"Nobody prepares you for this." The Birth of Hailey Lynn at Salinas Valley Memorial
Amanda and I were just babies (first grade) when we met and now we get to exchange our baby stories, I love it, and I love her story for how crazy strong she is (not necessarily the reasons she had to be strong). Amanda shared her birth story on her blog, Heart on My Sleeve, and here for my students with her permission. She shared it three years ago and it's still one I think of very often.
Sometime in mid-June 2009, my mom and I took a trip to my grandparents house in Merced. I was ready to pop, and didn't even know it! I spent all weekend swimming in their pool. I remember feeling completely weightless and carefree...I also remember how hard it was to get out! With the 30+ lbs of extra weight I was carrying around it was almost impossible to climb out of the comforting, cool water.
One night (I think it was a Saturday night) after a long swim, I went to the restroom and noticed spotting in my swimsuit. BIG red flag (literally). All during my pregnancy the doctor warned me about how important it was to inform them if I had any spotting. So here I was, 2 hours from my doctor's office and boyfriend, bleeding. I decided to wait until morning to see if anything changed and I decided not to tell my family. I knew my mom would have packed me up and sped to Salinas in the middle of the night. I did, however, call Jason. Or I tried to. It turns out he was at a friends house that didn't have cell service. After calling as many friends as numbers I knew, I finally tried some land lines and got through. He told me not to worry, and we should call the doctor on Monday. The next morning everything seemed normal.
On Monday, I went in to the doctor, who "checked my cervix". Nobody prepares you for this. I was so shocked as he basically pushed his whole hand into me. Thank god I had convinced my mom to come with me and hold my hand. It turns out that the spotting was indeed from my cervix, which was now 1cm dilated and 80% effaced. To me, that sounded like a baby would be popping out at any minute. According to him, I could go into labor that night, OR walk around for another month before going into actual labor. YIKES! My second trip to the restroom in the 10 minutes after getting home from the doctor, I noticed more spotting and what I understood to be, my mucous plug... Oh the beauties of childbirth.
After walking around for 2 1/2 weeks in slightly uncomfortable pre-labor, we went to Jason's parents house to celebrate his 29th birthday. Normally I am a very social person, and I was trying really hard to put on a smile and have a good time in the 90 degree summer heat with huge, swollen ankles, BUT I just couldn't do it! After 2 hours of sitting in a lawn chair with my feet propped up on a tree stump, I gave up. I leaned over to Jason and said, "I'm sorry , but I just can't hang anymore. I need to go home." At this point, I was a little disappointed in myself. I know how much Jason loves to celebrate his birthday, and all of his friends and family were there, but I was done. So he took me home, and went back to celebrate some more...without me. I was so excited to get back to our little house, in our air conditioned living room and prop myself up on our comfy couch. I tossed and turned all night long.
The next day went on as usual. It was Friday, July 3rd. Since Jason had been out late the night before, he decided to stay home that night. We watched movies and he made me a peanut butter and jelly quesadilla for dessert. I ended up falling asleep next to him on the couch. I woke up around 10pm to the sounds of the TV and the urge to go pee....again :/ But something was different, I had energy! I felt like I had gotten a full 8 hour night sleep. As I practically skipped into the bathroom, I noticed some tightening in my stomach. After I went to the bathroom, I felt like I was still leaking. When I wiped I noticed more bleeding and in my heart, I knew that I was in labor. I slowly walked back into the living room and Jason said, "Whats up, you have a really big smile on your face right now." "I think I'm in labor," I said. He jumped off the couch and wanted to get in the car and start our hour long drive to the hospital immediately. I convinced him to let me take a shower first, then I made him take a shower. During all of this, my contractions had become very obvious and very regular, but I still wasn't in any pain. We left our house around 11:30pm. I remember during the drive I was trying to time the contractions but every time I got them, I couldn't help but laugh. I was just so happy and excited. We called our parents and let them know that we were headed to the hospital. I called my mom and asked her if we could drop off Tucker for awhile. She of course caught on and insisted on coming with us. (I was going to beg her to anyway)
By the time we walked into the hospital, I wasn't laughing during contractions anymore. They weren't painful yet, but they were nothing close to funny. I remember putting on the gown, peeing (again) and getting weighed. I weighed in at 180lbs! As soon as I laid on the bed to have my cervix checked, the contractions came on full force. I was only 3cm dilated which was enough to get me admitted and a bed in labor and delivery. Unfortunately, there were forms to sign and it seemed like it took the nurses hours to get these forms ready. During this time, the contractions were increasing with pain and my mom, Jason, and I were in this small, dark room with a few nurses watching the tragedy of Michael Jackson on TV. I remember Jason whispering to me, "If they don't quit watching that TV we are going to pack you in the car and drive to CHOMP." I signed all of the forms, except for the form consenting to an epidural. I informed the nurse that at this point I could handle the pain and didn't need any medication.
