I suppose the best place to start is when my irregular contractions that I had been feeling since Saturday night became very regular contractions Monday afternoon. I had gone into work that Monday only to be sent home because having contractions every 7-10 minutes was making my co-workers nervous. Needless to say I was officially on maternity leave. By Tuesday morning I was in what I considered full blown labor. My surges were consistent and time-able and some even made me stop and concentrate. Today was going to be the day!
Laboring at home for as long as possible was the plan…and we were off to a great start. Staying busy was key; from doing laundry, to last minute baby preparations, to taking the dogs to the park. I wanted to remain as active as possible for as long as possible. By about 11am my surges were to a point where small tasks around the house were no longer possible. At that point surges were spent rocking with Chris’ (my husband) support and leaning over the couch. Chris was a great support, reading our HypnoBirthing scripts and breathing with me through surges. By 11:30 surges were coming every 4 minutes, lasting about 45 seconds so we thought it was time to take a trip to my OB to see how far I had progressed. My OB’s office as well as the hospital I delivered at is roughly an hour from our house. When we got to the OB I had my very first vaginal check…I was 3cm and 100% effaced. My OB gave us the ok to head to the hospital…I however had other things in mind.
I informed my doctor that I wanted to wait to go to the hospital until my contractions were 3 minutes apart lasting a minute for at least an hour. I told her I would be going to my mother’s house who lives about 15 minutes from the hospital to continue to labor there until the contractions were closer together. She was supportive of my plan as long as Keelyn was tolerating labor well…I had a NST which was passed with flying colors. On to mom’s house!
Chris and I got to my mom’s around 1:30 where I was able to labor there for another 4 hours until Chris was insistent that it was time for the hospital. My contractions were coming every 2 1/2 minutes, they were lasting a minute (sometimes more) and they had been this way for over an hour…Chris practically forced me into the car. I look back now and I was definitely in denial. I really didn’t think I was that far along.
We got to the hospital around 5pm (time starts to become a little hazy here). I was wheeled up to L&D where I was checked again…4cm, given a buff cap and put onto a monitor. Chris gave our birth plan to the nurse (Cynthia) and she was AWESOME. She made a big sign for the door that said HypnoBirthing in Progress Do Not Disturb. After 20 minutes of monitoring I was free to walk around. Cynthia suggested I get into the tub…and she drew up the bath. She also went on the hunt for aromatherapy massage oil (which she found)…came back and showed Chris how to massage my arms and legs during contractions. As great as the bath felt it started to slow my contractions down…so it was time to get out and get walking.
Walking the halls of L&D was the best and the worst thing. Hugely uncomfortable but exactly what my body needed. Contractions were spent leaning against a wall while Chris applied pressure to either side of my hips and we swayed in a figure 8 motion. I quickly entered transition and felt the need to get back to the hospital room because it was getting to hard to focus through the contractions while walking. I was checked again once getting back to the room and was 8cm. I was starting to feel the contractions in my back and what got me through was the pressure Chris applied to my lower back and Cynthia stroking my arms. Another hour passed…maybe? I was checked for the last and final time…10 cm.
I started actively pushing at midnight. I know this because I asked later exactly how long did I push for and was told 54 minutes. I was planning on pushing in any position other than on my back as I was told that pushing on your back is the least effective. Well…pushing on my back felt the most effective for me. I didn’t want to be coached how to push…I didn’t want counting…but when it came down to it counting gave me focus and made my pushes more effective. 3 counts to 8 for each contraction is what worked for me.
Keelyn was almost born en caul but because she would crown a little and then get sucked back up between contractions I allowed my doctor to break my water. After she broke my water it only took a few good pushes before she was born at 12:54 am. Chris got to help deliver her which was completely amazing…he was the first person to hold her even before the doctor. Keelyn had her cord wrapped around her neck 3 times and never once did she show signs of distress during labor. Her heart rate remained strong the entire time. As Chris held her the doctor quickly unwrapped the cord and then Chris placed her on my chest. Keelyn was so alert. We locked eyes in an instant and I could feel right away the bond I had with her…and her with me. The most amazing feeling in the world and one that can never be duplicated.
She was born on Wednesday October 27th 2010 at 12:54am, 6 pounds 13 ounces and 19 3/4 inches….Perfection.
My personal belief is that when I look into her eyes I can’t help but know she was sent to me by God. She is all the proof I need that there is someone bigger than us…and I thank him every day for letting me be the lucky woman who gets to call this beautiful girl my daughter.
The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions
Childbirth without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth
Birth is inspiring, amazing, and empowering. This website shares a collection of real natural birth experiences from you, the readers. Births the way nature intended. No pitocin. No epidural. Just the beauty (and intensity!) of the human body at work. Whether you've had one natural birth, five natural births, or are considering natural birth in the future, our hope is you will find courage and joy in these stories. Enjoy.
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation