I can hardly believe it’s been a week since Mr. E was born. It’s been the most amazing week. Moms and boy are are doing well as we settle into our new life and get acquainted with each other. So here’s the story of how he came into our world…This is a long one, but so was the labor…

Tuesday, January 8th

3:00 am – I woke feeling a text book version of my water breaking. I had been to the bathroom three times since going to bed, so I was pretty sure I didn’t “just pee myself.” I rolled out of bed and headed to the bathroom. Once there, my soaking wet pajama pants and twinge of blood confirmed my water had broken. I was 37w5d. I tried my best to clean myself up and yelled for A. When she came into the bathroom, and I told her what was going on, I felt we’d come full circle from the wee hours of the morning on May 15th when we stood in the bathroom, bleary eyed, staring at our first ever +hpt. We knew we’d be meeting our child soon.

Once over the initial shock that Moon was coming two weeks early, A went down stairs and got online – to see what we were supposed to do. I went downstairs and called our doula. We chatted for a few minutes and then I called the midwife. We’ll call her Midwife T (we went through three midwives over the course of the next 32 hours). Midwife T advised me to see how quickly I was soaking through a pad and to call back in an hour. A and I took showers, ate, and packed our bags. An hour passed and I had soaked more than one pad, so Midwife T advised us to head to the hospital. We took at least another hour to get out of the house – we had to prepare the cat’s food and water, I needed to go to my office to tie up some loose ends, and so on. As prepared as we were, we were not fully ready to do this two weeks early.

6:00 am We arrived at the hospital, giddy with excitement and the nurses welcomed us and showed us to our room. We had an end room. It was huge, had many windows, and was very comfortable. At times I felt like I was staying in a hotel. Our first nurse, Nurse Big Personality (NBP), began the initial routine check. I was hooked up to a fetal monitor so to check Moon’s heart rate. Moon must have been very excited to come early because his heart rate was extra fast. NBP expressed great concern but Midwife T told her to give it a few minutes. I laid there, thinking this will pass, the baby will calm down and I took some deep breaths hoping to help calm Moon. The next time Midwife T checked in, she agreed with NBP that his continued high heart rate was troublesome and that I needed to have an IV fluid drip.

Up until this point, I’d already let go of my wishes to labor at home for as long as possible. And now within minutes of arriving to the hospital I was about to be hooked up to an IV. My mobility would be severely impacted, I’d be on an IV and monitors. NBP left the room to get the IV; I began to softly cry while letting go of some of my birth hopes while guzzling water and wished my mother were sitting next to me. This was the first of several times that I worried they’d have to rush me into a C-Section. But Moon pulled through. By the time NBP returned, Moon’s little heart had stabilized and I had avoided the IV. Note to self, drink lots of water before arriving at the hospital.

8:30 am – With the shift change came a new midwife, Medical Midwife. NBP was still our nurse as she was required to work over time because there were so many women in labor; she was replaced by Mellow Nurse some time mid morning and then Peppy Nurse to finish out the mid afternoon. Medical Midwife inquired about contractions, which at this point, I was still not having. I was only feeling slight cramps. She discussed ways to try to bring on labor and also advised I could elect induction at any time but that by 3:00pm she would begin to advise induction. 3:00pm being the twelve hour mark since my water broke. Apparently the medical community thinks women should give birth within 24 hours of rupture. We told her, we wanted to try to start the contractions on our own and made clear that induction was not something we wanted. A and I spent a good deal of time that morning trying our best to get my contractions started. Throughout this time we were on the phone with our doula. We made a plan that she would arrive by 2:30 so that we’d have enough time to talk before Medical Midwife came back at 3:00pm to push Pitocin.

2:30 pm – Our doula, we’ll call her Soothing Doula (SD) arrived (although she deserves a post all about her). SD advised us about my options – we talked about the pros and cons of using Pitocin versus an oral cervix ripener. She came prepared with research for us to read in the event that I had to be induced. She assured us that we did not need to rush into induction and we all agreed to continue trying to get my contractions started on their own.

3:00 pm – Medical Midwife visits us to check in and discuss induction. I told her I wanted some more time and that if I ended up being induced I wanted Pitocin not the oral cervix ripener – reason being that Pitocin is controlled through an IV and can be lowered or stopped as needed. Once I took an oral med, there was no going back. She agreed to give me more time. I was lucky that the Birthing Center was so busy that they were able to give me what NBP termed, benign neglect, which bought me time in trying to bring on contractions.

It was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the 60s. Medical Midwife permitted me to leave the Birthing Center floor for half an hour at a time, so we went outside and walked the hospital grounds. We walked and walked and walked.

With this shift change came the most amazing nurse (AN). She entered a little hyper, but was fun and, well you’ll hear more about her at the end..

