A birthing story… Written April 21, 2012
It was more of an adventure.
I never thought I would complete a marathon. The 13.1 miles of my halves always seems like it’s going to break me, and the mere thought of 26.2 has made me weak. I’m sure I could do it… but would I give up?
No. After the birth of my baby girl, I don’t think that I would.
Adelaide Eileen makes me believe that as fact.
I woke up the morning of April 15th feeling off. I dressed and asked my husband, Dave, for a ride a mile up the street to church. After mass, I felt well, and decided to enjoy the nice weather and walk home. We ate breakfast, and Dave loaded up my car with gifts for the three events I was attending that day, and he left for work. About an hour later I left, as well, thinking I was going to go to a first birthday party, but ending up at Dave’s guitar shop instead, resting and feeling so tired.
Finally, I got up and went to the second first birthday party for the day at Dave’s cousin’s house. I was quiet and seemingly agitated while there. I was truly excited for the party, but felt so something, and wanted to be home in bed- a feeling I did not have often.
I left the party after we cut the cake and headed to my final destination- a baby shower for a friend of mine due in just a few weeks with a baby boy! I was so excited for this day to come- I had been collecting gifts for weeks… but as I was driving I wanted to call and bail. This is so not like me, I kept thinking to myself. After all, I had worked on Friday, enjoyed a mile walk, each way, to the dog park and back on Saturday, plus a walk with Dave that night and now, come Sunday morning, I can’t function? I reached the baby shower, stayed to eat, meet some new people, touch base, pee twice and head home.
Something was not right, and for the first time during this pregnancy, I made it a priority to take a nap.
Around 9:15pm I woke up, thinking that I had finally lost control of my bladder. At 38 weeks 4 days, this was going to be my fate. I had peed the bed. I arose in a stupor, walked to the bathroom and wondered what I would tell my husband. Thank God I woke up in time to miss the sheets was all I could think, but as I stood, I realized I was leaking and no attempt at groggy Kegels could stop it. “DAVE! I think something is wrong!” I yelled to him. He hopped up from his computer, came into the bathroom where he looked at my face, then at the towel I was standing on and declared, with tears in his eyes, “Your water broke!” I explained to him that I thought I was peeing myself and didn’t know. While an intimate detail, if you’re not laughing at me, you should be.
Fifteen minutes later my contractions started.
We were using a cell phone to time, but around 1am Dave was asleep and I was waking up every 15 minutes and trying to remember what the last timer said. My big sister and new mom saved the day: “There’s an app for that,” she proudly stated. In the middle of a mild contraction I Google searched contraction counter and downloaded the first free app that I saw. Timing myself through the night, Dave woke up at 6am to me on my hands and knees playing with my phone. I had wanted to post to Facebook that my water broke, but had somehow convinced myself that I was still just peeing myself (slow leak water break) and having Braxton Hicks.
We decided to call the doctor, whom I had called at 11pm and never called back- HA! When he called me this time at 7am, I was told if my water broke I needed to come to the hospital. I said I wasn’t sure and hung up. Go to the hospital to hang out and wait… no thanks. I still had time before the 24-hours-you-must-deliver-after-water-breaking time sequence had expired. So we waited and we timed.
Our birth doulas, Kim and Erica, from Blessed Beginnings, had stayed in contact with me since I had called them at 10pm, and Kim was now planning her day around coming closer to us. I felt confident that I would be OK at home with Dave, and am rather impressed with us for making it through 12 hours of contractions alone.
I called my OB at 9:30am with the hopes of coming in to be checked without having to go to the hospital, but was denied and told to go to the hospital. We made our way around the house, letting out and feeding the dog, taking a shower, attempting to eat something- settling on Saltines, and collecting our bags. I climbed into the hatch back portion of my Ford Escape, on my hands and knees, holding a water bottle and crackers at 11:45am. At the hospital, Dave helped me out after a contraction ended, and we walked into the triage unit. I was immediately taken to an intake room, where a nurse looked at me sideways for staying home for so long after my water broke.
The doctor came in and told me I was 4cm along- not too bad! Dave and I were nervousexcitedscaredhappyjoyousready, as the nurse wheeled me into the elevator to LDR 3. A small room with a private bathroom, I stayed here for a few hours- waiting for my mom to come, small talking and breathing. Always breathing. We took a walk, where, in mid-contraction, I saw my mom walking into the hospital. “That’s my mommy,” I said. Dave smiled, kissed my forehead, left me with Kim and went to get my mom. I heard them talking as my mom came over to where I stood and kissed my cheek. Anytime now, Addie was all I could think. It was a little after 1pm on Monday.
Hours went by with slow, but steady, progress. Kim and Erica pulled a magic bunny from a hat and got me moved to a bigger, WAY bigger, delivery room with a shower! Dave helped me undress and made the water the temperature I like. Seeing that standing alone was not going to happen, he undressed to his shorts and held my tired body up under the warm water. It felt amazing, although I was beginning to shake, and we were confident that our baby girl was coming! Alas, I was only at 8cm and it was pushing 11pm.
As midnight approached and staying awake was taking its toll, the doctor told me she was worried I was losing strength. Kim and Erica helped us stay strong and ask for more time before medication was introduced. The doctor agreed and we were left to work. Massage, a popsicle and water proved to help move me to 9cm, but as I struggled to keep my eyes open and everyone else napped in small quantities, it was becoming clear: after 30 hours, the doctor was close to wheeling me into the OR- the one place I wanted to stay away from. With my loving husband left to make the decision at 3am, as I had not slept or eaten in over a day, he made the call: Pitocin and an Epi aka help and sleep. I was hooked up and told to sleep at 4am, and sleep I did.
I woke up at 6:30am and after re-acclimating to my surroundings, was told to push! I felt Addie’s hair around 10:15. I was rejuvenated. I was ready. At 10:32am, all 7 pounds and 7 ounces of beautiful baby girl were placed onto my belly. I scooped her up and loved all over her little body. I wanted to be close to her body so badly that I begged the nurse to cut my bra off, which was impossibly tangled, and she did. Dave and I were in shock. She was alert, squirmy and had the lungs of an opera singer! I held her close, and as Dave began to speak to her she settled, hanging onto her Daddy’s every word.
There she was. April 17, 2012. 7 pounds, 7 ounces. 18 inches long.
She was beautiful… not in the look-at-my-baby way. Her head was coned up and her face was swollen and she was covered in vernix because I didn’t want anyone else to touch her. But she was beautiful in the way that two people, so in love decide on a camping trip in August that they’re going to make a baby. And that this baby grew and grew. And now she is here. And she is both of them. She was beautiful in that way.
Over 36 hours, 30 of which were unmedicated, Adelaide Eileen was here.
I ran my marathon.
Writing this, 4 days later, watching her chest rise and fall with each little breath, a breath that smells like Heaven, itself, on a face that only dreams are made of, I cannot imagine a more perfect experience. An experience enhanced by the loving surroundings of my amazing husband, who has a love for me I did not know of before and a strength even he did not know he possessed, my mother who does her best and is the only person I know of whose best is always the best, our birth doulas Kim and Erica- without whom I might have given up my dream of an unmedicated, natural birth and been disappointed in myself, and, of course, Adelaide.
I know everyone has the perfect child, but we’re just blessed to have the perfect child for us.