“This could be my last meal before the baby comes,” I said to my husband Andrew. We were eating burgers at Tilt in Portland. Kelly, Andrew and I spent the evening of New Year’s Day walking around the Pearl District. I bought a new shirt and Andrew got a mountaineering book at Powell’s.
I was getting an odd feeling in my stomach. Not contractions, but as if my uterus machine button was pushed on. Haha. It was a sense.
I got their large bacon burger with onion rings. Yes, I did. Why not? It was going to be my last meal.
Kelly got a kids burger (which was very big for being a “kids” burger). Andrew got the same thing as me.
We got home and put Kelly down for his bedtime. It was a special night. Not only did he get to eat out with mama and dada, but he got to stay up an hour past his bedtime.
I got into my bed and began feeling contractions. A week earlier I had false contractions, so I was a little hesitant to assume I was going into labor. I thought maybe they were braxton hicks contractions (my body practicing).
It was around 9pm I decided to text my doula just to keep her in the know. She asked me a couple questions to revaluate my situation.
She suggested taking a shower.
Doula via text: Keep me updated. A shower or bath will help it to stop if its false labor or start if it’s real.
And so I did.
My contractions become more mild and so my doula suggested resting, but keeping her updated. I was going to be on the lookout for “the bloody show.” My plan was to labor at home as much as possible.
I drank some water and tried to rest.
It’s midnight and the contractions are keeping me up. I let Andrew sleep. It all seems too familiar. I labored with my son at night too. I knew the routine.
I bounced on my exercise ball.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
It’s 2am – I texted my doula again.
Me via text: They are getting more intense
Doula via text: Pack your bag and then try to rest. But keep timing your contractions.
Doula via text: Intense ones are working.
I couldn’t rest, so I took a shower.
The shower was my best option for managing my pain. Having the hot water hit my lower back was medicine to my painful body.
I kept my doula updated.
Contractions every 3 to 4 minutes.
Being coached along by my doula via phone.
Doula via text: Are you able to chat through your contractions? Or do you have to stop and breathe?
Me via text: Possible yes
I’m reading over my text messages to my doula and I can tell I was in pain by my responses.
We have an old water heater from the 70s in our house. It only granted me two hot showers that night. But I guess it knew that’s all I needed.
4:15 am -My contractions are becoming more and more intense. No hot water pressure to help pain management. Now comes the back and forth walking in our bedtime.
Andrew is up. There’s no way he can sleep through my contractions and my constant walking around the room. He has seen this before. He knew exactly what was happening.
That baby was coming. But much sooner than we both that.
Andrew was getting everything together. I was lying in my bed when I got the worst contraction of my life. It was if someone was pulling my arms and legs in opposite directions. Just like some renaissance torture device.
I told my doula and explained how my body felt like it was moving downward.
Doula via text: Let’s get more of those and then call your parents.
My parents live about 10-15 minutes away. They were going to watch Kelly while Andrew and I went to the hospital.
8 minutes after my doula texted me that, I had another bad contraction…. but it felt different then all the others….It felt as if gravity was pushing down on me.
Me via text: It’s go time
I went into survival mode.
I called my parents. They got there in 15 minutes.
However I could barely make it out the door.
My plan was to deliver at a hospital that was 30 miles away.
I stood by my car in the freezing January early morning having a contraction. My doula was on speaker phone while I was deciding if I needed to go to a closer hospital.
“I’m not gonna make it,” I said out loud.
5:15am – We get in the car and drive off to the nearest hospital.
I remember hearing about women having babies in cars because they couldn’t make it to the hospital. If you are really curious, then youtube it.
People would joke to me about making sure I got to the hospital in time. I would always tell them how rare those cases were.
And here I am. My body is pushing out a baby.
Doula on speaker phone: “DON’T PUSH!”
She could hear it in my voice. I was doing all I could to not push, but my body was in autopilot.
5:30am – I get out of the car while Andrew rushes to grab a wheelchair. The contractions were so bad I couldn’t even walk. We rush to the front desk of labor and delivery. I was in-between contractions while I calmly told the nurse my name and information.
It must not have been that busy because there were 5 nurses hanging out in the center desk area.
In the middle of responding to a question with the nurse, I felt a contraction starting. I quickly went over to a corner of the hallway to have my contraction in private.
“Where are you going…..,” said the nurse. Once she saw how intense my contraction was she rushed me to the laboring room. Within seconds I was lying on the bed with a nurse checking my cervix.
“You are complete,” said the nurse.
I wish I could have seen my face.
“I get that look a lot,” said the nurse with a smile on her face.
I asked if I could start pushing. Before I knew it my doula ran into the room with the entire medical staff needed to insist me on this delivery.
I pushed again and my water broke.
Pushed again. But this push was long.
I could feel her head, torso and legs exit my body.
Now that might sound gross, but I hope I never forget that feeling.
Like I do on most rollercoaster rides, I closed my eyes.
I closed my eyes while I used every strength in my body to push her out.
But in the darkness of my closed eyes, I could see her being birthed.
Another part of my plan was to not get an epidural. I wanted to feel my body at work. I wanted to feel labor pain. I wanted to feel birthing a baby. It’s bizarre, I know. But it’s what I wanted.
5:45am – Petra was born.
My doula said my face was in complete shock.
My first thought was – I did it!
Tears of joy in Andrew’s eyes, baby in my arms and complete shock on my face.
This is what I want to remember the first seconds of Petra’s birth.
Almost 2 hours later I’m soaking in a hot bath. First hot bath in the last 10 months.
It was so nice to be able to move around after giving birth. We got into the recovery room after I finished my bath. My parents brought Kelly.
He ran over to me in the bed holding Petra. He handed her a stuffed bear and hugged her.
I’m typing up this birth story now, while Petra is 4 1/2 months. It warms my heart to see Kelly love her. Not always gentle, but such a desire to connect with her.
Thankfully I didn’t have her in the car, but I’ll always wonder if I would have. Lol.