I've join in a birth stories blog hop because I love birth stories! I hope you enjoy Talitha's birth story.
Thursday 2-11-2010 At my doctor's visit, she told me she was going out of town for the weekend. We discussed the possibility of breaking my water that afternoon to try to start labor before she left. After a cervix check and a check to see what doctors were on call for the weekend, she told me it was best that I waited until she got back on Monday. I was only dilated to 2 cm and my cervix was still very high and thick. She said it would be better if we didn't try to control things and end up very far from the natural labor I had wanted. She said that things happen for a reason and since we were unsure of the exact due date, it was best to just wait. The due date was based on ultra-sound measurements.
Friday-Sunday I laid low and did my best to rest. I shopped for last minute baby items online. I found a double-stroller, wooden high chair and a doula-in-training offering her services for free on Craigslist. I picked up the stroller from a few blocks away. Mike picked up the high chair while shopping in the bigger town near us and I sent a note to the doula.
Monday I scheduled a massage and arranged for the doula to come visit us that evening. We had initially decided against hiring a doula because I didn't think I wanted some one fussing over me during labor and Mike wasn't thrilled about the cost. This doula was working to get her certification and needed to volunteer at three births. She offered support during labor and five hours of post-partum care. I thought I would really like to have massage during labor and having her there would give Mike a break. After she left, I took a brisk walk over to my neighbor's house and ended up with contractions and shooting pains down my legs. The pain in one hip got so bad I could hardly walk. That wasn't good.
Tuesday The hip pain got better and I began to see some spotting. I was having sporadic contractions, but was busy taking care of the girls, so the contractions would come and go. That night I called my neighbor to ask about her labor. She said that she was having some contractions and once she got the hospital, she was ready to do whatever it took to get her labor started including having her water broken and doing nipple stimulation in the tub. She said once they did that, her labor really kicked into gear. I decided that night that I was seeing enough changes that if I went to the hospital and could just focus on labor, it would progress. I figured I would let every one sleep though and go in to the hospital in the morning. Spotting continued throughout the night and when I would have a contraction I would wonder if I was waiting too long. I hardly slept.
Wednesday 5:30 am When Mike's alarm went off in the morning I told him he didn't have to go to work today because we were going to the hospital. He asked if I was having contractions. I told him not much more than the last couple weeks but I was seeing enough other changes. We called the babysitter, the hospital and the doula. The hospital wanted to know about the timing of my contractions. I wasn't bothering. We were coming in and that was it. I asked them to call my doctor and they said they wouldn't until they checked me to see what was going on. Since it was Ash Wednesday, I was afraid they wouldn't catch her before she headed off to Mass.
7:30 am We arrived at the hospital and told the front desk that I was in labor and needed to check in. They got that panicked look like they should rush me back to O.B. I assured them I had time to register. We got the same panicked and confused look at the registration desk. I assured them that I was almost two weeks over due and we weren't leaving this hospital without a baby despite not being in serious labor at the moment.
The nurse checked me and I was dilated to a 3-4 cm and was 80 % effaced. I told them that contractions were regular if I could walk around. My doctor said she would come in at 9 am. Mike and I headed outside for a walk and my doula stayed in the room to get her stuff ready. We had a great walk together. It was wonderful to be outside and walking together. It's been months since we've had time or that I have been able to do that.
9 am We grabbed snacks and drinks at the coffee bar and headed back to the room. My doctor was waiting for us. She had just been to Mass. I'm sure she prayed for me there. I explained what was going on and that I was willing to have my water broken to get things moving. I had initially wanted to avoid having my water broken because I felt like that made my labor really difficult with Tyler when compared to Tony's birth. Tyler's labor was faster but more intense. Tony's was longer but easy for most of the time. But at this point, I felt like we just needed to be efficient. She broke my water at about 9:30 am. Nice clear fluid. At this time, my doctor asked if it was okay for the medical student who was staying with them could attend the birth. She was the daughter of one of our friends so we were happy to include her in the birth.
9:30 am I called my friend Darla. She's been a very good friend on this long journey of infertility, adoptions and surprises. She recently moved closer to the town near the hospital and it was very special that she could come and be a part of this baby's birth. Then I got dressed and went out to walk with my doula. Mike restricted me to walking around the hospital. It was about 20-30 degrees and sunny. After our second lap or so, we met Darla at the entrance.
10:30 am I walked a couple more laps with Darla. At this point, the contractions were definitely intensified and coming fairly close together. Often I would have ones when I couldn't talk.
10:50 am Mike called and said my baby sitter wanted me to check-in. I called home. I was worried about the girls. The babysitter assured me every one was fine and she didn't call. I realized Mike meant MY babysitter, the nurse. Things were pretty intense and we were planning to head inside at that point anyway.
11:00 am I was still only dilated to 4 cm. My legs were sore and swollen so I was done walking and planned to get into the tub. The contractions were painful, intense and very close together. Sometimes one on top the other. I climbed in the tub and tried to relax. Things became much more painful and I resorted to that low moaning thing you're supposed to do. My doula was by my side reminding me to breath and to work with the contractions and relax so they could do their job. She was very attentive and was ready to offer whatever I thought would help. I couldn't talk and was just coping. The tub has a bench about six to eight inches off the bottom of the tub. It worked great to put a towel there for a pillow and I could lay my head there and put my feet up on the opposite wall. I tried to get in the position that was so comfortable with Tony, but it was unbearable. The tub was still filling up and it began to get too deep for me to keep my head on the bench. I remember thinking I was going to drown unless I could communicate to my doula to turn off the water. I managed, "Water, off!" and she saved my life! :) I had been really nauseous all day. I never could relax between contractions because the contraction would end and the nausea would come back even after taking my Zofran. I began feeling a lot of pressure and wasn't sure if I needed urinate or it was time to push. It was time to get out of the tub.
