|Almost 40 weeks pregnant|
Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 was a very important day in my pregnancy, because it was my due date. After nine long months of waiting my due date had finally arrived! I had been looking forward to this day since I first found out that I was pregnant. I spent the entire day wondering if I would go into labor. It was so hard to focus on my work, but I did my best while I worked from home.
After I finished working, I thought it would be fun to bake Labor Inducing Ginger Cookies. My friend, Meagan, had told me about these cookies weeks ago, but I had not made them yet. I knew that they would not really send me into labor, but I thought it would be fun to make them anyway. I ate three of these cookies before going to bed. During the middle of the night, I started having cramps that felt very similar to my monthly menstrual cramps.
At 12:15 am, the morning of August 29, 2012, I got up to go to the bathroom like I had been doing for weeks, only this time, I experienced my “Bloody Show”. I got back in bed and told Jon what had happened. He assured me that everything was fine and I needed to try and sleep. We called Jon’s Mom, Lisa, our doula to let her know what had happened. Lisa also encouraged me to get as much sleep as possible and explained that it still could be another week before I went into labor.
Needless to say, after my bloody show, sleep proved to be next to impossible! It was a very sleepless night for both Jon and me. Not only was I still experiencing cramps in my back and lower abdomen, but I was also anxious to know when my labor would actually begin!
Around 5:00 am I finally decided to get up, because I was not sleeping. I took my Bible and journal into the living room, so that I could spend time with the Lord before my day began. Looking back, it was so sweet to be able to spend time with the Lord this way, because this was the last time I would have set apart like this before Olivia’s arrival.
I went off to work like it was any other day. I had an early meeting to attend and projects at work that I needed to finish before going into labor. I just had this feeling that I was going to go into labor with Olivia before the end of the weekend. I was exhausted from my lack of sleep the night before, so I asked if I could leave work early to go home and rest.
That evening Jon’s family came over to hangout. We ate dinner, played games, and just enjoyed one another’s company. Jon, Josh, Hannah, and I even played the push up game, except I didn’t do push ups, I did pelvic rocks instead, and played Settlers of Catan! It was a great way to distract me from the menstrual like cramps that I had been having all day and night.
|Jon and Hannah enjoying Settlers of Catan|
Jon’s family left that night sometime around between 10:00 and 11:00 pm. Again, Jon’s Mom encouraged us to try to get as much sleep as possible and to call her if anything changed. Jon and I both needed some down time before going to bed, so we decided to watch an episode of CSI.
As Jon and I watched our episode of CSI, my menstrual like cramps become more and more intense. Jon asked if I wanted to go lie down in bed and try to get some sleep. I declined Jon’s offer to go to bed, because I wasn’t sure that I would be able to sleep. I told Jon that he should go to bed and I would stay up for a while. Jon refused to go to bed and said that he would stay up with me.
Thursday, August 30th, 2012
My contractions became more and more regular. Sometime around 1:00 am, I decided to start tracking my contractions. I had an app on my iPhone that allowed me to track my contractions. By this time, Jon had fallen asleep on the couch next time me. I knew that Jon needed his rest, so I wasn’t going to wake him up unless I really thought I was in labor.
After an hour of tracking my contractions, they were coming every 5 minutes and were lasting for 30-45 seconds. Everything that I learned in my childbirth class had told me that I was in early labor. Not only that, but my contractions were becoming more intense. Reluctantly, I woke up Jon to let him know what was happening. We called Lisa to let her know that we thought I was in labor. Lisa told us to try to sleep and call her back when we wanted her to come over to our apartment.
The last thing I felt like doing was curling up in bed to sleep. Jon and I tried watching another episode of CSI, but I was too restless. I decided to take a shower, because if I really was in labor, I did not want to have greasy hair all day long. After my shower we decided to go for a walk. My cramps were really starting to hurt and it was even hard to walk.
Jon was exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before. As a result, I agreed to lie down in bed and try to sleep. However, my contractions seemed to be coming more frequently and with every passing contraction they got more intense. Jon was supposed to be helping me through these contractions, but he was so tired that he could not stay awake.
