I started noticing contractions at 1 a.m. Tuesday night. They were easy enough for me to mostly sleep through them. I woke up at 6 a.m. and decided to stay home from work in case they started getting stronger. Darcie had a grooming appointment at 7:30, and I decided to go ahead and take her. The contractions stayed but not consistent yet. I went back and picked her up at 9:30. Around 10 they seemed to be getting consistent, and I started timing them. They were 30 seconds long and every 3-4 minutes. I kept busy around the house, and Jeff was getting himself ready. He was convinced it was the real thing, but I was trying not to get my hopes up in case the contractions stopped.
Around 1 the contractions were closer and stronger. At 2 p.m. we were timing them and they averaged 1 minute long, coming every 3 - 4 minutes. I wanted to find out how close I was, but didn't want to have to get checked into the hospital. I called the midwife's office and Diane said I could come in and they would check me. My contractions were getting stronger and I had to start focusing to get through them. Jeff and I got to the midwife's office around 3:30 p.m. and Beth checked me; I was 4 cm. So, we had to decide if I wanted to stay and check into the hospital, or go back home and wait a little longer. We decided to go back home and try to wait it out a little longer before going to the hospital.
When we got back home the contractions were pretty bad, and I wanted to get in the bathtub to try and relax. We also called my brother and asked him to come pick up Darcie. Jack got there around 5:15 and took the dog. I had just gotten in the tub, which was nice, but the hot water ran out before it filled up.
Not long after I got out of the bath tub, I told Jeff to call Kim, my doula. We decided we were ready to head to the hospital. We told Kim we would meet her up there. That was at approximately 6:30.
We drove back to the hospital again, I was really noticing all the bumps in the road this time. Jeff parked the car, and we went in to the emergency room. We had to go and register, that took 15 minutes. Then they showed us to the elevator that took us up to the labor and delivery floor. We got off the elevator, and I turned to my left, and saw my parents sitting there in the waiting room. I was so shocked, and mad. (Later we found out when Jack picked up Darcie, he saw Jeff with his keys in his hand and his jacket on. When he told my mom, she assumed that meant we were going to the hospital.) They took us straight to our room, 5511, thankfully it was one of the rooms with a tub. Right off the bat I did not like my nurse, she was rude. This was my first time doing this, so of course I wanted to be sure everything was like I wanted. She had a bad attitude about it.
Once we got in the room, they had to hook me up to the monitors, which they also referred to as strips. I came to loathe the strips later in labor! They left me on the monitors for about 15 minutes. The nurse also went ahead and checked my progress. She said I was 4 cm, but she could stretch me to 5. She asked if I wanted her to do it, and I hesitated. She said, oh it's already done. Ugh! Around that time, Kim got there. It was hard for the nurse to get the saline lock in, and she had to try for at least 15 minutes. It sucked having contractions while someone is poking needles in you. Allison, the midwife, came in about that time as well.
As soon as they finished the saline lock and the monitoring I got into the huge garden tub. It was really nice, I could stretch out and lay my head back. We stayed in there for around 30 minutes. The worst part about the tub was getting out, I was freezing and shaking. It took a few minutes to warm back up.
I kept having the urge to pee, but really didn't like sitting on the toilet. As soon as I would sit on the toilet, I would have a contraction. Not to mention, once I was on the toilet, I couldn't pee. Around 7:30 I sat on the ball, leaning forward onto the end of the bed. The contractions were getting worse, that's for sure. I think I was still breathing through them ok at this point.
They had to do the strips again at 9:30, which meant I had to get back in the bed and stay there. That is not what I wanted to do! I wanted to get in the tub as soon as possible. The nurse said they had to check me again before I could get back in the tub. It seemed like the monitoring took forever. I kept asking when they were going to refill the bath tub. I was only to 6 cm when the nurse checked me. That was disappointing.
I think it was around that time that I started saying I couldn't do it. Every time I did, Kim & Jeff would tell me I was doing great. They reassured me that I could do it. That I was doing it. I didn't want to hear it, it was getting SO hard. Finally at 10 I got to get back in the tub. The most comforting thing throughout my labor was Jeff holding my hand. Before I was in labor, I thought Jeff might get on my nerves when I was in labor...but it turned out to be completely the opposite. I could not have made it without him.
I was drinking a lot of water through a straw, Jeff and Kim were always there with the water! At least one drink with every contraction. After I got out of the tub, I sat on the birth ball and Jeff sat directly in front of me. I was getting restless and couldn't find a position to help. I laid down on my side in the bed for a little bit.
At midnight they had to do the strips again, it made me want to cry just thinking about being strapped down again. I was continuing to tell them I had to stop, and couldn't do it. It felt like I had to lay there hooked up to the monitors forever!
