The Birth Story Part I

November 19, 2010

Around 2am on the 19th of November 2009, I woke up feeling a tightening in my lower back that came and went every so often. At 40 weeks and 5 days gestation, many prayers had been offered to the fairies, hormones and cortisol of labor-commencement.  I had eaten fresh pineapple (to ripen my cervix), used the elliptical at the gym daily, took the stairs whenever possible, baked my baby a birthday cake, worked 12 hour shifts right up until my due date with the hope of coaxing my body into labor.  In the end I had faith in my body and baby’s ability to know when it was time.

So that morning, November 19th, I stayed in bed and dosed on and off, but was uncomfortable enough that I couldn’t sleep very well because my heart was full of hope that this was IT.  We got up at our usual time and I told Josh that something was “going on” but that he could go to work and I would call if contractions became regular.  My parents, sister and youngest niece were all in town(patiently).  I didn’t tell any of them that I was feeling anything because once I got up and got a shower, most of the tightening went away.  I had a doctor’s appointment that morning and my sister went with me.  Dr. C checked my cervix and I was still only 1 centimeter dilated (same as the week before).  She also did a Non-stress test and very few, if any contractions were registering.  I left the doctor’s office feeling disappointed and worried that I would go too far past my due date, my family would go home, and that I would be pressured to have an induction.

After the appointment, Amy and I met Mom, Dad, and Aliyah for lunch.  During lunch I started to have some of the same tightening in my lower back.  I asked my family to give me some time alone so that I could go home and rest.  They thoughtfully gave me my space and I went home alone.  I went up stairs and laid in the bed listening to music.  During this time, the tightening in my lower back started to spread to my belly.  The tightening also became regular about every 10 minutes.  By 4pm the contractions were so strong that I couldn’t lay in bed through them.  During each contraction I would stand at the side of the bed or lean over to take the weight of the baby off of my back.  I was glad when Josh arrived home around 5pm because I was really uncomfortable and I knew that “this was it.”  Around that same time,  my family returned home and we informed them that I was having regular contractions.

Josh and I put on our coats and went for a walk around the neighborhood hoping that the contractions would get closer together.  When we came back from our walk, we both ate a light dinner and Josh answered some emails from work while I sat on the birthing ball.  During this time the contractions got a little stronger but stayed about 10 minutes apart.  Amy suggested that we go to the gym to walk on the treadmill.  So, we packed up and the 3 of us went to the gym.  I walked on the treadmill while Amy timed my contractions and Josh lifted weights.  We stayed about 30 minutes and during that time my contractions got a little closer together – maybe every 6 minutes or so.  I was still able to both talk and walk through the contractions but they were definitely getting more powerful.  After we went to the gym, we came home and I rolled around on the birthing ball while my contractions became more intense.  By 11pm, I was curious as to whether my cervix was dilating, so we called my co-worker Jessa and asked her to come and check me (please remember, I am a labor and delivery nurse!).

At 11:30pm, Jessa checked my cervix and I was 3-4cm.   She suggested that I get in the tub for a while and she would re-check me in 1 hr to better gauge when I should head to the hospital  I got in the tub while Amy and Josh took turns encouraging me.  The contractions were still the strongest in my lower back and belly.  And, it was very difficult to stay still during contractions and I was surprised that I didn’t find the water very relaxing.  I needed to sway or move in some way to distract myself and found that difficult to do in the tub.  At 12:30am, Jessa checked me again and I was 5-6cm!  So, we packed up our things, put a towel down in the back of the car, and Amy drove Josh and I to the hospital.  On the way, we called Dr. C to let her know that I was 5-6cm dilated and I was on my way to the hospital.  The 10 minute drive to the hospital was very difficult.  I had the birthing ball in the back seat and was able to lean over on it during contractions but the cramped quarters made movement difficult…

(Stay turned tomorrow for part II, August’s birthday!)

(Amber, overdue)

(Amber, Josh and Aliyah making baby’s birthday cake)

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