I woke up Sunday morning around 5 and couldn’t get back to sleep. My friend, Amy Henderson had made me some “labor inducing peanut butter cookies,” so I grabbed a few and did some blogging. I had been crampy for days, but that was about it. I had my first real contraction around 6:30 and felt that glimmer of hope that this might be it. About 8 minutes later, another, and so it went. I had only slept for about 5 hours, so I went back to try to get some rest.
Matt got up shortly after I went back to bed, and even though I wanted to tell him, I didn’t want to get his hopes up, so I didn’t. the contractions weren’t at all regular, some were 5 minutes apart, some 10, but I was pretty sure we were in business.
At 8:10 I came down and told him I was pretty sure we were in labor and I was going to start officially timing contractions and keeping track. He was making muffins and got all excited and started cleaning up. I went back upstairs and puttered around between contractions. I folded laundry and tidied up. I was thinking, this is so fun, to know we’re gonna have a baby and to be calmly preparing the house between each contraction. Addie came in when she woke up and I hugged her and told her we were gonna have our baby sister today. She seemed really excited and when matt came up a few minutes later she excitedly told him.
My contractions were still all over the place. They ranged from 3-10 minutes apart and were anywhere from 30-60 seconds in length. I kept wondering if we were really even in labor, but they were getting more intense, so I felt pretty sure.
I wanted to get in the bath as soon as they started because that’s where I was the whole time with Frankie, but I didn’t want to rush things. Finally around 9:45 I got in the tub. The girls came in shortly after that and both wanted to get in the bath immediately, and they both needed a bath too. Matt came and got Frankie, but then in a moment of weakness, I told addie she could take off her jams and hop in with me. It was actually really sweet, she hung out with me and “swam” and was really calm and good and not splashing. And she made super sweet observations like, “mommy, you have a big bummy, and I have a little bummy!” J
With frankie’s birth I squatted through every contraction, but I just wasn’t finding that comfortable, especially not in the bath. So I would stand up through my contractions, brace myself on the counter, and sway. Matt got Addie got out of the bath and dressed for church again. Frankie came in again and was sad and crying for me, which broke my heart. Lana picked up the girls around 10:30. Matt quickly got in the shower and gathered the last of his things to pack. The bath had slowed things down and I again questioned if this was even real labor, silly, I know. I got out and layed on the bed and coached matt on how to rub my legs and back. J
I was super uncomfortable and I was getting super crabby. I was annoyed with everything. I guess I thought things would be pretty similar to frankie’s birth, only faster (I had hoped!). but it wasn’t the same at all. What I had found comforting last time wasn’t working this time. Everything felt more intense and I felt less prepared. And by the time the girls had left, I had been in labor for four hours and was pretty sure I wouldn’t have a baby within the next hour, so this labor was even taking longer. Grumpy mama!
Matt finally finished gathering things and he stayed with me then. I was all over (because nothing felt good!), in the bath, on the toilet, on the bed, walking around. As soon as a contraction would come I would put my arms around his neck, head on his shoulder and sway. I told myself “relax, relax, relax, relax.” Then I asked matt if he would bring up my exercise ball so I could try that out. As soon as he left the contractions were like bam! Bam! Bam! Hard and fast and painful! And I was starting to feel that pressure, not enough to want to push, but definite pressure. I was sitting on the toilet loudly bemoaning my lot and wishing that he would just come back, but I could hear him rummaging in the garage, probably for the pump to inflate the exercise ball. After what seemed like forever, alexis came in to check on me and I asked her to get dad. He came up and said the ball wasn’t gonna work out, which was fine because I felt that it was definitely time to go. Contractions were still coming on top of each other, very intense, and I was getting more crabby. Getting dressed, contraction. Walking down the stairs, contraction. Waiting outside for matt to back the car out of the garage, contraction. Leaving our neighborhood, contraction. It was awful.
We went straight to emergency, partly because we couldn’t really remember where to go (because franks was a middle of the night’er, we knew to go to er) and partly because I didn’t know that I could (or would want to) walk all the way up to L and D. I got out of the car as soon as we got there because it felt better to stand than sit and was immediately met by some of st mary’s finest. Not in the form of a police officer, but in the form of a trashy, cell phone talking (although it was more like cursing/yelling), cigarette smoking lady. I was appalled and in pain and maybe gave her the worst stink eye I could muster (which was probably pretty bad now that I think of it). ;)
A sweet tech came out to wheel me up. She tried to make small talk, “when are you due?” (10 days ago), “how far apart are your contractions?” (non-stop), etc, but I could hardly answer. I was breathing and trying to stay calm. I felt dizzy with my eyes closed and still not great with them open. Have I mentioned that it was awful?