It was at this point that I seriously considered throwing our Birth Plan out the window. I was in pain and Jon was too tired to help me. I tried to explain to Jon that I could not do this on my own. I needed his help and if he couldn’t stay awake then it was time to call in reinforcements. Around 6:00 am we finally called Lisa to ask her to come to our apartment and help us. It took her about an hour before she arrived.
After Lisa arrived Jon had gotten his second wind. However, I am so thankful that we called Lisa when we did! Lisa was such an answer to my prayers. She came with her midwife bag that was full of wonderful tools to help me through labor. She also came with apple juice and other snacks to help me keep up my energy. She was also an outside voice that could observe what was going on and encourage us on how we could do it better.
In Lisa’s professional opinion I was still in the early stage of labor. I couldn’t believe it! These contractions were really hurting and both Jon and I had been convinced that I was already in active labor. I decided that it was important for me to accurately communicate when my contractions started and stopped. My contraction would begin and I would tell Jon to start the timer. We would breathe through the contraction and I would tell them when I was done.
I labored all day long.
|Me in labor|
There were several things that were important for me to do while I labored. First, I needed to stay hydrated. I drank water, Gatorade, and apple juice to accomplish this goal. Next, I needed energy, so I tried to eat but I was not hungry. It was also important that my bladder was empty, so I went to the bathroom every hour. Finally, I changed laboring position every half hour.
Gradually, my attitude changed and I began focus and concentrate more than I had all day. It helped to have counter pressure, so Lisa used a rolling pin to rub my back during each contraction. I was exhausted from my lack of sleep, so in between contractions I tried to sleep.
At lunchtime, Lisa left to go to Chick-fil-a to get something for all of us to eat. Jon tried to get me to eat chicken strips, but again I wasn’t hungry.
I had been cold all morning, so I was wearing Jon’s sweatshirt. I would get warm and then cold, so the sweatshirt was on and off all throughout the day. It also became so hard to go to the bathroom so Lisa put peppermint oil in the toilet to help me pee and empty my bladder.
Lisa explained that we would labor at home until my water broke. After, my water broke we would pack everything up and head to the hospital. That seemed reasonable, because with most people, their water breaks during active labor…at least, that is what I thought.
As time went by my contractions became more intense and were lasting for a longer amount of time. We continued to cycle through our same pattern: contraction, breathe, finish, change positions, drink water, go to the bathroom, and repeat. If it weren’t for the clock on the wall, I would have completely lost track of time, because I was so focused on controlling my pain.
That afternoon, Lisa decided that Jon needed to go take a nap. She said that she would labor with me while Jon rested. I know it sounds strange, but my two favorite labor positions were on the couch and on the toilet. However, while I labored with Lisa she encouraged me to continue to change positions to help Olivia move down the birth canal.
Around 4:30 or 5:00 pm, during one of my contractions on the toilet my legs started shaking. Lisa asked if I was cold, but I told her, “No.” As soon as my contraction was over Lisa woke Jon up and told him that it was time for us to start getting ready to go to the hospital.
I didn’t know it, but Lisa also went outside to call her midwife friend. Lisa explained to her friend that she wasn’t sure about what stage of labor I was in, because I had been doing such a good job controlling my pain. Lisa’s friend told said that I was probably pretty close to a 10, so we should go to the hospital now.
Lisa came back and told me that we were going to go to the hospital. She told me that we would go and have them check me to see how far along I was in labor. She warned me that I might only be at a 6 or 7, but that it was okay. Lisa encouraged me that we had gotten this far and would finish this together. That was not what I wanted to hear! I was in so much pain and my contractions were so close together, how could I only be a 6 or 7? I prayed that God would give me the strength I needed to finish this labor and delivery process strong.
Jon got everything ready to take to the hospital while Lisa helped me through my contractions and left our apartment around 6:00 pm. My contractions were coming every two minutes and I was not sure how I was going to make it to the car. I had a contraction upstairs in our apartment and I told Lisa that it felt like I needed to push. Lisa told me not to push and that we needed to make sure I was a 10 before I started pushing.
