It’s a girl! Baby girl arrived a few hours after my last log update! I really was in labor, so I will continue on describing my day.
I posted the first half of labor day at about 2:15pm here (Part 1 of labor day). After I did that, Fernando came upstairs and took a nap. I decided around 3:30ish that I wanted to take another nap. I was debating between napping and doing some sort of activity to speed up my labor, but the nap won, and I am glad of my choice.
I don’t think I slept very long; it was probably about a half an hour. I don’t remember what I did right after nap, but I had a few contractions during my nap and they were quite strong.
At around 4:30pm we were all talking about what our plans for the evening should be. I decided that it would be nice to just go to the hospital and see what the status of my cervix was. I wanted to know if I was still just 3cm, or if I was 4cm and could stay home until things got more intense, or if I was on the way to having a baby soon. At 5:00pm we started getting the kids ready to leave. We determined that a good plan of action would be to get everyone dinner close to the hospital, and then evaluate after dinner how I felt. We collected our last minute hospital bag items, and headed out the door around 5:30pm. During the drive, I had about 2 strong contractions. We got to Chick-Fil-A a bit before 6pm. I had another contraction right as we got out of the car, and I hugged Fernando. When we got inside Chick Fil A, I realized I could not eat. I saved tables while everyone ordered. During dinner I had a few contractions, and with one of them I said, “Ok, I need to go to the hospital. I don’t think I can stay here any longer.” Even though contractions were getting more intense and a bit more frequent, I remained until everyone was finished with dinner. I joked with Rebecca as we were leaving that if I’d had the baby at Chick-Fil-A, maybe she would get free food for life.
Fernando and I left the restaurant and Mom and Rebecca took the kids to our friends’ house, which was only a few blocks away. We arrived at the hospital and got buzzed in to the birth center. I said, “I’m in labor and I just wanted to see if I needed to be admitted to the hospital yet.” I felt a little silly because I waltzed in to the birth center and I know I looked like I was not in labor. However, right when I was on my way to a triage room I did have a contraction and had to stop walking two feet from the door.
We got settled in triage and the nurse determined I was 5.5/6cm. I wasn’t surprised or sad at the news, but I did have to ask to clarify if I needed to stay. The nurse laughed and said, “Oh yes, you are staying! I’m sorry if I didn’t explicitly mention that!” I wasn’t sure how I felt about being admitted. In my mind, I was thinking about the fact that I had progressed about 3cm since my last appointment. With as slow as labor had been during the day, I was expecting to give birth the following day, Sunday, or even on Monday. The nurse also said that my midwife was on her way over. I felt kind of bad because I thought, “oh! She doesn’t have to come quite yet! I don’t want her to have to sit around waiting for me and my turtle-slow labor!”
We moved over to the birth room around 7:30pm. I was surprised that Mom and Rebecca hadn’t made it to the hospital yet, but I found out they stopped at the store on their way over(!). I remember thinking how big the birth room felt with just me and Fernando. We still hadn’t grabbed our suitcase and the lights were really dim. Mom and Rebecca arrived around 7:45pm, and our birth photographer arrived right after we got in to the birth room at about 7:35pm. It took me awhile to get the birth room to feel homey and comfortable. I determined that I liked having the lights pretty bright. Aunt Lori arrived a bit after 8pm with a coffee in hand for Fernando, and I was getting monitored from 8pm-8:20pm. Right when Aunt Lori arrrived, we started talking about some family things that were happening, and in the middle of her narrative, I got a very intense contraction, and I think I cried – tears of joy from being overwhelmed from the story, not from the pain – but either way it was very hormonal. After that specific contraction, nothing was a game to me anymore. I officially entered intense labor mode, and my contractions picked up to very frequent.
I remember during this time that I went to the bathroom a lot. For some reason, the bathroom is a strange place for me during labor. With Emmanuel, I had painful contractions every time I squatted to go to the bathroom. With this baby, I immediately had a contraction right when I entered the bathroom… it wasn’t even when I was going to the bathroom. All of my contractions by this time were felt in my pelvis and cervix. Every contraction by this time during this labor felt like those painful contractions I had with Emmanuel only during the time that I would go to the bathroom and squat. I tried to lay down on my sides and my back during this time, and I discovered that contractions were worse in those positions. My last laying down position that I tried was with a peanut between my knee around 8:40pm and as I laid down during that contraction and began putting the peanut between my knee, I said, “Oh heck no!” and jumped up in agony.
I was very desperate to find something to relieve the pain from the pubic/pelvis/cervical pain during contractions. I decided that standing up and leaning on something allowed me to survive the contractions, but I was very upset that nothing had improved how I felt during contractions. I didn’t want to just survive a contraction, I wanted to thrive during contractions! I had never had such difficulty getting through contractions before. With Hadassah, my contractions were textbook typical, and I felt them in my stomach. With Emmanuel, they were a bit more difficult, as I felt them in my stomach, plus I had back pain, and I had severe pain when I squatted, so to avoid the severe pain, I avoided squatting! With this baby, I didn’t even notice any discomfort in my stomach or back, I was just experiencing pure pain down below.
