I’ve been meaning to write the story of my labor for a while, so here it goes!
My due date was October 28, 2011 and I was four days late when I went to my midwife on Tuesday Nov. 1 for the first of two scheduled non-stress tests. At our first sonogram the technician told us that our due date was closer to the 21st so in David’s mind we were already a week late, and it was making him antsy, not to mention that my parents had arrived and been eagerly awaiting their grandchild for four days after three days of travel. So this non-stress test was in all actuality the least stressful thing I’d done all week.
My midwife, Missi, told me that the hospital was looking pretty busy in the coming week so she had gone ahead and booked us in for delivery on Thursday just in case and went over all that that would incur, including staying the night in order to start inducing. She also told me that if Thursday came around and I felt like I just needed a few more days that we could do that too.
I knew that the baby and my body were ready, I also knew that it was all the stress in my environment that was holding up the show. I’d been trying to get the little bugger to drop all week, walking literal miles, doing squats, drinking teas and having S-E-X! After I heard about the plans for induction I texted David and told him that I’d be having the baby before Thursday.
I went home with my parents, went in the bedroom closed the door, lit my labor candle, got out Lord of the Rings and lied down to read. Within the hour I was having mild contractions every 6 minutes. When David got home from work an hour later (4ish) I told him about the contractions, he said, “Awesome! Wanna go to a soccer game?”. I said sure and we drove the 45 minutes to watch my stepdaughter play. I continued to have contractions every six minutes until we got there, during the game they subsided. We got back home around 830 and I went to bed at 9pm.
I got up at midnight to go to the bathroom and then went back to bed. I woke from a dream fifteen minutes later. I’d dreamt that my water had broke, but it wasn’t a dream.
I waddled out to the living room where David was playing Xbox, he looked up and said, “What’s up?” I said “Well, my water just broke.” He said, “Well,alright” or something to that affect. I called Missi’s answering service and left a message about my water breaking and then went back to bed, I knew labor was long hard work and that I should get some rest while I could. At around 3 am I was having contractions about 4 minutes apart and could no longer lie in bed. I got up and told David to get in bed since he and Chesterfield were snoozing on the sofa. He told me to call Missi again since we still hadn’t heard back from her. I finally heard from her just after calling back (page never went through) and she asked me about how things were going and told me to come I to the office at 830 unless things sped up. I lit my labor candle again and paced around the living room occasionally sitting, but it got to the point where it was too hard to stand back up when the contraction hit, which was a must. Between 3-6 am the contractions picked up to about every 2 1/2 minutes and I would be rocking back and forth against the kitchen counter. By six everyone was up and about and the kids and David’s mother were on their way. Around 630 David suggested a walk and he and my mother helped me up and down the street a few times, stopping every couple of minutes for me to grit my teeth and crush David’s hand.
We made it to Missi’s after a very short car ride. After stepping on the scale Jennifer, the nurse, exclaimed that I had lost five pounds since yesterday! We all thought this was funny as I was cringing and crushing David’s shoulder.
Another stress test revealed what was pretty obvious, steady contractions. And what was not, baby was doing fine. After a cervical exam we were informed that I was 5 cm dialated, that’s a lot of work for 8 hrs! Missi told us we should probably head to the hospital, so at about 930 we called all the parents and told them we were heading to he hospital (pretty much across the street).
Although my contractions were becoming pretty intense I was still able to walk up the stairs to the second floor where they were already expecting us. There was a little confusion because I wanted a room with a tub but my water had already broken so our nurse Megan was trying to explain that I couldn’t use a tub since he water had broken. This was all very intense because like every 2 minutes I was having really strong contractions, like I’d have to throw myself onto the nearest ledge and rock back and forth with my eyes crammed shut.
Megan was really cool, she asked of we had a birth plan and after we gave her ours she followed it more closely than I did. Our birth plan was pretty much a big no, no epidural, no IV, no pain meds, no constant monitoring device, no restrictions on eating/drinking. All with the fore knowledge that all of those could turn into yeses.
