Zoë birth story
On the eve of Zoë's 7th birthday, I just re-read this about our beginning together. I wrote this seven years ago, not knowing who she would become, but already knowing I was in complete love. Happy birthday my beautiful girl. I fall more in love with you every day. (Birthday letter soon to come)
5/24/10 – 2:53 pm
8 lbs, 4 oz, 20.5 in
It was three days past my due date and the doctor told me I had not progressed at all since my visit a week before. I was still only 1 cm dilated, -3 position, and had an extremely posterior cervix. She told me again that she wanted to induce me that upcoming Saturday, one week past my due date. I was completely depressed. I did not want to be induced. I wanted to pursue a natural childbirth, like I had with my first daughter, and was scared that I would not be able to do it if I was induced. After much anxiety ridden discussion, she agreed to wait until 10 days past my due date, but said that was it. It was a compromise I was comfortable with, because I didn’t want to put my unborn baby at risk, but also I knew I needed to give my baby and my body a chance to do this on our own. My first daughter was 10 days late so I had been through this waiting game before. The waiting game is miserable. Most people say, “You must be so uncomfortable. You must be sick of being pregnant.” I just nod my head, but actually, I kind of like being pregnant. For me it was more about the fear of induction.
On Sunday night (eight days past my due date and two days before the Tuesday morning scheduled induction) I started to feel slight labor pains. They were not intense, but enough to take my breath away for a moment. I was SO excited and hopeful! My husband was excited too, because it looked like my labor would come naturally, but it also didn’t interrupt the series finale of LOST (perfect timing in his eyes). We went to sleep that night extremely anxious and hopeful. On Monday morning at 5:00 a.m, a stabbing labor pain in my back awoke me. I immediately got into the cat position and started the ‘o’ sound to help me through it. In the middle of the pain, I started to panic a bit. I forgot how hard this was! Could I do this again? Holy Crap- this hurts!! But, as soon as I caught myself panicking, I started to repeat the word, “calm” in my head. I had to remind myself that I could do this; my body was made to handle this, and that women have been doing this since the beginning of time. Those reminders helped me calm my mind and body throughout my labor every time I felt the nagging edge of anxiety hit me.
My labor pains were only about 45 minutes to an hour apart until 9am or so. Warren took my daughter, Andie, to preschool and I remember thinking as I said goodbye to her that her life would never be the same, for better or worse. When he returned my contractions had progressed to about 20 minutes apart. Each time I had a contraction, I got into the cat position and moaned out my ‘o’ sounds, while Warren massaged my back and moaned with me. He helped to keep me focused and control my pain. We were not sure what number we were supposed to call for the doctor (the office number or the emergency number) so Warren called the office number just to check. The phone call ended with me talking to a nurse, who told me since my contractions were only 15-20 minutes apart they could last that way for weeks and reminded me that I was scheduled for an induction the next day. I completely panicked. Oh my gosh! What if I still had to be induced? Warren reminded me that no one would be having the kind of contractions that they have to moan through for weeks. But, I still felt a little nervous.
Around 11 am my contractions got to be about 8 minutes apart. All I wanted to do was get into the shower and let the water run on my back. Warren was adamant that I not get into the shower because in my first labor, he could not get me out to get to me to the hospital. He said we should head on the hospital so I could shower there. I begrudgingly agreed…as it was his only request. I knew he was terrified of having the baby at home, so I let him call the doctor again. It turns out that was the best choice we could have made.
The doctor told us to come into the office so he could check me and determine if I should go to the hospital. I was extremely annoyed. All I wanted was a shower and now I had to go into the doctor’s office! Once we got there my contractions really started to pick up. I had a super strong one right before we got into the elevator and I was barely out of the elevator before another one hit me. I was leaning against the wall moaning my ‘o’s when a woman asked Warren if I was ok. She was very worried and ran into the doctor’s office to tell them I needed help. I really just needed a shower. It is funny how people react to a woman in labor. I guess it is something you don’t see every day. By the time I got into the office, my contractions felt like they were coming every few minutes. The nurse wanted me to get on my back so she could monitor the baby and check my cervix. It was SO uncomfortable! The last thing I wanted was to be on my back. I could hardly stay still for the doctor to check me. When he did he told me I was 5cm dilated! Wow! I was overjoyed! (When my first daughter was born, my contractions were 2 minutes long and 2 minutes apart, but I was only 3 cm dilated. I guess I thought it would be similar.) He said to put me into a wheel chair and get me to the hospital. It hurt to sit down, but I knew it would be quicker than me trying to walk. Although, every few minutes I had to stand up so I could lean against the wall and moan out my contraction. Warren later told me that everyone was looking at me, seemingly concerned. I didn’t care in the moment. I just wanted to get to the hospital so I could get in the shower. One passerby even told me to pull down my skirt a bit. I responded that I didn’t care about my skirt. Please…I was in labor!
Anyway, we checked into the hospital at 1:30 pm. Our amazing nurse, Julia, said I could get into the shower as soon as she checked me and put in an emergency IV port. Again, I had to get into the awful position to be checked, but was amazed when she said I was 9cm! What?! 9 cm. I was 5 cm 30 minutes before! At this point, I didn’t even have the time to think about an epidural if I wanted one. It was all going so quickly!
Julia was having trouble finding my vein, but was being incredibly patient with me, allowing me to stand up and walk around through the incessant contractions, only looking for my vein in the short breaks between. Once she finally found my vein, she told me I could FINALLY shower! But, all of a sudden, I knew I could not get into the shower because I felt like I had to push. Again, it was all happening so fast! My water broke, and the nurse informed me there was meconium in the water. She said that instead of giving the baby to me, they would have to check her out first. I know I felt worried, but hardly had time to think about that because my contractions were happening so fast. Julia called in Dr. Barrett (the doctor on call) and he was there right away. He told me to push when I was ready, but he said I had just a little bit of my cervix in the way, so not to push too hard. This made me a bit uneasy so I really didn’t know how to push or if I should even try. That passed quickly though. Soon, I knew there was no choice. I had to push and push hard. Finally, baby Zoë was ready to arrive! It took me a while to find the most effective push, but after some coaching from the doctor, I knew what to do with my body and I pushed with all of my might. After about 15 minutes, I was a little worried, because Andie had arrived after only 4 contractions, but Zoë was taking longer. As it turns out, she was bigger and as I am sure will happen throughout their childhoods, they will have different experiences. Once I heard they had her head, all of a sudden they lowered the bed because her shoulders were stuck. I gave one huge push, and there she was! They took her to the side for a few minutes, then laid her back on me.
Wow! Zoë had arrived! All 8 lbs, 4 oz of her! Born at 2:53 pm, an hour and 23 minutes after checking into the hospital and nine days past her due date. She was and is beautiful! I instantly fell in love as soon as I saw her. I knew she would become an integral part of our family and looked forward to getting to know every little part of her. It is two weeks later now, and I still am falling in love more each day. Again, thanks to Pierce Yoga program for giving me the tools to have a labor the way I wanted and for giving me the knowledge to advocate for me and my baby. What a miraculous birth!