He came the next morning at 9:06….8lbs 7oz!
It started on a Saturday morning…September 11th, 2010, at 10:30am while I was on the phone with my mom. I didn’t really realize that it had happened until I got off the phone, my water had broken and I was leaking slowly. I felt it with my hand but was so pregnant I wasn’t sure that I hadn’t just peed a little bit but when I stood up and saw a circle wet spot I knew it wasn’t just pee. I never had THAT bad of an accident without sneezing or something. Excuse the tmi but really if you can’t handle tmi then you shouldn’t be reading birth stories in the first place.
I wasn’t in labor so I decided to join Shane in his plans for the day. He had planned to go with a few friends to a beer fest downtown and I was so incredibly pregnant that I had planned on staying home and resting but under the circumstances I didn’t want to be away from Shane or the car and since I wasn’t having contractions I definitely didn’t want to ruin his plans (besides he’d already paid! ) so I went along. The day was very warm and the fest was outdoors so I sat with Shane and our friends for a while before heading over to the the restaurant/bar that was hosting the event to eat and chill on more comfortable seats. I met up with some other friends there and around 5:30 I started having contractions. I stayed with my friends inside until my friends wanted to go outside and so I went back out and met up with Shane who put a contraction timer on his phone for me. I sat with friend and timed and they were pretty fast. I didn’t take the timing too much into account because I had been in prodromal labor for three weeks already.
For the past two weeks I had been dilated to four centimeters and had lost my mucus plug/had my bloody show and my contractions had been 5-8min apart during all that time. I decided to go by the strength but still keep track of time anyway. All at once they were really strong and I was suddenly having to focus on breathing through them. My friends helped me up and we rushed through the crowd to Shane and slooooowly we walked to the parking lot and got in the car and hurried to Raytown. I didn’t want go to the hospital quite yet since I thought that maybe the reason my contractions were so intense was because I was outside in a crowd of strangers, sitting on a folding chair, so we stayed at home until they were pretty intense which was around 8:00pm. We made REALLY good time to the hospital because it was late in the evening. Once we got there they hooked me up to make sure I was really in labor by putting the heart monitor and contraction monitor on my belly. The charge nurse asked me why I thought I was in labor and I told her I was having strong contractions and I thought my water had broken earlier in the day. Here is where we ran into the hospital mentality that I dislike so much. This nurse was extremely rude, dead pan and had awful bedside manner. She said “why didn’t you come in immediately?” and I said “because I wasn’t in labor and was only leaking a little.” and she said “you should have come in” and then walked out. I was sort of pissed at her attitude but brushed it off as we got checked in and put in our laboring room. Once we got in Shane ran down to the car to get the hospital bag and call our parents and I sat on the bed and the charge nurse came in and said to me, “I have some bad news. You’re not going to be able to move during your labor.” I was shocked and could barely get out the word “Why?”. She was completely expressionless and answered. “Because we’re putting you on pitocin right away.” Again, I was shocked and again, I asked, “why?”. She responded with a complete deadpan look, “because your water broke over twelve hours ago and you’re not progressing fast enough.” So I said “Well, can we at least wait until my midwife gets here?” and she said “no” and I started crying and asked if we could wait until Shane came back and she said ‘okay’ and walked out. I swear, that woman was a robot. I started crying real hard now and our labor nurse, Tammy, came in and put a hand on my arm and asked if I was okay and I nodded but couldn’t speak and she asked if I was disappointed and I nodded. I’ll never forget her hand give my shoulder a squeeze of comfort. I knew she couldn’t do anything and her sympathy was really wonderful. I didn’t understand why the nurse had been so rude and how she could possibly know I wasn’t progressing fast enough when we’d been there only ten minutes and I was already five centimeters dilated. Also, it had only been nine and a half hours since my water had started leaking, not twelve. Shane came into the room just after that and I asked if we could have a moment alone so Tammy left. I sobbingly told him what they had told me and tearfully admitted that I felt bullied and Shane was on his feet and out the door! About five seconds later he came rushing back in and said, “They aren’t putting ANYTHING in you!”. I felt relieved, that is an understatement though, I was a mess and enamored with my manly husband who could take the lead and take care of me. I feel it is so important to be on the same page when it comes to the fundamentals of your birth plan and I am grateful my husband and I share them.
For a while after that I bounced on the bouncy ball, ate popsicles, chewed ice, sat on the bed and breathed through the relatively easy contractions. Kim (my midwife) got there and checked on me. I was dilated to 5 centimeters. She had just assisted on a birth and had one the night before and asked if I was okay with her grabbing a bed and trying to get some sleep. Naturally I had no problem with that since I wasn’t super close and I wanted her at her best. Tammy came in and asked if I wanted to spend some time in the jacuzzi bath and I said that sounded good so she went and got that started.
Somewhere around that time (I was sort of focused internally) Shane’s family got to the hospital. Shane ran out to say hi and came back to help me get to the jacuzzi room. I remember walking down the dark hallway and passing the nurse desk, seeing charge nurse (we had a rather more vulgar nickname for her by this point) and having to stop at the desk for a contraction. She completely ignored us..didn’t even look up.
I got into the jacuzzi and the warmth felt SO GOOD. We talked a little while in there and I leaned on the edge through each contraction. They were getting stronger so I started to internalize myself. I know I was very quiet when I tried to talk to Shane and we had a couple frustrated moments while getting out of the jacuzzi because I’d ask him for something but he couldn’t hear me! but finally we got back into the room. The nurse checked me and I was at 6cm.
