part one here, in case you missed it.
so where were we? something about finally acknowledging i was really in labor and that a baby would soon be born.
when pam arrived to our house, labor started to pick up and contractions went from something i could joke about to something i needed to hunker down and concentrate through. so per our plan, we labored at home like this for a while. i rotated from the bed, to the tub, to the ball, to the floor, but ultimately found that laboring on my side in bed was most comfortable. i also quickly realized that holding (er maybe deathly squeezing at times?) mr. hutch’s hand was essential to making it through every contraction. he was amazing and i’m positive i couldn’t have done it without him.
around 3a pam helped us decide it was time to head to the hospital. i remember this being so exciting to me. it meant it was almost time to have a baby! i also remember as soon as i got up and started moving around to get ready to go to the hospital, contractions intensified and started coming every 2 minutes. this is why people get drugs, i thought.
the car ride was uncomfortable but thankfully only about seven minutes long. it had originally been our plan to let family know when we were headed to the hospital and mr. hutch faithfully asked at a stoplight if he should be texting people to let them know. i mumbled something about that being the last thing i cared about right now and they were left in the dark. my lack of interest made me realize i was officially in “laborland” as pam would say. the zone – completely in my own world.
we got to the hospital and for awhile it seemed like time was marked in contractions. get out of the car, have a contraction. walk to the door, have a contraction. get to the traige counter, have a contraction. the little buggers sure make for slow going.
we got to the triage counter just as i was having another contraction. during the contraction the traige nurse was trying to get me to fill out paperwork and answer questions. i remember thinking, seriously? do i look like i can answer your questions or fill out your paperwork right now? and why are you asking me things like what did i weigh before i got pregnant? that doesn’t seem relevant at this point.
so we headed to our little triage room to establish i was in labor. i know it took me awhile to figure out i was in labor (see part one of the story) but at this point i thought it was fairly obvious. she checked me and i was 6cm dilated. then i puked. which actually felt great and i remember doing the happy dance in my head because pam had previously told us that towards transition a lot of people throw up as the body purges itself to get ready for the baby. so puking equalled progression and possibly transition and that was exciting. after some fetal monitoring and what not, the nurse determined i was in labor and we were granted permission to head to room 9 on the labor and delivery floor.
part of my hopes for labor/delivery was to not feel “sick” or like there was something wrong with me just because i was in the hospital. so i had declined their generous offer to clothe me in the standard hospital mumu and gave the same response when they offered to transport me in the fancy wheelchairs. instead, dressed in my sweats and sports bra, big bare belly hanging out and all, we headed upstairs to labor and delivery. i remember having a contraction just as we were getting off the elevator. i was determined to make it to room 9 (wherever the heck that was) before i had another contraction. as soon as the contraction ended i marched off the elevator half naked through the halls until i found room nine where i collapsed next to the bed on the floor to have another contraction. looking back i can only imagine this was a sight to be seen.
it was probably around 4a at this point and the next hour and forty-five minutes are a bit of blur. i remember bits and pieces. like the resident coming in trying to give me a buffalo cap and draw my blood – both of which i declined. she said to me, “you understand that the buffalo cap is used to administer life-saving drugs right?” and i thought to myself, i don’t need life-saving, i’m just having a baby lady…
i remember the tug-of-war with the nurse about whether or not i could get in the giant, luxurious jetted tub (the only perk of laboring in the hospital) and the hoopla about not being able to track down the attending as she would need to approve not being monitored again despite the fact that i had JUST done the fetal monitoring down in triage. of course by the time they tracked down the attending (close to what i guess was over an hour later) the monitoring was “outdated” and so it needed to be done again.
in the meantime i remember the nurse asking me really dumb questions while i was having contractions and ignoring her not only to concentrate on the contraction but because i thought her questions were dumb. in hindsight, i probably wasn’t an ideal patient but i couldn’t have cared less at the time. poor mr. hutch was left trying to answer the questions for me and a few times pam gently reminded me i actually had to answer some of her questions with a yes or a no. fine. no lady – i don’t like mustard on my turkey sandwich (not an actual question she asked, but that’s what the caliber of her questions felt like in the moment!)
i also remember when it was time to monitor me again it took her FOREVER to find the baby’s heartbeat and i thought to myself, is the baby dead? why am i still having contractions then? turns out, she just had the thing about eight inches north of where where the baby was at that point. i think pam even reminded her a couple of times that the resident had just confirmed that baby was at such and such a stage and would be much lower than where she had the monitor positioned. of course when she did finally find it, her heartbeat was strong, barely fluctuating during contractions. and after twenty miserable minutes on my back while they monitored the baby (why they make poor women labor on their back is beyond me!?) i was FINALLY given clearance to get into the
promised land tub.
