chloe's birth story

a while back i wrote about the thought of writing about chloe's birth here. well, believe it or not, i did write about it, but was waiting until the right time to publish it. well, tonight while standing in the shower i was thinking about the latest episode of "the walking dead". a zombie sci-fi series reminded me of that day when i brought chloe into the world. i began to remember little bits of the story, and i decided i would make some quick edits and finally publish and share this story.

well i logged on in and the story had disappeared! oh how i wish i was better at crying over such things like blog posts, because i really feel like this deserves it. it seems that i can only really ever have one good cry per day, and i wasted today's tears on "the walking dead"!

well, instead of editing the story, here i am writing it out again. i am sharing it because i love reading other people's birth stories, love listening to others talk about the birth of their children, and love telling this story.... and i think other people enjoy reading, hearing, and telling these stories too. i used to bar-tend and was amazed at how easy it was to get a group of middle-aged men to talk about the births of their children just by asking a couple questions about how their pregnant wife, or new child was doing. you would be amazed by how willing and excited they would be to share.

well, with the same fervor, or maybe even more, here is chloe's birth story:

i was thankful to have a very healthy pregnancy. i was sick for the first trimester, happy and full of energy in the second, and it seems like as soon as the third hit, well, i was over it. i worked up until the week  that i was due, with only a couple little signs of labor, and one false alarm. i made the obligatory false alarm visit to the hospital and got sent home.. and then a couple days later it was just about time.

the day before her due date i woke up with some contractions. i had been having contractions for weeks. contractions that would come and go, with no real pattern or consistency. contractions that would play with my emotions and make me crazy. contractions that would make me get up and walk for miles and miles. contractions that kept me up all night long. contractions that would get to eight minutes apart and go on for hours and then just stop.  these contractions had a firmer tone. they weren't really painful, but they were just more steady. they meant business.... so i scrubbed the floor. and did the laundry. and painted my nails, and took a walk. i did anything i could think of to just keep myself occupied. i needed to. i couldn't really relax. i tried to nap, and wound up stretching instead. i wasn't in pain, but i just couldn't sit still.  i thought about how animals get ready to give birth, how pet dogs and cats, they just can't seem to relax or stay still... and that was me.

the hours went by, and the day did too. at around eleven that night i told chris to try to get some rest, and i laid down with my laptop and started watching another episode of "lost". contractions just kept on coming, and then a really firm contraction said "POP". i heard a "POP" and just like that my water broke. i looked at the clock and it was eleven thirty. i woke up chris and told him this was it. our baby would be born on their due date. 

i waddled to the bathroom while telling him to call my midwife. he passed the phone into the bathroom, "she wants to talk to you". 

"how are you feeling"


"how far apart are your contractions"

"about five to six minutes for the past hour or so"

"are you uncomfortable? ready to go to the hospital"

".... yes" 

i was surprised at my last answer, but as soon as i said it i realized that i was more uncomfortable, in fact i was frozen and leaning over the sink to brace myself through a much more serious contraction. she told me she would meet me at the hospital and let them know i was coming in.

my contractions continued the whole time we drove to the hospital. chris looked worried and serious and i begged him to slow down the car, even though i knew he was hardly even going the speed limit. when we arrived at the hospital he offered to get me a wheelchair, which i declined laughing, "i am in labor, not injured". then stepped out of the car and "SPLOSH". then i laughed, because it was kind of funny... and well, hello more amniotic fluid. i grabbed a towel and took him up on the wheelchair. 

within the next twenty minutes i was registered, taken to a room, changed and in a bed with a tocometer measuring my contractions and a fetal heart monitor beeping away... until it slowed down, during the beginning of a contraction.

my heart sank, or stopped, or curled into a fetal position itself. i took some good breaths and turned onto my left side. i could see the look in the nurses eyes as they stopped taking a history on me and started putting an i.v. line in. i am a nurse - not an obstetrics nurse, but an emergency room one. i have taken care of women who give birth in emergency situations, and i remembered from nursing school that these "early decels" were not good. they meant the baby was not getting enough oxygen.

i let the nurses take care of me. i didn't ask questions. i could see the monitor. i knew what was happening. and as i continued to watch the "early decels" went away with my change in position. the nurse explained that she was going to call my midwife and keep a close eye on me. i thanked her. when the nurses left the room i explained it all to christian, who looked worried and scared, and didn't know what to say. he sat by my side. i wasn't scared. believe me, i would tell you if i was, and there would come a time where i was, but it wasn't at this point. i was okay on my left side with my contractions marching along through my body.

after about an hour my body started to cramp up with every contraction. the baby's heart rate was beautiful, but my back, my legs, my arms, and my entire body was cramping up with every contraction. i remember using my arms to push my back and bottom off the bed with each one, and pushing my back into the side-rail of the bed to get some pressure onto my lower back. when the contractions would subside i would breathe and try to get my body to relax, but it just wouldn't. during each contraction i would tie myself into a knot that i just couldn't seem to unwind quickly enough after the contraction was over. i needed to relax. i needed this break. i needed my legs, arms, and body to relax for these few minutes. i knew i needed to be ready when the next one came. i knew i needed to stay on my side. i knew i had hours to go, and that the rest between these contractions was critical. 

