9/11/09 2:30 am
Contractions started more regularly and I got up. I didn't know where to go to not disturb mom on the couch or Ryan in the bed room, so I found my way to my Grandma Dunnuck's glider rocking chair in the Baby's room. I decided I needed a positive word to associate with my doubts about each contraction being the last, so I focused on the word "progress" as I was contracting. I kept urinating frequently and focusing on relaxing my pelvic floor. When we were having trouble conceiving, I asked for my Dad's and my Grandma Dunnuck's spirit to help me through that time. Not long after, I conceived. As I was sitting there, I asked that they stay with me through the upcoming hours.
The contractions were progressing, some about 5 minutes apart and some a little longer. Some lasted less than 1 minute, and some a little longer. I was bound and determined that if we went to the hospital, the only way that I was leaving was with our baby in my arms in a wheelchair. So, I labored until about 4 and woke Ryan up. It was finally time to go!
We got to the hospital about 4:15 and by 4:30 I was changed and moving around in the room. The nurse checked me. I told her I was nervous that she was going to send me home. I was 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced. She said I could stay in the hospital! I felt definite relief and Ryan turned on the "push mix" of 70s classic rock in the background. This was really happening. Mom met us by about 5 and while I was being monitored for awhile, Ryan played music on my belly and we listened to the baby's heart beat in response. We played Frank Sinatra's, "I get a kick out of you" and Chase kicked several times. So fun. We walked around off and on for an hour. I then decided to get into the room's deep jacuzzi tub. It was heaven! I didn't feel the contractions as intensely and I got some rest. At this point it had been almost 2 days since I had slept in any continual stretch. I tried to let my body relax completely between contractions. I got out in time to meet Dr. Crooke and have him check me.
He checked my cervix again around 7:45 and I was 6 cm dilated and a little more effaced. I had made it to my first check point to evaluate my need for an epidural. I was still feeling good, so I decided to continue without. He decided that we should go ahead and break my water. I was nervous about getting my water broken because I had heard that it hurts. So, before he inserted the long crochet hook device, I asked him what to expect. It turns out it didn't hurt at all. I was COMPLETELY unprepared for the amount of gushing that happened after. I'll spare the details, but I was shocked! I felt a little embarassed by it. Needless to say, my gown was soaked, so Ryan helped me to change into a different one we found in the room. It turns out that it was a gown for a bariatric patient. It was huge! Considering that I felt huge, I appreciated the fact that there was something that made me feel tiny at 39.5 weeks pregnant.
The contractions became more regular and I labored on my birth ball on my knees and leaning over the ball. I focused on relaxing my pelvic floor and moved doing hip circles and pelvic tilts. I could feel my back getting tight. I fully expected to move into back labor b/c my sacrum tilts forward and my mom had back labor with Jeff and I. I didn't want to be on my back unless absolutely necessary. I did a lot of swaying back and forth, which felt very calming and I continued to focus on the word progress and thinking positively. I was doing ok.
At 10 am Dr. Crooke came and checked me and I hadn't really progressed. He suggested hooking me up to pitocin. He said it wouldn't take much and he thought I'd have a baby by noon. I was nervous, but ready, so the pitocin started. Immediately, the contractions began coming regularly, more intensely, and were longer. I kept working on my hands and knees. At some point, that wasn't working any more. I was losing grip on my mental game a bit at that point. Ryan stood behind me for awhile in standing and put his hands above my pubic bone and helped to support me. At this point, I wanted my cervix checked again. I was 8 cm and had a tiny bit more to efface. I was waffling on whether or not to get the epidural. I was afraid of the next step, but sad to let go of the fact that I wanted to be completely physically present for the birth of our son. I was crying at this point, not because of pain, but because I was tired and I didn't want to change plans, but was scared about how much longer it was going to be until the baby was here. Mom was crying at this point. I think it was completely overwhelming for her to see me in so much pain. She was trying to make it ok for me to get the epidural without me feeling like a failure.
That is when Ryan, my husband and birth savior stepped in. He asked the nurse to give us 30 minutes (and then later told her to come back in 20, really) and check me again. I got on the birth ball on the bed on my knees and leaned over. He got at the head of the bed and took charge. He made me focus on his eyes and the C on his Cubs hat. He helped me remember to breathe and reminded me that each contraction had a peak and would ease up. He helped me to relax between contractions so that I didn't waste energy between each one worrying about the next. Mom's eternally cold hands put counter pressure on my aching back and spoke soothingly to me. Between contractions I was overcome by two things: hunger and gratitude. I remember thanking Ryan and Mom over and over.