4:00 pm – My mother arrives and we were heading out side for yet another walk. No signs of contractions. All four of us walked the hospital grounds. After walking a bit we went back in and ate dinner. Still, no contractions! After dinner A and I conferenced with SD about induction. It was hard to admit that I needed to be induced. This is not what I envisioned. I didn’t want an IV and knew it would limit my mobility and I knew with Pitocin, more interventions often follow. My greatest fear was that it would tip the scale to an Epidural. I was beginning to lose hope that I would go into labor on my own and if it seemed like I needed to be induced, I didn’t want to put it off too much longer – we’d been up since 3:00am and I knew I had a ton of work ahead of me. For these reasons I decided that if I did not go into labor on my own by 8:00pm, I would take Pitocin.

6:30 pm – Medical Midwife returned to check in and advised I start pitocin. I told her if I had not gone into labor by 8:00pm I’d take it then. We kept trying to get things going. My very antsy mother did a pretty good job of keeping her opinions to herself. I think she would have been happy if I’d taken the induction when I arrived at 6:00am! She was relived to hear me finalize my plan and to finally get things going.

Around this time our Doula’s apprentice arrived. She’d been to all our visits and it was our plan to have her at the birth.

8:00 pm – Drip drip drip. You guessed it, the IV went in, first a fluid drip and then pitocin. With the introduction of Pitocin, I was hooked up to a fetal heart monitor and contraction monitor. I had access to wireless monitors, but in the beginning there were problems with the batteries. Once that was worked out, it seemed the positions that worked best for me, wouldn’t allow the monitors to pick up Moon’s heart rate. And hearing the heart was of the utmost importance to my nurses.

I was so very nervous that now my nurse was in control of my labor. I feared the Pitocin would kick in too quickly or bring about hard contractions. I’ve never heard anything good about Pitocin. Luckily I was in the care of AN (amazing nurse as mentioned above). She casually chatted with us and I felt at ease with her, she felt more like a labor coach than a nurse and she was on my wave length. I think she said something about being a doula before she became a nurse.

Slight contractions began within the half hour. I was talking through them we were still all just hanging out. At some point my mother let me know if at any time I wanted her to leave, to just say the word. We had not planned on her attending the birth. But when she showed up and I was still not in labor, it felt very natural to have her there and honestly, I felt a little more secure knowing she was there.

Where time becomes blurry…

Contractions became harder and harder. I asked to be on the portable monitors and tried lots of different positions. All I remember is that the one that worked best, on the birthing ball, was not compatible with the fetal heart monitor. We kept working at easing my comfort and all those in attendance would help me by rubbing my legs when they’d tremble, or applying pressure on my back through a contraction. I don’t think I was with out a hand to hold and squeeze for the duration on the labor.

Wednesday, January 9th

Around 3:30AM – The 11:00pm shift change brought NBP back to us. A later told me that was one of the hardest points for her – when my first nurse came back on. I’d been laboring mostly out of the bed at this point (at least I think I was). And she expressed concern that my stamina was wearing thin. And we all knew I still had a long way to go. She suggested I take something to help me get some rest. Stubbornly, I declined and asked to get in the tub. At this point I had not been checked for dilation. Before I could get in the tub Medical Midwife needed to check me. Soothing Doula calmly advised A and I that Medical Midwife would give me a number, whatever the number was, don’t let it get us down. I had been seriously laboring for eight hours and awake for twenty four hours. TWO freaking centimeters dilated. How could I not let that get me down?! Still, I declined the drugs and opted for a shower.

I stood in the shower holding the bars, breathing through contractions as A held the shower head and moved it up and down my body. This was the first time I said to her, I don’t think I can do this anymore. A helped me out of the shower and dried me off between contractions. As she did this, I asked her what she thought NBP meant by give me something to help me rest? Surely I thought the nurse was crazy. How could I rest while my body was going through the most intense pain I’d ever expereinced?

When I left the bathroom I saw a gym mat set up on the floor. Think, elementary school gym class. I am not sure who brought it but the idea of getting on it with my birthing ball was appealing. I managed to get down on my knees and then began to vomit. From the gym mat I looked up at SD and said I wanted the drugs to help me rest. I think NBP was relieved. They all helped me into bed and I remember NBP telling me she was adding a Nubain drip to my IV as well as a shot in my leg. Then she said soon it’d be like I was at a party. And almost instantly, I was nodding off. I’d wake every three minutes and work through my contractions, making the most primal of noises as my support team rubbed the areas of my body that seemed to hurt most. There were at least three people with me at all times – one on both side and one at my feet.

8:30 am – My Nubain was starting to wear off and I was experiencing more and more awake time in between contractions. I told SD that I wanted to be checked again and that I really wanted to get into the tub. I started to think if I didn’t get in the tub soon, I’d need an Epidural. She calmed me and advised we take it one step at a time – get checked and then make the next decision. This coincided with the midwife shift change, we were onto our third and final midwife, Delivery Midwife.

