Our baby is now five months old so I thought it was about time to write her birth story. I had transcribed some of this for my family when she was born but this a more complete story. Also maiki recently wrote about our birth plan so I guess that was a hint to post this. ^_^
We walked to our midwife appointment on October 20th. I was 41 weeks along and anxious for Emma’s arrival. I felt the usual cramping when walking but that had been going on for weeks. That morning I was spotting so I was hoping that was a sign labor would come soon. During our appointment there was an earthquake (3.5 and based in Berkeley). Everyone but us evacuated the office and we enjoyed an extra long visit with our midwife and her assistant. They decided to do an internal exam and sweep the membranes. Right away the contractions began. We weren’t sure how things would go from here but knew we needed to go home and eat/rest. Walking home took a while and I would stop and put my arms around maiki’s neck about once per block to wait and breathe through the cramping. When we got back to the cottage, maiki made sure I was okay and went across the street to pick up food. I tried to eat some quinoa, garden burger and potatoes but it was difficult. I would have a contraction and then afterwards take some bites, start to feel sick, have another contraction and then try to eat more. The contractions were getting closer together, stronger and more regulated. We used an app to track them on my phone. Finally they were 3-4 mins apart for an hour so we decided it was time to go to the hospital. We got a ride from our friend Natalie, who lives in the front house. I was feeling nauseated and almost threw up in the car but we made in less than ten minutes despite the late afternoon traffic.
At the midwife office I was dilated at 2 cm. In Triage they said I was still only at 2 cm. I was so surprised to hear that there was no change. I was however almost fully effaced. In triage I threw up a lot and the contractions just kept getting stronger and closer together. Despite all this a nurse said that I may have be discharged. We were devastated. They gave us the option to walk around for an hour and then come back and they would check me again. maiki carried the basin for me to puke in and we trooped around the hall. I stopped at the bathroom, held onto the walls and maiki wailing in pain. I just kept telling him to push on my lower back as hard as he could for counter pressure. It had been just the two of us all this time because our doulas were not allowed upstairs until we were admitted to labor and delivery. maiki begged them not to leave and they told him if they left it would be all of us going to another hospital. It was such a painful, long hour and I told maiki that I wasn’t leaving the hospital no matter what! There was another earthquake and it felt like the same big jolt as the one before. I remember thinking that it was all so surreal and would be an interesting addition to Emma’s birth story.
Finally we went back to Triage and they checked me out: 4 cm! We were allowed to stay! They wheeled me to a room in labor and delivery and our doulas met us there. There were several nurses and one kept asking me tons of questions and giving me paperwork, while another was taking my temperature and hooking up me up to an IV and the telemetry machine. It was so overwhelming! I tried to sign my name on some stupid form and it was crazy looking because I was having a contraction. They were so close together that one would start maybe thirty seconds after the one ended. The doulas could tell I was in quite a stressful environment and tried to get me to focus and breathe. They saved me. We decided to try getting me in the bath but it only lasted like five minutes. I mentioned that I wanted to get out and sit on the toilet and they informed was I was ready to push. The nurse checked and I was at 9 cm. We were floored. It had all happened so very fast and we had not even been in labor and delivery for an hour yet.
I relocated to the bed. Laying down was uncomfortable so I stood up on the bed holding a rail and crouched down. It was very productive and Emma was making her way down, preparing the make her final descent. The bag of waters broke. I laid back down and pushed. I had people holding my legs and arms and a doula holding a wet wash cloth on my head and giving me ice water. It was crazy as hell but we did it. I was being loud and the delivery nurse told me that I could breathe better if I was quiet and focused. I tried that but then the room got so quiet. I once asked if I was supposed to push between contractions because everyone just kinda looked at me, waiting for something to happen. I was like ‘I don’t know what the hell I am doing here guys. You’re supposed to tell me what to do!’ The nurse said if I wanted to push then I should push. The experience was like trying to pat your head and rub your belly while a melon passes through you. Too much going on to notice what is really happening. Finally the nurse said that I could reach down and feel her head. It was a weird feeling and brought me back to what my body was really doing. A few minutes later out came Emma. She was poopy and slimy and they placed her across my chest/belly and it was a magical feeling. This little person lived inside of me for 41 weeks! I didn’t care at all that she was covered with mucus, my heart just swelled and maiki looked at us in awe. Life was perfect. I guess in all there was 2 hours of pushing but it seemed like less. Emma’s birthday is October 21 and was born around one in the morning. I overheard the midwife say that she came out with her arm wrapped around her neck. She was probably trying to suck her thumb and then got all tangled up. She weighed in at 8 lbs, 12 oz. so much bigger than I expected. I had some how managed a natural delivery with no tearing. In Triage I told maiki I wanted an epidural but I got through it. Having maiki and 2 doulas made it bearable. I had an amazing delivery team!
Emma was cleaned up and I breast fed her for the first time. It was so amazing. My breasts were bigger than her head! She was so cute and small and had the longest fingers and toes. maiki took some videos of her crying and one with the hiccups while we were in the hospital. We took a lot of pictures actually.