Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Birth of Evelyn Rae: Part Four

**For those who are actually reading this long winded diatribe, thank you so much for indulging me. I want to make sure that I remember every detail possible, hence the longevity of this story. So, thanks <3 **

As A found the midwife on call, and came around the corner with her, imagine my surprise to see Blair and not Beth, whom I had spoken to on the phone. Apparently they had been in the middle of switching shifts. Blair looked equally surprised to see me in what clearly was labor. 

"Beth said you were coming in for a labor check...but you are definitely in labor!"

"Yup, pretty sure I am."

She set bout getting the nurses to ready my laboring room, which I was stoked to see was the same room I had been picturing in my head since my tour. While they were getting the room ready, A and I headed into the small exam room with Blair to check my progress. If having cervical checks was uncomfortable for you before you were in labor (they weren't for me), just wait until you are in labor getting checked. So weird. 

But, we had good news! I was 5 cm and completely effaced! Yay! We had some not so good news too. As Blair felt around she could feel knees, which meant that baby was face up. We strategized on using some different positions to encourage baby to turn, and with that, I was officially in.  

We meandered into the room where we would meet our daughter...

And everyone settled in for an exciting day.

Though the birthing center doesn't make you stay on fetal monitors during labor, you do have to be monitored upon first entering. Before getting strapped up, the nurses took me into the bathroom to take care of that - where I ended up throwing up again. Awesome. Labor is so glamorous! After getting cleaned up and finding me a barf bag, just in case, they strapped me to the machines and took a look at how baby was handling contractions. 

Since midwifery patients don't stay strapped to the machines for very long, no one bothered to really explain the print out, and how to monitor the onset of contractions, etc. I remember being vaguely interested and thought about asking, but then got distracted by the fact that, oh yeah, I was in labor. Who cared what the read out said? So long as I was hearing that reassuring little heartbeat, I could definitely tell when the contractions were there.

I distinctly remember being annoyed that the gel and monitors were itchy on my belly, and thanking my lucky stars I didn't have to stick with those things all day. They also let me continue to labor standing up with them, and even had brakes on the machine so that I could brace myself against it while I waited.

After all was deemed well with baby and I, I lumbered up onto the bed to labor on the birth ball for a while in an attempt to get baby to turn. 

After not too long, I decided that that position was not my favorite. So, Blair suggested lying on my side with my right leg sort of crossed over my left to encourage baby to turn. Contractions continued to get more intense, but they were still really manageable for the next hour or so. It was definitely uncomfortable, but I was still able to stay relaxed and breathe through them. 

About an hour after arriving, at 10:30, Blair checked progress again - baby had turned a bit and I was 6 centimeters! I was so happy that we were making measurable progress, and figured that the pace was set. About a centimeter an hour? Awesome. I could do this! 

I planned on a gradual increase in intensity and meeting our baby by sometime that evening. Plus, I could get in the tub once I hit 8 centimeters. Something to shoot for, short of actually pushing. I was ready, motivated and thought the plan and path had been laid for me.

A was such a great birth partner. I was told time and time again that there would come a moment where I would hate him or want him to go away. But, that moment never happened for me. More than anything, I just felt the need to stare into his eyes, hold his hand and just have his presence near me. The things he said or did were good or not so good in the moment, but those are not the things I remember. The things I remember are his encouraging smiles, caresses and looks of concern, and the celebratory attitude of how amazed he was at what I was doing. Oh, and his tears. But that part comes a bit later.

You know what they say about the best laid plans...

Shortly after getting checked, things started getting really intense. I got cold, and used the hospital gown as a blanket. (The only thing I actually used the hospital gown for...) Suddenly, there were no longer breaks in between contractions. They kept coming and coming and coming. 

At first I was able to keep my cool and stay relaxed, but I was definitely vocalizing through them, something that I did not think I would do before being in that moment. It wasn't even something I chose to do - it just happened. And I was loud. Like loud, loud.

As contractions kept coming, with no break, I was officially in my own world. It was so strange, because I was having a completely clear and logical conversation with myself in my head, but I could not communicate those thoughts to anyone else. They just heard me groaning and murmuring "Breathe", "Soft", "Relax". 

I also had time to reflect, and even comment to A how "weird" it was that the rest of my body felt totally fine, and that the pain was so localized. I guess I have never had pain long enough before to reflect on that...but it seemed really important to tell him at the time that my hands and legs felt "totally fine."

Between the contractions coming so close together, and the fact that the baby was still rotating in my pelvis, I suddenly understood what all the "marathon" fuss was about. The pains were relentless. There is just no other word to describe the experience. You know they aren't going to stop until they do their ultimate job and get that baby out of there. 

Strangely, though I could feel the contractions and I could actually feel the baby's head turning in my pelvis - the combination of which was crazy - going for the epidural didn't enter my mind as an option. I definitely understood why other people did it, or why a person would want it, but it just never seemed like an option for me at the time.

In my head, I was trying so hard to stay relaxed, and was able to keep my jaw relaxed through most of the contractions, but my shoulders kept tensing. A few times, I totally lost my mental fortitude and fought the pain, rather than just giving myself over to it. The contractions were right on top of one another and in my head I marveled at them. 

"The whole point of natural child birth is that contractions are supposed to have a natural break! What the heck is this?! HOW am I ever going to make it through transition if I can't even handle 6 to 7 cm?! This is craziness." 

I started moaning that I needed a break, and by 11:20, about 50 minutes after Blair had last checked me, she decided to check again. 

"Well, no wonder you feel that you need a break - you are 9 centimeters."

As my team erupted into grins and cheers and congratulations, and in my head I said, "Holy Shit, no wonder that was so hard!" the only thing I could mutter {read: plead} aloud was...

"Does that mean I can get in the tub?"

Evelyn is 17 days old

...and today I learned the power of a good nap.


  1. You are a rock star that's all I have to say! Inspiring to say the least! Can't wait to read the rest!


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