Need to get caught up? Part one here.
We arrived safely at the hospital and I thanked God that we didn't have to drive to Rockford in the middle of this foggy night like we originally planned. Geoffrey offered to drop me off at the emergency room entrance, but I didn't want to be without him so he parked the car and we walked in together. I also figured the walking would help keep labor moving in the home-hospital transition. Every contraction on the way in, we would stop and I would lean on Geoffrey for support. These contractions, while standing upright, were some of the hardest to bare. When we made it in Geoffrey proclaimed something to the nurse that was actually pretty cool to hear: "my wife is in labor." They took one look at me and could tell I was in the thick of it and quickly got me a wheelchair on which I couldn't have sat down fast enough. We were immediately brought up to the labor and delivery wing. It was on the ride that I realized that during ever contraction I was letting out a quiet moan, "hooo" as I exhaled. I don't know when I started doing this, but it felt good, like a release and helped greatly during the contraction. I continued this throughout. At the labor and delivery desk they told us it was a very busy night/morning and I think we got the last room they had. Geoff joked that there was almost "no room in the inn." On our tour of the hospital they told us we would first be taken into a room to get assessed and to make sure we were in labor, but for me there was no doubt so they took me straight to our room. It was 4:15 am.
Geoffrey gave the nurses our birth plan which they looked over. Unfortunately there wasn't any wireless monitors available and they said the baby and I must be monitored for at least a few minutes so they hooked me up. That was not fun. Having these two big velcro belts around my contracting belly made things harder, but I could humor them for a little while. Contractions were generally coming every 30-60 seconds now but sometimes they were one after the other with only a couple seconds break. I was in the bed and had them sit it up as far as it would go. It wasn't quite enough and since Geoffrey was thoughtful enough to bring some of our own pillows he propped me up further.
I was nervous and anxious to get checked and see how far along I was but instead the nurses were asking all sorts of questions, none which seemed particularly important to me and all of which Geoffrey answered. They spent a good deal of time entering stuff into the computer and then turned on the TV to show us how cool it was that our name, attending doctor and such were on display. Now in their defense I'm sure they are used to a routine, one that includes women arriving very early in labor. They kept talking to me and trying to get me to sign papers and I was pretty much ignoring all of it. I was in my own little labor world. After at least a half an hour of that they decided I should get in the dreaded gown and finally did the dialated check between contractions. At our Bradley classes there was a couple that shared their birth story. She had labored bravely and intensely at home for 20 hrs doing everything right. They finally went to the hospital only to find out that she was only 2 cm dialated! She labored for another 10 hrs after that. This was my worry. And I had only been at this for 4.5 hours. The moment of truth..."8 centimenters!! "AWESOME!!" I proclaimed. I was so excited! The nurse was actually pretty suprised I was so far along. Geoffrey thinks that because I was being pretty quiet and "handling everything so well", the nurses thought I was still pretty early on and that is why they were being so laid back. They realized now it was time to get down to business and get the IV in because I tested positive on Step B and needed the antibiotics. I remember asking multiple times if they could take off the monitors now and they kept saying no. I was frustrated with that but tried not to let it get to me.
Since we found out that I was 8 cm, we decided it was time to call our family, in particular my mom since I was hoping for her presence during birth being a five time veteran of natural childbirth. It was now a little after 5am. Geoffrey called my mom and told her what was going on and that I was 8 cms. She works in the OR at Kish and was due to be into work anyway around 6 am. She said she would be there soon. Geoff also called his parents and left a message. We probably would have made a few more phone calls if it wasn't so early in the morning and if things weren't going so fast, but oh well.
