2:12 - I got up after a contraction, then laid back down. I'd had night contractions - some stronger and some lighter - for the past couple nights, but nothing time-able and steadily stronger.
2:28 - Another contraction - up again. Hmmmm... maybe I should watch this... I laid back down and thought about it for a few... I'd really hate to call Kristi to come stay with the kids in the middle of the night. I was hoping this would happen during the day... In the next 15 minutes it became clear that I needed to wake up Darrell at least. Soon he called Kristi as the contractions continued. She arrived and we left...
3:40 - Arrived at hospital ER. Contractions were strong enough now to stop me and double me over, so of course, I had one in the parking lot. Signed in - yes, I do believe I'm in labor. Those receptionists must be trained to be compassion-less. No, it didn't matter that I was pre-registered I needed to wait for Labor and Delivery to come get me...
3:55 - The nurse comes with a wheel chair and pushed me down the hall - "Have you drank enough water..." etc. She was trying to see if this could be false labor, but by this time I was feeling a little testy with the disbelieving receptionists. As another contraction started, I said, "This is the real thing, Sweetie." She believed me.
4:00 Triage. How I love Triage. Can't find me in the computer - but I was scheduled to be here for an Non Stress Test in the morning, and I was just here Tuesday for an NST as well, I called last week and pre-registered... Darrell explains that typically labor can be fast for me... OK, well every time is different, says the nurse. Ahem.
I'm contracting regularly and stronger all the while. Another nurse comes to help her with the computer issues, then Darrell shows her the place to click. Eventually she resolves those things and checks me - I'm 3-4 cm, 80% effaced, up from 1-2cm at the Dr. on Monday. But baby is still high - Yes, I tell her, that's normal for me - they don't come down till the end. Those contractions don't look that strong, she says, observing the monitor... (Thing #546 you should not tell a woman in active labor.)
4:15 - Calls my Doctor. He says watch me for an hour because he thought that's about what I was on Monday... I said, no, that's not right. He's not remembering correctly. Remember I go quickly? Remember he missed the last birth?? But doctor's orders are doctor's orders. So she says I can shower and try to relieve the back labor. It did help the back pain, but contractions got stronger, longer and closer together in the next 30 minutes.
5:00 - Contractions are continuing to gain intensity. Darrell tells the nurse I really need to be admitted. Nurse says, but I can't take that from you, I have to wait for Dr. OK - Darrell says, I'm just giving you feedback... She says, I know -- we have a room ready. She wants me to get back on the monitor. Lay back so the monitor can pick up contractions well. Only thing is, they make me want to double over! Or at least sit up and make space for progress!
5:15 - She checks me again - 5-6cm, bag of waters is bulging. She calls Dr. and he gives the go ahead to admit me. I'm wondering about that epidural...I've never done this without an epidural... But I know how long it takes to get checked in officially and I know how strong contractions are getting and they're almost on top of each other now.
5:40 - They wheel me to my room. Nurse on the right asking me random questions: Do you know the results of your strep B test? Details, details, in between helping me breathe through contractions. Nurse on the left starting fluids. I ask and yes, there's always an anesthesiologist on staff. How fast can he be here? They have to get blood drawn and results. There. Is. No. Way. But contractions continue on top of each other, tech is called to prep the room. Darrell and nurse help me breathe through contractions - sooooo long and hard! But they were awesome coaches and I tried to remember all that stuff from birthing class.
Nearing 6 - Nurse checked again and says "You're...7...8...9..." I say call Doctor. (but more dramatically, between panting...) :) Prepping the room, breathing, focusing on not hyper-ventilating. Breathing, panting, little break between contractions. Is Dr here yet?? I don't know how long I can do this!! The nurse and Darrell keep me focused...
6:20 - Nurse says, "Look who I found wondering the halls!" and the doctor walks in - a welcome sight. I'm at the beginning of a contraction, so I focus on making it thru - he checks me and breaks my water. I tell him baby's gonna be here on the next contraction. They break down the bed very, very quickly. Nurse goes to help Dr. and Darrell coaches me thru...with his face just a few inches from mine - hee, hee, hee, whoooo... Dr asks for the suction, and we heard that precious cry...
6:24 - I was right -- he was born!
- Childbirth is a natural, yet very dramatic process. I was interested/frustrated by how procedure-ized the hospital experience has made it. When my nurse realized I wasn't going to fit into the procedure model, I think she switched modes well enough (she had been a Lamaze instructor in years gone by) - she joined Darrell in my face to keep me focused on breathing and did well. But procedure kept her from doing much of that till the end. I've decided all young couples should attend childbirth classes - you never know, you might not fit the procedure.
- A person probably shouldn't say, "You're so lucky that labor is so fast and easy for you!" Fast and Furious, perhaps, but don't equate fast with easy. The same thing that happens for some people over many hours happens a bit more ferociously and in less time for some of us. Not worse, just different, I'm sure.
- I've left previous childbirth experiences terribly grateful for modern medicine. I came away from this experience amazed and grateful for an awesome God who designed the process and made our bodies capable of doing incredibly hard things.
- I am also really thankful that God prepared my mind for the possibility of a natural birth. I had thought that I might like to go completely natural, but 1) I knew that Darrell's reaction would be, "If you can have medicine, do it!" 2) And I've always had "good experiences." 3) And I wasn't sure I could do it. However, I had talked to 2 or 3 friends about it and asked one of them in particular to pray with me about it...God knew.
- God used another resource Redeeming Childbirth -- specifically a free chapter from the book called Nesting in Knowledge, to help me run to Jesus with fears and concerns and the mental scattering that happens towards the end of pregnancy. Essentially, this chapter challenged me to "nest" spiritually and emotionally as well as physically, which was really, really helpful during labor, as scriptures would come to mind and prayers were constantly on my lips.
"Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15