it was about one thirty in the morning, and the nurse checked on me and informed me that the baby's heart rate was good with this position change. i told her about how tired i was getting and how tense my body felt during each contraction. she nodded her head and asked me if i was ready for my epidural. i didn't want an epidural. i didn't really want pain medicine at all. i just wanted to be able to relax between my contractions. i didn't mind the contractions themselves, but i knew that i was going to be exhausted too soon if i kept up at this rate. when i came in and they had checked me i was only three centimeters... i knew i had a long way to go - it was too soon to get too tired. i asked for some medicine through the iv to just help me relax a bit between contractions. she said she could give me a small dose of an anesthetic to help, and i accepted the offer. 

it worked. and i relaxed well. my contractions were still coming, but once they were done with i relaxed more easily and felt like i could stay on my side more comfortably. shortly after, my midwife arrived and checked me and i was at just about five centimeters. it was almost two-thirty in the morning. she assured me the baby's heart rate was looking good and told me if i wanted to change positions i could - that she would keep an eye on me and as long as the heart rate continued to be alright i could even get up and walk around. oh, i wanted to kiss her face. i walked to walk more than anything else at that moment. my legs needed to stretch, and my back and bottom needed to be off of the bed. 

during the next contraction i looked at the monitor and turned myself back onto my left side... just as my midwife was walking in the door. she smiled and told me i would be staying in bed.

by five in the morning i was curled into a ball and trying to relax my body at the end of my contractions. chris had stayed by my side and was pushing on my lower back for me. my midwife checked on me and i was still at five centimeters. i had a while to go. i accepted more pain medicine. about an hour later she returned and stated she wanted to get me moving along. she explained she wanted to place a catheter in my uterus to monitor my contractions more directly than from the outside of belly, and she told me she wanted to put me on a little pitocin while the pain medicine was working well.

i remember the catheter being placed, i remember the pitocin being hung. however an hour and a half later, my contractions were merciless, and noticeably more frequent (yeah, i might have been timing my own contractions).  i looked up at that little bag of pitocin and said "what the heck is that? pit?"... chris then whispered "you told them they could, you bartered for being able to go to the bathroom". that was right! i do remember getting up and going to the bathroom... oh how silly i was! (and how smart of a nurse my midwife was to ask me at such a good moment when i would be so cooperative).

when i had been planning on how i wanted to give birth, or "making a birth plan" as so many books instruct you and urge you to do, i had decided i didn't want an epidural, or really any pain medicine. i didn't want any extra interventions. i wanted to "go natural". not because i have anything against pain medicine, or epidurals, or medical interventions. i just wanted to do this without it, if possible. but if i needed to be put on "pit", then just bring on the epidural. because at that point, once you have medicine pumping through you that is amplifying each and every contraction and bringing them closer and closer together, you are no longer natural, and you deserve a little bit of help. now, this is not a scientific fact, you can have "pit" without an epidural, but this is just what i felt would be fair to myself. well, i never needed the epidural. the pitocin did it's job, and the pain medicine they had given me through the i.v. line worked too, and i felt my body start to progress and i was transitioning. 

my contractions were the strongest they had been, and each one got stronger. i dreaded each one, but i knew they were bringing me closer to my baby. my husband was at my side the entire time, and while i loved him there, i started to lose my patience and even his breathing was irritating me. i started to think "i can't do this. i am not going to do this". and i laughed to myself, at my thoughts, because of how many times i had heard women yell these things while in labor, right before they gave birth. 

at around ten in the morning i needed to push. 

while watching "the walking dead" this week, and seeing lori in labor it hit me how crazy this sudden instinct that you never even knew existed overcomes you during labor. suddenly you know you need to do something that you have never felt, or done in your entire life. you need to give birth, you need to push. i had heard people describe this urge a number of ways, but it was like no other instinct. i knew what my body was going to do, and that was all i could think about. i needed to push. i told my midwife, and she said "well, last time we checked you, you were only about eight centimeters leah..." i replied, "i need to push. i am going to push". she checked me, smiled, and said, "yeah, you are there". 

i remember pushing three times. chloe was born with a triple nuchal cord, meaning the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck three times. it was unwrapped quickly and easily within seconds (later i realized how lucky i was to have a midwife who would allow me to labor like i did and deliver like i did so safely. i am thankful for her knowledge and wisdom as a nurse.)  my midwfie announced, "it's a girl!". the girliest little baby cry i had ever heard pierced the air, and the most perfect baby girl was placed on my chest. her hands blue, and her face pinking up, perfect and beautiful, as i felt her breathe. when i said her name i felt her become more quiet and calm. christian held her and i don't think i had ever seen such love and fear at the same time. she was ours. she is ours. she is magical - she made us into a momma and papa.


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