January 28, 2008
Here’s the wonderful story of Anderson’s birth.
When I was 37 weeks pregnant, I witnessed the birth of my niece with Merrilynn’s assistance. It was beautiful and was the type of labor, delivery, and birth that I had always wanted. At that point, I called and asked Merrilynn if I could switch from my doctor’s practice to Boulder Nurse Midwives. I was 38 weeks when I made the switch and I’m so glad that I did.
My due date based on LMP was January 18 (Friday). So, once January 18 rolled around I started to get anxious, excited, and a little annoyed that our little one hadn’t arrived yet. This was my third child and my first two daughters were late (3 days and 7 days), so I really felt like I was my turn to have one before my due date. No such luck. At my appointments everything continued to looked great (NST’s and ultrasounds), so we were just in a holding pattern. Merrilynn knew that I wanted as few interventions as possible, so when we talked about our plan, we decided that if I hadn’t gone into labor by January 31 (Thursday – 41 weeks 6 days) she would break my water and hope that that would bring on labor. At my appt on January 25 (Thursday) Merrilynn tried stripping my membranes – ouch!. I was about 3 cm dilated at the time. I also had an acupuncture appointment that day. I was hoping that the combination of stripping my membranes and the acupuncture would really kick-start things. I started having some cramps, but they never developed into anything.
That weekend (more than a week overdue at this point) I started having some bloody show. My husband and I started getting excited that something was finally happening. I still ended up at my appointment Monday (Jan 28). At that point my husband asked if we could have another internal check to see where I was. I was a little hesitant, since I had already been dilated to a 3 the prior week and nothing was happening, but I went ahead and let her check. I was now at a 5 with a bulging bag of water. Yeah! Who knew you could be 5 cm and not in labor. It made me hopeful that I would go into labor on my own before Thursday.
That night, Monday January 28th (10 days after my due date), I had my first ‘real’ contraction just as we sat down to dinner (about 6:45). I still wasn’t convinced that this was really ‘it’. 15 minutes later another contraction. I was sure this was it now. I got up from dinner and started walking around the house. My daughters (4 and 2) were a little concerned and kept giving me kisses (“Mommy, you feel better now?”). I was hoping to labor at home for a while before heading to the hospital, but after a half hour of contractions that brought me to the floor, I realized I was making my daughters very uncomfortable and worried, so my husband called Merrilynn and told her we were heading to the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital at 8:00 pm. My awesome labor & delivery nurse checked me when we got to our room and I was 6-7 cm dilated, 100% effaced and the baby was at -1 station. Merrilynn showed up shortly after. Labor slowed down a little at this point. I was having contractions that were about 3-4 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds when we left for the hospital and they had slowed to about 5 minutes apart and 30 seconds long. That didn’t last long. Quickly, I was in hard labor. I was allowed to move around the room, sit on the birth ball, lean over the birth ball…whatever felt good at that point. My favorite position was sitting on the ball leaning on the raised bed with my husband putting counter-pressure on my lower back. My sister-in-law was also there and was great getting me cold washcloths and offering me water whenever I had a break.
My contractions were now right on top on another; no breaks in between. This was exhausting, but with some helpful tips and on-going encouragement from Merrilynn and the back pressure from my husband, I still felt in control. I have no idea how long this lasted, but it was probably about an hour. A little after 10:00 pm, I had one contraction and then what seemed like a long break. The room was very quiet. Merrilyn gave my husband some massage lotion and he was rubbing my back. It was so calm and almost eerie after the intensity of the contractions. As soon as the next contraction hit I said to Merrilynn “I think I’m pushing now”. So, she asked me where I’d like to give birth. I hadn’t had any internal checks and only intermittent monitoring (which was great because the monitor straps were VERY uncomfortable during contractions). We decided that I would get into bed and use the squat bar over the top and the hand holds. It was very hard to change positions and get off of the ball, but once I had my legs up on the bar I was a little better. I was very nervous about the pushing phase. I did not know what to expect, but since my 2nd daughter came out in 2 very easy pushes, I expected this stage to be short.
Merrilynn was putting pressure where she wanted me to push. After a few minutes of pushing my water broke in full force. My husband likened it to a fire hose, spraying straight out. I managed to spray the side of Merrilynn’s face.head and the cabinets on the far side of the room (sorry Merrilynn). Merrilynn didn’t bat an eye. For a long time (20 minutes?) it seemed like nothing was happening. I was getting frustrated and didn’t understand why it was taking so long. Once I could feel the baby’s head, I got a little more motivated (and a little more nervous about pushing out the head). This was the hardest work I’d ever done. I was sweating and I don’t think I opened my eyes the entire time I was pushing. My husband and sister-in-law were fanning me and putting cold washcloths on me. That felt great. As soon as the head came out Merrilynn said “We have a stargazer”. Turns out he was face up (OP/sunny-side up). That made me feel a little bit better about the intensity of the contractions and how hard it was pushing. In a couple more pushes, our son was born. We did not know the gender before, so this was a great surprise. Anderson was put right onto my chest. He was beautiful. My husband cut the cord. Shortly after, I started shaking uncontrollably, so my husband took Anderson and the l&d nurse put warm towels all over me. I still had to deliver the placenta. This was a problem in my first two deliveries and the doctors had to manually remove them, so I was anxious about this part. After a few minutes (5-10?) Merrilyn says “looks like the placenta is ready to come out”. I pushed a couple of times and it slid right out. Yeah!
Anderson was born at 10:45 pm. He was 7 lbs 5 oz and 20.5 inches long. It was everything I wanted and nothing that I didn’t want: no interventions, no iv, intermittent monitoring, I was allowed to labor and deliver where I was comfortable, and most importantly no tearing and no drugs. I did it with the best support I could have imagined: my husband, Merrilynn Artman and my sister-in-law. All were by my side offering encouragement and support every step of the way. Perfect.