Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Olivia's Birth Story

As the boys and I said goodbye to Alan as he went to work on Wednesday morning, I had a painful-ish contraction. I told Alan about it, but neither of us really thought anything of it. I had been having these contractions for about a month. In fact, that morning, I just felt so done with being pregnant.

I posted this on Facebook at 7:30am:

39 Weeks Today! Ready to evict this little resident whenever she is ready :)
Photo: 39 Weeks Today! Ready to evict this little resident whenever she is ready :)

At around 8:30, I started writing down my contractions (not the first time I had done this, but they had always tapered off before):

They were mostly 4-8 minutes apart this entire time. They gradually got closer to 4 minutes consistently.
About an hour in, I called Alan and told him this might be the real thing, but it might not be. I fed the boys breakfast & ate some myself, then threw the boys in the bathtub and took a shower myself. I wanted to be clean if I had to go to the hospital. Then I started finishing up packing my hospital bag. All this time I was becoming more and more uncomfortable. I talked to my doula about 2 hours in, still not sure if this was the real thing. I also talked to Virginia, and had to stop during a contraction. You'd think by now I would know for sure... but I have a hard time reading my body when it comes to labor. Plus I didn't want to get my hopes up.
Alan had already called his mom, but I texted both Grandmas, "I might be in early labor". And both decided to come on over ;) There was one contraction right before Alan's mom got there, that I  leaned over the TV stand and breathed until it ended. Matthew was so concerned. He said, "Mommy's tummy hurt?" It was the sweetest, most tender thing. I told him Mommy's tummy did hurt, and Granny Bee and Nana were coming over. I wanted Alan with me now. We had talked a few times, and first he said he could come at lunch time, and I said that would be fine... maybe. Then I texted.. leave as soon as you can. Then he called the home phone and my mom answered. She relayed the message that I wanted him here NOW. I was in pain, and wanted my hubby with me!
Alan arrived at 11:30, and I told him we needed to leave NOW. I didn't feel I was going to deliver imminently or anything, but I didn't want to be driving with my contractions just getting more and more intense. While he got a few things together, I started walking to the car between contractions. I had 3 good contractions on the way to the hospital. Not pleasant, being stuck in a seat belt, but thankfully the drive was only 15-20 min. We valet parked the car, and Alan pushed me in a wheelchair to L&D (that was a long ride too!).
I felt like we were in a movie when we got to L&D, since I was kind of moaning through my contractions by this point. It was pretty obvious I was in labor, so they hurried me to the "triage" room & checked me... I was already 8cm dilated! 
I asked for a tub room, and they took me there. (The tub room being an L&D room where the bed had been replaced with a giant tub). My nurse, Becky, had already started filling the tub, and I got right in. The water was warm and felt fantastic. I was so happy that I could "relax" and labor here now, instead of while packing for the hospital, while tending to two toddlers, while driving, or while riding in a wheelchair. I could finally "enjoy" my labor.
In between contractions
Shortly after we arrived in the tub room my doula Tonya arrived. She immediately started putting cool washcloths on my forehead and neck, and it felt great. She also did some counter pressure on my lower back, and also showed Alan how to do that. Tonya definitely has that gentle but firm touch that works out really well for labor. I felt so well taken care of by her, Alan and Becky... and that was before my awesome midwife Kathleen got there!
My nurse Becky didn't have time to go over all of the admission questions right when I got there (thank you Becky, for not asking me any questions during my contractions!!) So she would casually ask the most important ones throughout my labor. My favorite moment was when she asked, "Would you like apple juice, Krystal? (no, thanks) "Okay, and did you have chicken pox as a child?" It made me laugh, and I told her that was going in my birth story.
Some of my favorite things for the pain of labor were:
Holding onto someone's hand, tight.
Cool Washcloths on my face/neck
Being told I was doing a good job
Lower back counter pressure
Being in the water
Having a supportive and encouraging husband and birth team
I loved watching Alan's expression. He never seemed anxious or worried at all, and that made me feel good. I remember thinking he was so handsome while I labored, out of his element in a female world ;)
My midwife and doula worked together so well. I am thankful I got a doula that works almost exclusively with this group of midwives, and they all know her and love working with her.

I believe my doula, Tonya is going to give me a time table of my labor. At that point, I will probably revise some of this, since I may be getting the order of things wrong.
When Kathleen arrived, she helped me labor in the water for a little while, then I got out and went to the bed so she could check my progress. She said I just had a tiny lip of cervix all the way around. So I went back to the tub to labor more. After a while with no urge to push, I got out of the tub again to have Kathleen break my water, but on the way to the bed, my water broke on it's own. At this point I was fully dilated, so I got back in the water to push.
This was my least favorite part. I wasn't feeling any different (no urge to push or anything), but I tried anyway. Really tried. I just wasn't "feeling it". And I felt I wasn't being effective at all. I just wanted to rest, but also didn't want to let down my birth team, since everyone seemed to think something should be happening. I remarked a few times, "this is hard", because I was getting tired, and frustrated. Eventually I asked if I could rest for a few contractions, since I wasn't feeling an urge to push. (I never felt an urge with the boys either... but I did have an epidural).
We went back to the bed to see if a different position would help me "labor down". The baby was at a 0 or +1 station at this point, the same as before I did some pushing. So really, I hadn't done anything! They were about to have me get up to empty my bladder, when suddenly, something HURT. I remember a sharp pain in my lower left abdomen. And I started shaking. Tonya told me the shaking was exactly what she wanted to see, it meant something was happening. Suddenly Kathleen looked at me and yelled, "PUSH!" Now I wanted to push! I pushed hard through the contraction, and the next one or two. Then Alan looked at me and said, "I see hair". I was so happy! It was actually happening!
Then Kathleen looked into my eyes and said, "When I say to look at me, look at me in the eyes and do exactly what I say." I thought, whoa... she means business. So as I was pushing the head out, Kathleen looked at me and coached me through when to push and when to stop so that I wouldn't tear. Then she had Alan help pull the body out. It wasn't at all as painful as I thought it would be. The most painful part was right before I started to really push, but I never felt the "ring of fire" that I hear some women talk about.
As soon as she was born, Kathleen put her on my chest. She had a nice healthy little cry. I was so happy she was here and healthy and so happy I was done with labor. (I temporarily forgot about the placenta, but that was nothing.) And not tearing, yay! Tonya was busy taking pictures, I told her it was so important to me to document the birth and Olivia's first moments on me. She said "You did it!"

She was absolutely gorgeous and perfect. I could not believe she was here! She was born at 3:14pm, a little less than 7 hours after I had started timing my contractions that morning.

I love you Olivia Ruth :)
My amazing birth team. Kathleen, midwife (far left), Becky, nurse (middle left), and Tonya, doula (right)


Shireen said...

Oh dear God ! I am such an emotional person , I have tears of joy in ,my eyes , Love for your cute little newborn and you are really a brave woman , congratulations :)

Unknown said...

Congratulations!!! such a great experience you had. am happy for you! Thank you so much for sharing your story. Hoping to be able to share my own story too one day. Love to the entire family

young mom of twins said...

Congrats!!! I felt so emotional reading this, thank you for sharing it was beautiful.

Krystal said...

Thank you all for the kind comments :)