On Monday, February 21st 2011 it began just like any other typical Monday. I got up, showered and dressed and went to work. Throughout the day at the office, I noticed that I was getting cramps every few hours and just shrugged it off as “just” cramps. I got cramps before, and especially braxton-hicks contractions through the pregnancy, so I didn’t think much of it. As the day went on the cramps got a bit more frequent and I thought that maybe my pants were just too tight.
I was wearing maternity jeans with the elastic waistband and just thought that I was getting too round to fit in them, I even asked my co-worker Shanea to cut a few slits in the waistband in hopes that it helps to relieve some of the cramps. And sure enough, it kind of did. During my lunch break, I even went to the mall to return a few items and ran a few errands. After work, I went home and Dustin brought home dinner, we ate and then around 7pm, Dustin noticed that I was commenting on each cramp and asked how far apart they were. Needless to say, I think he got a bit excited hearing that I was getting cramps but I reassured him that it was nothing and that I may have over done it today being on my feet and going to the mall during lunch.
But the thought lingered with me, so on a whim I decided to pull out a piece of paper and started to write down the times when these cramps were coming. (Also during this time, Dustin offered to download an iPhone app that would track these “cramps” and even though I am big Apple fan as the next guy, I did not want to make a big production out of the cramps and may have sharply replied back that an iPhone app was not needed) So about an hour or so into jotting down the times, I noticed that they were 5-6 minutes apart. I decided to go upstairs and took a shower, in hopes that it would help and maybe help relax me. Around 11pm, the “cramps” were getting more intense and causally I texted Katie, a doula and our birth class instructor, and asked her if this was labor.
She reassured me, through text messages, that it most likely was not and to just relax and try to get some sleep tonight. I took her advice and tried to go to bed. But I couldn’t fall asleep. Dustin was downstairs on the computer working, and I called down for him to come up. By then we decided to call the doula pager, and Maria returned our call. We chatted for about 20 minutes on the phone and towards the end of the conversation she told me to relax and try to get some sleep.
I asked her what labor should feel like and if this was labor or just cramps, she simply replied that if it was labor each surge would be intense and that I would need to devote my full attention to the surge and could not focus on anything else. Our phone conversation ended, and by 12:30am I was in active labor. I told Dustin to call Maria back and that she needed to come over, he called her and they spoke briefly on the phone and Maria asked to listen to one of my contractions and after hearing it she told Dustin that it did sound like active labor and that she was on the way. Now for any mothers out there, you can relate that time and the notion of time is completely skewed when you are in labor. It felt like ages before she arrived and it was only 25 minutes or so. By then, I was very vocal and laying on our bed going through each contraction. I heard Maria arrive and when she got to our bedroom, she was calm and started to massage my back and go through breathing techniques to relax me and help me through each contraction.
My birth plan was to labor and deliver my baby naturally, and we prepared with our birth classes and choose the Boulder Nurse Midwives to help with our plan. But I do have to say that laboring naturally, was intense and it did hurt.
There’s no doubt about that.
It is like no sensation that you have ever felt, and it completely overtakes your entire body. But at the same time, you know in the back of your mind that it is okay and that there is nothing wrong because it is so easy to associate pain and discomfort with being sick or being hurt. We labored for a few hours (2-3?) on the bed and by then I was exhausted and in a lot of pain from the intensity of the contractions. So a bath was drawn and that did help to ease the pain. Within a few contractions in the bath tub, my water broke and I remember that feeling all so well. At this time the room was dark except for a few LED candles and for the majority of the time my eyes were closed. I do remember moaning and groaning a lot during the contractions and at one point I remember pleading with Maria and Dustin that I could not do it anymore and that I wanted pain relief in the form of an epidural. I remember crying out asking for one and Maria calmly saying “Okay, we can do that when we get to the hospital” and that helped to calm my nerves down. But also at the same time in the back of my mind I knew that we were too far along to get one and knowing that it would take at least 30 minutes for it to kick in, I remember thinking to myself that there would not be enough time. But at the time it offered me some relief and peace of mind that I could get one. Right after my water broke in the tub, I had the urge to push.
