Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Benjamin's Birth Story-- Part 2 of 4

The alarm in our bedroom was set to go off soon so I trudged up the stairs to discuss options with Brian. We decided that he should go to work with the idea that I could call him home as soon as I felt I needed him. I also called my mom to put her on alert that I would probably need her sometime that day. At this point, I was a little down again. I knew these were labor contractions, but with them coming and going and varying their timing, I was afraid it would drag on for days. I got up to fix the kids some toast for breakfast—the easiest thing I could come up with that everyone would eat—and boom!, I had three contractions in a row!

At 9:30 am, I had a contraction strong enough that I had to concentrate to get through it. I was afraid to be alone with just the little ones so I called Brian and asked him to start preparing to come home. He had a 15-minute drive to return the work truck and then a 25-minute drive home. When he got home, we ate an early lunch and he entertained the kids while I laid down to rest. As I was drifting off, I kept hearing, “Where’s Mama?” Occasionally, I would feel a pat or a bit of breath on my cheek. Again, I woke up from sleep, having had NO contractions. I was fed up!

We decided to gather the crew together and take a walk around the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day for October—sunny and mild. I was barely out the door when the contractions started coming fast. I was able to relax and concentrate through each one, but it was difficult to maintain composure on a public street! Brian asked if I would rather go home, but I decided to keep walking since I seemed to finally be progressing. The kids had no idea what was going on. They kept stopping and asking me to look at leaves, feel the bark on the trees, watch the ants on the sidewalk, things we usually do on our nature walks. By the time we had circled the block a couple of times, I knew labor was steady enough to head to the hospital. As we continued to walk, Brian used his cell phone to call my mom to come over and we told the kids that this was the day their baby brother would arrive.

During the hour drive to the hospital, I was upbeat and talkative. During contractions, I had to hug my body pillow and close my eyes. I found that shutting my eyes helped me concentrate on relaxing all the muscles in my body. Relaxing my muscles reduced my tension which reduced my pain. As soon as the tightening ending, I was fine. All through the pregnancy, I had back pain—much more so than with the other pregnancies. My contractions followed the same trend. Even though they could be felt all over my abdomen, the majority of the pain was in my back.

We arrived at the hospital at 2:45 pm. As we walked into Admissions, we passed another very pregnant woman in a wheelchair, holding her back and breathing heavily. We commented that someone else would be having a baby that day, too. After getting my admissions papers, we headed up to the fifth floor birthing center. I was offered a wheelchair, but declined, knowing I was perfectly okay to walk. One nurse sat in the birth center’s nurses’ station so we walked up to her. She stared back at me with a blank look and said, “May I help you?”

I gave her a puzzled look, handed her my admissions papers, and said, “I have admissions papers.”

“For what?”

I stood there almost 9 months pregnant with my mouth hanging open! Brian jumped to my rescue. “She’s in labor,” he said.

“Oh,” says the nurse. “You’re here to be checked for labor!”

She ushered me into a bathroom to give a urine sample and sent Brian into a triage room—the same area where we ran into trouble with my previous labor! He could hear her discussing me with a second nurse. “She says she’s being admitted.”

“When is she due?”

“In 10 days.”

“Is she even having contractions?”

I emerged from the restroom oblivious to the conversation and the second nurse hooked me up to a fetal monitor. I was still talkative and smiling. My regular midwife was not on call that weekend and I found out the other midwife in the practice, Carol, would be with me during my labor. I was a little nervous since I didn’t know her or her philosophy nearly as well. She arrived on the scene within a few minutes, asked a few questions, and decided to check my cervix. “You’re 5-6 centimeters with a bulging bag of water!” The nurse seemed surprised. (Apparently the nurses had convinced themselves I was too calm to be in labor.) In the meantime, I found out that the other very pregnant woman we had seen downstairs in admissions was being sent home because she was 0 centimeters dilated! I guess demeanor isn’t everything!

Part 1
Part 3
Part 4


  1. That's great that you were so calm. It's wonderful when we can just let our bodies do what they were made to do.

  2. Well I am finding this all absolutely fascinating! I love how labor and delivery nurses think they have seen it all and know it all... they are lucky you are so sweet and gentle! I might have spouted off a snippy comment or two.

    Can't wait to read more!

    God bless-

  3. That's awesome! I too love how the nurses think they know it all but when an educated (concerning birth) woman walks in they're not sure what to do!! I had no IV and took the monitors off because I knew when I was having contractions!! (They did have the fetal monitor in hand but not strapped around me!) My OB told me they would flip out because I didn't have an IV!

    Looking forward to reading more!

  4. Why do they always think a calm woman cannot be in real labor? Oh my... I'm glad you were able to show them that's not necessarily the case!

  5. It's almost (almost) amusing how cocky some can get, you'd think that if they had more than a year of nursing experience they'd know that every woman reacts to labor differently.


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