As soon as my contraction was over we walked out the door and down the stairs. I had just made it to the bottom of the stairs when I had another contraction. We stopped and breathed through my contraction, before getting in the car.
Our apartment is less than ten minutes away from the hospital. However, we had to stop at every red light between our home and the hospital. I was trying my best to continue to breathe through each contraction. Thankfully, Lisa was sitting behind me and helped me breathe through those contractions while we made our way to the hospital.
Jon parked the car and we began the long walk to the ER entrance. We had to stop at least once maybe twice before we made it to the desk in the ER where laboring Moms are supposed to check in. We arrived at the desk and no one was there!
Up until this point, I had done a great job controlling my pain and emotions. However, our experience at this desk sent me over the edge.
A woman finally came back to her desk and asked if we needed anything. Jon explained that I was in labor and that we needed to go up to labor and delivery. The woman behind the desk told us that I needed to stay there and sign forms, before I could go up. As she was saying this I had another contraction and I told Lisa that I needed to push. I could feel Olivia’s head right there ready to come out! Lisa told me not to push and helped me breathe. The woman behind the desk said that Jon could sign the forms and that she would call to have someone bring me to labor and delivery.
A few minutes later, a man came with a wheelchair to take me to labor and delivery. Lisa came with me while Jon stayed to sign the forms. On our way to labor and delivery I focused on my breathing, “he, he, he…” and I also tried panting to keep myself from pushing Olivia out.
Upon our arrival, we were taken into a small labor and delivery room. It was a room that they keep you in to get your information and check your medical history before taking you into an actual labor and delivery room. The nurses began their normal procedures and told me that they needed me to give them a urine sample. However, with every contraction I told anyone who would listen that I needed to push.
After a minute or two of trying to pee in the cup without success, the nurse let me get on the hospital bed where she began to strap me up to the fetal monitor.
“Is anyone listening to me?” I thought. “How many times would I have to tell them that I needed to push?”
Jon arrived in my room while I was screaming through a contraction, trying my best not to push our daughter out. At this point, I lost control, because no one was listening to me. Both Jon and Lisa begged the nurses to just check me to see whether or not I was complete and ready to push. The nurse finally checked me and explained that I was complete and my bag of waters was bulging. With my next contraction, my water broke!
The nurses told us that they did not have any labor and delivery room available and that I couldn’t give birth to Olivia in this tiny room, because it wasn’t sterile. Their solution was to take me into the operating room, so that I could give birth to Olivia. The nurses started to wheel me in, but they did not want Lisa and Jon to join me. After a while the doctor on call that was going to deliver Olivia agreed that they could come back into the O.R. to be with me.
I was so happy to see Jon and Lisa come into my room! I knew that I could not do this by myself! After what seemed like a very long time the doctor came in and I was finally able to push, which is what I had been my desire for over an hour.
Three contractions and six pushes later, Olivia was born at 7:22 pm!!
|Olivia Jane 7 lbs 0 oz and 19 1/2 inches long|
All of that hard work was worth it the moment I laid eyes on my baby girl. I could not take my eyes off of Olivia as the nurse cleaned her up and checked to make sure she was okay. I tore a little, so while the doctor stitched me back up I kept my eyes focused on my sweet baby girl. A rush of emotions swept through my body as I watched Olivia; peace, joy, happiness, thankfulness, and more!
I had been given the honor of carrying Olivia for the last nine months and it was important to me that Jon got to hold Olivia first. When it was my turn, I did not get to hold Olivia for very long, but those first moments with her felt like time had slowed down to let me drink in and savor this moment forever.
|Jon and Olivia|
|Me and Olivia|
In the hours and days ahead, we had Jon’s family and other friends come to see Olivia! It was such a joyful time! I am so thankful that God answered our prayers and brought Olivia into this world safely. Even now, I cannot help but look at her and praise God for His amazing faithfulness in our lives!!