As you know, Baby R is here.
Here’s a slightly edited version of her birth story.
On Monday June 12th, I woke up for my typical work from home day around 6am and then decided to go outside with a cup of tea and to look at the peonies that had just bloomed. Around 7am, I noticed some leaking and got up to go to the bathroom and on the way to the porch, my water broke (membranes released).
I remember thinking, this is strange. I had no other signs of labor. It can’t be. I called Tony who had just gotten to Boston for work and he turned around. I called the Dr office and they said I could stay at home for a few hours and go to hospital or I could come into the office to get checked, depending on how I felt. I had no clue how I was progressing. I never felt any pain, just pressure, so I wasn’t in a hurry to go to the dr or hospital. I was afraid we would get all the way there and then they would just sent us home.
I somewhat walked around the house gathering bags and other last minute items that weren’t packed yet. We were 13 days before our due date, but the weekend before, I had checked the lists and knew which things that we still needed to pack.
I practiced my calm breathing exercises which is breathing in for a count for 4 and out for a longer count of 8. I didn’t have any labor pains. I had what felt like to me the braxton hicks contractions (“surges” are what my birthing class called them). I did have some surges that stopped me momentarily from doing what I was doing, but nothing major. I tried to record the start and end time, but it was hard to tell the difference between the stronger ones and regular ones.
We ventured outside and I had Tony water the garden because I doubted anyone would be able to for several days and multiple days in the 90s were predicted. While outside, I had 2 more major contractions standing up, which almost made me want to push, which was a sign that we needed to go to the hospital. We left the house around 12:30pm and arrived at the hospital valet line just before 1pm. They got a wheelchair for me and I was slightly uncomfortable, but probably didn’t look like I was in actual labor. I was focused on breathing and didn’t see much as I closed my eyes.
We got to the Labor and Delivery floor and they said they had been expecting us hours ago (oops), but they took us to a small room for triage. I think they were skeptical that I was in labor by looking at me in the wheelchair but I got into a bed and they tested for amniotic fluid and then hooked me up to a monitor for the baby’s heart rate and for my contractions. The nurse left and then another nurse Kelley came back a few minutes later. Kelley was with us the remainder of the day.
Around 2pm, we got moved to our room for an exam and Kelley said she was going to get someone else to re-check her measurements. Evidently I was almost fully dilated and she couldn’t believe it at first, but the other nurse confirmed it. They then got the on-call doctor (Dr. Cochran) to visit and introduce herself. Tony got our music setup and several nurses came in a setup the baby warmer and all the supplies for delivery. We pulled out the almost finished “Birth Preferences” document and nurse Kelley read through it. We basically skipped over half of it since my labor had progressed so quickly at home. They did put an IV on me for fluids (lunch in a bag is what she called it) and in case I needed it later. Our hopes were for the most natural childbirth as possible with little to no intervention, as long as we were healthy. We also wanted to delay the standard testing procedures to the baby, if possible so that we could immediately do skin to skin contact for her first hour.
I think I started “breathing down the baby” (pushing) around 2:15pm. Tony was on my right side the entire time. I don’t think he left my side until I told him to find the ice machine! I couldn’t have anything besides water and ice. He kept commenting on how well I was doing and how calm I was, and how proud he was. I don’t believe that I yelled or screamed, but I do remember one point during labor where Tony was trying to tell jokes and I told him I needed him to help me keep focused.
Dr. Cochran gave feedback on how I was progressing and how much each push helped Ruby. They wanted me to take a deep breath and then push for as long as I could, breath out, and then do that 2 more times during each surge. That wasn’t the breathing technique that I had been practicing, but I was okay with doing it their way. Dr. Cochran left for a little while and I felt like I didn’t progress much but once she came back, I was ready. I began to use some visualization techniques (the opening blossom and pink satin ribbons) from my class where I envisioned her moving gently down. Another key to my progress was realizing if I moved my knees closer to my chest, I did much better during each surge. I remember hearing that they could see her head and her curly hair. I never felt any pain, just lots of pressure and once we reached a certain point, there was so much pressure that I had a hard time determining when the surges began, so I would have to ask nurse Kelley if it was happening and then I would begin the 3 push cycle.
Around 4pm, the “baby buddy” Maura came to the room and I knew it was almost time. Maura oversees the care of the baby while Kelley focused on me. When she was almost ready to arrive, I could sense that Dr. Cochran was monitoring and cautious of her heart rate, so I knew we only had a few more chances to birth her before the Dr. wanted to intervene. So with that in mind, I had a few more surges and she was born at 4:22pm.
She was immediately placed on my chest. It happened so fast and I couldn’t believe she was with us. She had curly wet hair and a squashed head.
After delivering, I had issues with delivery the placenta, so they took me to the OR and put me under general anesthesia. Tony stayed in the room with her while I was gone and he held her the entire time. They kept us in the delivery room until 11pm waiting for my labs to come back and to make sure I recovered from the surgery. We got the all clear and we were transferred to the mother and infant unit just before midnight (of Tuesday morning).
Lowell General has a photographer on site, but we arranged for Nancy Dion to come to the hospital for a “Fresh 48” session. Here was one of the outfits we put her in. I made the skirt.
For meals, moms are allowed to order meals 3 times a day… and 2 entrees each time and mom’s partner is allowed to order an entree. They had pretty decent food, but some of the portions were tiny.