By Alex, USA
The summer of 2009 we found out I was pregnant with you. The first trimester was a little rough with my hormones in hyperdrive. I was exhausted all the time. Your Daddy and I got married on October 10th. We found out you were a girl on October 20th, which is also my birthday! It was the best birthday present ever.
The rest of my pregnancy was so easy, I loved every second of it. I loved feeling all your wonderful little flutters inside me. You always had the hiccups, at least 10 times a day! I didn't get very big with you, but you sure gave me a lot of stretch marks! I cherish those marks for they are a visible memory of when we were one. I accept those marks with open arms, you gave me a new body. The real and beautiful body of a mother.
I went in for my 40th week check up at The Midwife Center on 3/11/10. My due date was 3/7/10. I had Dana, the nurse, check to see if labor could be near. While she was checking, she asked if I wanted her to sweep my membranes, which could get labor started, and I obliged. This was mistake number one. The rest of that day I had contractions that were about 11-15 minutes apart, not lasting very long. Your Dad and I went on walks and tried bouncing on the exercise ball and ate extremely spicy food! We did everything we were told to do to strengthen the labor.
The next day, in the morning, I was still having contractions and I lost my mucus plug. We called The Midwife Center to let them know, but we were going in anyways to have Dana sweep my membranes again. We went in and it felt like forever while Dana tried to find my cervix, but she couldn't find it! Oh it was so painful having her dig around inside me so we decided it just wasn't worth it. After we left we decided I should take castor oil. This was mistake number two. I shouldn't have done anything to try to get labor started. I should have let you come in your own time. I was excited to meet you but I wasn't done being pregnant with you. This is where the fun really begins and the memories get a little fuzzy so I will do my best to recall.
Contractions strengthened throughout the day. By nightfall my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart lasting a minute. We thought for sure this was it! We called and the midwife Nancy was on call. I was a little disappointed because this was the only midwife, out of five, that I didn't connect with. But of course that would be the midwife I would get. So we went to the birthing center and we chose “The Desert Room” to have you in.
When we got there Nancy and Cheryl, the nurse, took my vitals. They estimated you were going to be 8 lbs. While they were timing and listening to my contractions, they both gave each other a worried glance. They proceeded to tell me that you were posterior and with every contraction your heart rate was dipping. They feared you were compressing your cord. They decided it was best to take me to the hospital to hook me up to the Electronic Fetal Monitor and listen from there to make sure you weren't in any distress. I was so extremely upset, and I was just sobbing. There was no way I was going to give birth in the hospital, but I went because your safety is the most important thing to me, always.
We arrived at the hospital and it smelled awful! The hallways smelled like urine, I knew I couldn't give birth there. When we got to our room that's when the castor oil really hit me! I couldn't leave the bathroom for at least 45 minutes. Dad and the nurses were waiting for me. I finally got out and was hooked up to the monitor for about an hour and a half. It was starting to get late. Around 11:30 pm they decided the dips in your heart rate were normal and you were not in any distress, so they sent us home. I was ecstatic to get out of there!
I should have noticed the signs before now but Nancy our midwife was actually a med-wife. She prescribed me Ambien so I could sleep that night, but she also said if I didn't want that then I should take some Benadryl. I opted for the Benadryl, which turned out to be mistake number three. We got home from the hospital and I decided to take a bath and relax. As I settled into the comfort of my own home the contractions came with full force. I tried to lay down in bed and maybe get a little sleep, but the contractions were so strong now I had to stand up and walk each one off. Nancy had told us not to call her unless my contractions were 2 minutes apart lasting one minute for a whole hour, and they were so we called her.
We met her there around 3:30 am. I could feel my contractions starting to slow down again and by the time we got there they were 7 minutes apart! I apologized to Nancy and I was confused, they were just so strong and frequent when we were at home. She checked me and I was still only 1 cm dilated! She was not very nice to us after that. She kept telling me there was nothing wrong with going to the hospital and getting pitocin and an epidural. She also kept saying she wanted to give me a narcotic to knock me out for a while. Your Daddy never would have let any of those things happen.
I think my contractions slowed every time I was around her because I was so uncomfortable with her. She was making us feel so guilty for calling her and not using any drugs that she was literally scaring the contractions away! I stayed strong, with every contraction I was pacing the room and was always drawn to the bathroom for some reason, which Nancy kept questioning me as to why I was always going in there. Your Dad was so supportive and was there for me the whole way. I know he had to have been so tired because we got no sleep!
Luckily at 7:30 am it was time for shift change! Our new midwife Lori came in and I was so relieved. We also had a new nurse, Theresa, who was also in training to be a midwife. They were both so wonderful and empowering. It was like a breath of fresh air. As Nancy left she said, “I come back on tonight and you better have had your baby by then.” After she left my labor went fast! Lori checked me and she got there and I was 5 cm dilated. She made us an omelette which Daddy wound up eating it all because I was all of the sudden very nauseous, and I threw up. They finally said I could get in the jacuzzi for the rest of my labor. This helped so much. I slept in between each contraction so I would get about 30 seconds of sleep between each one. I wish I hadn't taken that Benadryl because it made me so sleepy and drowsy I wanted to be more “with-it”. I loved the feeling of being in the tub.
There came a point while I was in the jacuzzi where I looked up at Theresa and Jeffrey and said, “I can't do this anymore.” Theresa looked at me and said, “yes you can!”. Looking back on that I was probably in transition, because a couple minutes after that I swore I had to poop, I thought the castor oil was kicking in again! Theresa knew it was something else, time to push! I didn't believe her for one second, I thought there was no way it was already time to push, I was just only 5 cm! Lori came in the room to check me and sure enough I was 10 cm, it was just before 10 am.
They got me out of the jacuzzi and into the bed, I was very reluctant. I did not want to get out. As I got into the bed I laid on my side, it just felt right. Your Daddy sat right next to me and I held on to him. He said I really hurt him because I was squeezing him so hard, but he didn't let me know that at the time! He was so strong for us. It was 20 minutes of pushing. They brought in a mirror so I could watch you coming out but every time I looked down I got scared because I thought there was no way, your head was going to fit! So I stopped looking in the mirror.
You were posterior but you turned right as you were coming out and the bag of waters broke at the same time! The feeling of your little body rushing out is one I will never forget. You slithered out like a little wet seal. Lori said to me, “reach down and take your baby.” I couldn't believe it. The disbelief that I could finally get to touch your smooth skin was overwhelming. I reached down and you were perfectly pink and your skin felt like warm water. You didn't cry and your eyes were wide, taking in your new surroundings. I brought you up to lay on my deflated belly. Your cord was so short you couldn't yet reach my breast. We waited for the pulse to stop and Daddy cut it.
I vaguely remember trying to push out the placenta but I couldn't focus on anything but your astounding beauty and the immense, raw, and fierce love I felt for you. The love was so brand new. It was like no feeling I have ever felt before. I can't imagine being drugged up for this experience, I've never felt so naturally invigorated. You were 6 lbs and 19 & 1/2 inches long. You scored a perfect 10 on your apgar, and you were hungry! After you ate, you and Daddy fell asleep. You were in my arms and I couldn't take my eyes off of you. I stared at you and silently wept. I had never imagined how perfect one tiny human being could be.
Willow Margaret Hopkins Born 3/13/10 10:25 am
Trust your instincts, Trust your body, and Trust birth!