It all started early morning when I went to the bathroom at 2:15am (lots of bowel movements!). Upon standing up to wash my hands I felt a gush of fluid. I wasn’t sure if it was my water leaking or pee, but I had just gone to the bathroom! I woke up Niko (my husband) and examined my undies – Didn’t smell like pee. We grabbed our book from birthing class and began researching. I laid down to see if any contractions would start, but felt nothing. At 3:40am I went to the bathroom again and there was “bloody show.” Blood = Let’s go to the hospital to check it out.
We grabbed our hospital bags, birthing ball, pillows, water, and headed out the door at 4am. Within minutes of driving I started feeling contractions. They were close, about 2-4mins apart, and getting stronger. We arrived, checked in, and went into a pre-LDR (Labor /Delivery/Recovery) room to be monitored and examined. The nurse checked me and sure enough I was 90% effaced and 2cm dilated. We were officially staying! It was about 5:00am, we called our parents, including my dad who lives on Maui. It was 2:00am (HST), thankfully he answered right away, and got on the next flight! They kept me in the pre-LDR room until I got more uncomfortable with the contractions. The bed was bigger in there, but as soon as I really started feeling those suckers I wasn’t in bed! We were moved to an LDR room.
During active labor I moved all over the LDR room: I bounced on the birthing ball, walked the room, laid on my sides, cat stretched, took 3 showers, and sat in other funky positions to find relief from the pain. (Niko and I had an AMAZING nurse who followed our birth plan to a “T” and never offered pain meds). My favorites were the shower, birthing ball with Niko behind me, Pandora radio playing Nature’s Lullaby station and cold washcloths on my neck and forehead. Once I hit 4/5cm I began doubting myself. “How could this get any worse and more painful?” Niko called my best friend Courtney to come up to the room to help us – or to mainly help me calm down. I had Niko, Courtney, and my amazing nurse coaching me along with positive affirmations to keep me going. During this time the nurse noticed I was having couplet contractions and back labor, which indicated that Addy was posterior! So she had me move onto my side in an attempt to rotate the baby. Not fun and REALLY PAINFUL but luckily she turned!
I quickly went from 4/5 to 8cms when my doctor came to check on me again. He broke my water bag fully and things really started moving. A little after 6:00pm I started feeling an INTENSE urge to push. Man that is one INTENSE urge! My support team cheered me on, counted and praised my progress. The nurses and doctors explained every moment: how close the baby was, telling/showing me where to push (and yes it’s just like taking the biggest poop of your life) and applied mineral oil, massaging/stretching me. Once her head/hair started showing the doctor asked if I wanted the mirror to see her. I said, “Yes” and that was SO motivating! Seeing her head made me push even harder and longer. Courtney was at my head, my legs were being held by Niko and the nurse, and I bared down like crazy with each push! After just under an hour of pushing our baby girl was here at 7:17pm.
I couldn’t believe that I had done it and the hard work was over. She was laid on my chest immediately. I was in awe. Niko and I just stared at her with amazement. Our wonderful doctor sat there for 3 minutes pumping the cord fluids up to our baby girl to get all those nutrients in before clamping the cord. Niko cut the cord with pride. I was then stitched up – ouch!
After cleaning up, our family and close friends came in to see our little beauty. An hour after skin-to-skin we told the nurse she could take Addyson to be weighed and measured. 7.74lbs and 19.5 inches. The nurse swaddled her and put her in Niko’s arms. I kept saying, “I can’t believe it’s over. I did it! No pain medication!” I was so proud of myself and my wonderful coaches who helped me along the way. We cried together, pushed together, hummed together, and breathed together. 15 hours of labor with the last hour of pushing was the most intense, painful, yet rewarding day of my life!
I will forever be thankful and grateful for the love of my life Niko, my amazing best friend Courtney, my nurses Jen & Mary, and my calm supportive doctor. But most of all Robin (our birthing class teacher) who instilled strength and wisdom in Niko and I to make our dreams and birth plan come true!
Image Credit: Giselle Shuken