April 4, 1999 One week to go until the official due date. The countdown began, or should I say that it continued. It’s Easter Sunday and I had much to celebrate with the little one moving inside me. I was tired and hot during Sunday School, and all I wanted to do was take my clothes off and go to bed. Todd took one look at me and asked if I wanted to go home. Yes, I did! He stayed at church while I went home to rest.
The baby moved like crazy when I went to bed. I had weird pains-not contractions. Maybe gas, but I wasn’t sure. My belly felt very heavy and different when I got up to walk. Did the baby drop?
A primipara is a woman who is pregnant for the first time or who has borne just one child.
April 5, I was sluggish this morning so I went back to bed. I wasn’t motivated to do anything. When I did my kegel exercises, it felt like I was lifting weights–yes, the baby must have dropped. In the afternoon, I felt better and went shopping with a friend for flowers.
April 6 I saw my certified nurse midwife today and she confirmed that the baby has dropped. She did an internal exam, and said that my cervix is soft and dilated a fingertip. My midwife thought I might have the baby this weekend. How could she say that? No one can really know for sure! Now I’ll have my hopes up. She noticed that I was swollen and told me that I should take my wedding ring off. I told her that I had been trying to get my ring off since Saturday night, but it’s stuck.
I felt pretty good today, so I planted flowers on the porch, went for a walk and took a cool bath afterwards. Then we went to Bradley® birthing class–hopefully this will be our lasts week. I want this baby to come!
April 7 I typed my address book into the computer–a project that I’ve been meaning to do for a couple years. It didn’t take very long; why didn’t I do it sooner? I printed labels to make sending out birth announcements a little quicker. Todd went to youth group without me. I just didn’t feel like being around all the kids, and I wanted to stay by my bathroom–I’ve been going all day plus I was having more Braxton Hicks than usual. I checked my suitcase that I’m taking to the hospital and put more things in it. I feel like tonight is the night. I made a sign that says,
Who are you baby? Esme or Aleksandr?
April 8 I’m still here. Last night wasn’t the night after all. I had four contractions before falling asleep. I had a few more things on my “to do” list that I had made. I tackled the fridge. Then I moved things around in the cupboard. Is this what everyone calls nesting?
April 9 I went grocery shopping and bought tons of cereal and frozen food; I felt like this was the last time I would be shopping for awhile. I went home and and tried to rest, but my mind raced with more things to do. I got up and planted the rest of the flowers. I washed a few windows. I saw the car and figured I should wash those windows too. While in the car, I decided it needed vacuuming, so I did that as well.
By supper time, I felt kinda queasy so I went to bed. I just felt like I was going to throw up and I eventually did. I hurled so bad that it splashed the walls in the bathroom. I went back to bed. I woke up about 1 am( like I always do) because I had to pee. After lying down, I had to run back to the bathroom. My insides had turned to liquid and I was having a serious contraction. I felt better so returned to bed. But there’s another contraction and another. Not too bad, but I couldn’t sleep.
I got up and walked around and ate some saltines. The contractions continued. I laid down in the guest bedroom because I didn’t want to bother Todd. If this was it, I wanted him to get as much sleep as possible because I would need him later. I looked at he clock to time the contractions. They were pretty short and irregular. They came every 2-7 minutes and were only about 20-30 seconds long. I took a bath but couldn’t get comfortable in the tub, so I went back to bed, thinking I’d wake up Todd around 8 A.M. The contractions continued. . .
About 5, they were painful enough that I started to moan at the peaks. I decided to wake my husband up. I couldn’t wait any longer. I just couldn’t be by myself anymore. We had been practicing relaxing almost every night together for three months–finally the time was here when I really needed him to help me relax.
April 10 I I laid down next to Todd and rubbed his back for awhile, trying to wake him up gently. He didn’t think I was in labor. He told me to try and ignore the contractions. He asked me if I had eaten something, walked around, or taken a bath (he must’ve paid really good attention during birthing class.) I told him I already did all that and have been laboring four hours.
This was it!
Finally, he timed the contractions and helped me to relax. At 7:30 A.M. we called my midwife and talked to her husband who is an OB in practice with her. He said it sounded like I was in labor and would probably have the baby today, but should stay home a while longer.
