Confessions of a Fauf

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Birth Story

Tuesday, April 5

2:00am: I wake up and feel a tightening in my belly. After about a half hour, I realize the tightening is coming and going. I wonder if these are contractions? I time them—they’re exactly 10 minutes apart and last 1 minute. I think these are contractions! I’m too excited to go back to sleep. This could be it!

6:30am: Michael wakes up for work. I tell him, “I think Westly’s birthday could be today.” He says, “Really?!” He goes to work and wants me to keep him updated.

8:00am: I get up and tell my doula what’s been going on. She encourages me to go about my day and relax.

10:00am: I go for a walk. It’s a warm humid day—a fluke for Santa Maria, but would you expect normal weather on a day like this? My contractions take pauses as I walk. My sister in law Lisa eagerly checks in with me.

11:00am: I go to Starbucks to and realize this could be my last solo Starbucks time for awhile. The barista asks me when I’m due, and I say, “Any time now—literally! I’m having contractions.” Everyone cheers, and gives me their tips for progressing labor: get a mani/pedi, walk, eat spicy food. It’s nice of them to give suggestions, but I’m content to let things progress on their own. God is control.

1:00pm: I go over to my friend Becky’s house to hang out. She gives me encouragement and tips, etc., for she’s had 3 babies all natural.

3:00pm: Michael is home from work and we head off for a meeting we had made to see about refinancing our home. Contractions are coming a regular 8 min apart and are getting stronger. A few times during our meeting I have to close my eyes and breathe through them. There’s good and bad news: good news is my labor is progressing, and bad news is at this point it’s not worth us refinancing.

4:00pm: We get home and I realize I’ve been up since 2am, so I should probably at least lie down and rest a bit. I lay on my side on the couch—whoa! Big contractions start. I have a really hard one that lasts almost 4 min straight! Michael starts timing and logging the contractions.

5:00pm: Our friends Jon and Morgan bring us dinner: Morgan’s homemade potato soup and Jamba Juice. I manage to chit-chat and eat a few bowls of soup in between some hard contractions. By the time they leave, I know for sure I’m in active labor.

6:00pm: Michael suggests we take a shower. I have a moment in the kitchen with an intense contraction. I grip Michael’s arms and start to tear up. I feel overwhelmed. I don’t think I’ll be able to do this. Michael prays over me. We head upstairs. We take a shower, which feels good.

7:00-9:00pm: It’s a blur. I get out of the shower and get dressed, stopping every 4-6 min to deal with contractions. They’re coming closer. Barb our doula arrives and suggests I lie down on the bed to rest. I do—whoa! Biggest one yet. Apparently laying down on my side progresses my labor. I’m quite loud with this one, and Barb coaches me to inhale through my nose, exhale through my mouth, and moan low to stay relaxed and keep from panicking. That’s it, that’s what I needed to cope. Everyone has their own method of coping (thoughts, massage, rocking, etc) For me, focusing on my breathing and moaning gives me something to control while everything else is out of my control, and I’m able to work through each contraction.

9:30pm: Contractions are getting closer, averaging 4 min apart, but some are even closer. We all decide it’s time to go to the hospital. But the thought of going downstairs and all the way to the car in the garage is too much for me right now. Michael and Barb help me up from the bed and they help me take one step at a time. When we get to the kitchen, I remind Michael, “Don’t forget the bag, and your water bottle. And do you have a snack? What about your shoes?” Barb can’t help cracking up—she can’t believe I’m still able to stay organized during labor.

9:45pm: I’m about to get in the car and I can feel Westly moving lower. It feels like he’s gonna come out. I panic. Barb grabs my shoulders, looks in my eyes, and assures me West will not fall out and we will make it to the hospital in time. She’s right. We take off and Michael calls the family. Thank goodness Marian hospital is only 7 min away with lights (we timed it ahead of time) cause the drive is not fun. We pull into the emergency entrance of the hospital and I get onto a wheel chair. At this point I’m closing my eyes and working hard. The nurses at check in don’t seem to believe how progressed I am—after all, I’m a first-timer. Finally we get up to the labor and delivery.

10:00pm: It still amazes me how much these nurses want you to do while coping with active labor. I have to stand on a scale to be weighed, I have to change into a gown, I have to answer an absurd number of questions—all in little 2-4 min increments cause contractions are close and steady. Nurse Eva comes in. She says she’s seen my natural birthing plan, and since she’s a huge natural birth fan, she has reorganized all the nurses so she can be my nurse. I am so grateful and again reminded God is in control.