(i know that i look ridiculous here, but this face pretty much sums up how i was feeling.)
Matt checked us in to the hospital at 12:05. We got up to the room and matt helped me change. I had been texting sarah (our photog!) all morning, but had matt text her before we left to see if she wanted to meet us at the hospital. She did. J
As soon as the nurses came in, matt told them that we would like to go as naturally as possible and that we would like a nurse that was Bradley trained. The nurse just kind of smiled and said yes and in my grumpy state I immediately didn’t like her. I got into the bed and they got the monitoring started. I made sure to let her know that I would like to get out of the bed asap. A nurse came in to give me an IV. Can I just say, the nurses at st. marys are terrible at putting in IV’s! She tried twice and poked and prodded around my right wrist and couldn’t get it. So then another nurse came and poked and prodded my left wrist and finally got it. Just what a laboring mother wants and needs, right?! Another nurse came in and checked me and told us that I was 8-9 cm and she couldn’t feel a bag of water. As soon as she said that I started bawling. I’m not quite sure why. I think it was relief that I was almost done, mixed with terror that I’d have to start pushing soon, mixed with the extreme pain of my never ending contractions. Whatever it was, I had started crying and I kinda cried and carried on until after Delaney was born. Oopsie. Oh, and Sarah got to the hospital at 12:20.
About the pushing. Frankie’s labor was seriously a dream. I was relaxed, I handled it well, I breathed and was happy and felt like I could have labored all day. And then I pushed and it was terrible and I never wanted to go through that pain ever again. But it didn’t last long and I told myself it was just that I rushed into pushing and I just needed to take my time and stay calm and I could totally do better this time. I also talked to everyone I could about pushing, how it felt for them, what I could do, whatever. But I was still terrified of the pushing phase!
So, back to this birth. Dr Tilley showed up around 12:25-12:30. He checked me and said I was good to push whenever I felt the urge. I think that’s when I really lost it. I started saying I didn’t want to push, I didn’t want to do this, I wasn’t ready, I didn’t want to be on the bed, was it too late for an epidural (not even sure why I asked this, I know I wouldn’t have gotten one and I knew it was too late! I just really, really, really did not want to push!!!) and I asked if I could try squatting to push. They told me (dr tilley and the nurses) that lying on the bed, with my knees pulled up, was the best way to get out this obviously big baby.
It’s taken me a long time to figure out how I feel about this. Looking back, I think I just felt frantic. I didn’t feel ready, and even though they said (kinda reluctantly, at least it seemed to me) that I could wait till I was ready, I felt pressure from them to get the baby out. Like, here is the dr and 4 or 5 nurses, and they’re all telling me that I just need to push and have my baby and the sooner I do it, the sooner it’s over and I just need to do it. And I just.wasn’t.ready!!!
Oh and also, my contractions were still coming one on top of the other! I said, (cried, whined!) “aren’t they supposed to slow down during this part???!!!” and they kinda chuckled and said “not always.” Have I mentioned that I was kinda crabby?
I finally thought maybe I could give it a try. I think I first pushed at 12:35 (‘ish) but not sure cause none of us thought to check the time. But I think it took me a good 5-10 minutes after dr. tilley got there to be willing to give it a try. I pushed a little and was like nope, still not ready! But everyone was telling me I needed to push, I was so close, focus, blah, blah, blah. I was crying and carrying on and seriously being a baby. I kept apologizing too because I really felt badly about my behavior.
I was embarrassed and frustrated and maybe a little bit ashamed of the way I was carrying on. I just felt like, this is what I wanted, a natural birth, but in a hospital, which is kind of becoming an oxymoron these days. But it’s what I wanted. And with Frankie it felt so different. I was still being a baby about the pushing, but I didn’t know what to expect so I wasn’t quite as bad. And I liked the nurses better with frankie’s delivery too. They suggested different pushing positions, but I felt more comfortable laying. These nurses told me again (when I frantically cried again that I did not want to be laying down) that this was the best position. Then dr. tilley even told me that this was the best way to push out this large baby. He said I could try squatting, but that was going to make things more difficult for me. I wanted to yell, that’s not what everyone else says and then quote statistics about how squatting opens the pelvis, but I thought better of it. I just cried some more. J
They kept telling me that I needed to hold my legs back and push. I will never understand why they ask the laboring woman to hold her legs back after she’s already exhausted by pushing! And I let them know that I was already working hard and couldn’t someone else hold my legs back?! I gave another half hearted push and then the nurse told me that I was pushing her across the room because I was pushing my legs out and that I had to hold my legs back. I wanted to tell her that my husband seemed to manage holding my leg without being pushed across the room and maybe she should get herself a membership to the gym. But I didn’t. ;)
It’s all kind of a blur, but a few random things I remember. I know they offered me a towel for my head. I tried that but immediately hated it and tossed it off. Matt was rubbing or something and I shrugged him off cause it was irritating. Dr. tilley broke my water. I faked a push, but I don’t think I fooled anyone. ;) they asked if I wanted a mirror to see the head, cause I guess at some point I pushed enough for her head to be crowning. I reluctantly agreed. I’ve never watched my babies being born, but I figured since this would be the last that maybe I should, and I’m glad I did. It was pretty cool and it helped. I just remember crying and apologizing and people laughing cause I was being such a baby. Matt was telling me it was okay to wait until I was ready and the nurses were trying to help me clear my head enough to push. I think it’s important for me to remember too that the pushing only lasted about 15 minutes, even though it felt like forever to me! Also, my right leg was totally spazzing out! Like shaking uncontrollably. I even asked “what is wrong with my leg?!” but I don’t remember what they said. It was weird! Oh, and I didn’t get sick! No throw-up, yay!
