December 7th! We were told to arrive at the hospital at ten till 6:00 that morning. I didn't get much sleep at all the night before; I kept wanting to clean things and pick up before bed so we would come home to a clean house and then of course everything birth was running through my head + I was 40-weeks-pregnant-uncomfortable. That adrenaline starts to kick in!
I think I woke up around 4:00 am and ate a blueberry muffin and then a pineapple yogurt on the drive there. I was being ridiculous and couldn't decide whether to wear black sweats to the hospital or look half-way cute and just wear whatever I wore up there, to come home in as well. I opted for the latter and did my makeup and we were out the door! It's a surreal and crazy feeling driving to the hospital, knowing you are about to meet your child and that your life will never be the same!
Every so often we would meet the nurse back in our room to check the baby's heart rate. At 10:30 I got another round of antibiotics. We kept walking, and it seemed like when we would stop and sit down, they would peter out. I was also snacking! I think this was a great decision and I'm SO glad I did it. I brought with me some raisins, mixed nuts, peach gummy candy, and I can't remember what else! So every now and then I would eat a few bites of something. Once I was about to take a bite when the nurse opened the door and I was like, "Oh, hey!" ha ha. I wasn't sure what she would say as I'd heard they could go either way but it worked out. The contractions started to pick up some, but I wasn't sure to what extent and I really wanted to avoid the doctor giving me something to make them increase. She checked me around 1:00 I think and I was at a 4 so she said things were good! Between 1:00 and 2:30 contractions really started to pick up. I was glad because I had started to get a little frustrated thinking this was going too slow and would take 12+ hours like Karlyn did. I tried sitting on the exercise ball some but I just found that I really didn't like sitting during a contraction. I wanted to stand and lean against something. The doctor and nurse both said they could tell that I was looking different and I could definitely tell that these contractions were harder than I'd felt with Karlyn. I was starting to have to moan my way through them, breathe, and tell myself I just had to get through that one. I really did try to focus on that - just get through THIS contraction - and then you get a break. But as each one would start, it was unnerving. We also had a shower and tub that I really thought I might use but I never got the urge. I was nervous about my next round of antibiotics at 2:30 because I would have to lay in bed to get it and that meant laying down during contractions. I got Ryan to help me arrange some pillows the way I wanted them and then I borrowed from "The Birth Partner" and asked him to press against my bent knees during the contractions. Too much pressure didn't feel good but just a little was just enough to give me some counter-resistance and I continued to moan my way through. Fun times!
I knew the doctor was going to check me again after the Penicillin was through. I was definitely curious to see where I was at this point so when she said, "Oh you're at a 7, almost 8," I was pretty psyched! They started setting out all their <tools?> for the delivery and my OB said, "We don't do this unless you're close." This was further than I'd gotten with Karlyn (I got an epidural around 6.5 with her) so I really felt like maybe this time I was going to do it! I asked her about how much longer she thought it might take and she said maybe an hour or two. OK, I thought. I'll keep going...just one at a time. The doctor and nurse left the room with my OB saying Meg had her on speed dial and that she'd just be up in her office. *My doctor is a busy lady!* And this is where things get interesting!
I had brought some Valor essential oil with me because I'd heard a friend say that it was helpful during labor, especially during transition. Since my contractions were getting more intense, I asked Ryan to go get it as soon as the nurse and OB stepped out. He's never really handled the oils - ha - and said I can't even tell how much I'm getting! I was like, I don't care - just put some on my ears. He did and that very next contraction...oh dear Lord. Something happened! I felt the baby move down and kind of like I needed to push! Even though I'd never felt that before, I was pretty sure that was what was happening. I told Ryan, "You need to get the nurse back in here." He hesitated for about two seconds since the doctor had said an hour or two but I must have given him a look because he pressed the nurse button and they came back in. Luckily, the doctor had only made it around the corner and was chatting with someone. They both rushed back in, assessed the situation and started moving. It kind of felt like an out of body experience at this point. The doctor said, "Um, forget what I said about an hour or two." I started to flail around a little bit and maybe panic? The nurse kind of grabbed my face and said, "You need to take a deep breath and focus because you're having your baby!" In a sweet way :-) I remember trying to get my robe off that I was still wearing over my gown because I was getting HOT. The word "epidural" flashed through my mind and I think I started to mutter something like, "I don't think I can do this." They both responded with, "You are doing it - you're having your baby!" I told them, "I feel like I need to push!" so they guided me through that telling me to go ahead when I felt like it. I do remember pausing and feeling I guess the "ring of fire" people talk about but it wasn't horrible. They had me pause some here and there. I think I pushed for about fifteen minutes. They were telling me to grab my legs and push and I'm thinking, "Are you kidding me?! I'm barely alive right now!" ha. They told me to reach down and feel her head and I did but it didn't feel like a head. It was such a relief to be in the pushing phase, even though it wasn't easy because I knew it was almost over. I was about to meet my daughter!
At 4:06 PM on December 7th, Krosby Mae was here. I pushed her out and they laid her on my chest immediately. They didn't hold her up like they did with Karlyn so I couldn't really see what size she was. What I did see was her HAIR and I just said, "She's got hair!" While Ryan was rushing around snapping pictures with both of our phones and the camera, I got to hold her for probably a good hour, which was wonderful. They didn't take her away for any testing or measurements until that hour was over and I even got to feed her during that time. She latched on like a pro with some help from one of the nurses. Both my doctor and nurse kept telling me how great I did and how in control I was at the end, and my doctor even kissed me on the forehead. :-) I did tear a little bit and that hurt to be stitched up some but Krosby was a good distraction and I asked that they not take her until that was done since it was keeping me occupied. I also started shivering. Badly! I could not stop so they covered me head to toe in warm blankets and finally it stopped.
I couldn't believe I had done it. I birthed my daughter with no drugs and it felt pretty darn amazing! Less than nine hours from start to finish and she was here. When they finally weighed her and I heard, "8 pounds" I couldn't believe it. I know that's not huge but I wasn't expecting it! My sweet little chunky who just the night before had made me so uncomfortable was finally out and with us. Family was able to come in and see her and she had quite a crowd. Meg, our nurse was super patient as they came and went; she was ready to get me up to a different room and clear this one out. We had our first night together with our sweet little girl and stayed two nights altogether.
We're so thankful for another great birth experience with my amazing doctor and the hospital nurses and staff. Every nurse was so kind and helpful and our only complaint was the food. :-0 I will write more about my recovery and life with a newborn but that is my birth story! It is just as much for me to look back on later as it is anything else.
Even though I was proud and happy to have the birth I wanted, and to have skipped the epidural, I am in no way now someone who thinks it absolutely must be done that way. It worked out for us and I fought for it, but I don't think that makes me braver or stronger than the next mama who delivers her baby as she and the doctors see fit. Every birth is so different and you never know what's going to happen and how it will play out. Who knows if the essential oil played a part...I do think it's kind of funny that we used it right before things really got going. ha. I will never smell that oil again the same way!
Ryan was also a huge, huge support. He encouraged me all throughout the day to breathe and told me that each contraction would be over soon. He did whatever I asked and never made me feel like I couldn't keep going!
I am so happy to have my baby here, on the outside and I know I will remember her birth with much joy for the rest of my life.