My body began taking over at this point. I don't remember much, but this strong impulse that I didn't understand. It felt like vomiting and something else. I didn't know what it was and it scared me. All I knew was that my body was curling up and I couldn't control it. That's when the nurse came in. She asked me if I was feeling the urge to push and I asked her why my body was curling. She said that's your body pushing. I said, "oh". She checked me and I was 9+ cm and the baby was beginning to descend. It was go time at noon. The nurse called Dr. Crooke and then I had to get on my back so that I could be prepped. I continued to work through the contractions, and then, all of the sudden, it was happening.
Ryan was on my right, the nurse on my left, and Mom was supporting my head. I couldn't help screaming, but felt self-concious about being loud when the on-call Dr. came in thinking he'd have to deliver the baby in Dr. Crooke's place. The nurse said, nope, she's just doing natural, and the other Dr. left. I felt at ease when Dr. Crooke came in and we got to serious pushing. It was an indescribable sensation. It hurt more than anything I ever hope to experience, but I kept telling myself that I could do it. Ryan and Mom helped me relax between each and encouraged me to push hard through them. I gave it my all. Dr. Crooke had to stop me pushing to do an episiotomy. I asked him why and then told him that I trusted him and it was ok. Dr. Crooke told me that his head was almost out and I reached down to touch our baby. It gave me the energy to do 2 (I think) more pushesfor his head, then one more and there he was. Sweet, tiny, worth-every-single-moment-of-the-whole-week, boy. The music was still playing in the background and Chase was born to Cream's, "Sunshine of your Love". Ryan was thrilled that he was born to a "good song".
When they laid Chase on my stomach, my first impression was that he had awfully long finger nails and then I saw his face. The rest is a blur of relief and emotion. I felt so much love for Ryan, who knew exactly what I needed and when; for my mom, who put aside her emotion to be there and support Ryan and I in this moment; and for Dr. Crooke, an important figure in my personal life over the past 6 years, who I love and respect dearly. Each person there was there because they cared about me and I felt so blessed.
We were shocked by the fact that he was under 6 lbs. He looked completely fine, but I had no idea that he would be so small. Dr. Crooke said that I would be glad that he was, especially for a first birth, and boy, I am now. Dr. Crooke told me he thought the birth couldn't have gone better and that he was really proud of me. It meant a lot to have his encouraging voice and confidence with me.
Giving birth was the most empowering positive personal experience I've ever had. I was so proud of myself for working hard to prepare for birth and then the voice that kept coming to me was one of power, confidence, and extreme self-love. Giving birth opened a new door in my heart for Ryan. I could not have had the experience that we did without him. I needed him and he was perfect in his ability to give it to me. Giving birth confirmed the selfless and deeply loving nature of my mom. She didn't give up on helping me, even though Ryan said she was crying for 75% of the time. She went against every fiber of her body (as I imagine) and was who I needed her to be without pushing for me to change my birth plan.
Chase William, my heart and beautiful baby boy. You were brought into this world through hard work and love all around you. We will continue to work hard to raise you and our love will grow as you grow.
The origin of his name:
Chase--Ryan has always loved this name and when he talked about having kids, it was always a boy and his name was always Chase. When we found out he was a boy, I knew that this dream baby had finally come to us. "To chase" means the earnest seeking after something desired. We earnestly sought to have our dream baby become a reality and here he is. It is my fervent hope that Chase will always seek out his passions in life.
William--after my dad. I hope that Chase will find joy in life as I know my dad did. I hope that he will understand the value of family as my dad did. I wanted our son to have a piece of my family in his name and I hope that a piece of my dad has found a way into his heart.
So, I am here, on Sept. 16, Chase's official due date, writing about our birth experience. As I've been writing, I see my husband shirtless and slumped, having fallen asleep sitting up and holding Chase. I see Chase's pacifier laying gingerly on Ryan's chest. I see Chase swaddled in a blanket that someone lovingly sewed for him in a hat that someone else lovingly picked out for him. Rudy is laying at my feet. This is the picture of my family tonight...too beautiful for words.
9/11/09 2:30 am