Change of Plans – Penny’s Birth Story

It all started on Friday night.  My husband was going out to a pub to play darts with friends from work, and I wanted to go but had been feeling a bit under the weather.  He left and I began to get crampy, and started losing my mucus plug.  I was elated to see any sign of impending birth.

When he got home at 1 am I was sleeping, but woke up to greet him.  I woke him again at 3:30 am laughing because I had started having contractions.  Why was I laughing?  I was due to be induced in 5 days, and this was the first time in my pregnancy I felt like she might be ready to join us.

We went to the assessment center (at the old hospital – the new hospital didn’t open until the next morning) Saturday morning when my contractions started coming 4 minutes apart.  They monitored me for an hour and a half and then sent me home because I wasn’t dilating.  They were very nice, and the resident on duty said he expected to see me again later that evening for “the real deal”.  I was unhappy about being sent home and wondered if I would know when it was “time” because I didn’t want to be that woman that goes to L&D every day and gets sent home.

Contractions fizzled out long enough for a nap when we got home, then picked up again around dinner time.  The contractions were strong, but stayed consistently 6-7 minutes apart for the next 6 or 7 hours, not close enough together to warrant heading back to the hospital.  I wanted to hold out until the next morning but the pain was intense and I was frustrated.

Contractions fizzled out again overnight allowing for a few hours sleep, then kicked in around 5 am Sunday morning, painful but inconsistent at 6-10 minutes.  I writhed on the bed in pain, thinking that I didn’t want to be in this sort of purgatory of labor until my induction date on Thursday.  I also still hoped I might have the baby before being induced.

Just after 7 am a particularly painful contraction hit and I curled on my left side, drawing my knees up to my waist.  POP!  There was a loud noise and then a huge gush and I jumped up saying “Oh my!” and ran into the bathroom.  My husband called out “What’s wrong?” and I hollered “My water broke!” and his response was “I’m up! I’m up!” and he was up and dressed before the words were even out of his mouth.

We called my doctor’s office and were told the doctor would call back, but my contractions were now incredibly painful and coming 1-2 minutes apart so we headed over to the new hospital.  The same triage staff from the day before was working in the assessment center, and they checked me and sent me straight up to labor and delivery.

We were having a baby!

Once up in the room the most wonderful doctor came and gave me this magical thing called an EPIDURAL and it was wonderful.  My husband called my dad to tell him we were delivering that day and he promised to be on his way.

For the next several hours I experienced my contractions via monitor.  Baby girl continued to move inside me, which was wonderful and comforting.  My L&D nurse buzzed in and out of the room checking on me and taking care of me, reporting on my progress and advising that the on call OB (not my doctor – it was her son’s birthday so she had the day off) was delivering the last baby at the old hospital and would be done there before coming to deliver my baby.

We were hoping to be the first birth at the new hospital but were beat out by three other babies that same morning!  I actually didn’t care whether we were the first or not, I just wanted my rainbow.

My dad and sister arrived mid-afternoon just in time to catch me puking up everything I had eaten that day – a handful of Tums and a half cup of water.  Quite the greeting!  They were happy to be there and my dad asked if I wanted him in the room during delivery.  I said I did, then he asked if I wanted my 16 year old sister there. I told him that it was up to him whether he thought she could handle it or not, and it was decided that she could.

The L&D nurse told me that my cervix was still pretty high, so they started me on pitocin.  The contractions got more intense, so much so that I could feel the pressure of them building and then feel the contraction itself pull through me.

About an hour later the L&D nurse announced I was at a 9 and called the OB.  She then got my husband to help her and they held my legs while I did some pushing to get baby’s head into the proper position.  The nurse informed me that she could see the baby’s head and that “she has a lot of hair!”  She demonstrated by reaching in and pulling some out to show my husband.

I pushed several times, and then the staff began to pour in and set up for delivery.  The sheer number of people made me nervous, but it was comforting that everyone was so efficient.  It began to really sink in that the baby was coming, right then, and I got very emotional.

I was draped and my legs were lifted into stirrups, and then the pushing began in earnest.  I pushed for perhaps half an hour, reaching down occasionally where I could still feel my daughter’s feet near my belly button.  She wasn’t moving much now, but the feel of her reassured me.

There was a then felt a pop as the baby’s head came loose from my pelvis, then she was crowning.  The doctor cleaned her nose and mouth but she didn’t cry yet and the doctor said “She’s not born yet, almost!”  A couple more pushes and I felt her body sliding through me, out of me.  I thought the doctor was pulling her but I was told that the doctor didn’t do much of anything except guide her out.

She began to squawk then, just these short, sharp reports that sounded like an annoucement: “I’m here!” but no real crying.  They asked if I wanted her on my chest and then put her on me, creamy, stretched out and bleating.  I was vaguely aware of her father being coerced into cutting the cord while she lay on me, but I was mesmerized by this little blue-tinged creature with the huge dark eyes and sweet red lips.

I said “hi sweet girl, I’m your momma” and she suddenly went silent, and I felt my eyes fill with tears.  I’d heard of that magical moment when baby and momma are introduced, and it was better than I could have imagined.

She’s here! She’s really here.

Penny was born 8/5/12 at 5:34 pm.  She weighed 7 lbs 2 oz, measured at 22 inches long and had big dark blue eyes and a full head of red-tinged dark hair.  Best day of my life.


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