Since Nonie and Opie came into town the night of the 20th, Rob and I went on a date to see Moneyball and go out to eat. We were the only people in the theatre and about half way through the movie, I started having pretty regular contractions that were stronger than the Braxton Hicks I'd been experiencing. However, this was the first date we'd been on since July and I wasn't about to cut it short for a few measly contractions. So on we watched and Rob never knew a thing. We got back to the house and went to bed.
At precisely 4 am, I woke up with contractions that I could no longer sleep through. I got up, showered, shaved my legs (just in case), washed and dried my hair and generally wondered if this was it. By 5 am I was pacing through the contractions up and down a long stretch of our bedroom. Rob woke up and asked if my water had broken, I told him it was just contractions and he rolled over and fell back asleep. He didn't snooze long, though, and soon he was timing my contractions with an app on my iphone. I texted my doula and reported the stats. She told me to call her when I wanted her there with us. It being so early in the morning and knowing she has 4 kids, I didn't want to call upon her too early. (big mistake)
They were getting stronger so we went for a walk in our neighborhood. Never before had I noticed how hilly this area actually is! We only went about 3/4 of a mile and decided to turn back. On our way back Rob looked up the intervals of my contractions on the internet and told me he thought I was in transition. I told him he was nuts, that I had at least 10 more hours of labor and please don't talk to me while I'm contracting, I need to focus! Well that set him to worrying as he had just read that "women in transition will feel very focused during contractions and not want to talk..."
When we got back to the house I was dealing with the contractions by putting my hands on my knees and doing little mini squats. We never made it to any childbirth classes, that's just what felt best. Within 5 minutes of being back, I'm moaning through them and thinking maybe we'd better high tail it to the birth center. I call my midwife, Vicky, to tell her that she'd better get up there and step on it but halfway through our conversation I have to put the phone down to deal with a contraction. She told me later that while hearing me go through the contraction she jumped out of bed and started throwing scrubs on.
Since I thought I'd have all the time in the world when the contractions began, we hadn't installed the infant car seat in our car yet. There I am, leaning on the trunk of my parents car, moaning, listening to my dad and Rob try to figure out how the freaking thing goes in. I nearly jumped in the driver's seat and drove myself. But they figured it out after what felt like an eternity and off we went, with me kneeling in the floorboard of the passenger seat and holding onto the headrest. Let me just say that I now know why people have home births. That 10 minutes in the car was possibly the second most intense part of the whole labor. Rob was flying up Broadway with his flashers on, cautiously careening through red lights. I told him as kindly as I could to please try not to gun the motor so much and send me rocking back and forth when I'm contracting, as it feels like utter he**.
We got to the birth center but Vicky was nowhere to be found and the door was locked. Somehow it escaped me that she lives 45 minutes away or I'd have called her sooner. I think it was only 10 minutes before she arrived but it felt like an hour and a half. The two contractions right before she got there give me a stunningly urgent urge to push. So I did. Vicky arrives and we barrel up the stairs into one of the birthing rooms and she is literally running from here to there getting things ready. I ask if I can get into the giant bathtub and she tells me, "Honey, there's no time!"
I pushed for 20 minutes with Wyatt, a mere glimpse of time compared with most labors. We thought that would be the case with Ella, too. We were wrong. Later on, Vicky told me that as soon as Ella crowned, she and Mica, my doula, saw her little head actually turn 90 degrees, indicating that her head was cocked funny coming down the birth canal. Combine that and a bag of waters that refused to break and you get an hour and twenty minutes of pushing. Let me tell you, God has designed labor so well. The escalating pain in contractions gets you pumped, so to speak, for the final few contractions. In other words, you just want that baby OUT and I mean NOW. Also, when you feel the pain, you really want to push through the contractions because it relieves the pain. It's crazy. I didn't want to take a breath in between pushes the relief was so great.
Honestly, a few minutes before Ella was born I thought, "Ok. I'm done with the labor thing now. I don't want to do this anymore and I don't really think I can." But then she was here. And I couldn't believe it. This precious life had entered the world and I had done it. God had given us a daughter.
October 21, 2011
7 lb 12 oz
20.5 inches long