That was a reality check for me. I realized my contractions weren’t very long or strong after all. After a couple hours passed, my midwife called to see how we were doing and asked if we wanted to head to the hospital. Not yet, we wanted to stay at home. Later, she called again and asked the same thing. Todd helped me get dressed and loaded the car.
All I was thinking was, if I’m only dilated 1, 2, or 3 centimeters, I’m chucking the drug-free way and plugging into the epidural. I had 4 contractions in the car, and I was not happy about them. Being in the car was extremely uncomfortable. When we arrived at the ER entrance at the hospital, a nurse wheeled me up to the maternity floor while Todd parked the car.
My midwife met us at the hospital. I was 6 centimeters dilated and 95% effaced. Praise the Lord! We had labored at home for 10 hours and had a lot to show for it. I had been praying for a short, easy labor. We didn’t get a short labor, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle so far.
I lost all track of time. I laid in the side relaxation position and Todd rubbed my legs because they really hurt. He was wonderful. He rubbed my back and talked about the baby who was about to be born. The labor nurse said we were a great team and wondered if Todd was a massage therapist. No, it was the Husband-coached childbirth® classes. (Thanks Leah!)
The contractions got harder and my moans turned to screams. Both my midwife and nurse thought I must be in transition and wanted to check my cervix. At first I refused, but then I gave in to their request when they persisted. Seven centimeters. I was very discouraged that we had been there so long and I had only dilated one centimeter, but they said I was progressing fine.
I didn’t believe them. My nurse really encouraged me at this point since she had had un-medicated births herself. She said that if she could do it, I could do it too.
Let’s take one contraction at a time.
Todd asked me if I wanted to get into the jacuzzi. I didn’t; I was just so tired. But I did agree to walking around a little. The contractions were much harder standing up, so I laid back down.
They checked me again. I was almost complete–there was only a lip of the cervix. They tried moving it through a couple contractions. It wouldn’t budge. I was stuck. I wanted to push, but they told me not to, or I would bruise my cervix. They suggested calling the MD to come in and break my waters. Eventually, I agreed. But before the doc could get there, I was complete. I pushed. My water broke on its own with my next contraction.
I glanced at the clock. It was 5:15. I wondered how long pushing would take. It took me a few contractions to get the hang of pushing. The nurse suggested lying on my left side and pulling my leg up. That was much easier for me and more effective also–until the baby turned and pressed into my back. Ouch! I flipped over onto my hands and knees (what a sight!) and was able to get relief through about 4 contractions, but then it was back to lying on my side. My midwife pushed my leg way back for me because I couldn’t do it myself; I was too tired.
Finally, the head was in sight. It was time to assume the delivery position. They took the bottom part of the bed off and I scooted way down. Now both Todd and my midwife were pushing back my legs. The doctor arrived. My midwife told me I was going to tear and suggested an episiotomy.That was the one thing I definitely did not want. I would rather tear. I refused. They wouldn’t give up the idea. I refused again. They persisted. The doc said it would take a half hour off my pushing time and the baby would be out in1-3 more contractions.
A half hour off the time? How much longer would it be? The baby’s head bulged out of me. I freaked out. I gave in. The doc cut me the next time I was pushing which didn’t hurt since the pressure of the baby’s head cut off the nerves. Then the doc cut me again when I was done pushing. That did hurt. That cut was the most painful part of the labor. The contractions were normal; the scissors were not normal.
Two more contractions. . After 19 hours of labor, Todd watched his son, Aleksandr Arthur, be born at 6:52 in the evening. The new dad was proud. He cut the cord and took pictures. Aleksandr lay on my chest. He’s beautiful. It’s over.
We did it, and we did it the Bradley® way–drug free (but not without a lot of moaning, screaming, and grunting). Yeah. Not it was time to get stitched up–bring on the local. I was a mommy. WOW. There’s nothing like it. Alex was nursing. We called our parents to let them know about their first grandson. We didn’t even know how much he weighed yet . . . 8 pounds, 14 ounces, 22 inches long.
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