On Friday, June 20, 2014 I woke up around 1:15 a.m. My stomach felt crampy and I had to go to the bathroom. I was able to go back to sleep and woke up again around an hour later with the same problem. Again I went back to sleep and again an hour later I woke back up. I tried going back to sleep after going to the bathroom, but the crampiness was becoming more bothersome. At first I thought that I might have food poisoning or some sort of stomach bug like I had back in January. The pains were so similar. Around 3:45 a.m. after not being able to sleep any longer, I started pacing the house. And I started timing the contractions. They came about every 5 minutes and lasted for 30-45 seconds. I really wanted to wake up Yusheng, but I knew we had a long day ahead of us and it was better to let him sleep. Finally, at 5 a.m. I called my doula, Rebecca. I couldn’t keep the excitement to myself anymore and I wanted her input. She encouraged me to try to rest more. After some more time of pacing and bouncing on my exercise ball, I managed to fall asleep on the couch for 45 minutes or so. Yusheng came out of the bedroom around 6:30 and I happily declared that I was in labor. He was excited. He ate breakfast and finished up work stuff.
I had an appointment scheduled with my OB at 9:45. I called the office and asked if I should still come in and they said I should. Yusheng drove me to the appointment. We ended up waiting until 10:00 to see the doctor. She asked how I was doing and I said that I was in labor. She didn’t sound like she believed me because I was so calm. She checked me and I was dilated to 4cm and my cervix was thin. She said, “Yep, you’re in labor.” My thought was, “Yah, I know.” She said that we could go to the hospital right away or wait. We chose to wait. I knew that I was more likely to have the birth I wanted if I stayed home longer.
So, we went home. I let Rebecca know and she said she would be on her way soon. I called my mom to let her know that I was in labor.
When we got home I did some more bouncing on the ball and pacing. My contractions were getting longer and closer together, about 2-3 minutes apart. They weren’t really that bad. Rebecca came. We ate lunch and then went on a walk. I put all of the last minute items in the van. We decided we would leave at 2 p.m. for the hospital. When I called, the nurse said I had to go to the Ob/Gyn clinic first.
We left just before 2 and got stopped by a train. Traffic on 880 was horrible, especially at the exit for Kaiser. It was the worst car ride of my life! Contractions in a vehicle when you are unable/scared to move are extremely uncomfortable.
We got to the hospital and went to the clinic. My mom joined us. The line was really long. We decided to just head to labor and delivery. We checked in and they made us wait in the triage room. They hooked me up to monitors, which made moving around more difficult. We were there for about 1 hour 45 minutes before the midwife finally came to check on me. The monitors did not do a good job of picking up my contractions. When the midwife checked me she said that I was dilated to a 6 or 7 and that they could admit me now.
We ended up in room 5 with a really horrible fan that would not shut off.
My labor went well. They brought me dinner. I was able to shower, during which time I listened to worship music. The midwife kept pushing for an IV. I agreed to a hep lock to make them feel better. It was annoying to have, but didn’t bother me too much.
Around 8 or 9 p.m. I got a new midwife that I liked much better. She checked me and I was a stretchy 7-8 cm. I was able to shower once more and Yusheng and I got some alone time. He was super supportive. I loved putting my arms around his neck and just kind of sagging my body. It really helped with the pain.
After that shower I was pretty much stuck in bed. I had to be hooked up to the stupid monitors that didn’t do a good job of picking up my contractions. My contractions gradually got more intense. At one point I was really cold. I was shivering. I was covered in so many blankets, but still was not getting warm. It was not fun. It made the contractions worse because my body couldn’t relax. I was so tense.
I laid on my side and stuffed pillows all around. That definitely helped. Rebecca massaged me and rocked me through contractions, which was super helpful. I was able to rest in between and that was great. The contraction would build, get intense, and then fade. As it faded I went into a deep relaxation where I would almost fall completely asleep before the next contraction hit. In the lulls I had some pretty crazy dreams, the most notable of which was dreaming about a young Pope John Paul II and a young Madonna playing tennis together. Sometimes, in those lulls, I would choose to engage with Yusheng and Rebecca. I said some pretty random things. Those contractions were pretty intense and this was the point when I really doubted whether or not I could do this. I kept saying that I couldn’t and that I just wanted the baby out of me. I also had moments of just wanting to stay pregnant. I was scared of having a baby and being responsible for someone else.
After the 24 hour mark, I was checked again and dilated to 9cm. My water still had not broken. Maria, my awesome midwife, offered to break my water. I took a bathroom break to consider this option. It was so nice to get out of bed! My contractions in the bathroom were awful, but Rebecca was there to support me through them. She thought she saw the baby coming, so we left the bathroom and went back to the bed. The baby wasn’t quite coming yet. I agreed to have my water broken. As soon as that happened, it was time to start pushing. I pushed for 35-45 minutes before my sweet baby girl was born. I absolutely loved using the bar to support me while I squatted and pushed. Pushing was hard and intense, but so worth it.
At 2:24 am the baby’s head was crowning. In the course of that whole minute, she was born. I couldn’t believe that it happened so quickly. When the nurse put the baby on my chest I was shocked. I didn’t realize that she was all the way out already. All I could do was hold her and try to see what she looked like. It was the most exciting moment of my life. She was born weighing in at 6 lbs. 14 oz. and measuring 19 inches long.
I was so thankful that I was able to have the natural birth that I wanted. They waited a good 10 minutes before clamping the umbilical cord. Yusheng was able to cut it, which was really cool.
I absolutely loved my birthing experience. I had the best midwife. I had the knowledgeable support of my doula. I had the love and encouragement of my husband. And I had my Momma with me, just her presence there was calming.