|Kathleen and James
Vaginal delivery, natural birth, 2 1/2 hours active labor
As the end of the year 2000 approached, I was very pregnant with my third baby, and had no expectations of seeing him any time before the New Year. Having been late with my first two babies, and with my due date being January 3rd, I had resigned myself to the fact that he would likely come somewhere in the second week of January. My son on the other hand, had other plans! On the morning of December 31st, 2000, I awoke to see my "bloody show." This usually means the onset of early labor, but it can often precede labor by a few days, so I took note but didn't get my hopes up that that would be the day. I got up and went about my business: put in a few loads of laundry, cleaned the house a bit, and kept brunch plans that we had made earlier that week with friends of ours. We drove to our friend's house in two cars, though, because we had to return a piece of furniture to them. I have to add, by the way, that we had a foot of snowfall the day before and, in hindsight, I think I must have been nuts to drive on those roads while I could have been in early labor!
Anyway, while at our friend's, I had a suspicion that something was up, but as I was not really uncomfortable, I kept it to myself. When we arrived home at about 3:30, I laid down to take a nap. When I awoke an hour later, I realized that I was indeed very much in labor! I packed a bag, made a couple of phone calls, got the kids in their pajamas, and started dinner for them. Things started to happen VERY quickly, though, so my husband started to push me to get to the hospital. By the time we left, at about 5:45 pm, the contractions were coming fast and furious! But I hung in there, and when we got to the hospital, I changed, the nurses checks my vitals, etc, and monitored the baby for a few minutes. I then sat down in the rocking chair to rock through the contractions. I didn't want any interventions or an epidural, so after using the rocking chair for a while, I decided to give the whirlpool bath a try. Unfortunately, though, by the time I got in, I was beginning to enter transition, and because of the intensity of the contractions, the pool was not working. I believe, though, had I gone in earlier, it would have been a wonderful help to me.
I got out, laid down to be checked, and I was six centimeters. That was OK, but not as far as I would have liked with all of that pain! Suddenly, though, I felt the urge to push. My doctor checked me and I was 10 centimeters. I had gone from six cm to 10 cm in about one minute! He told me to push when I was ready and I did. And with the push to end all pushes, out came my son. He came out in one push! It was incredible. My total active labor was about 2 1/2 hours! Everything about the delivery was perfect. Yes, it was painful, but it was also very empowering. I had an amazing support network with my husband and the nurses, and everyone cheered me on.
James was born at 7:38 pm on December 31st, 2000. The doctor placed him on my chest, my husband cut the cord, and then the nurses took him to clean him up. They then brought him back to me to nurse, and we nursed for a very, very long time. The nurses and staff left, and it was just my husband and me on New Year's Eve with our beautiful baby boy. The lights were dim and it was beautiful. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect way to end our year.