Our doula Alicia arrived (all the way from Rockford bless her heart!). Geoffrey and I were both so grateful. She jumped right into everything figuring out perfectly what I needed and assisting Geoffrey who was doing such an amazing job being my support! She asked if I was hot (yes!) and she had Geoff put a cold wash cloth on my head and began feeding me ice chips. Throughout all of labor Geoff had been keeping me very well hydrated and I had been drinking a lot of water. I remember being very thirsty. As a result I now needed to use the bathroom. I got up and went to the bathroom. After I urinated I had a contraction and while I was sitting there I felt a different sensation, my body shook and I felt like I needed to push. Unsure though I went back out to my bed and didn't really say anything. It was then Alicia said "let me know honey if you are feeling like you need to push or anything." The next contraction again my whole body shook and my moan became louder, longer, and staggered. Alicia took notice and said "like that, did you feel like pushing?" Yes I most certainly did. The nurse said "if you let us break your water your baby could be out within the hour." I let them know I preferred not to have my waters broken artificially and Alicia asked if before they did, if we could try naturally. They agreed. Alicia told me to lay on my side and next contraction to grunt and push just slightly. Then to turn to the other side and do the same, and repeat until it works or doesn't. Well that was an awesome suggestion cause all it took was one try. I turned on my side laying down, grunted as I slightly pushed and GUSH! My waters broke, what an intense sensation. Geoff said my whole body shivered. Then I heard Alicia say "honey we have some meconium." I had read about this before hand and knew that our baby's had its first bowel movement in the womb. Geoff and I both got a little scared because we knew that this could be very dangerous for baby if any was ingested. Geoffrey came in close and said a beautiful prayer, it really comforted me. I also asked for Ellen's intercession figuring that if there was anything good about losing a child, it was that she was in Heaven waiting to pray for us. And of course we said a prayer to our Blessed Mother.
I sat back up as much as I could and Alicia suggested that for the next few contractions I give in to the urge to push slightly, but let the baby do most of the work and slowly move down. So my body could adjust. These contractions were pretty cool because our baby was doing all the work and I just let it happen. We did this for three contractions and then I realized that the Doctor had finally decided to join the party. To tell the truth I hadn't even realized that she wasn't there as I had such amazing support. Rubbing her eyes having just woke up she checked me out and Alicia filled her in on the situation. She quickly got dressed in her scrubs. Alicia told her that we are letting the baby move down slowly, to which Dr A. said "we need to get this baby out now!" Oh boy did that scare me! Alicia didn't appear to be as worried though and that calmed me down, but she did tell me to really push on the next contraction. That was easy to do. I would take a deep breath and push while I exhaled, then would repeat for the duration of the contraction. Already at the second contraction, Geoff and Alicia said "There's the head!" In between contractions I relaxed preparing for the next round.
Third contraction, our baby was born!
I turned to Geoff and said "That wasn't so bad." To which a nurse laughed and said "I think you might be having some more children." I just remember being so shocked that it was over so quickly. Alicia asked "What is it dad?" To which Geoffrey said in the most beautiful choked up voice "It's a boy. We have a son." This moment was so amazing. Geoff was convinced we were having a girl and it was truly overwhelming to him that he had a son and we of course could not have been more thrilled. It was 6:12 am.
I asked Dr. A if we could delay cord cutting but all our plans for immediately after birth went out the window because our Son wasn't doing so well as he did ingest the meconium. His cord was cut immediately and he was brought over to the side to get his lungs cleaned out. This was terrible because I didn't really get to see him and I didn't know if he was okay! I so badly wanted that moment after birth where he is put on my chest, but he needed medical attention so I had to let it go. I just wanted him to be okay. I asked Alicia if he was going to be alright and she assured me that he was. Then Geoff went over and took this picture just so I could see our precious little guy.
His first close-up just moments after birth. That was when my mom decided to arrive! She literally just missed the birth! After she got the call from Geoff she went about her day, getting my brother up and making breakfast. She figured she had plenty of time as her labors were all 20+ hours (what a champion!). When she arrived at the hospital she went to the OR to check in and tell them I was in labor. She figured she would say hi and give me whatever support and then go to work and routinely check in. She walked in wearing her scrubs and I'm sure she was shocked when she saw that her new grandson had already arrived! Sorry to go on about it, but it cracks me up. Maybe next time mom! The very cool thing though, was she got to be with him and help the other nurses.
The placenta was born rather quickly with barely a push and Dr. A started sewing up my 2nd degree tears. I'll never forget when I heard his first cry after they had cleaned out his lungs. I gave a big sigh of relief. It wasn't that long before he was brought over to me and I got a couple hours of bonding time before they bathed him and took vitals and such (all of which my mom got to do). He was 6 lb 14 oz and 20.5 in. Then came the hard part, what in the world were we going to name our son?
Needless to say, I had an amazing experience and I hope that gives others hope for a great natural childbirth. It is painful, but managable if you just have faith in the way God designed your body to work. I am so very grateful to my wonderful husband who was everything I needed during labor. Our doula, Alicia, was such a blessing and I truly think she helped everything go smoothly and quickly. She was a great advocate to have, fighting for what I wanted every step of the way. She also made Dominic his very first rosary! The nurses and Dr. A. were tolerant of my desire for a natural childbirth so for that I am also grateful and they really did a great job taking care of our precious little guy.
Wow that was long...thanks for reading. :)