This little one arrived so quickly that I left home after my family was asleep and was back before they woke up! It was a sweet, loving, beautiful birth and I was thrilled to be part of this family's journey.
I woke up on Friday morning, the 23rd, feeling really emotional. I was five days past my due date and I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions since I was 16 weeks. The Braxton Hicks were getting stronger and longer and the tightness was moving into my back for the past 2 weeks.
So that Friday morning I woke up feeling really anxious and lonely (Nick was at work). I was just moping around the house trying to keep myself busy but I finally just broke down. I started crying and Bennett came over to console me. He said, “Are you sad, mommy?” and I told him yes, I was sad. He took me by the hand and said, “Come here, play in my play room, you will feel better!” His tender heart immediately put a smile on my face and I went to sit with him in his play room.
While we were playing Nick called me. He could tell I was upset and he told me he was going to take a half day of leave to spend with me and Bennett, but that he HAD to go back to work the next day (he didn’t have a lot of leave he could arbitrarily take because he wanted to save it for once Michael got here). I happily agreed and we decided Bennett and I would meet Nick at the Lewisville mall to walk.
We spent a few hours walking around, sitting in chairs at Brookstone, playing on the indoor playground, and coaching Bennett on how to stay close to mommy and daddy while walking in public. We hit up a Dillard’s sale (40% off of all clearance clothes) and got Nick and pair of shorts and his very first tank top, that was only 3$, haha. We left the mall and went to have my favorite lunch at El Chico (tortilla soup….yummm!). We drove home in traffic and Bennett went down for a nap right when we got home.
I, against Nick’s wishes, didn’t take a nap that afternoon with Bennett like I usually do, but rather pumped for 30 minutes and watched TV. I was determined that Nick wasn’t going back to work the next day . The pump of course did nothing (I had been pumping off and on for two days), and I was again feeling discouraged. I continued to stay busy that afternoon doing laundry and other chores in hopes to get things moving. Finally around 5pm I decided it was time to relax since I didn’t want to labor throughout the night. I would try again the following morning.
We had a normal evening of dinner and bedtime routine. Nick and I spent some time together watching TV before we went to bed at around 10:30pm. I was having contractions, like always, but wasn’t timing them for fear that they wouldn’t be regular and I would be let down, again!
I woke up at midnight to a strong contraction and a stomach ache. I went to the bathroom and continued to have contractions that seemed very close together. I went back to bed and laid there for about 5 minutes and realized these contractions were much stronger and much closer together than when I went to bed. I woke Nick up and explained the situation and had two more contractions while sitting there. Nick pointed out that the contractions were only about 2 minutes apart (which wasn’t unusual for me, but the fact that they were continuing to come was). I told him I wanted to go downstairs and time them since I was uncomfortable laying in bed through them. We went downstairs and timed a few more contractions and Nick decided he was going to get things ready to go to the hospital. We were in our master bathroom and I again had a stomach ache and went to the bathroom. Nick called our doula, Heidi, and told her what was going on and that we were going to call my mom to come over and then head to the hospital. She said she would meet us there. It was maybe 12:20 at this point. I called my mom and told her to come over and she got here within 15 minutes. When she arrived, Nick was putting last minute things in the car and I was breathing through contractions (they were only lasting about 30-45 seconds) and giving him last minute instructions on what needed to be put in the car.
We got in the car and drove to the hospital. Nick said a prayer for us as we were driving. It was very sweet and comforting.
We got to the hospital at 1am. I was still able to walk, very slowly, through the contractions. They weren’t terribly painful at this point, I would say uncomfortable. I had not preregistered so we had to go to the front desk and fill out some paper work. While I was filling out a one page sheet I had 2 contractions. They were still coming about 1:30-2 min apart now and were lasting 30-45 seconds.
Our doula arrived while we were still in the lobby and she joined us at the registration desk. I asked her if she got any sleep and she said she randomly took a nap after dinner and was feeling rested. I was relieved as I thought it was going to be a long night.
We walked back to L&D together and they put me in the triage room. My nurse came in and I gave her a quick synopsis of what was going on. She had me change into a gown and wanted to monitor the baby for 20 min. Once I was hooked up to the machines she checked me and I was 5cm dilated and 75% effaced. Heidi was very excited at this news. She reassured me that I was doing great because I was still smiling and making small talk between the contractions. Her encouragement gave me lots of confidence.
Dr. C was already at the hospital, as he was on call that night. He came in and to say hello after they checked me. He said that he saw me walking into L&D and that he could tell it was go time! I asked him if I could have a snack from the nourishment room and he said, “Go for it. I anticipate this will go the right way!” Meaning he wasn’t concerned about me having a C-Section. Everyone was so positive and encouraging I was feeling good!
They moved me to my labor room (10), Heidi suggested I get a birthing ball and to bounce through contractions since I was feeling a lot of the pain in my lower back. They brought me a ball and I sat on it while my nurse took some blood work and started my IV (ouch! That hurt worse than the contractions!).