I was thinking about the differences in my contractions a bit before 9pm when I remembered that I felt relief with Emmanuel once Fernando started doing counterpressure on my back. Some birthing knowledge came to me from the corner of my brain about other places to do counterpressure. I told Fernando to squeeze my hips…When he did that during a contraction, I felt my first bit of relief. I went from having quite unbarable contractions to being able to get through them. The counterpressure did not fully relieve my pain, but I was able to manage.
At 9pm, the nurse came in to monitor the baby again. All I could think of was how I was not going to lay down. I did not care what they said! Luckily, the nurse just asked me if I preferred to be monitored on a wireless device, and I said yes! I labored standing up while being monitored, and contractions were coming very frequently. After I was done being monitored, I told the nurse I needed to get in the tub asap. Since contractions were difficult, the only thing left to do in my repertoire for dealing with contractions was a soak in the tub. The nurse went to prepare the tub while I labored.
My midwife came to check me at 9:30pm, and I couldn’t believe I was only 8cm and she said the baby was at 0 station. I told her I wanted to go in the tub. The good news about being only 8cm was that I knew I could go in the tub, because if I had been 10cm I knew they wouldn’t let me in the tub. I looked at the nurse and midwife standing side by side as they told me how dilated I was, and they had a weird look on their face and told me I couldn’t get in the tub. They said that if I got in the tub I would have the baby in the tub (which is against their liability rules). I looked at them, uncomprehendingly. I still had 2cm to dilate. How could I have the baby any time soon? I was going to die if I had to keep laboring how I was laboring!
A little after 9:40pm, I got in the bed and started laboring on my hands and knees. I remember some time around this time, my midwife asked me if I thought I would birth on my hands in knees. I told her I probably was, but I didn’t really understand why she was making me decide so soon. At 9:45pm, my mom and sister started rubbing my back. I didn’t realize it at the time that Fernando wasn’t around – he had gone to the bathroom. They were actually doing a really good job, but at some moment I needed Fernando specifically during a contraction and I yelled out, “WHERE’S FERNANDO?!?!!!!!!” I was really annoyed to find out that he was in the bathroom!
At 9:55pm I felt like I wanted to start pushing. My midwife let me get through my contraction and she checked me and I was only 9cm dilated. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t 10cm, and I felt like there was no way I was going to make it through to the birth.
From 10:00pm until about 10:15pm I was doing anything and everything I could to get through the contractions. I was counting, humming, and writhing. I was feeling a little tired being on my knees, and I realized that I had no choice since part of the bed had been removed. Rebecca came by my head and asked if I wanted my bag of waters broken. I said I wasn’t sure and I was so scared to get it done since my labor had been slow and I still wasn’t 10cm. I asked Jana in between contractions at about 10:15pm what breaking my waters would mean. She said it usually shortens labor by about 30 minutes. I wanted to die when I heard that I might have to endure more than 30 more minutes of labor, so I decided to have her do it after my following contraction.
At 10:18pm Jana broke my water. I started really flipping out and the nurse firmly said to me, “Rachel, you are in control.” and I got myself under control. I immediately felt some slight relief, but I also immediately felt like pushing. After that contraction that happened when my midwife broke my water, I got a few minute break. With my next contraction, Jana told me not to push since I still wasn’t 10cm and had the cervical lip. She told me just push enough to take the edge off. I said, “baby is coming!” I felt like baby was still far up but that I was having the productive pushing feelings. She checked me after that contraction and said, “Oh, yep! You are ready to have the baby!”
I still wasn’t sure how long it would take to bring baby down, but after a contraction I could feel baby’s head start to come out. However, everyone said they couldn’t see anything, so I felt really far away from my goal. In another contraction I really needed to know specifically how my progress was going and I felt like no one was communicating clearly with me. I said, “WHAT IS GOING ON?!” and baby’s head was halfway out, but I didn’t realize it at the time. With the next push, I did realize that baby’s head was finally out. I felt relief in knowing that all I had to do was get the rest of the baby out. I had finished the most difficult part.
On my next push, I expected it to be easier, but baby was not coming out! I pushed with all my might and needed all the coaching from the nurse to push the rest of the baby out. She finally came out at 10:24pm, just minutes after I got my water broken. I discovered the reason pushing her body out was so difficult was because her fist was right next to her head.
I just stood on my knees for a minute and I kept telling everyone I didn’t want to know if it was a boy or girl yet. I wanted to turn around and see my baby first and get comfortable. As I was looking at the wall, my chest felt really weird, like I had gotten the wind knocked out of me. I had to calm my body down before I could finally turn around.
When I turned around and saw my baby, she was so dark! I just thought, “Who are you?! How did you get in my womb?” I couldn’t believe how dark she was! I later realized that she looked black because of her lack of oxygen! Now she is pretty pink looking! They handed her to me and the blanket was around her bottom, and I opened it up and saw she was a girl!
After giving birth, it seems like a major thought that I always have is, “Oh! That was so hard!” It’s something that I kept repeating, and her birth was definitely the hardest of the three. I also remember thinking immediately that I would never be able to go through labor and delivery again, although a week later, I think I can do it! Each little bundle of joy is worth any discomfort!