It all started on Monday January 28th, 2008 when I arrived at work at 6:45am. The morning routine started as usual but by mid-morning, around 10ish, I started noticing occasional cramping-like feelings in my lower abdomen. They would come and go every 20-30 minutes and last approximately 10-15 seconds and felt similar to premenstrual cramps except sometimes I would have to stop what I was doing because of the strong sensation.  Not knowing exactly what they were, I asked my co-workers their opinion and they said it sounded like I was having Braxton-Hicks contractions. That sounded like a reasonable answer so I continued my shift taking note of these cramps/contractions, their intensity and location.

As the day progressed they would follow one another and then stop for a while and then start again and I would have to stop walking or talking and let them pass. I started thinking if this could be the beginning of labor: could I work the following day with the contractions? would I be going to work at all the rest of the week? Was this IT??

The contractions continued throughout the evening so Jerry and I decided to start timing them around midnight to see how long they lasted and how far apart they were.  From around midnight to 4am I walked up and down the length of the bedroom and stooped over and swayed every time a contraction started. Your dad was in charge of timing them and helping me breath trough each one.

By 5am we had a long list of contraction times and lengths and decided to speak to the on-call MD  to see if we should go to the hospital. Dr. Binford asked Jerry questions about how I was feeling, the frequency and duration of the contractions and other signs that your arrival was imminent. Then I spoke to her and she asked me how dilated I was at my last appointment with Dr. Nash. I explained that I requested that she not check my cervix so I didn’t know. Since we wanted to have a natural unmedicated birth and the contractions were not regular in duration or frequency (around 10-12 minutes apart and around 30-45 seconds apart) and my water hadn’t broken, she suggested that we stay home and continue to monitor everything rather than go to the hospital.

By morning (Tuesday) the contractions were spacing out and getting shorter but were still popping up every now and then. Your dad stayed home from work to help me labor at home and around 11am we all decided to  go to Target to keep busy and walk around. The day continued with us walking, timing and waiting and trying to ignore labor.

Around 5pm I asked your dad to take a walk with me around the neighborhood and we used the walkie talkies to keep your grandmas timing the contractions. The contractions were regular now but still 8-10 minutes apart and 45 seconds in length.  Later that evening around 7ish we (me, your dad and your Grandma Olga) went to the Lakeline Mall hoping to keep my mind busy and my body moving.

I consider everything to this point to be a long early labor and the “real” beginning of labor started on Tuesday January 29, 2008 at 11pm.  At that time the contractions were getting stronger, consistently lasting a minute, and were about 6-8 minutes apart. Everyone went to bed except for your mom and dad who had a long night/next few days ahead of them.

With your dad as my amazing coach we spent the next 7 hours at home in labor. I walked around the room, got on hands and knees, rested on my left side, did my deep breathing, threw up orange juice at 3am, and then headed into a warm bath from 3-4am to help cope with the pain.  Yes, the contractions were painful but they weren’t absolutely terrible- do I have a high pain tolerance or was I just lucky?

At about 5 am I noticed that my mucus plug was coming out and I knew, (gut instinct), that you were going to arrive soon! We called the on-call MD, Dr. Yium, who told us that based on my contractions being 4-6 minutes apart, 45-60 seconds  and my water not breaking we could labor at home  a little bit longer or we could go to the hospital and get checked. She asked how far dilated I was at my last check-up and I told her that I had requested not to be checked so she left it up to us and  your dad asked me if I wanted to wait until after morning traffic to leave or if I wanted to leave then(6am). I knew that we had to go earlier rather than later because things were getting serious and I wanted to have enough time to receive the antibiotics I needed since I was GBS +.

Luckily, your dad had already loaded the car the night before so I got dressed, we let your grandparents know we were leaving, and we started on our way to the hospital. We arrived at the ER entrance at 6:30 am and your dad grabbed a wheelchair and off we went to labor and delivery admitting on the 2nd floor.

Once done, your dad wheeled me into our labor and delivery room and I changed into a gown and we waited for our nurse. Amy, the nurse, came in at about 7am, and I laid on the bed as they hooked me up to the external monitors to check on your heart rate and the contractions. The first contraction they measured was a strong one and your heart rate was normal and regular. They were surprised by the strength of the contraction on the strip and my reaction to it because the tracing showed a very strong contraction and for me it was bearable, sure uncomfortable and moderately painful but tolerable.

Just before Amy examined me Brenda, our doula, arrived and we were all surprised when Amy said that I wouldn’t be leaving and would be having a baby soon since I was 7-8cm dilated and 100% effaced. I couldn’t believe it! Shortly thereafter, Dr. Yium arrived and examined me and she said I was 7 cm dilated and 100% effaced.

Each contraction after that seemed to get stronger and that is when I started getting “vocal” with moans and groans.  Just at this time your grandma Olga arrived while your Garcia grandparents sat in the waiting room. I continued to walk around the room with Brenda and your dad coaching me through each labor pain. At one point Brenda asked if I wanted to try the labor ball and I said sure but the moment I sat on it and a contraction started I yelled “Get me up, get me up NOW!!” and your dad and Brenda hoisted me up quickly and helped me lean over the bed.  Amy asked me to get into bed again so she could connect me back to the monitor to check your heart rate and the strength of the contractions. All I can remember at this point is being on my left side, closing my eyes and moaning/yelling with each intense wave and hearing Brenda in the background moaning softly with me.

Then the pain changed and instead of just being painful in my lower abdomen I had the primal urge to push like I was having a MASSIVE  bowel movement. “I have to poo, I have to poo”, I whimpered to everyone and a huge wave flowed over me and I closed my eyes and started pushing.  Then the wave stopped and I kept exclaiming “I have to poo!!” Amy, Brenda, and your dad were around me and said it was ok for me to poo and they would just clean me up. After a few more pushes I was convinced I had taken a big dump and started crying at the embarrassment of pooing on myself. But they all checked me and said nope, I hadn’t pooed. It was the pressure of your head coming down the birth canal and a sign that it was time to push you out.

Then Amy checked me around 8:30 a.m and said “The head is right there, call the doctor” so she asked me to get on my back which I was not happy about but I managed to turn over. I was squeezing your dad’s hand hard and pushing with every contraction but after about 5 minutes of this Amy and Brenda started to tell me not to push because Dr. Yium hadn’t arrived. Asking a woman with her baby’s head about to pop out NOT to push is one of the craziest things in the world but there we were with Brenda telling me how to blow out each breath to keep me from pushing and Amy holding your head at one point so you wouldn’t come out.

The urge to get you out was so strong and getting stronger that I shouted out “Where the %^#@  is the doctor!!”.  The nurses were concerned that I was not going to be able to keep from delivering you before the doctor arrived so they started requesting for someone that could deliver the baby to get there “STAT!”  Finally Dr. Yium ran into the room 20-30 minutes  after the initial first page and before I knew it (5 minutes later) you popped out in an intact amniotic sac (total pushing time 10 minutes!! Your dad says that you would have been born at 8:45 am if a doctor had been in the room earlier.)

The nurses, techs, and doctor couldn’t believe that my sac was intact and your dad describes it as something out of an alien movie. They cut opened the sac and you started crying and they plopped you on my chest. “I can’t believe I just had a baby!!” I kept repeating. Your eyes were wide open and your cheeks were all red and you were absolutely beautiful!! I held you against me and we were so awestruck that it was 10 minutes later when we realized we had left the camera in the car.

And that’s how you came into the world on Wednesday January 30, 2008 at 9:05 a.m.  (Yes only 2 hours and 5 minutes after we got to the hospital) You weighed 6lbs 7oz and were 19 inches in length.