I don’t think if Joe and I sat down and counted we could come up with a conclusive list of how blessed we feel right now! Even though we said we would love for our little guy to wait until around his due date before arriving, we would not trade these overwhelming feelings of love for anything this world has to offer! Years of countless prayers for a child have been worth every second of waiting. God’s timing is perfect.
A huge thank you: to our families for their support & encouragement, to our friends who have and will be bringing us dinners, to my friend Kim who talked with me through Facebook for the first part of labor, to Jennifer for loaning us her car seat and Rebekah for bringing it to us, for our pastors & wives for visiting us and sending us sweet notes, and for all of you who have sent us kind messages and cards!
As for the arrival of Mr. Jonathan Alexander, it was quite fast and definitely not the experience I had been anticipating. One of my doctors did not encourage me to try to aim for a natural birth for my first child. However, I wanted to at least try. I prepped myself by reading through two Bradley Method books, by practicing my breathing techniques, and by learning to relax and visualize thanks to birthing/music cd’s and scripture. I felt decently prepared for labor and birth.
And then came labor…
(the rest of the story may contain TMI…just a heads up)
Monday was my first day unemployed! I had planned a week and a halves worth of “nesting” things to do before the baby’s due date. I accomplished a lot, especially since Joe left early that morning, and had a late night meeting.
That night/Tuesday morning, around 1 am, I shot out of bed with intense pain around my bladder. I didn’t think much of it because having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night was quite common. The difference was that this time, I didn’t actually have to use the bathroom. I tried, but to no avail. So I went back to bed. About 15 minutes later, a repeat. No relief. I sat there, a little confused before thinking that maybe I was having Braxton Hicks contractions… since I was still two weeks away from my due date. Water is the known trick to relieve the contractions if they were Braxton Hicks, so I decided I should try to get some. It took me half an hour to make it from the bedroom upstairs to the kitchen downstairs.
I found that in order to relieve the pain that was building, the only sort of comfort I could find was to sit on the toilet. Sitting on the birthing ball or in chairs put pressure in all the wrong places. Lying down didn’t help at all. Eventually I managed to get the glass of water, but it provided no relief. I decided to try to distract myself by getting on the computer. Thankfully my friend Kim happened to be on Facebook and noticed that I had posted a status update noting that I didn’t think I’d make it to my due date. She messaged me and we talked for a little while. Since she recently had her first baby, she understood the feelings and pains I was experiencing. And apparently, sitting on the toilet is not only an effective way to relieve the pain, but also common.
This also happened to be the time I decided we may need to go ahead and get our car seat. Amazon got a middle of the night order from me between contractions!
The pain continued to increase and became more frequent, but still fairly bearable. After 3am decided I needed to start tracking the contractions. They were about 30-40 seconds in duration and coming about 6 minutes apart. I knew I still had a ways to go before the 5-1-1 rule my doctor’s office calls for (5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute in duration, for 1 hour). I decided I had a lengthy battle ahead of me.
At 4am I decided I could no longer handle the pain alone and that I needed Joe, if nothing else for the moral support. Not only was the pain intensifying at this point, but I was beginning to get sick. Joe got up, started getting things ready (labor bag was 3/4 packed, hospital bag about 1/4). I continued my routine of toilet sitting until I would get sick and then I’d throw up. Back and forth this went for a little while. Around 6am, Joe called out of work and told them he’d keep them updated.
We decided that once my contractions were closer to a minute, we’d start heading to the hospital…since we’d more than likely be hitting rush hour traffic. In the meantime, with my head in the toilet, I told Joe that if this were only the beginning, I was getting drugs at the hospital. I figured we’d get there and I’d only be 4 or 5 cm dialated. I already needed relief! We finished packing our bags and Joe cancelled my lunch date with my friend Rebekah via text message (to which worried her since Joe didn’t tell her I was in labor!).
Around 8:45(?) we got in the car and left to head to the hospital. At this point my contractions were averaging 52 seconds in duration and coming every 5 minutes and 15 or so seconds. Of course we had our “road blocks” along the way- the school bus, the stop lights, the slow drivers. I tried to get my doctor’s office on the phone, but couldn’t manage the phone tree and my contractions. Joe called for me instead (while driving in crazy traffic and trying to keep me breathing calmly). They asked for me to come by the office to be checked out first since it was our first baby and they didn’t want us having to go to the hospital if I didn’t need to (their office is in the building joining the hospital). Within a few minutes of Joe hanging up, I felt the need to push, but knew I couldn’t push in the car! I told Joe we weren’t going to the office, we were going straight to the hospital! So he called them back and let them know.
