5:27- A Birth Story
The day started off with a bi-monthly appointment to check on the status of baby and see how I was progressing. At this appointment, I was 36 weeks (almost 37). Dr. Rice checked the baby’s vitals (hearing a heartbeat inside of me never got old!) and measured me and did all of the routine check-ins. After asking some general questions and getting my answers she then asked, “Would you like me to do a cervical check?” Though these cervical checks are awfully uncomfortable and not a typical thing I would ever look forward to, the anticipation of Everett getting here was too much to bear, so I let Dr. Rice check me. I wanted to hear, “oh wow, you are ready to go!” or maybe “I think it will be any day now!” However instead she said, “Well, you seem to have softened a bit, but I wouldn’t expect too much out of it.” I sunk a little bit, but after all, it was nearly a month away from my due date—what was I expecting! (I think all of the resounding affirmations from people around me saying I looked like I was ready to go any day may have had something to do with it!)
We left the clinic making note of our next appointment, a whole two weeks away. The appointment was earlier in the morning, and as I am not a morning person, I was quick to decide on a nap as soon as I got home. I went down to sleep around noon and got a good two hours in. Two O’clock came around and I felt well rested and ready to get on with the rest of the day. As I positioned myself to get up out of the bed and head to the bathroom I felt…and heard….a dull “POP”. With this I proceeded to stand up quite frantically, not knowing exactly what my body just did. As I stood I felt a warm gush, and another, and another. At this I hollered out, “Cuuuuurrrrtiiiiiss?!” I sounded a bit frantic, so he came pretty swiftly (He thought I saw a bug!). As he approached the bedroom where I stood motionless with my legs spread a part letting the liquid run down my leg I said, “I think my water just broke! “ Part of me was a little worried at this point that I may have just peed my pants as my bladder was so squished inside me anyway. Curtis was taken back at first and kept asking me, “How do you know? Are you sure?” I remember the adrenaline began to kick in and I started to shake with nerves and excitement. I proceeded to move towards the toilet as the water kept coming and coming. (Keep in mind I had also JUST woken from a nap so I was still a bit slow coming into reality). As I sat bewildered and shocked on the toilet—after all I just had my check up with Dr. Rice—I finally decided I needed to call my mom and spread the word because it was really happening! After calling mom—frantically—I may add, I called the hospital to tell them of my situation and ask what to do. This is funny because we took a birthing class to learn exactly what to do in this situation! The hospital told me to calm myself, pack a bag and come into the triage unit around 4:00. “No rush” they said. “No Rush?!” I thought. “My water just broke!” I took their advice though and with Curt’s help, we packed a bag and got everything ready for our stay at the hospital—all of this while standing over a towel because my water was STILL coming out! After we packed our bag and got most everything ready, we called our doula, Sue. She was planning on helping me in the birthing process with Curtis; however she was not planning on this until September 23rd! She was as shocked as we were, but assured us that she would make it out here (she lives in WI) to help with the birth as planned. I cleaned up the house a bit, said my goodbye’s to Axle and we were off to the hospital. Just the two of us. Soon to be three.
As we arrived at the hospital, Curtis and I walked/waddled towards the door. I opted for a ride in a wheel chair so I could stop the awkward waddling. As he pushed me into the triage, I felt the reality of what was about to happen. The triage unit was not as exciting as the rest: some tests, monitors, IV’s and a little waiting. A little after we got there, my mom and sister met us to make the event even more of a party! Soon after their arrival I was moved to the official delivery room.
By this point it was around 7 o’clock in the evening and there was little action going on. I was fashionable in my open backed hospital gown and ready to go! I was hooked up to monitors and heard the constant beating of Everett’s little heart. I also heard/felt/saw the monitoring of my contractions. (At the beginning this was not so bad, but as they progressed and got more painful, looking at the graph of contractions would build up even more anxiety). I tried my best to get the labor going on my own—bouncing on the exercise ball, rocking in the rocking chair, walking, and speed walking. These activities only produced small and irregular contractions. I was in good spirits and totally unaware of what was about to hit me. I had a great nurse (Molly) who let me eat pizza (from Davannis). To this day, I swear that was the best slice of pizza I have ever eaten! Molly helped to make the process calm and worry free and added good company.
[My birth plan was pretty straight forward. I wanted a natural drug free child birth. No questions. If I got to the point of feeling the need of medication, then I would give in, but I was very strong willed against it and I asked Curtis and the nurses to help me in this decision. When I was told that they wanted to give me pitocin to induce labor, I was disappointed. After they had explained their reasoning for not wanting to wait so long with the water broken and nothing happening, I felt a little better about it as I wanted the best thing for my unborn baby. They started me off with just ONE unit of pitocin at around ten o’clock, and well, the rest was history. ]
The time started to creep up on nine, ten, and eleven o’ clock. Around this time our doula, Sue had arrived. She was so kind to come all the way from Baldwin, WI. (She had actually planned to meet with me the next day to discuss my desires for the birthing process—little did we know Everett was arriving so early!) As she arrived, my mom and sister decided that since things were not really moving a long too fast (I was hardly dilated) even after the pitocin that they would head home and come back when Curtis called them. (Mom stayed at our house so she would not have to drive very far).
Nearing midnight, Sue had suggested that we try to get some shut eye as she knew that we would all need our energy once the contractions became stronger and the laboring really started. Taking her advice we dimmed the lights and I grabbed my iPod to help soothe me into what I had hoped would be a couple hours of sleep. I should have known better.
As I turned on my side it felt as if I had the longest contraction ever. At this point they were about a five on a ten point scale. As soon as I had that contraction, there was no turning back, no sleep, no rest and no more waiting.
