I love reading other people's birth stories. Love, love, love them. It's a bit of an obsession. It recently occurred to me I hadn't shared Sam's. So here it is, 2.5 years late in all of its minutia.
December 15, 2007: John and I went to hear the American Boys Choir sing Christmas Carols at the Princeton University Chapel. One of my fondest memories is timing contractions while listening to the boys sing. From the morning of the 15th until the day Sam was born, I had contractions every 5-20 minutes non-stop. This did not bode well for sleeping.
December 16, 2007: I barely slept the night before. I told John that he should probably not drive to Glassboro to preach today (he sent Dave Ward who was eager to deliver a Christmas sermon). Despite my mom’s protests, I insisted that I wanted to walk to Marshall’s and look for winter boots. This was a pivotal moment when I had to decide whether I was going to buy snazzy, sophisticated black leather boots or practical I’m-playing-in-the-snow-with-my-kid boots. Perhaps it was the contractions, but I went for the latter (and I still shake my head in disbelief that I passed up those great boots).
While I was trying a pair of boots on, Ursula, my midwife, called and said she had been thinking about me and thought it might be a good idea to come to the hospital for a quick check (yes, her name was really Ursula, yes, she had a thick German accent, and yes, we made all kinds of jokes about her eight tentacles coming in handy to catch the baby).
When we got there I was shown to a small room where they measured my contractions. Even though the monitor showed regular contractions that were fairly close together, I only felt them every 8-10 minutes or so. I still had not dilated any further, so Ursula sent me home saying that she suspected I would have my baby the following day (I had dilated to 2 cm a month earlier). As we were going out the door, the nurse pulled me aside and whispered, “I think you’ll be back tonight.”
At 1 pm I was standing near our front door, preparing to walk over to Holly’s house for lunch when my water broke. I called Urusala who told me to try to eat something, take a nap, and come to the hospital around 3 pm. So I ate a few bites of dinner (I should have eaten more), and tried to lay down for a nap (I should have slept more). A little after 3 pm we left for the hospital (I had tested positive for Strep B which meant they wanted me to come in soon after my water had broken to administer antibiotics to keep the baby safe).
Upon arrival I went to visit my dear friend Amy who had just had a baby the day before. I left her room, walked back to my room, and announced I was not leaving the room until the baby came.
By this time the contractions were still irregular but were painful. I was dilated to 3 cm and Ursula said I would most likely need pitocin to speed the labor up since I was Strep B positive and my water had already broken (it was nice to have a non-interventionalist midwife--if she was suggesting intervention I felt like I could trust her—generally speaking, they want Strep-B babies out within 12 hours of water breaking). John timed my contractions while Holly wrote the times on the board in her ridiculously neat teacher hand writing. John wrote the word “Pitocin” in the Greek alphabet on the board and for some reason, I found it really comforting to sound out the Greek letters in my head while breathing through contractions. Crazy. I was told that the new anesthesiologist would begin a shift at 7 pm. So at 7 pm on the dot I requested an epidural. I had told myself that if I was going to get pitocin than I was also going to get an epidural. Forty-five minutes later the anesthesiologist arrived and delivered an epidural (he was a bit short-tempered, kicked my mom out of the room who is as sweet as pie and yelled at a nurse…twice). The pitocin was administered soon after. (I’m glad I requested an epidural the minute he came on shift. Apparently, had I waited even 30 minutes I would have been fifth in line which would have put the epidural hours and hours away from when I wanted it).
I tried my best to sleep, but I was too excited. Plus, I was having quite a bit of pain in my lower back, which the epidural was not reaching. Around 10:30 pm Ursula checked me and announced I was at 9 cm. As she walked into the hallway I felt the urge to push. John called her back and she gave me the go-ahead to push away.
Around 11:15 pm I said something along the lines of, “Maybe this baby will have a Dec. 16 birth date!” John responded, “No! I want a December 17 birth so he’ll have been born exactly on his due date.” Not a good thing to say to someone trying to push out a baby. I think I glared at him. With Charles Hammer’s classical guitar Christmas music playing in the background I pushed into the wee hours of December 17th.
I had a very interesting nurse who kept letting go of my leg or forgetting to complete her counting to 10. She’d get to 6 and then kind of trail off. John stepped up and was a great coach, giving me ice chips, holding my foot, and counting. At one point I heard a popping noise and flipped out. “Something popped! Something popped! Did you hear that?” The midwife calmly said, “Yes, I heard it, but it’s okay.” Turns out she was just trying to keep me calm and didn’t want me to know that MY TAILBONE HAD JUST SNAPPED!
Pitocin didn’t sit well with me and I oscillated between announcing, “I have to push!” and “I have to throw up!” Throughout this 2 hour push session I kept thinking, “Man, these epidurals are overrated.” I found out later that the epidural had worn off and they had forgotten to tell me about that little button you can push to administer more drugs. Chalk that one up to experience.
On December 17th, 2007 at 12:46 am Samuel James Drury was born, weighing in at 7.2 pounds, 20.5 inches and lots of dark hair. I had him in my arms for about two minutes before passing him like a football to John so I could throw up in the proper receptacle. I lost more than the normal amount of blood and wasn’t allowed to get out of bed for a while. Despite these setbacks, I remember feeling so grateful watching John dance around our (finally) empty and darkened room with Sam in his arms with Charlie Brown’s Christmas music playing in the background.
Lord willing, I’m looking forward to posting my next birth story sometime at the end of November 2010...or more likely, 2.5 years later.