to see the people start to step in and then change their minds–haha!
Not totally sure what time we got to the hospital, but I would guess between 4:45-5:00am. When we got to the room, I remember the nurses asking me ridiculous questions like my birthdate and social, which I had written on the 75 page intake form! I had something I had planned to wear during labor, but at that point I didn’t care and just asked for one of their silly gowns. After I changed into the gown I went to the restroom, I had a contraction while I was in there and at the peak of the contraction my body “pushed” a little on it’s own. I knew that meant I was pretty far along but I had no idea how far. The nurses made me lay down(ouch!) while they put these annoying monitors on my tummy(I know it’s for the sake of the baby, but those things hurt during contractions). It was SO HARD to just lay there during the most intense pain of my life. I wanted so badly to be swaying my hips or doing something, any movement would have been nice at that point! I kept asking “can I get up now?” “no…” “can I get up NOW?” “no…” ugh! Blair came in and checked me in between contractions and excitedly anounced that I was 7 centimeters!!! Holy cow! I was in “transition”, I couldn’t believe it! I so badly wanted to use the hot tub, but I couldn’t imagine having to step up into the tub. At this point, I was in so much pain, even in between the contractions. The pain didn’t stop like it had earlier. I quickly spiraled “inward” and from here on out everything is a big blur. I was focused on staying relaxed, welcoming each contraction and clearing my heart and mind in between each one. I remember dropping to my knees at the side of the bed, Blair put a pillow under my knees for comfort. I remember saying that my legs were tired so I couldn’t stand and that my arms were tired so I couldn’t hold myself up. Blair quietly suggested that I get on the bed and rest on a birth ball. When I stood up, my water broke, but I kept on task and got on the bed to rest on the ball. That ball was a lifesaver, it did just what I needed it to do–support me. I remember being so frustrated because being on hands and knees felt good, but my arms couldn’t hold me during the contractions. After I got on the ball, I had very strong urges to push during the contractions. I remember our doulas describing it “it’s such a strong urge, it’s like throwing up, only you are throwing down”. It seemed silly at the time, but it is so true! When you trust your body, and don’t inhibit it with medicines and drugs, it truly knows what to do. That urge to push was not something I could ignore, it was going to happen whether I wanted it to or not. I remember being really amazed and slightly freaked out that I was pushing, but I wasn’t trying to. I was just trusting my body and it was doing what it was meant to do. Scott was at my head, keeping a cool cloth on my forehead, talking to me and offering me water between every contraction. Sara Beth was behind me, giving counter pressure on my low back during the contractions and rubbing my back in between. I remember Sara Beth telling me how great I was doing. I remember seeing Blair sitting in a chair knitting. Scott said she would look up occasionally and check on me. After I labored for a while longer, Blair suggested I lift up one leg at a time during the contractions. After a little while, my contractions spaced out a bit and I was able to rest in between each one. I think I may of even fallen asleep a couple times, with all my weight being on the ball. What a blessing that was! Before I knew it, Blair wanted to check me again and sure enough I was 10 centimeters. I started pushing at this point. Sara Beth holding my left leg, Blair holding my right and Scott laying next to me on the bed. I remember feeling like my face was going to explode. I remember the nurses, midwife and doula saying “no, no, that’s not it….” or “yes! that’s it! Keep going!”. I noticed that the more painful it was to me, the more excitement and cheers it got out of them. Ha! I remember pushing half way, wishing that was all I had to do…and then realizing it wasn’t painful enough for it to be making progress, I had to go to the pain in order to make progress. Blair very wisely said “What you interpret as pain is actually progress, KEEP GOING”. I remember saying “it’s burning!” and “ow, ow, ow, ow!” The nurses, midwife and doula did a great job coaching me. When Blair stepped away to put her gown on, I remember being in disbelief that I was actually going to push out a baby! I asked if they could see her head and Sara Beth excitedly said “Yes! She’s got dark hair!” and she grabbed my hand and let me feel! The midwife, nurse and doula were cracking up because in between each contraction I would ask Scott how he was doing, because I was worried about him getting overwhelmed with all the blood and fluids. They found it funny that I was asking HIM how he was doing, while I was pushing out a baby! Ha! As Addilyn was crowning they told me to slow down and give smaller, shorter pushes. I remember it hurting, burning, stinging, stretching. Before I knew it, at 7:03am on April 1, 2013 with one last push, I felt her slippery body come out and they placed her right on my chest! She was covered in stuff, crying and yet SO SO BEAUTIFUL! The pain went away immediately as tears of JOY filled Scott and my eyes. We couldn’t believe that such a miracle, such a beautiful little baby, created by God was given to us! What a blessing! Scott cut the cord and they had me nurse her in an attempt to stop some of the bleeding. Blair was amazing. I totally trusted her and I’m so glad I didn’t have to worry about her doing something I didn’t want. I didn’t even have to write a birth plan, because they routinely do all the things I would have wanted–what a blessing!
There was some ‘repairing’ that needed to be done, that required us to be transferred over to L&D but I was fine with that. I was thrilled with my birth and my baby and I wasn’t going to let this disappoint me. The repair ended up taking longer than anyone thought it would, but Scott got to have Addilyn skin to skin for the first couple hours of her life and I was so grateful for that.
So from the first contraction at 1:40am to Addilyn making her appearance at 7:03am, it was an overwhelming and amazing experience. It was INTENSE and the most pain I have ever felt, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat! It meant the world to me to bring Addilyn into this world without drugs and medications in her system and I am so thankful we were able to do it!”
PICTURES!! 🙂 🙂