Finally I got put into the room that I would later deliver my beautiful daughter in. Our first nurse was HORRIBLE. She took one look at me and rolled her eyes. I had tested positive for Group B strep and needed IV antibiotics to protect the baby during delivery. Apparently the nurse had little patience for this. She gave me the IV, then hooked in the antibiotics, cold. I immediately forgot about the painful contractions. My arm felt like the bones inside it were freezing and breaking apart! It was so painful and unbearable. I begged for some relief. My nurse offered little help. After some persisting on Jason's part, I was given a warm blanket to wrap my arm in, this offered just enough relief for the contraction pain to come through. At this point, I had to go to the bathroom (again). This REALLY irritated our nurse. Basically she told me that I couldn't get out of bed and I could just go in the bed, and that someone would clean it. No kidney dish, no bed pan...just sheet and mattress. Thanks. So after holding it as long as I could (which made the contractions 10x worse) I went, in the bed. Humiliating. That was the first time during labor that I started crying. They were more so tears of embarrassment, than of pain. Of course nurse number one didn't clean me, but sent someone else in to clean me and change the bedding with me in it, real nice. Lucky for me, it was time for a shift change and grumpy nurse number one was out. I labored for a little while longer, lying on my back in the bed with my mom and Jason holding my hands during the contractions.
Then I went into back labor. This is not fun. I had heard about it in childbirth classes [at the hospital], but I sort of ignored it. I guess I thought that I was going to have this wonderful, pain free, routine labor. I felt like every contraction was causing all of the muscles in my back to tighten. After what seemed like hours, I caved into to the epidural. Or so I thought.
I signed the papers and waited for the anesthesiologist. Every contraction seemed to get stronger and my cervix was dilating slower than expected. My nurse told me that it could be a long time before I got to push and she recommended that I get some pain relief so that I could rest before pushing. The Anesthesiologist came in and everyone had to leave. This was the second time that I cried during labor and these were tears of fear. How was I supposed to hold my composure, and stay completely still without having Jason there to talk me through it. He told me to be strong, and a nurse offered me her hand. I did the best that I could as he poked me twice and moved the catheter in and out a dozen or so times. After he left, a different nurse came in with a urinary catheter...I still haven't decided which one was worse. A few minutes later my nurse walked in and asked my if the pain was disappearing. I lied. I put on a smile and said that I felt much better. Jason came in and could tell that I was lying, but he didn't say anything.
I told that nurses that the urinary catheter felt like it was leaking and that the bed was getting wet. They checked me and said that my water had finally broke. After another hour, Jason told the nurse that I was still in pain and I couldn't hide it any longer. She got the anesthesiologist and he poked around some more and realized that the first epidural had come out and the medicine was dripping all over the bed. It turns out my water hadn't broke yet. Now my options were, let him try again or get a one time injection that lasts 2-4 hours. I went with the later and got immediate relief. My mom, Jason, and I tried to take a nap and enjoy the absence of my moaning and groaning.
About an hour later, the nurse came in to check me and told me it was time to push. With Jason holding one leg and my mom holding the other, I pushed for 3 hours. The doctor finally came it and said it was time for us to meet our baby. Hailey Lynn Baker was born on July 4, 2009 after 11 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing. This was the third time I cried during labor, and these were tears of joy.
If you would like to share a birth story please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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