it was about 5:45a at this point (by the way, time seemed not to exist during the whole thing. it felt like it went by in the blink of an eye.) and the second i got into the tub i declared, “i have to push.” to which the nurse said, “YOU CANNOT PUSH IN THE TUB!” pam encouraged me to enjoy my time in the tub but to avoid using the word push unless i was wanting the nurse to revoke my tub privileges again. ironically, once the urge to push started, i just wanted to get back in the bed. making tubby time a whopping 15 minutes at most. (another funny memory along the way was making a pitstop to use the toilet on my way back to the bed and mr. hutch kindly asking me not have the baby in the toilet. ha! luckily she didn’t pop out quite that fast.)
so i got back into bed and the resident came to check on my progress. it was a little after 6a at this point i’m guessing!? and she adamantly declared that because i was only 9.5 cm dilated at that point, i could not push yet. after hearing this from her i started laughing in my head and thinking this lady has obviously never had a baby. pushing is not optional at this point. in fact, i’m pretty sure i’m just a bystander watching my body do its thing and telling it not to push would be like telling it not to breathe. she made me promise not to push (she must have taken me staring at her like she was a crazy person as a promise) before announcing she would return in 30 minutes to check on my progress and i could push then if i was fully dilated. ok lady. pam leaned over and affirmed what i was already thinking – to trust my body, it knew what it was doing.
pushing was such a relief. plus it was the beginning of the end! the contractions slowed down during this time to give my body a much needed rest between each one and i could literally feel the baby moving all the way through the birth canal – which was an amazing feeling. oh – another funny sidenote. mr. hutch swears i was grinning ear to ear and looked as happy as could be during each contraction. he wondered to himself if the orgasmic birth video had more of an influence on me than he originally thought. i assured him later that he was mistaking my grimacing for smiling…
so maybe 25 minutes or so after the resident left (it was just mr. hutch, pam and me in the room for awhile) pam encouraged me to see if could feel the baby’s head. sure enough it was RIGHT THERE. she left to go see if the doc wanted to be part of the delivery and for a contraction or two it was just mr. hutch and me in the room. at this point, i was laboring basically on my hands and knees completely covered in blankets because despite sweating profusely, my entire body was trembling and i felt like i was freezing. during a big contraction, mr. hutch recalls peaking under the blanket to make sure the baby hadn’t come out 🙂
the resident reappeared just as the baby was about to crown and if i remember correctly she made a comment about it being ok for me to push now…i remember finding that permission to be a little late. mr. hutch asked me at this point if he could stop holding my hands so he could watch her come out. it was the first time during the entire process that he left my side. did i mention he was amazing and i could not have done it with out him? close to this time, the resident must have touched the baby’s head or something and scared her because i could literally feel her retract back inside the birth canal and i panicked as i turned my head around and yelled, “are you trying to push her back in!!” i couldn’t for the life of me figure out why they would push her back in, didn’t they know i was trying to push her out?! pam reassured me no one was trying to push her back in. i think i was still skeptical/confused. the attending (who we had yet to meet) showed up as adele’s head came out. we had originally wanted mr. hutch to catch the baby but the absentee attending scoffed at this idea despite the doctors at our practice telling us it would be no big deal. in hindsight, i wish i would have just reached down and grabbed her before anyone else could get to her, but i was too lost in labor-land to think to do this. next time.
i remember feeling her finally slip out and having an immediate wave of the most intense and euphoric emotions wash over me. i immediately said, “what is it!?!” and heard mr. hutch proudly announce, “it’s a girl!!” and thinking, “of course she is! i just knew it!” she was quiet as a mouse and happy as a clam when she arrived. no screaming baby, just as peaceful as could be. and after what felt like forever but was probably less than a minute, they placed her on my chest and i began repeating the phrase, “oh my gosh, oh my gosh, i just had a baby, oh my gosh” at least 100 times. i was completely overcome with emotion.
looking back, it was the most surreal, incredible, amazing and empowering experience ever. i remember just being completely amazed by my body and how good and efficient it was at getting her out. after all, it had done an incredible job creating her, of course it wouldn’t leave me hanging on the whole having to get her out thing.
mr. hutch describes the whole thing as very peaceful and calm. and tho it didn’t always feel that way in my head, i can’t help but wonder if the more i just accepted and trusted the process, embracing it for what is was (even if at times it was really hard) the more my body had permission to do what it was created to do and the better it was able to do it.
i know having a natural childbirth isn’t for everyone, but it was perfect for us. i can honestly say i wouldn’t have had it any other way. i loved the miraculousness of the whole process and will always treasure the experience. in fact, the morning after adele was born, i woke up an announced that i wanted another one. mr. hutch laughed and said why do you think i’ve been trying to get you to have a baby for the last five years!!
of course a big thank you to mr. hutch and pam. i really couldn’t have done it with out them and i’ll never be able to quantify the support and love they showered on me throughout the whole process. and then there is the star of the show. the adorable adele. to whom i personally credit for giving me such a wonderful and amazing birth experience. i’m pretty sure she’s going to continue to grant me some wonderful and amazing expereinces.
well that’s it. here i sit with a ten day old, gorgeous little girl in my arms and i’ll always treasure how she got here.