Don't you love it when life unexpectedly gives you a great story to share? My baby's birth day wasn't at all what Ihad planned; really, it was so much better!
July 27 started out as a regular day- I had been feeling crampy for a couple days, so I went to a spa for a prenatal massage, then relaxed and had dinner with family. But then, at about 9 p.m., I started to have painful cramps in my lower back and waist. I realized that unlike the light but incessant cramping Ihad felt previously, these pains were very concentrated and were coming and going in waves. After about three cramps in the space of 12 minutes or so, I recognized them as contractions.
When I called to my mom (I was waiting for my husband to fly in from Salt Lake City that night, but luckily Iwasn't alone) and told her I thought we needed to go to the hospital, she reacted very calmly:”Ginny, we're not going to the hospital after the first contraction. How far apart are they?” I answered that there seemed to be about five minutes from start to start, but she thought I was being dramatic and went to get a timer to verify my estimate. I watched the timer as I gathered a few last-minute things for my hospital bag; I noticed that the contractions were in fact occurring every two to three minutes, soon delivering almost constant pain. Mom was convinced, so she, my grandma and I climbed into her van and took off for the hospital.
Even before we left the garage, my water broke, I threw up several times, and I was sweating from every pore. I spent the duration of the 20-minute trip hunched over the backseat, praying that I wouldn't give birth in the back of an Odyssey. My mom handled the journey like a pro, and when we finally arrived at the Northside Hospital Women's Center, she loaded me into a wheelchair herself and wheeled me to the registration desk. The ensuing minutes seemed very long, as the desk attendant took down my information, a nurse made calls to try to find a clean delivery room, and I fought the urge to push the baby out right then and there. Check-in time was 10:10 p.m.
It was a major relief to make it into a birthing room a few minutes later, but I was still feeling scared. Itold everyone who would listen that I needed an epidural ASAP, but my nurse told me they would have to take blood first, so an epidural was about a half hour away. I balked at the suggestion of waiting any longer.
The on-call doctor from my OB's practice wasn't on the floor, so instead I was greeted by a nurse-midwife who turned out to be utterly wonderful. She gently informed me that there wouldn't be time for an epidural, then checked my progress and had me start pushing. I have to say, the physical stress of unmedicated birth is a great incentive for forceful pushing- I would do whatever it took to end the torment. The pain and pressure were nearly overwhelming, but about four pushes later, we had a baby! The time of birth was 10:29 p.m., 19 minutes after I checked in and about 90 minutes after true labor began.
In retrospect, I think I would attempt another natural delivery, especially if I knew it was going to go so quickly. Next time, though, I'll take a class to learn what to expect and how to stay in control. (Because I was dead set on an epidural, I wasn't prepared to face hard labor.) I have noticed that recovery is much easier (so far) this time than last, and I didn't tear as badly even though the baby was bigger. The experience was both horrible and wonderful- I was left feeling proud of myself and high on adrenaline. It really was cool being able to respond to my body's urges rather than watching a monitor and listening for a doctor's command.
So say hello to Finn Patrick Butler, measuring 8 lbs., 14 oz. and 20.5 in. He spent the first half day of his life in the NICU because the quick delivery didn't give him time to squeeze the fluid from his lungs, but since then he's been healthy and strong. And even with all the challenges of the first weeks, there's nothing like a newborn to bring a new sense of joy and wonder into a home. We love you, Finn!
Hospital gown by babybeminematernity.com.