I don’t know why I finally decided to go for it, but I finally decided to push and I watched in the mirror as her head came out. I think that really helped, to be able to see the progress I was making. Dr. tilley had given me specific instructions that after her head came out I really needed to focus and listen to him because she was so big and I needed to be careful. Or something like that. I was yelling or grunting loudly (I’m not sure what sound I was making, but pretty sure I was doing something loudly) and I may or may not have let out a minor curse. I looked at dr. tilley and he coached me through pushing out her body and then it was finally done! At 12:49pm, 9.12 lbs, 22 ½ inch long Delaney Noelle Ray was finally born. 6 ½ hours of labor and 15 minutes of pushing (and 10 days late!). I think it was really 3 pushes. One to get her head down to crowning, one to get her head out, and one to get her body out. If I pushed anything other than that I was either faking or not really trying, which maybe is the same as faking.
She was so beautiful! And she looked so huge! The thing I remember most about the first time I saw her were the rolls on her arms and the wrinkle above her nose that made her look angry. I was all like, “I’m angry too, Delaney! I’m angry too!” I was sooooo happy that she was finally here! We were all laughing and joking about how big she was, she seriously looked huge! We all guessed and I think everyone guessed that she was over 10 lbs. dr. tilley told me how he classifies babies sizes like turkeys. The only one I can remember him saying was butterball, and he thought that she looked like the one that was bigger than the butterball.
She was pretty reddish purple after she came out and her face was bruised from coming too fast, they said. She had burst a blood vessel in her eye and had a little bruise on her eyelid and also one on her nose. And I was bruised too, also because she came so fast. I don’t understand that either. I was crying that I wasn’t ready and then she came too fast? Couldn’t I have just waited until I was ready and then would everything have been perfect? That’s what I want to believe, but whatever.
He checked me and I had no tears! Yay! Then he started tugging on my cord to get the placenta out. I told him, “can you please just leave me alone down there for awhile, can’t we just let it come out on it’s own?” I don’t remember what he said, but I told him that a couple more times and he finally laughed and said “look at my hands, I’m not doing anything!” maybe I was still a little grumpy. ;) finally the placenta came out and I was done and so, so, so happy! And exhausted.
I am so thankful for such a supportive husband. I didn’t write much about what he was doing because I really don’t remember. I was so wrapped up in my own discomfort that I don’t remember a lot of the specifics. But I knew he was there, I knew he loved me and supported me and I think that was enough. He advocated for me and helped me and didn’t let me throw him across the room. ;) I asked him later what he preferred, since I had an epi with addie and then two natural births. His answer was something like, well I support and love you, but I hate to see you in so much pain, so I would think you would want an epi. Very diplomatic, that one. J
It took me a long time to write this. I have gone back and forth about how I feel about it. I am happy with my birth. It was what I wanted in that I wasn’t rushed into being induced, I went into labor on my own and labored at home for most of the time. I don’t really know why I felt grumpy for most of the labor, except that it was very intense and different from my last time and being my only other natural birth, that was my comparison. The last 15 minutes were the worst and, this is one of the hardest things, I felt disappointed with my dr and the nurses for how they handled things. It wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t feel as supported as I would have liked. I think it was partly my own fault. I know that I need to advocate for myself. I wish that I could have calmly told them all to go away and that I would call them when I was ready to push or that I would have told matt, because I know he would have stood up for me. I just wish I could have somehow made myself more clear and not been as frantic. Pushing your baby out shouldn’t be frantic, in my opinion. In the end I really did get what I wanted. I had my beautiful, healthy baby girl all naturally and I had my wonderful husband and good friend there to see to it.
And I call that a good birth story.