12:00 pm I asked to be checked again and was at 7 cm. I panicked. Things happened so quickly after 5 cm with Tony. I told the nurse to call my doctor and tell her to come quickly. My doctor is a dear friend and a homeschooling mom. She and her husband are both doctors and alternate time in the office and time at home. Today was an at-home day for her but her home was only 3 minutes away. I was so relieved when she came. I was feeling so much pressure but she said it wasn't time to push. My doula remained at my side reminding me to relax and breath. I tried to obey. It wasn't easy. I was on my back. I couldn't get into any of those other suggested positions for labor. I think those positions are for people trying to get their labor to progress. Mine was progressing without my help. I was checked a couple of more times and there was a big difference when I would have a contraction. If she checked me during a contraction I showed much more progress.
12:38 pm Darla began recording notes in a little book for me. She recorded that at 12:59, I was at 8-9 cm during a contraction. At 1:04 pm, the doctor told me I could push. I told her I didn't want to. I thought, "After all this I have to push the baby out, too? Ugh!" Most of this time, Mike was in the corner chair, trying to relax and not jump out of his skin. He was there for me. He would prefer to be out in the quiet waiting room and be told when it's all over. It's so hard for him to see me in such pain and not be able to fix it. Darla recorded that at 1:05 pm, Mike was up and on his feet and every one else was getting things ready. I asked Darla to take pictures. "Oh yeah, not from that angle, from by my head please." :) At 1:10 she writes says, "Serious pushing." At 1:17 pm, I touched Talitha's head. This would have been the "Ring of Fire" moments. It hurt like crazy! I said so. I also commented that adoption was wonderful. Nobody told me about the "Ring of Fire." It's when the baby's head is crowning and stretching everything. The time spent stretching is important because it reduces the risk of tearing. With the boys, I had Nubain and was numb prepared for episiotomies. I didn't not feel the "Ring of Fire." At one point my doctor said that if she did and episiotomy it would go faster but she didn't think I was going to tear. I was thinking, "Just do it!" but I knew it would take longer to numb me up and prepare for it than to just keep going.
I wasn't following any one's instructions about breathing. My nose was so stuffy and everyone kept telling me to breath in slowly through my nose. It wasn't until my doctor said that I was going to hyperventilate if I didn't slow down my breathing that I finally did what I could to suck in air through all my congestion. I felt like I had no strength or coordination to push. I couldn't feel when the contractions would end and when I should stop pushing or keep going. It was horrible. It was less than 10 minutes.
1:23 pm The doctor announced, "It's a girl!" and I reached down for my baby! I was so glad it was finally over. I said, "It's a girl? Yeah!" They finished suctioning her and I was able to pull her up onto my chest and held her close. It was wonderful! The picture is great! The look on Mike's face is priceless. The look on every one's face is priceless. Too bad I was mostly naked and can't post the picture. Then I couldn't move. I was so tired. I just held her close. She was crying a little and they suctioned her a bit more, but they didn't take her from me. She was covered in the creamy vernix which made us wonder if she wasn't as late as we thought she was. I kept saying, "She's so white." I wasn't refering to the vernix. She looked so different than my last two little brown babies. They asked Mike if he wanted to cut the cord. I knew he didn't and I reminded them that I wanted to. I did. They asked me if I wanted to try nursing her. I wasn't ready to try to move yet. Eventually, I did and after a little encouraging, she latched right on. I did end up tearing a little bit because Talitha had her arm across her chest and her hand up by her head. My doctor said that if she stitched it up it would heal better and would I like her to do that. Of course! My doctor and the nurse were so great about keeping me in charge of my labor and delivery. They really respected my wishes. It was wonderful.
I delivered the placenta. Even that was more painful and more work than I remember with the boys.
Mike was texting everyone and calling people. Everyone in the room was waiting patiently to get her stats but they were so great about letting me decide when. The people Mike called and texted were not so patient. "How much did she weigh?! What is her name?!" There were no answers for those questions yet. 1:45 pm Darla left to go get her daughter, her friend's daughter and the doctor's daughters to take them all the home school ballet. Don't you love small towns? Every one is connected. I finally gave up the baby to have her checked and weighed. She was 8 lbs 10.2 oz and 21 inches long. I still hadn't really moved much. They gave her back and she latched on to nurse. Mike headed home to be with the girls. He said we would talk about a name later. My doula started giving me a massage. I hadn't wanted to be touched after they broke my water, but the massage afterwards felt wonderful. Then she covered me up with the blanket and left me to snuggle and rest with my sweet new little daughter. I was so content and relieved and thankful to the God who brings great joy and blessing to our family.
We are a Christian couple joyfully answering God's call on our life to welcome children into our home. We have two boys, Tyler and Tony, and adopted our first daughter, Amanda, in August of 2007 and a second daughter, Christiana, in July of 2009. Talitha joined our family in February 2010 after a surprise pregnancy. Julia was an even bigger surprise in January 2012.