The next couple hours I stayed in the room, used the restroom, breathed through contractions and stayed very internal. I moved to 7cm but stayed there for a looooong time.
Tammy said we should try the jacuzzi again and mentioned she had seen women go from a 7-10cm in no time with the help of the warm water. So we tried it again but I immediately felt overheated and didn’t get any relief from the strong pressure my contractions were causing. I got frustrated when Shane couldn’t understand my nearly silent whispers and when we were finally back in the room I gave up trying and just sat on the bed and let the pain wash over me. Each contraction was very strong so I sat straight up and when a contraction came I’d lift my butt off the bed with my fists and chant ‘down and out, down and out’ in my mind. I was starting to get very very tired and sort of in a haze of pain and exhaustion. Not overwhelming at all but enough that I would drift off to sleep between each contraction. The nurse would check me occasionally but I wasn’t progressing at all. Shane laid down in a chair that converted into a sort of small bed to see if he could get some sleep and he dozed off as well.
Around 7am Kim came in, all fresh looking and changed and said. “Okay, let’s see what’s going on with this baby!”. It was such a relief and so encouraging to see her that I immediately felt energized. She said she actually hadn’t gotten to sleep but had assisted in a c-section and another birth but she looked darned good for all that.
We discussed what we wanted to do at this point and she said she could just stick her hand up there and check it out and I said go for it! She put her hand up there and immediately said, “oh yeah, feels like part of your water is stuck in front of his head.” Basically his head couldn’t come down farther and press on the cervix which kept it from dilating farther. She did a quick swipe and I felt a huge warm gush of fluid and a very sudden, VERY strong contraction to which I hollered, ‘WHOA!’ and woke Shane up who had been sleeping through Kim’s entrance.
Kim said ‘Oh yeah! I should have warned you that you’d probably go straight into transition when that happened!’. I couldn’t help but laugh. I suddenly had a rush of adrenaline, energy and a feeling of ALIVE. Shane was filled in on what had just happened and I got really chatty between contractions. Shane mentioned that this was totally different than how I had been before and I realized it was because even though the contractions were far stronger, they were less painful and had definite breaks between them where before they all seemed to run together. I was enjoying transition!
I was dilated to 9cm at this point and I was moving from all fours, to sitting, to leaning back a little. Kim told me that I was going to stay at a 9 if I didn’t go pee and I told her she was a crazy person and that I didn’t need to go pee. She said I did. I disagreed and said I didn’t want to walk to the bathroom (like four steps away). She said I wouldn’t have the baby then because my bladder was keeping him from descending the last bit to make me a 10cm. Argh. So I hauled my big pregnant self off the bed and had two SUPER strong contractions on my way to the toilet and could have sworn I was going to have that baby in toilet but I did manage to pee A LOT and get back to the bed very slowly with two more contractions.
I got back to the bed and at this point my body felt like it was pushing for me. Each contraction I let out deep groans and when my body was pushing for me they came out all stuttered. I was on my hands and knees and felt like each contraction was making me poo so when I turned around I noticed there were a couple extra nurses there setting up a tray with everything Kim would need for delivering and I felt a shiver of excitement. It was really happening! There was something so surreal about that moment for me because I knew that right then, I was pregnant and in a few minutes, I’d have a baby in my arms. Two extremes, two states of being, one after another.
Things were moving fast.
I got into a position that seemed to be working (sitting but leaning back with my legs being held back by nurses) and I started pushing. Each contraction I pushed three times. Kim was so focused and so calm right in front of me that I depended on her through each push. She guided me with eye contact and encouraged me as I pushed. Shane held my hand and moved where ever he could to help me. I suddenly felt like I wasn’t sure if I was ready. Almost like I knew it was inevitable but wanted to forget about that. It was a strange emotion. Maybe it was fear. Things were stinging a little down there and Kim was trying to make me comfortable by doing perineal massage but more than anything I really wanted some peppermint oil or something to make it feel cold. I didn’t have any so I just tried to ignore the stinging.
She kept saying she could see the head and Shane saw it too. It was hairy! I didn’t want to see anything with a mirror or feel him, I just really wanted him out so I pushed hard and she told me his head was out! I didn’t even feel it pop through! I had been so scared of the ‘burning ring of fire’ but it was nothing. The contraction was still going so I pushed again and he was out!
They wiped his face, ripped my gown off and put him straight onto my bare chest within a couple seconds. While Kim stitched me up one of the nurses helped me get Avery nursing. He took it immediately and we sat there, me and Shane, in complete bliss.
He nursed for forty minutes on each side while we chatted, looked at the graph to see how long I pushed (26min), talked about nursing, and they pushed blood out of my uterus. That hurt. Like really bad. It hurt worse than giving birth! But I didn’t care much because I had my perfect baby in my arms. He nurse and nursed and we guessed his birth weight (we were WAY off thinking he was seven pounds haha) and talked about what a good nurser he already was. Finally he pooped meconium in my hand so we figured it was time to get him cleaned up a bit, weighed and see if I could stand. He weighed 8lbs 7oz! I couldn’t stand and so I laid down and we had family come in to visit. Avery was perfect. He looked beautiful, breathed beautiful, didn’t cry, nursed well and we immediately bonded.
I would say I had the almost ideal drug free hospital birth one could ask for. Aside from the one nurse they followed my birth plan exactly, my midwife was incredible and the facility really was beautiful.
Avery Frank Par-Due
Born September 12, 2010