By some alignment of the stars, Amazing Nurse had changed her schedule and was back that morning instead of her usual afternoon shift that I’d had her on the day before. She was assigned to me. I remember seeing her come into the room and I was so excited to see a face I recognized. I remember asking her to tell me her name again. AN called for Delivery Midwife in order to have me checked to see if I was dilated enough to get in the tub. There was much excitement when she declared me NINE centimeters! With all the excitement, they seemed to have forgotten that I wanted the tub. I looked to SD and said, I want the tub! She halted everyone and their efforts were redirected to getting me to the tub room – all the way at the other end of the hall. SD warned me I’d have contractions on the way to the tub, and that when I felt them coming on, I should hold the railing on the wall. I wanted that tub so bad, I was almost running there, and managed to only have one contraction on the way.

9:00 am – A and I were in the tub. I was hurting. But the warmth and the water really helped me to move my body with the contractions. And to really engage in moving the baby into the final position. SD advised me on noises to make and where to focus my energy. My mom continuously placed ice cold cloths on my forehead and held my juice up to mine and A’s mouths to sip from a straw. We were drinking cranberry juice and I was going through it fast. Every time I finished another bottle, someone would have to leave and get another one. I became so frustrated that at some point I asked, can’t someone just get a pitcher of juice for me? I think that was the extent of my labor bitchiness.

Amazing Nurse and Soothing Doula were my greatest coaches through this last labor period. At one point SD asked if it was okay for her to step out for two minutes. I agreed and then had a really hard contraction. AN overheard me say to her, I don’t want you to leave, not even for two minutes. And she stepped in and said she’d hold my hand and help me if I was comfortable with her so SD could get two mintues. She was the only other person I would have at that moment. I said something like, yes that’s okay, I feel as comfortable with you as with SD. We had some unexplainable bond. Around this time AN also started singing and encouraged everyone to sing the baby out. It didn’t last long, but it was a nice distraction.

Delivery Midwife picked up from some of the noises I was making that I was starting to feel the urge to push. She checked me and there was some sort of lip still on my cervix. She advised me to keep working through contractions. We’d been in the tub about two hours when we decided it would be best for me to get out as the tub was relaxing me and stalling things a bit.

11:00 am – I got into the bed and Delivery Midwife did all she could to help me use my contractions to break the lip. She became worried enough at one point to call in the Ob/GYN (who happened to be the doctor who did my HSG last spring). She checked me and gave me clearance to start pushing. Delivery Midwife advised me to try a variety of positions, much to my surprise, I liked laying down the best. Perhaps I was just too tired to do much of anything else?!

I found pushing to be the best part of the whole labor process. I finally felt like my contractions were moving us somewhere. I know each contraction contributed to getting Moon into position, but the pushing contractions got him out.

I went deep within myself and tunned out all the people around me. Through out the entire labor, when ever I needed to focus I’d look at Soothing Doula, and without words, I’d focus. This was true while pushing as well. As I felt each contraction approaching I would talk myself through what I needed to do. I’d verbalize to everyone I was starting feel it, then pull up my legs, tuck my head to my chest, focused all my energy, breathed in deeply, and then pushed – low and hard. I averaged two long pushes with each contraction, sometimes three. Everyone cheered me on.

Time passed quickly. Before I knew it, I was feeling his head low in the birth canal. My support team beamed with excitement when they saw his head for the first time and exclaimed he had a ton of hair. Amazing Nurse took my hand at one point and place it on his head. I continued with my pushing and inward focusing. I did however tune into the fact that the medical professionals in the room were getting anxious. The Ob/GYN was called back in and Amazing Nurse began to give me oxygen. I knew I was so close, and yet I knew they were really worried. Delivery Midwife advised me, Moon’s heart rate was climbing and I needed to try to get the baby out with the next contraction. I’ve never tried so hard to do anything in my entire life. I knew I needed to use the next contraction to get the baby out, no matter what it took. I prepared myself and produced three or four long pushes. I waited to feel the, so called ring of fire, the burning many women experience as the head passes. If it was there, I did not feel it, perhaps because I was so focused on getting my baby out, my baby who’s heart was again in distress. With that push, I felt the head come out and then his floppy body followed. I was dazed as I heard A announce, BOY! And he was immediately placed on my chest. I wrapped my arms around him, and fell in love.

There is so much more to say about our hospital stay and his first week…but that will all come later. Thank you to everyone for all you comments and emails. It’s been so wonderful to feel so showered with love as we entered motherhood. And to know there are so many people out there who care. Moon’s new blog name will be Mr. E. I’ve started calling him that in real life, so it seemed natural to use it here.