I got back into the tub at 1:15 a.m. but it wasn't doing a whole lot to help with the pain. After 20 minutes I got out and tried side lying in the bed. At that point I was having really strong contractions, and was begging for drugs or to quit. I wanted Kim to go get Allison so she could check my progress. I told them if I wasn't past 7 cm I wanted an epidural. She went to get her, but came back and said she was in surgery and would be done in 30 minutes.
I was so uncomfortable and frustrated that changing positions wasn't helping. I felt the urge to try and go to the bathroom. At 2 a.m. as I was sitting on the toilet, my water broke. That is a weird feeling! It didn't seem like long after that that I felt like I needed to push. I was freaking out because I didn't want to push her out into the toilet. I remember kind of just flinging myself forward off the toilet and resting my head on the side of the tub. Somewhere around that time they went to get Allison. I was still not sure if I was having pushing urges, or just hoping I was ready to push.
I moved from the floor to the bed, and the nurse needed to check my progress. Kim helped me by making sure the nurse didn't tell me my progress. We all knew if it wasn't much, I would have an even harder time. The nurse only told Kim how many cm I was.
Allison and another nurse came in sometime around then, and set up some things for delivery. This made me think it must be getting close if they were getting ready. I had planned on using the squat bar, but at that point, I knew I didn't have enough energy left for that. So, I decided to stay in the bed on my back to push. It seems like around that time, the nurse I didn't like was gone. For the rest of the delivery I had a nurse named Treasure in the room with us. She was really sweet and so much better than the first lady.
Allison sat at the end of the bed on the birth ball. At this point it was somewhere around 2:30 a.m. Allison had to leave for some reason, I think to go to the bathroom. I knew I wasn't close to pushing her out yet anyway. The pushing contractions were so extreme, and only got worse! I started vocalizing at some point during pushing. Which is funny because earlier in labor I tried it and it wasn't working for me. But once I got to the primal hard labor, I don't know how you could go through pushing quietly. That may be because she was anterior/sunny side up.
After a while of pushing on my back, Allison suggested I get into a different position. I needed gravity to help get her out! I was super low on energy at that point, so they raised the bed and I got into more of a sitting position. Allison did a lot of stretching while I was pushing, and I know that helped, especially with my minimal tearing.
Once I had been pushing for a little while in the sitting position they put up the squat bar for me to put my feet up on. She was still not as close to being out as they would like, so then had me pull back on my legs when I pushed. I didn't feel like I had ANYTHING left in me for pushing, much less holding may legs back. When I was vocalizing I was really starting to scream, so they had to remind me to keep my tone low. Eventually when I got closer to the end, I made less noise and focused all my energy into pushing. It felt like the pushing took forever. I kept saying please get her out. It was hard to breathe when I pushed, it was so much harder than I ever thought. I also used both hands and held onto the bed rails for dear life!
At 4:22 a.m. Stella Rose Westenhofer came out into the world! Finally! Like I said, she was posterior, and her head was a little misshapen. Allison put her directly onto my stomach. I had been so deep into the pushing zone that I unfortunately don't remember a lot about that part. I remember I kept looking at her and looking up at Jeff. I was kind of crying and laughing at the same time. I also said, "Is it really a girl?" I couldn't see between her legs because the cord was there, and the placenta hadn't delivered yet. She waited to clamp the cord, and then asked Jeff if he wanted to cut it. I was surprised when he said yes! He had told me before he didn't want to do it. Later he said after everything he saw up to that point, cutting the cord was no big deal!
They took her to the warmer and cleaned her up after the cord had been cut. Jeff followed her over and took pictures and watched them clean her up. I just had a minor tear and didn't need any stitches. After the placenta was delivered Allison showed it to us. For some reason I was having a lot of bleeding, so they hooked up a bag of pitocin to stop that. A while later, the pitocin wasn't helping enough so they had to give me a shot of something else.
As soon as Stella was done with the nurse, they brought her to me. She was so precious, and they had wrapped her up like a burrito. Jeff is actually the one who brought her to me. Before he handed her off, he was staring at her so sweetly. He was definitely in awe, and in love!!
We worked on breastfeeding and bonding with some skin to skin contact. Her nose had also gotten a little smushed in from coming out the way she did. But she was so absolutely perfect. I have never been more blessed than I was at that moment.
Then Jeff brought my parents and his mom into the room. They were all so excited! They left around 7 a.m. and we got moved into our postpartum room, room 4410, around 8. Kim was still with us at that time, she even helped us carry our things to the new room. She was such a big help, I know she made things much less stressful for Jeff.
At that point I had been up for 26 hours. I didn't end up going to sleep until 10 that night. We stayed in the hospital for 2 days. It was hard to get any sleep in there. While we were in the hospital, we were visited by My parents & Jack, Jeff's parents, Casey & Nikki, Adam, Uncle Jim, Melissa, Aunt LuAnn & Uncle Danny, Ben, Erin, Uncle Charles, Tanja & Courtney, Eric, Becky & Lisa.