10:30pm: Eva checks me. At this point, labor is hard and I really need some good news. Excellent news: I’m already 8 cm! I get into a tub—ahhh! Just what I needed. Eva bends hospital protocol and decides to use the external monitor on me while in the tub so I don’t have to get out every 20 min. Michael takes a break and eats a snack in the other room. Barb stays with me. She gives me sips of water, honey, and cools me with a wet washcloth. We have small talk in between contractions—I still manage to laugh at a few things. Contractions are 1min—30 seconds apart and lasting a few min. I am living for those 30 second breaks. I can feel Westly moving down and down. Michael comes in and times contractions with me. He tells me, “This one should
be coming down any second now.” I yell, “It’s not coming down!” He says, “I’ve been lying a little.” I tell him, “I need you to lie to me right now!” That becomes one of our favorite memories.

12:00am: I am definitely in transition—the hardest part of labor. Contractions are right on top of each other with no break. And I say, “I can’t do this!” (always a sure sign of transition).

12:30am: During a few contractions, my body starts involuntarily pushing. It’s time to get out of the tub. I stand up and realize how much the water was helping with the pressure. I feel heavy and the pressure down there is incredible. I get into the bed and Eva check me: 9 ½ cm!

12:45am: I realize Westly will be born on his due date April 6. Suddenly I’m scared about pushing. Barb asks why. Well, I’ve gotten the hang of these contractions and what to do, but pushing is totally new! I’ve never done it before, how will I know what to do?!

1:00am: Barb suggests I lay on my side, since that seems to be my labor trigger. I barely roll over when I yell, “I gotta push!” It’s true what they say: when it’s time to push, your body just does it. I have my first push and I scream—it catches me off guard. A few outside nurses run in to see what’s wrong. Barb and Eva firmly get my attention and coach me: take a deep breath, tuck my chin into my chest, push for as long as I can. My water breaks.

1:10am: I feel a contraction, so I push again, this time following instructions and find it easier to manage. Eva counts and I try to hold the push for as long as her count. I feel like someone is pulling my skin apart and yes, I feel the legendary ring of fire! Michael grabs a knee, Barb grabs a knee, and they’re trying to keep my legs apart and open. My instinct is to close my legs.

1:15am: I’m pushing hard and fast. Barb tells me, “You can slow down, Farah. It’s normal to push for an hour or so.” I look at her and I think, “No way! I’m ending this now!”

1:18am: Eva is stretching me. Dr. Dillon arrives (nice of him to show up). In between pushes, someone puts a mirror down there so I can see, but Westly’s head always retracts when I’m not pushing so I can’t see much. I push again and Michael exclaims, “Every color is coming out of you!” I believe him cause I feel gushes.

1:20am: I can’t believe Westly is almost here! So close! I push again as hard as I can. Dr. Dillon tells me he’s going to do a small episiotomy. Not my first choice, but at this point I don’t care. Oo—I feel it.

1:28am: I didn’t think I could push any harder until I do. And there it is, that tiny mighty wail. He’s here! Michael cuts the cord and Dr. Dillon does a little wipe off. And then there he is, lying on my chest. He immediately stops crying cause he knows me. I say, “I know you too!” After being stitched up, everyone leaves the room. Michael lays his head at the foot of the bed—he’s pretty exhausted too. Westly lays quietly on my chest, tiny and soft and still a little gooey. We’re silent and peaceful, our new little family.

And everything is perfect in the world.


Blogger Susie Shaw said...

Oh Farah, I loves that! It made my day. What a beautiful reflection on his birthday ( : Can't wait for celebrating little Westly tomorrow!

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful birth story, I loved reading this. xx
- Lisa

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! What a detailed story... Did you keep a journal
or just use your marvelous memory? Beautifully told.
Love, RCS

11:42 AM  
Blogger Virginia Rose said...

Farah, everytime I see a birth story on Tv I cry. It's out of my control, for I always think I won't & sure enough when that baby comes out & wails, so do i. Your story is beautifully written & even produced those tears from my eyes that were unexpected! Congratulations, again. What a gift.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Virginia Rose said...

Farah, everytime I see a birth story on Tv I cry. It's out of my control, for I always think I won't & sure enough when that baby comes out & wails, so do i. Your story is beautifully written & even produced those tears from my eyes that were unexpected! Congratulations, again. What a gift.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved reading your story. to think that was a whole year ago!

8:26 PM  

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