This is when the real labor pains began to kick in and the thought of sleeping was impossible. I quickly found a comfortable position in the rocking chair and that is where I stayed for about two hours. The pain at this point was intense; I’d say an eight out of ten. Sue and Curtis were helping me through each painful contraction. Helping me to breath, drink, relax…breath, drink, relax…
Now this is where it gets a little foggy to me (probably because of the pain). From what I recall, the pain was getting too intense to remain in the rocking chair and so other options were given to me. The one that sounded the best at the time was the tub. They quickly filled the tub with warm water and I mustered the strength to walk those ten feet to the bathroom and get in. At this time it was about two o’clock in the morning and I was beginning to feel every ounce of that ‘natural childbirth’. I was not doing well in the tub. Relaxing and breathing felt impossible and poor Sue and Curtis had to feel every tight squeeze of my hand. I could not find comfort or any bit of relaxation at all. I remember crying out against my better judgment, “I want an epidural! Pleeeaaase, give me an epidural!” Thank goodness I had such great support there that they helped me to keep my focus on the natural childbirth and helped me find ways to cope. As the tub was not helping me and I was dilating fast (three cm in one hour!) I transitioned back into the bed. At this point since things were progressing so quickly, Curtis called my mom and sister and told them that they should probably come back!
Around three o’clock I was back in bed laboring through the contractions. One minute off, one minute one, one minute off, one minute on, etc. It seemed as if I could get no rest in between contractions and I literally wanted to jump out the nearest window! They suggested an IV medication that would ‘take the edge off’ the contractions and help me to rest in between. I was at my wits end and it was too tempting, so I accepted their offer of this mode of medication. It would only last about an hour and would have little to no effect on Everett. I really felt no ‘edge’ taken off my contractions (now 15 on a scale of 1-10!), but I did feel the rest in between. It was as if that one minute in between contractions I was in a deep sleep that was continuously disturbed by the cruelest of cruel pains. But, there was rest. I needed that rest.
When I was around 8cm, my mom and sister arrived back at the hospital and snuck back into my room, where I was less than pleasant to look at. Huffing and puffing, making weird ‘ooooooooohh-ing’ noises, frantically whipping my limps here and there. There are stories of these sights, but some stories are better left untold!
From here it was all labor—for the next hour and a half I squeezed and breathed for dear life with Sue on one side of me and Curtis on the other. The coaching and words of encouragement from those around me kept me going and kept me focused.
Around five in the morning I felt the urge. The overcoming urge to push. It’s pretty much just like they say—you feel like you have to poop! I felt it alright! I was asking Molly if it was ok to push and she said, “Sure.” I was very surprised and taken back at how calm and layed back the nurses and doctor was. I was expecting the all the dramatic stuff you see on TV I guess. So, I started to push...and push…and push…what a weird feeling. I was slightly embarrassed that I could not control my bowels while pushing. I recall apologizing for it and feeling silly that I was apologizing, but felt it was the respectful thing to do—apologize when you poop in front of people.
I was scared, no, terrified for the whole “ring of fire” part of childbirth, but to be honest, it was not as bad as I anticipated and surely not as bad as the contractions! From about five o’clock to five twenty-seven I was pushing little Everett out. I could hear the gasps and excitement of people when they saw the hair and the top of the head with every push. “Here he comes, I can see him, he’s right there!” and then a resounding sigh when I stopped pushing and he seemed to get sucked back in (gross, I know). With a few more pushes it progressed and finally I could FEEL his head. Now if that’s not weird I don’t know what is! Weird in a cool and remarkable kind of way. They positioned the mirror so I could have a look and while I wanted to see, I more so wanted him out more than anything so the mirror was more in my way than anything. I caught a glimpse though and boy was it surreal. Curtis kept looking down there and seeing this action and I could just tell the excitement in his face that he was so excited for this moment. This moment we are about to meet Everett. This moment came about a month earlier than expected, but it was a moment I, we, will never forget. 5:27.
He was out! He’s here! Our little boy is here! In my exhaustion and fatigue I felt so out of it, but still fully aware of the moment. They whisked him away as soon as he came out because of his pre-mature timing (there were many doctors and nurses crowded in the room because of this). His daddy cut the cord and witnessed all the firsts—first weigh in, first cry, first measurements and even first pee! Curtis said he peed as he was coming out of me! As soon as they checked him over and cleaned him up, they brought me my bundle. What a bundle. No one really prepares you for this moment. This moment that your eyes meet your new little newborn and what happens inside. Words cannot even describe this monumental feeling, but it is at that moment—when our eyes met that I knew I was in love. This slimy, swollen, red faced peanut had my heart. I just remember us staring at each other (I am not sure if he could really ‘see’ me, but I like to think he could). He lifted his head and tried to look at his mama and I was an oozy, puddle inside. I thought I would cry—I even got annoyed at Curtis for saying he would not cry, but it was such a surreal and happy moment that all I could do was smile. Smile and stare and my new little boy. Everett John Larson.
Soon after this the celebrations started! Mary and Jeff, Curt’s parents came in to meet their new grandson. I don’t think there is a more excited pair of grandparents out there! I called my dad, who was excited to hear the good news and couldn’t wait to meet the first boy in our immediate family! Erin and mom where there to share in the celebrations and I can’t forget Sue. I couldn’t have done it without her help. Sue and Curtis were my rocks in this process and she did a phenomenal job as a duela. She still asks about Everett and reminisces of his birth and how touching it was to her. Curtis was ear to ear smiles for the next few hours and I could tell that he was one proud daddy. From here, the rest is history and every moment since has been a blessing! 5:27. What a great moment in my life!