Labor of Love

I need to get writing about my Etta’s birth story before I forget it all. I wrote it all in my journal, and have let it go at that, but I am currently enjoying a nap break, and thought I should use it for a quick blog. I will just jump right in.

I was due on the 28th of August, and had been planning on going over as is the norm in my family. So, on the 22nd when I woke up at 5:19 in the morning to a large cramp that lasted about a minute, I didn’t think much about it. I tried to go back to sleep, but 5 minutes later, I had another minute long cramp.

Luckily, Justin and I had taken a birthing class the week before, so I was aware that these were at least “like” contractions. Five minutes later, when I had my 3rd minute long contraction, I had to laugh to myself, “What if I have this baby today?’..Ha, ha…

Well an hour and 20 contractions later, all 5 minutes apart consistently, Justin’s alarm goes off. He turns over and sees I’m, awake.

“Hi Honey,” I say “I don’t think you’ll be going into work today.”

“What?”groggy misunderstanding…

“Well, you know how in our class they said not to go into the hospital until your contractions last 1 hour, are 1 minute long and 5 minutes apart… Well it has been an hour, and they are 1 minute long, every 5 minutes …”

I decide to get up and see if there are any changes. I am secretly getting excited, but I do NOT want to be the girl who goes into the hospital with false labor only to be sent home a dozen times. I take a long shower, and they are still getting closer. They are starting to hurt more and more.

We make breakfast, I call my midwife, to ask what I should do. She thinks I am not sounding “bad enough” So, I am probably not in labor… (I don’t know about you, but I try not to sound to desperate when I talk on the phone, I try to sound cheerful… urgh)

At this point the contractions are almost 3-4 minutes apart, and they really hurt. I have showered, dressed, had Justin load the car, eaten breakfast, fed the cats, checked on the chickens and I know that I am 15-20 minutes away from the hospital and am getting more nervous. Of course the one good story I really remember is my friend telling me how she gave birth to her son in the car.

I call my mother, “Mommy, I think I’m in labor and the doctor says I’m not” I start to cry… It is true, I was in pain, I was scared and the midwife didn’t believe me, and I had been up for 3 hours at this point and the contractions are just coming closer and harder. She tells me to go to the hospital. Thank you for your permission Mommy!

We drive to the hospital, I am excited! I can’t believe what might actually happen today. I kept looking at the drivers around me thinking, “They have no idea that a miracle is occurring right at this very moment.”

Sidenote: Please take a tour of your hospital before you go into labor. No one knows where you should go AT ALL, and it is really frustrating…..

We had driven by the drop off months before, so we thought we knew, but we couldn’t remember exactly where. The emergency guard tells us to go “here”, Once we get there, they tell us to go “there” and finally after 10 minutes of driving all around, we find the right place.

We hand the keys to the valet. We start to head in, but have to take a break, while I am leaningagainst a wall to get through a contraction and a sweet lady offers a wheel chair. Thank you how nice. But she is unsure where to go, we pass the info desk… and takes us to admissions.

They are less than happy to have us there, they tell us to get out of the way and wait cuz someone else is coming in, thank you very much. They’ll get someone for us when they can… After waiting 5 minutes and two more contractions. I am sick of it, and stand up to walk to the dang place myself.

We start looking for signage. There, “Labor and delivery” we walk to the other side of the building. Once we get there a I man says, no you need to go to THE OTHER SIDE OF THE (DANG… my thoughts added) BUILDING. I am about to cry… again. We walk all the way back to the first info desk where the entrance is…. Finally, we arrive in Maternal Observation.

They strap me into a bed with the monitors for baby heart beats and contractions. At first, the contractions are regular every 3-4 minutes, but after an hour they start to slow. I am worried that I am in false labor… I do not want to go home.

The new midwife on call says to have me start walking the hall for an hour. As I walk the contractions start getting closer again, uh and they are really starting to hurt… But I am only dilated to a 3. (it hasn’t changed)

The midwife comes in and tells us, “Yes I am in labor, but I may be there a little early, and I could go home if I want or go get lunch, or I can check into Labor and Delivery”. I choose to check in, I am just way to nervous not to.

At 11:30 we check in, get i.v’d, and then start walking the halls around 12:30. By 1:00 I am dilated to a 6. (in about 1/2 hour, it changed that fast- I am glad I didn’t leave!…) At this point, I am having awful back labor, I can hardly stand.

Can I just say that I am not into pain… I know this very clearly now. Back in the hopeful days I thought I could do it without an epidural, ha, ha, ha.

And while I stand in awe of the brave women who don’t need them, “as for me and my house, we will always have an epidural.”