The kids, then my parents, then Audrey all came in in turns to wish me luck then finally it was David, Megan and I. David and I walked the halls of the delivery unit, me stopping every couple minutes to freak out on the railing or David. Then we stayed in the room with me throwing all my weight on David over and over again, I was starting to turn both of our knuckles white. I sat down in a chair and would limply toss myself over David’s shoulder as he kneeled in front of me. Megan was there always reminding me to release all tension and unclench everything. This was really hard to do. Like watching a car come straight at you, knowing its going to hit you and just relaxing you’re entire body for impact.
Missi got there around 11:30 am and I needed to lie down, I was getting exhausted. Megan brought me one of my Popsicles, and David knelt next to the bed. Missi did another exam and told us we were fully dialated and ready to go. I was so glad because I’d started to worry about how much longer I could endure the kind of intense contractions I’d been having without becoming completely exhausted. At that moment I started feeling like I needed to push. Missi told me to go for it, and they all got into position to support me, I was on my back, which Megan reminded me was a no no according to my birth plan, I told her that I was most comfortable in my back at that moment and thanked her for reminding me.
A nursery nurse named Julie came in to help and Missi told David that he might want to get the girls, I clenched his hand and told him he’d better not leave me. Megan got the girls and they took a lot of great pics. I remember smiling at them periodically.
Throughout this adventure our “labor mix” had been playing on the iPod, which David had put in the provided docking station when we arrived. When I had made this list a few weeks prior I had no idea what kind of state I’d be in when listening to it, would I even notice it? Would I want some thing soothing? I had figured that I’d want something that would help me through a workout, with a couple of lighter notes here and there and also something with not a lot of cursing since the girls would be there (even though I’d planned to do a lot of cursing myself). As I lied in the bed with everyone holding my legs and me starting to push Ozzy starting laughing maniacally and the first notes of Crazy Train came over the speakers, I knew I’d made the right choice. I pushed for what later seemed like 20 minutes but really turned out to be two hours (not bad). During that time Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin came on, at which point Julie told me that my child HAD to be born to Journey. We were all laughing so hard at the part where Steve Perry sings, “He’s tearing you apart!” that I had to stop pushing and yell at everyone to knock it off. Other time appropriate songs to note, Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen.
At one point Missi asked me if I wanted the mirror, I was really focused on pushing and it was hard for me to concentrate on anything else, plus I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to see down there at that particular moment, so I said no. A little while later she asked again and David said “Don’t you want to see him?”. So I said yes, and I was so glad I did. They kept telling me I was “so close” and “almost there” when I looked in the mirror I realized I was not “so close”. I was expecting to see a whole head and little hand giving me the thumbs up (that’s how much pushing I was doing) instead I saw a lock of jet black hair! That was good though, it let me know when I should keeping giving it my all and when I should stop and take a breather, I could now SEE real progress. Not long after this a managed to pop his little head out (an image burned into the back of my retinas) with David’s help guiding him and Missi said something you never want to hear at this point “stop”. What?! Stop?!! No way, get this guy out! However the cord was wrapped once around his neck, she quickly unwound it and David turned his shoulders and with one more big push out he came!
Missi said, “Reach down, hold your baby!” and I did, and he was a slimy, quivering, beautiful 7 lb 13 oz little angel. That was 1:56 pm. Everything went very fast there at the end and it was so surreal having him out. I put him on my chest and they wiped him down and suctioned him out and wrapped him up and he wanted to suckle so we popped him on and he started eating. A little while later David cut the cord (after the girls declined) and Rocket Bear Hammond was free!
He hung out with us (grandparents came in then) for over an hour and then they took him to be washed up and weighed and whatnot with his daddy.
Around five everyone left (even David, to get the girls dinner and stuff), and I showered and cleaned up for the move to postpartum. Megan got me another popsicle and she and I walked with Rocket in his incubator over to postpartum on the 4th floor. All the nurses were high fiving me and saying I was a super lady. I felt like it, I was on an adrenaline rush until like 9pm. It was the most awesome, amazing, rewarding and hardest thing I’ve ever done. Rocket is my amazing little guy, and worth all of it, he was a lovely pregnancy, a beautiful labor and a gorgeous baby.