Charlene, United States
Whether is was intuition or wishful thinking, I had the feeling Calla would be early…3 weeks early (just like me) to be exact. It was Sunday, March 28, after a day of running errands, grabbing dinner and taking the scenic way home on Pleasants Valley road with Robbie, it began. Robbie decided it was a nice evening for a bike ride and headed out (on a very full stomach), around Lake Solano. About 15 minutes after he left, my water broke and I made the call….luckily he heard it and picked up. He raced home so fast he about lost his dinner.
We headed to the Sutter Davis Birthing Center (wonderful place!) and I was only 1 centimeter. My situation was tricky…almost 37 weeks pregnant, waiting on results from my ‘group b strep' test which would indicate whether or not I would need antibiotics to protect Calla as she travelled down the birth canal (results were negative), premature water breaking (which can lead to infection). Many choices to be made….antibiotics or not, induction or not, stay or go home? My intentions from the start were to keep it simple, little intervention, no pain medication, no induction if possible. We went home that evening and managed to get a good night sleep in spite of the anticipation and minor, sporadic contractions.
Fast forward….24 hours. Monday, March 29, contractions starting to increase in intensity and regularity, about every 4-5 minutes. We went back to the birth center and back home that evening to labor at home. Robbie timed while I rocked/walked/showered/breathed my way through the contractions. By midnight, we attempted to go to bed but I was quickly up, watching the minutes while I let Robbie rest up…I needed to be alone and focus. Contractions lasting 1-2 minutes every 3 minutes…it was a long night, full of strength searching, visualization, and breathing.
It's 10 AM Tuesday, March 30 (exactly 37 weeks) and I'm in tears. The truck ride from Winters-Davis was excruciating. I was welcomed into the birth center at 3+ centimeters. I had Robbie, 2 midwifes, 1 nurse, and a doula by my side for most of the labor. It was the perfect balance. The atmosphere was very still and quiet and I went to another place in my mind. Robbie watched over me and the doula kept repeating the same mantra over and over again, reminding me to imagine the baby descending, and my body opening to receive her, step by step closer…and that the contraction was temporary and necessary and that I could do ANYTHING for 2 minutes. It was helpful but did get annoying after awhile…plus at that point….the fever set it, 100.3 temperature.
I was given antibiotics and tylenol as a precautionary measure, it perked me right up (even managed to scarf down some fruit). I was at risk of developing an infection because my membrane had been ruptured so long. Usually most hospitals will induce after 18-24 hours if the baby hasn't arrived after the water breaks. Luckily, the birth center let me call the shots.
I walked, rocked, layed down, birthing ball, received massage, and finally at 6 centimeters I was allowed in the ‘hot-tub'. I transitioned there. It was very relaxing and allowed me to squat easily but it turned into one long contraction where the last 4 centimeters flew by. I had to dig deep for that. I was more in the mood for music so we dimmed the lights and turned on a eclectic mix of reggae, classical, Radiohead, Nick Drake, Miles, Marley…etc. It was nice but oooooo sooooo painful!
The urge to push was strange and scary for me but with the support of my wonderful women I felt safe and after 1 1/2 hours of pushing, Calla emerged like a torpedo into the water and into my arms! She arrive at 6:45 pm, Tuesday, March 30, 2010, weighing 5lbs 12oz, 19in long, eyes wide open, teeny-tiny, and perfect! She latched right on and both Robbie and I had some nice skin-on-skin time with her before they took her to clean her up and start the initial baby procedures.
Ironically the hardest part was delivering the placenta, man, it was stubborn! After and hour of waiting and trying, the on-call doctor had to manually remove it which was beyond painful and surreal…eeeeek.
By 9 PM we were all happily in our post-partum room, ‘enjoying' some hospital food and staring endlessly at this sweet little girl. She slept in the bed with me while Robbie camped out on the reclining chair. Exhausted and deliriously happy, 48 hours after the water had broken, and after 25 hour of contractions, the entire experience replayed over and over in my mind…and does to this day.