At 1:30, I decided I had had enough and wanted it to be pain free. Of course, when I got the epidural I had 3, 1 minute long contractions, 1 minute apart and I was actually screaming in pain. I also got the shakes like you cannot believe, all this while they are saying, be calm, don’t tense and and DON’T MOVE A MUSCLE!. I think Justin was a little terrified, by the dramatic change in his happy, serene wife, to the screaming shaking wife.

But about 1 hour later, I was happily watching Divine Design on HGTV, sipping apple juice, and wondering if I was still having contractions… BLISS!

We took a nap, watched more design shows and waited to progress. At about 6:00, I was at 8 cm, and my midwife came in to break my water. Then she went to a meeting… Finally at about 7:30, at last dilated to a 10 my nurse decided it was time to push.



I don’t know what I’m doing?

Are you serious?

I have to do what?

Where’s the doctor?

So, Justin, the nurse and I listening to the Coors, with our candle warmer perfuming the air, begin to push. And what do we see, and tiny bit of a head full of black hair? What?

….You wanna know something kinda funny, – They set up a mirror, so I could see what I was doing. You may think gross, but it was kinda cool. Just a little disheartening, when you find out the “Good Jobs, wow that is really good” Only mean you can see an inch of baby head… You have got to be kidding me…

About 45 minutes later the Midwife comes in, and they actually gave me some handles to pull on instead of my thighs, thank heaven! Why not sooner? It was so much easier.

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  1. >you are too cute! I love the "For me and my house we will always have an epidural". I hear ya sister!
    Congrats to you on your beautiful little one.

  2. >Yay!! I am so glad she is here! We have been moving for a couple of weeks so I haven't been up to date on things–so congrats and she is beautiful, I can't believe all that hair!

  3. >What a wonderful birth story. I could totally see you crying and calling your mom. I would too if no one believed me.
    Larry and I toured 2 of the 4 hospitals our kids were born in. I thought it was funny that no one just sent you to the maternity ward. Usually they do not like having a woman in labor in their area for fear you will drop and deliver right there. When I had Larry at Hopkins, the security guard didn't even sign me in, he told me to walk right up. And the next guard at the maternity ward did the same. They didn't want me near them. Johns Hokins was full of check in points and security guards. And this was before 9/11.
    Congratulations again, what a wonderful birth story.

  4. >so sweet, thanks for sharing. love you how phrased it – my house is definitley ALL ABOUT epidurals as well – except for #3 when the nurse turned mine OFF because he was face up 🙁 booooooo!

  5. >Amen to epidurals!! You're amazing for even get as far as you did. I believe it was Cameron's wife Kate who said she has no respect for the women who don't get them. I can see that point. There's nothing liking welcoming your baby into the world calm and pain free instead of all sweaty and miserable. Nine months of discomfort is enough work if you ask me although my mother would disagree but she's a little bit nuts when it comes to baby deliveries. Thanks for sharing and continue to enjoy that sweet baby girl like I know you are!

  6. >You are so sweet and funny! I could just read that story over and over again! 🙂
    And I'll second/third/fourth what you and everyone said about the epidurals…can't go w/o one! (Of course, I didn't have the option with Jakey, I just had to have straight anesthesia–long story). 😉

  7. >YAY!! I love your story telling!! I have to say, I had a lot of the same things that you had–shakes, barfing, etc. with my oldest. With #2, I didn't have any of it, but I did get a fever, with #3, nothing. It does get better, the labors are quicker, too. Something to look forward, to, I guess. Congrats to you guys, that's so great!

  8. >What a great story. Gotta say, I do know what you mean about people in the hospital passing you off as you aren't in labor, and you don't know what your talking about with you OWN body. I see that look of desperation and defeat on our patients faces all the time at work, when the doctors, nurses, midwives, etc. tell a patient "your not in labor", "your not contracting". Being just a CNA on the L&D floor, I know when these patients will be back in an hour, and gone from 1cm to 8cm. Listening to yourself and your body is sooo important. Way to go Cass!!! So glad you have your sweet baby girl 🙂

  9. >Okay, maybe it would have been weird to have your friend be your nurse, but I WISH I could have been there for you on your big day!! Patients like you are my absolute favorite and keep me sane at my job. I absolutely love your labor story and hope that they were especially good to you. Oh, and I always tell my patients that getting an epidural is like driving your car. Yeah, you could probably walk, but it's a lot easier to drive your car.

  10. >CONGRATS! We have been away for 2 weeks and I am just catching up. I am so happy for you both. God truly answers prayers. Such a beautiful little girl and such wonderful parents! enjoy every little second of it! I also agree with the epidural statement. They are AWESOME. I thought I would try to go without and I am so glad I got one. it made the whole experience more enjoyable. Even with them nicking my spinal cord and all the complications from that I will STILL get one with my next baby without thinking twice about it! That says a lot. Keep the pics coming! I can't get enough of them! Keep letting us know how things are going. BTW, did you get our gift in the mail? I hope it got to you. If not, let me know. Love you guys!