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Kristan and Audrey
Vaginal, unmedicated birth, 3 hour labor

When I began my weekly appointments with the doctor, the labor process had already started. I was 1/2 a cm 50% effaced. The following week I was 1 cm, 80% effaced. The very next week I was 3 cm 90% effaced. The doctor helped stretch me to a 4 at that point. I believe it was that week that I lost my mucous plug. I had contractions for a full 2 weeks before birth. There were so many signs that Audrey was coming soon.

Contractions happened throughout the day and the night. I did not rest well during those nights and frequented the bathroom often. On a few different occasions the contractions would intensify in the morning and get 4-7 minutes apart. I thought for sure Audrey would come on one of those days. The contractions always tapered off in their frequency. I did a lot of walking to encourage her to come, but to no avail. The doctor wanted to induce me on May 25th. That way he could be the one deliver her. I decided not to, hoping and praying that she would come at the right time when she was ready (quickly please!).

On May 24th I had an ultrasound to check the amniotic fluid and a non-stress test. I went in for an appointment the following day at 12:50. The doctor decided to strip my membranes to help the baby along. They called Dr. B, who was on-call that day to let him know I would be scheduled for an induction on May 31st, my 42 week deadline. Dr. B didn't understand why I just wouldn't come down to his floor to get induced and get it over with. I felt a lot of pressure from everyone including Dad, but decided to wait for the right time and give her one more week to come. I was sent home with instructions to walk a lot and have sex.

When Dad got home from work we went to try out a new fishing spot. I walked up and down the boat ramp several times before the rain compelled me to sit it out in the car. The rain eventually caused Dad to stop fishing. I drove home while he ate dinner in the car. I'd eaten mine while he was fishing. I was discouraged thinking the stripping of my membranes had been unhelpful. Nothing had changed. We arrived home and followed the rest of the doctor's instructions. I felt a contraction afterwards and another one while I was in the shower. Dad started timing them and getting excited. I was ignoring them. I had timed my contractions several times before only to be disappointed once they would start to space apart again.

After I got out of the shower I had a contraction that didn't feel very good. I had to squat down on the floor next to the bed. I kept walking around, but another contraction would come and I would have to get down on my knees with my arms on the sofa to relieve the uncomfortable feeling. If it hadn't been for Daddy, I might not have gotten to the hospital on time. He started getting dressed to go. All the while I'm saying that this could be another trick (in other words I'm not in real labor yet). By the time he was dressed I was convinced and ready to go the hospital. I still warned that it could be a false alarm. The car ride was one of the worst parts. I couldn't bear having to sit in my seat. We arrived at the hospital, signed a form and waited in the hall. While waiting, I continued to squat down to get through contractions. Then, I told Dad "I think I need to throw up." He asked a nurse to get me a bag. The bag arrived just as I couldn't hold it down any longer. The nurse wanted me to pee in a cup, which is hard to do when you are having contractions and throwing up. Then she put me in a bed to hook me up to a monitor. I hated lying in that bed. Sitting and lying were the two most excruciating positions to be in. I was 5 cm. I complained about being on the bed and eventually my labor nurse came to get me and we walked down to my labor and delivery room. All the while Dad would get down on the ground so I could lean and squat on him during the contractions.

Once we got to my room I asked for the labor ball. When my labor nurse checked me I was 6 cm. Dad went down to park the car while I bore through my contractions. The nurse put an IV line in my hand in case it was needed. I rocked and sat on the labor ball during my whole labor while clinging on to dad who was sitting on the bed. I continued to barf in a bag and Dad fed me ice chips. At some point I heard my doctor come in and ask the nurse to give me some fluids through my IV. The contractions kept getting more and more powerful. I yelled out "I think I need to poop" more than once. I had read other birth stories during my last anxious days of pregnancy and had read that the feeling of when to push the baby feels like a huge bowl movement is coming. Not understanding the feeling having experienced it for the first time I vocalized that feeling to my nurse and doctor who were still in the room. I am so glad I did because the doctor got me on the bed to check me. I was at 9 cm. He broke my waters and everyone told me it was time to push. They had to prod me to lie down on that bed. I didn't want to lie down. Dad said I pushed for 20-30 minutes. The whole time I kept my eyes closed for concentration. I only heard the voices of the people around me. Dad held one of my legs back. I clung and yanked on the neck of his shirt each time I had a contraction. At some point they told me you could see hair, something I didn't expect. For some reason I didn't expect my baby to have hair. At another point they asked if I wanted to touch the baby's head as she came out, I said no. I just wanted her out completely.

Once she came out they asked if I wanted her on my belly and Dad answered yes right away. I held her the whole time the doctor stitched me up. I had a tear on the inside that had to be stitched and another small tear that the doctor didn't need to stitch. The whole time I held her I said "help mommy forget, help mommy forget". The delivery of the placenta and the stitching did not feel good. Having the baby in my arms was the only thing that could distract me and help me through that pain. I asked Daddy to hold her at one point so I could see her better, then he put her right back on my belly. I kept saying, "it hurts" and "ow, Dr. B that hurts." He said, "I can give you something to relax you" and I said, "no, I can do it." "I'm just giving you choices" was his response. After all that effort and pain I sure didn't need medication now.

Audrey was born at 12:40 after 3 hours of labor. I went in with the attitude that I would try to do it without medication and see how I felt. I made it without any medicated help. I was really proud, but I think Dad was the proudest. He was a great coach and was highly impressed with how well I did. The funny thing was that I started labor at 9:30 on May 25th (the day my doctor wanted to induce). My own doctor did end up delivering my baby that next morning; 12:40 May 26th. God's timing (and baby's) is always best.

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