Now for the non-mommas out there, I don’t know how to describe this feeling. It’s somewhere along the lines of having to take a big poop that you have been saving up for 9 months. I got out of the tub and sat on the toilet, after some more grunts and groans and crying out that I had to poop, Maria got a flashlight and checked me. Now I remember this moment pretty clearly, she looked at Dustin and calmly but sternly said to him “Get the car ready, we have to go now!” Dustin left to go gather everything and put it in the car for the drive to the hospital. Maria then helped me get dressed and after much encouragement got me to walk down the stairs, which was no small deal since I protested in walking down stairs since that just hurt like hell. Got in the car, laid down on the back seat and Dustin drove quickly to the hospital at 4:30am.
During the car ride, Maria called the midwives and the hospital to let them know we were coming, it was only at this point did I hear my stats of how I was doing in labor. My contractions were 2 minutes apart, and had pushing urges and baby had crowned. I recall at one moment, Maria replying back to the midwife on the phone that she might not make it in time judging from the sounds that were coming out of my mouth. Somewhere during this car ride, to mother nature’s credit I remember rolling onto my back and just naturally getting into a position to push this baby out. With each surge, Maria coached me through the pain with breathing techniques of “blowing out the candle”. Arrived at the hospital, got wheeled up to the 3rd floor and by the time my butt hit the bed in the labor and delivery room, with one push, sweet baby was brought into this world!
Moments that I do not want to forget:
Maria telling me to “blow out the candle” while I am laying in the backseat of my BMW x3 as Dustin drove quickly to the hospital and thinking to myself after 15 minutes into the car ride that if she tells me one more time to blow out the candle I am going to yell at her that the F-ing candle is blown out and I am ready to push and have this baby. Lucky for her, that by that time I saw that we were at the ER entrance of the hospital.
The look on Lucy’s, the nurse who caught baby Cayden, face when she looked to check me and then very calmly yet urgently said to the other nurse next to her to go get the cart. And within 60 seconds, she had dropped the foot of the bed, put on blue scrubs, gloves and was ready to catch the baby. Within moments, Maria walks into the room and Lucy looks at her and says “We are ready to have a baby”. As Maria walks over to me, holds my hand and then finally somebody tells me it’s okay to push, I hunker down and push. The last thing I remember is Dustin’s voice saying “open your eyes, open your eyes!” and right as I open them, I see my baby being placed on my chest.
The poor guy who met us at the ER entrance of the hospital and brought us a wheelchair. I plainly stated that in no way or fashion was I able to sit in the wheelchair so it was suggested that I just kneel on it, which I did and wrapped my arms around this guy’s shoulders. As he starts to wheel me inside the hospital, I get another surge and I take that intensity that I felt on this poor guy’s shoulders and squeeze him through it. He did kindly say to me after a few in the hallway …. “Miss, you need to let go, I can’t breath…” and I realize that this is a complete stranger, I let go and apologize for killing this guy’s neck. Then as we are going down the hallway, my slippers start to slide off and I ask him to stop so I can get them and he says “No ma’am, I am not stopping” so Dustin runs behind and fetches my slippers that fell off on the way to the delivery room.
Sitting in the tub at home going through surges and after my water breaks, I was exhausted and ready for it to be done. I beg and plead to Maria and Dustin that I’ve had enough and that I can’t do this anymore and I want that epidural. Maria tells me that I am doing it and that I am doing a good job. But the intensity was just too much for me at that point. I kept asking for the epidural and one of the times, Maria replies back “Okay, we can get one when we get to the hospital”. At the time, I felt relief with that statement but I knew in the back of my mind that I was too far along and that by the time we got to the hospital that I would be too far along to get one. I knew this, but still believed that I could get one at that moment.
After Cayden was born, and Dustin and I are both soaking in the moment of his arrival the nurses are asking us for our names and date of birth. Since I arrived so quickly and had the baby, there was no time to do a formal intake. Then after Cayden was born, a nurse was writing down his birth date and time she said out loud, “and it is a boy right?” and we all realized that in the rush of things that nobody actually looked to check. Dustin lifted up Cayden’s leg and looked to make sure he was a boy.
Cayden laying on my chest right after the birth and Angela (Boulder Nurse Midwives) came in and helped with the “clean up” and assisted in delivering the placenta. I remember looking down and seeing this long red string going up and down and simply asking “Uh.. what are you doing?” and Angela along with the other nurses all said in unison to “Just look at your baby… Look at your baby!” but I was focused on the blood soaked string that was bopping up and down and Angela said, “Oh you just tore a little and I’m stitching you up.”
Maria calling Dustin on his cell phone, asking how to get out of our car as she locked herself inside! Thankfully, Dustin answered the call or else she would have missed the birth.