In the meantime, Joe was still battling traffic, and I was battling intense pain. At one point when Joe was talking with the doc’s office, people wouldn’t get out of his way when he flashed his headlights, so I reached over and turned his emergency flashers on. Most everyone got the point except the people who wouldn’t let us in the exit lane to the hospital. I was pretty serious about the pain level and need to get over, that I rolled down my window (on a major highway) and flagged my arm out to let the goober drivers know that we needed in and pronto!!!
When we finally arrived at the hospital, Joe pulled up to the women’s center door and ran in to get me a wheel chair. The only thing I took in with me was my id/wallet and labor bag. Joe rushed me in and we got through security who called to let the nurses know we’d be coming up. Once in the maternity/L&D waiting room we waited for a nurse to come get us. Within a minute or two a nurse came out to grab us. The time was 9:28. She told us we’d be going to triage first to be assessed. As soon as we got through the triage doors, a major contraction hit me, and I yelped out in pain and tried not to bear down! Thats all it took for her to realize that we may need to skip triage and head straight for a delivery room, to which I was thankful.
We got in the room, Joe threw our bag in the corner and helped me get undressed and in a robe. Joe asked when he should move his car to the parking deck and the nurse said “right now”, while beginning to assess me and get my information loaded in the computer. With Joe gone, it was difficult to answer their questions, stay calm, and not push. I was asked if I felt the need to push, I immediately said “YES!”. My main nurse, Crystal, stopped loading everything into the computer, threw on some gloves and checked me.
Her response to me was “well, glad you decided to come when you did.”
Crystal: “Well, you’re 9.5 cm dilated and the only thing keeping the baby in right now is the fact your bag of waters hasn’t broken.”
Disbelief hit me that I was that far along. The nurses begin shouting out things to each other, calling for a doctor and more nurses stat! They didn’t have time to get my medical chart/info, so I had to answer questions on the fly. They couldn’t find the on-call OB doctor for my practice and were calling for any available OB. When I heard them say they needed any doctor, I knew things were serious.
Joe made it back in time for the nurse to say “ok, we’re ready to start pushing.” He was in complete shock that we were that far along. I had one nurse on one side of me trying her hardest between my pushing to get my IV started, and another nurse on the other side of me trying to get my ID bracelets on. Other sets of nurses were in there, running around getting carts set up for delivery and for the care of the baby. Crystal gave up the attempt to load the contraction monitor paper into the machine, and focused instead on just getting readings. A doctor from my practice did make it over…barely! She broke my water and said she’d be back in a few minutes. I can’t recall, but I don’t think she got to step out for more than those few minutes.
The first few pushes I had no clue what to do. I was trying not to panic, but the pain was intense and I was sweating up a storm. Joe asked them to get me a cool wash cloth, which helped tremendously. Crystal and Joe coached me through the first few pushes, but all I could do was scream out in pain. Later Joe told me he’s never seen me raise my voice or scream like that. I asked what he meant, and he said my screaming was very primal.
We did pushes in sets of three. I finally got the point that holding my breath to push and not screaming was key. By the second or third set of 3’s, Joe said he looked down and could see Jonathan’s head. Joe’s reassurance to me at that point was the key to me continuing. The intense pain and pressure was indescribable! By the fourth or fifth set of pushes, Jonathan popped out at 9:55am.
When I looked up and opened my eyes, I panicked to see the cord was wrapped around his neck. I didn’t hear him whimper or cry (which isn’t uncommon I know). Joe told me that Jonathan popped his head out and his hand came too. His hand was waving to the world as Crystal was trying to cut the cord to relieve the pressure. Within a short period of time, I had gotten to the hospital and had my son lying on my chest. I was in complete love…and shock! A few minutes later I delivered the placenta and was being stitched up. I tore in two places, one of them was a second degree rip.
I don’t know how long it was, but Jonathan was taken from me to be cleaned up and examined. He weighed in 7lbs even and 19.5 inches long. He had great APGAR scores. While everything was chaotic leading up to his delivery, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world. I wanted a natural delivery, and had one (regardless of if I wanted to or not). I wanted to hold my baby right away and was able to!
A few pictures for you…