Birth Story - Aubrey
When Kelly and I found out we were expecting our second child when Kora was about 14 months old, we were very happy to learn that the Air Force base we lived on had closed the maternity ward of the hospital and the OB clinic. We were "forced" to go off base for our care, but we would only have to pay what we would have paid for the on base care, since this was our only choice. Talk about the best of both worlds!
By this time, I had had time to mull over our first birth. I really wanted to not be induced this time around. I felt like I had opened myself up for some of the things that happened by allowing the induction. I had been told that artificially induced contractions were much harder to go through without drugs than the natural contractions. And I wanted to avoid the epidural if at all possible. I hated the tied to the bed feeling. I wanted to move and walk if I wanted to. I wanted the baby laid on my stomach after birth instead of being rushed off to the nursery.
A friend of mine was using a nurse practitioner midwife in town, so I got her name and set up an appointment. Her name was Anne, and when I talked to her about what I wanted, she seemed a perfect fit. She worked under an OB so there was immediate doctor backup if needed. And she delivered at Presbyterian Hospital there in Oklahoma City, which had LDRP rooms - Labor/Delivery/Recovery/Postpartum rooms. In other words, you stayed in the same room the entire process, and they had all the equipment in the room for the baby, so the baby didn't go to the nursery after birth. There was even a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom.
Anne was great. I really enjoyed how she treated me and the pregnancy. When I got to 37 weeks, she checked me and was astonished to find that I was already 4 cm dilated and 80-90% effaced. So she did not think I'd make it to my due date. Well, of course another week went by and no baby. So at 38 weeks, I was a 5 and 100% effaced. Surely I couldn't go much longer!
At my 39 week appointment, she checked me again and I was a 6, and the baby was low, low. Don't remember the station, but basically the baby was right there. Anne was a little speechless. This was a Tuesday, and my due date was on Friday. We talked about the fact that when I went into labor it would probably not last long. She offered to let me come into the hospital and break my water. She assured me that as far dilated as I was, with my water broken I could walk the halls for a bit and get labor started with little difficulty, and little chance for the need of pitocin. I was a little scared about having the baby on the side of the road, so I agreed. But the earliest she could schedule me to come in was Friday morning. She told me if I went into labor before then, to get my rear end up to the hospital AS SOON as I realized I was really in labor. Do not wait for 5 minute apart contractions, or any of that nonsense.
I went home, and talked to Kelly. He was nervous about having to deliver the baby on the side of the road as well, but I realized I really wanted to wait it out, to go into labor on my own. He agreed, so I called Anne back and canceled the appointment for Friday. She was so nice about it, and told us she'd see us soon.
Wednesday morning I felt pretty good. I had a lot of energy that day. I went to my aerobics class (I had kept up with my step aerobics the entire pregnancy), and went grocery shopping. I even did some house cleaning that afternoon during Kora's nap time. We went to church that night, and all the women could not believe I was walking around, dilated to a 6! I was told more than once "I was screaming for an epidural by the time I was a 4!"
That night I went to bed, fully prepared to wait it out through the whole next week if needed- I did not want to be induced. But I woke up the next morning with a really hard contraction. I looked at the clock. It was right at 2 am. I got up and walked around the house a bit. Nothing happened for 20 minutes. Then I had another really hard one. Then 10 minutes later I had one. I still didn't wake Kelly up, because I still wasn't sure this was the real thing. But 5 minutes later I had an even harder contraction, and I immediately woke Kelly up. We called Anne to tell her we were on the way.
We had to get Kora up and drop her off at a friend's house, and by the time we left her house, I could barely stand through the contractions. As we got onto the freeway, they were a little less than 3 minutes apart. Need I say that Kelly was a wee bit nervous? I looked over at the speedometer at one point and he was going 90 mph! No exaggeration. Of course it was 3 am and no one else was out, but still! I tried to assure him we were going to make it just fine, but he told me, "I don't care, I want to get there!"
As we made our way from the parking garage, across the walkway to the hospital, I remember thinking how ironic it all was. I had wanted the freedom to be able to get up and walk, but my contractions were so hard that I couldn't walk through them. It made our progress getting to my room slow, because we had to stop to let me breathe through the contractions every time.
We beat Anne to the hospital, so were already getting hooked up by the nurse when she got there. She checked me and I was a 9, baby at a very low station. She unhooked me enough so I could move around and experiment with how I could best relax through the contraction. When it came time to push, she let me move around until I found the position that worked best for me. Throughout the whole labor, I realized that these contractions were very different from the induced ones, so I was thankful even through the pain that I had not been induced.
When the baby was being born, she had one arm up by the side of her head, so one hand was born at the same time as her head. This meant that she didn't stop at the shoulders. Once the head was out, she was all out. Anne laid the baby on my stomach. The first thing I noticed was the RED HAIR. "It's got red hair!" I said rather stupidly. "She sure does." Anne replied. "Is it a girl?" I then had to ask. Anne grabbed each ankle in a hand and pulled them apart like wishbones. "Yep!" And so I was introduced to my daughter Aubrey. She was born at 4:59 am, just under 3 hours after my first contraction, and a little over an hour and a half after arriving at the hospital. Too quick to use the jacuzzi. But I did have to tease Kelly - see there was no need for such a rush, right?
So even if I had kept the Friday appointment, I would have had her before then. Plus, she was born on my due date - my mom's due date for me was November 19 (I wasn't born for nearly two more weeks though). And she is still to date the only baby I have had before my due date. It was by far the best hospital stay we have had. We didn't have to shuttle rooms. They only came and got the baby once to take her to the nursery, and we knew about it ahead of time. The staff was only minimally intrusive. And the whole thing, from prenatal visits to hospital stay cost us $40.
I was also surprised at how much easier I bounced back after this birth than the first one. The epidural had had some not pleasant side effects that I didn't have this time. I also didn't have an episiotomy I was recovering from, so that helped tremendously. The only thing I wasn't prepared for was the after pains. I didn't realize how much worse the after birth contractions were after the second or subsequent baby. In fact I didn't remember even having after pains with Kora, but I sure had them this time! I was saving my 800 mg Advil for when I nursed, when the pains would be the worst, not for any birth pain.
Box score stats:
Aubrey Blair was 8 lbs. 15 oz., 19.5 in long, with red hair and blue eyes
Born November 19, 1998 at 4:59 am.
Labor total: 2 hours, 59 minutes