I had been feeling really ready to have this baby for a while. Everytime I go to the OB she is amazed that I’m dialated and effaced, but not feeling any contractions. I think I’ve been at 4cm for a couple weeks now. Anyway, I started taking Raspberry leaf tea to ‘get the ball rolling’ with no actual contrctions. Because of the doctor’s insistance at my last appointment that I wouldn’t make it to my next, scheduled for 26 June, my mom flew out early so she could be here.
On Sunday (25 June) we were all antsy and took a drive up Mt. Lemmon to go for a nice hike at high elevation since that is supposed to help induce labor. It was a nice day, but nothing happened. Then in evening, just as CSI was starting (so it would’ve been 9pm) I started feeling funky and we guessed they were contractions. Bryan started to time them and they started in close at 5 minutes apart and about a minute each, but they weren’t bad. Then, my water broke. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what it was at first, I kind of thought I had let a bit of pee loose so I went to the bathroom and checked things out. Not pee. just some trickling. Mom verified that it was my water, and as soon as we told Bryan he went into crazy-action-mode. He called the Dr. after-hours number, and we read and re-read the “labor instructions” sheet that said if you’re water breaks, it’s time to go!
I remember Bryan being a flurry of activity, getting my bag and pillow in the car and then Dr. Ighani called us back quickly. She confirmed we needed to go. Bryan rushed me into the car and drove speeding to Tucson Medical Center. There was no traffic, so it took a record 10 minutes from our house. We arrived just before 10, checked in, and mom parked the car. She was back in an instant while I was in a triage room getting a gown on. I was still getting these easy-peasy contractions very close together and felt excited. A nurse checked to make sure my water broke by smearing a microscope slide against the moisture; she returned quickly and verified what we thought. I was about 8cm dilated.
A labor-delivery-recovery room was being readied, so the triage nurse suggested I walk the halls as long as I could. They discourage this after you have a room since the rooms are big enough to pace and they don’t like you too far from the monitoring equipment (which we were only going to use periodically). This sounded like a great idea and then BAM something inside of me kicked hard. Literally, it felt like Zoe wailed on me with both feet and fists. It hurt. Mom said I physically jolted like I’d been punched in the belly. OK, from then on the contractions were hard and heavy, and coming mere minutes apart. I tried to walk the hall and barely made the ‘loop’ once having to double-over and squat a few time during contractions.
The triage nurse ushered me to my room and turned me over the the labor nurse. We had prepared for a ‘Bradley’ method natural birth so I laid on the bed in my relaxation pose and tried to meditate on my body during contractions. The nurse had paperwork she wanted me to mess with and I remember signing one thing until Bryan just took over and told her to stop bugging me, that he would sign. I felt like there was alot going on around me that I was oblivious too. I guess Bryan was verifying our birth plan with the nurse (natural, no drugs, she wants to relax, etc..). They briefly put the contraction-monitor thing on so they could time a few and then took it off so I could lay back down on my side.
I recall the contractions being long, very painful and super close together. At some point they wanted to put in an IV, but we had agreed that IV’s weren’t necessary. They decided…I know Bryan was discussing something…on a temporary little plug in my right arm just in case I needed some fluids or some emergency something. I guess this was mandatory. She tried a few times with no luck; it killed on top of contractions. Then, a different nurse came in and got a ‘good one’. It actually popped out not too long after. I recall that whole thing as being a big deal. I remember laying on my side while Bryan rubbed my back and just staring at my mom. I recall Bryan trying to encourage the nurse to call the Doc, or to check my progress but she seemed to just take things in stride. I don’t think she realized I was in hard labor since I was being so calm and moany.
Eventually, the contractions were not letting up but I continued to relax and tried to be calm. Suddenly, I felt as if I couldn’t handle this anymore; I wanted it to be over. I told Bryan, “I don’t know if I can do this.” and he said, “oh, you’re in transition.” He kept trying to get the nurse to check me, but she seemed resistant. I’m sure she was not accustomed to labor going this quickly, as she wasn’t done with her paperwork. Finally around 12:30am, she rolled me over the check and I was fully dialated with the, “baby on it’s way.” She put on the contraction-monitor and seemed surprised how fast and furious they were. Dr. Ighani was called. Then, I started baring down.
My body wanted to push and started going. The nurse said, “don’t push, yet” and I couldn’t help but think she was insane. They wanted me to wait for the doc, so I tried not to bare down but that hurt and pushing felt good. I pushed a bit on my side and Dr. Ighani got there fast. She rolled me over, got the bottom of the bed off and had me sit up in a partial squat. She seemed a bit perturbed at the nurse.
Pushing took a long time, since I wasn’t doing it right. I kept trying to push with my abs and wearing myself out. Eventually Dr. Ighani said, “Kat, pretend you are taking a big poo” and that did the trick. aha. They got out the giant mirror so I could see progress and that also helped. At some point I looked and saw how filthy my feet were from wearing flip flops all day and was embarassed. After some more pushing, Zoe was coming out so I reached down and delivered her. Dr. Ighani laughed she had never seen a mom grab her baby. I guess it was instinct, I don’t remember actually thinking about it. Zoe laid on my belly and the nurses sucked out her nose and mouth then rubbed her back until she cried a bit. Dr. Ighani clamped the cord and Bryan cut it. I nursed for a tad and then they weighed and measured her.
She was born at 1:48 AM on June 26, weighed 6lbs, 10 oz, and was 18.5 inches long. I felt great, and got to nurse for a while longer. Dr. Ighani kept tugging at the umbilicle cord to get the placenta out, but it wasn’t budging. Over 2 hours later she seemed worried; it wasn’t coming out and my uterus was (naturally) contracting back to normal. Zoe was swaddled up and passed around. Dr. Ighani examined the placenta and said it was still implanted and it needs to come out before my uterus contracts. I had two options; 1.emergency surgery, which meant a full knock-you-out drug since I didn’t get an epidural or 2.she could try to manually remove it, which meant uber-pain. I opted for 2 since I wanted to see Zoe more. It killed….this was painful to the point that my body started to numb myself to it. Afterward, there was risk of uterus prolapse since the doc had been tugging so hard so I had my IV fixed and some drugs to help my uterus really contract quickly.
After that, I got Zoe back and nursed some more which made things better. After a couple hours I was hoisted over to the shower for some cleanup by the nurse and then wheeled into my room. Zoe and Bryan went to the nursery. I was exhausted; mom came with me to my room where I ate a whole bag of pretzels and then fell asleep. The next few days were rough; I could barely walk because of the placenta removal, but it was so nice to have Zoe and Bryan sleeping in my room all together. I was let out of the hospital after my 3 nights, and it’s nice to home. Mom is taking care of everything while I lay around and nurse. I’m feeling much better, and Zoe is doing great.