I decided I wanted to sit in the bathroom on the ball with the sink water running to help relax. I remember the feeling of needing to pee that came along with my contractions with Bennett. I fought that feeling so hard with him, but this time around I welcomed it and envisioned my cervix opening as that feeling got stronger. While we were in the bathroom Nick was making jokes about running the water and getting as much as we can out of our hospital stay. Nick was sitting on the stool in the shower and Heidi was sitting behind me on the floor with a rice pack on my back. Nick was rubbing my shoulders and Heidi was holding the hot rice pack on my back while I bounced through contractions. In between we were still chatting and Nick was still making silly jokes making me smile. We were talking about possible name combinations, as we had STILL had not decided on a name for Michael. Heidi said she liked Michael because her 2nd sons name was Bennett Michael. So now we have a Bennett and a Michael, and she has a Bennett Michael. Kinda funny.
At around 2:15 Heidi suggested we go for a walk. I was nervous because I was coping well with the contractions on the ball. I was scared to change what was already working! I agreed to one lap on the sky bridge. I thought the change of scenery might help too.
Nick asked if I minded if he went to get a coffee from the nourishment room before the walk and I said no, of course not. Heidi stayed with me and when Nick got back we walked into the hall while Heidi went to reheat the rice pack. We got about ten feet down the hallway and I had already had 3 contractions since leaving the room. I was no longer able to walk through them and they were right on top of each other and I decided I no longer wanted to go on a walk . We went back to the room and put the birthing ball by the bed and the nurse came back in to check me. I was 7 cm and 90% effaced and it was about 2:40am. I was still coping well through the contractions and Heidi and Nick reassured me that things were moving along. I was not AS positive as they were though.
I went back to the birthing ball next to the bed. I was leaning over the bed hugging a pillow while Nick was rubbing my shoulders and Heidi was holding the rice pack on my back. Nick got me some headphones and I started listening to a play list he had put together for the labor. Contractions were still coming every 1:30 and only lasting 30-45 seconds. I was trying really hard to stay relaxed through the contractions and was finding it more and more difficult. They were coming on fast and strong. Really strong.
I started to feel nauseated and extremely hot. I was having cold sweats and the rice pack was so hot, but was helping so much so I didn’t tell her to take it off. I was becoming vocal through the contractions and couldn’t at all respond to anything Nick or Heidi was saying.
The next 20 min were the most intense 20 minutes of my life.
The contractions were right on top of each other and were now SO strong. The pain was radiating from my lower back throughout my hips with each contraction. Heidi put a cotton ball with peppermint essential oil near my nose to help with the nausea. Another contraction came and I was bouncing on the birthing ball and screaming with pain. I could feel his head moving lower and lower in my body. Another contraction came and I decided I needed Dr. C. It was either time to have a baby or I was done with this whole natural childbirth thing (transition anyone?)! During the 30 second lull between contractions my nurse came in and Heidi asked if I wanted her to check me and I said no, get Dr. C. At 3:24 another contraction came and I could feel his head move into the birth canal and my body took over and started pushing. My nurse hadn’t even made it out the door yet so Heidi said, “She says she’s pushing!”
I was leaning over the bed at this point and Nick told me to get on the bed. I told him I couldn’t and he lovingly forced me onto the bed, haha. He said, “Catharine, It’s time to get on the bed right now.” I made my way onto the bed just as another contraction started and my body continued to push. I was grunting through the pushes and I had my eyes closed the whole time. I was laying on my side holding onto the bed rail and Nick was holding my left leg in the air. When I opened my eyes Dr. C was putting on gloves and he sat down on the end of the bed. He checked me and told me I was complete and the bag of waters was bulging. The nurse immediately said, “I’ll get an amniohook.”
Dr. C said, “Well, Catharine, do you want me to break your water?”
“I don’t know, should you?” I replied.
“It will go a whole lot faster if I do” was his response.
“Ok. Whatever.” I consented. I wanted this to be over.
That whole conversation was pointless because with the next contraction my water broke on its own. The fluid was warm and I immediately felt Michael move lower as I continued to push. Nick said, “Your water just broke!” and I replied, “I know.” Haha.
With the next contraction Michael moved even farther down the birth canal and I screamed to Dr. C, “It hurts sooooo bad!!!!!!” He comforted me by saying, “I know, you’re doing good!”
Heidi and Nick took over the encouragement at this point.
With the next push Nick said, “I can see his head!”
Heidi said, “He has hair, Catharine! It’s blond!”
With the next push and a loud scream Nick said, “His head is almost out!”
“He’ll be here soon!” Heidi encouraged!
One last push and I felt a huge relief. Dr. C told me to stop pushing. Nick exclaimed, “His head is out!”
“Thank God!” I replied! Haha.
Dr. C gently guided his body out and at 3:34am I reached down and pulled my new beautiful baby boy onto my chest! He immediately started crying. Loud!
He was finally here! My pain was gone and we were elated with joy. He came out at 7lb 15oz and 21 in long with not even the tiniest cone head!
Michael is now 3 weeks old and just over 10 lbs. He took to breastfeeding like a champ and our new little family is so happy he is here! Bennett just went up to Michael asleep in the swing and said, “OH!! He’s so sweet!” and then proceeded to give him a kiss on the forehead. He loves his brother, and we couldn’t be happier.