12:30 am on 7/7/17 is when my first contraction hit… of course the middle of the night.
My babies like to wake the whole world up for their arrival. I had been having weird pressure for a few hours. I wasn’t able to sleep through it but I didn’t know it was the prelude to labor. I kept getting out of bed trying to go to the bathroom but didn’t have to. Once the first few contractions went by I knew that I was for sure in labor.
My labors are never putsy putsy. My contractions start strong. I tried laboring on my own for a while. I used some positioning techniques my doula encouraged me to try. I was trying to slow things down so I didn’t have to wake everyone up… that didn’t work. I finally had to wake Jared up and tell him it was time. I had just gotten through a contraction so he didn’t think I was really in labor. We sat in bed for a few minutes until another one hit, he then believed me.
I thought I would get into the shower and see if the water would slow things down. If nothing, it sped labor up. I had been so anxious towards the end of pregnancy. I was worried what I would do with Jonah when I went into labor. I had a list with literally over ten people. Many going on vacation around my due date. Everyone was telling me to relax and that it would work out.
I decided to call my brother once my contractions were six minutes apart. Hoping that would be good timing to get to the hospital. Well we did, but no answer. My anxieties were becoming reality. I really didn’t want to take my two year old to the hospital in the middle of this night while I labored! We waited about twenty minutes until we called the next person on the list. This was my coworker who had watched Jonah many times. thankfully she answered and came right over!
By the time she got to the house my contractions were really picking up intensity. Even though I knew I should probably go to the hospital I felt fine between them. I was second guessing myself but by the way I had to brace for impact, Jared knew we needed to get going.
We got to the hospital at 4:15am. A nurse came right down and wheeled me upstairs. The cold hospital air was making me mildly nauseas. During contractions each bump about set me over the edge.
This time around I was able to get through the paperwork myself. With Jonah’s labor I was not able to due to the pain. I had Jared put my Jewel radio station on. I was singing between contractions. I thought for sure I wasn’t very far along because of this. I was checked, for the first time during this pregnancy. I was dilated to 7 cm!? I was so excited I had made it so far so quickly.
I wanted to get into the tub right away, that helped tremendously with my first labor. Heidi, our doula arrived quickly and helped me in. I was only able to handle about twenty minutes of this. It was not comfortable or relaxing this time.
Getting out of the tub, I was only able to make it to the sink. It was like I was glued to the floor. I didn’t want to go any farther. I spent quite a bit of time leaning over the sink swaying side to side. Looking back I realize this was transition for me. I was having very intense surges. I was having nausea, hot flashed and intense pressure.
After a while I was helped to the bed, again I wanted to stand. I had learned in my first labor that side lunges felt really good so I started doing those. My contractions were spacing back out but now they were much more intense.
Our midwife encouraged me to try leaning onto a peanut ball on the bed. I did so on my hands and knees. It took about 45 minutes of pushing and our sweet girl was born at 6:15 on 7/7/17. Jared was able to catch her! That was an incredible moment for both of us.
Looking down at her I couldn’t believe she was here! My pregnancy really went so fast. It seemed like I had just found out I was pregnant and now she was here. I guess that is what happens when you’re chasing a toddler around! I spent time studying her. She didn’t look like anyone in our family and she was so petite and little!
Her name, Mackenzie, is a name we both liked with our first pregnancy. It is a known name but not very common. We liked Jonah for those same reasons. Viviann, her middle name, is a combination of my grandmother Vivian, and Jared’s grandmother Ann. There are also many family members who have Ann as a middle name in our families. Jared hopes to call her “Mack” someday. Jonah calls her “Kenzie.”
She really is the sweetest baby. She always has the biggest smiles for us. She only cries when she’s hungry or when she’s in the car seat. This is a pleasant change for us. I think it is God’s way of making sure we have more children!
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When we got to the hospital I asked if we could make it through one more contraction before I walked in. We signed in at the front desk, the lady asked me what number baby this was for me and when I told her my first, I could sense she was in no rush.
We sat in the waiting room and I felt good, for a few minutes. Then another contraction hit me and it felt like things were picking up. A nurse finally came and took me up to the unit, very slowly, in a wheel chair. I was feeling very hot and sweaty. When we got up to the unit I was having another contraction, I signed some papers at the front desk and they wheeled me into my room.
I got into the bed and they immediately attached two monitors to my belly to watch the baby’s heart rate and contractions. I was suddenly hit with another wave of nausea, good thing I still had my grocery bag in hand because I lost my red raspberry tea right then. The hot flash and nausea made me think, this might be transition!
The nurse then asked to do a cervical check. I told Jared, “Watch I will be 3.25 cm dilated.” The nurse shockingly said, “You are 6cm dilated and fully effaced!” I was excited, I had dilated three more cm since the previous day! They then had me fill out tons of paperwork. Jared was able to help me and it was hard because it seemed my contractions were coming back to back. Being on my back in the bed was very uncomfortable.
Heidi made it to the hospital shortly after this and immediately asked if I wanted her to run me a bath. That sounded fabulous. By the time we were done with paperwork and labs being drawn, the bath was ready. I got in and it felt so nice. Jared sat on a stool by my head and massaged my arm and neck. Heidi sat next to him. During contractions Jared did a great job encouraging and massaging me. Heidi was calmly reassuring me that I was doing a great job and at times when she could tell I was really in pain she was helping me do guided relaxation. She poured water over my belly during contractions and that really helped with the pain. She guided me to “float over the contractions” and to let myself become “jello.” This went on for two hours, but it only seemed like one to me.
Sara, Teri’s midwife student came to assist. They encouraged me to use get out of the tub and try a different position. Once I was out of the tub I started feeling pushy. They asked if I wanted to try and labor in the bed. I agreed but once I got on my back I had a lot of pelvic pressure and pain. They checked me and I was fully dilated. I tried many different positions but couldn’t find a comfortable one. Sara recommended I stand and do slow side lunges. She said this can help if there is a small amount of cervix that still needs to dilate. This actually felt good and I was able to breathe through the contractions.
I was starting to feel the urge to push so the they recommended I try the squatting bar on the bed. They got it out and Jared helped set it up, being the handyman he is! This was really uncomfortable for me and tiring. They raised the head of the bed and had me put my feet up on the push bars. I didn’t feel a strong urge to push and things slowed down. My contractions spaced out more and didn’t seem as painful when I was lightly pushing. It was about 7am when Lisa took over for Teri as my midwife.
She told me I was doing great, after 1 hour of pushing they could see the baby’s head. Lisa said I could stay at this pace or she could help me speed things up. I told her we could speed things up. They got a mirror out so I could see my progress. This really helped. Sara the student midwife used mineral oil to help me from tearing. They also used warm compress and pressure when I pushed to help. They dropped the bottom of the bed a bit so I was in a more inclined position, I started to feel the urge to push much stronger.
I opted out of constant fetal monitoring so they were periodically checking. The nurse checked me and they said the fetal heart rate was dropping a little more with each contraction. I heard Lisa ask for the nurse to call the NICU team in “just in case.” She looked at me and said, “Okay, were going to get this baby out with your next contraction.” That was all the motivation I needed, I took a deep breath and pushed my baby out. I felt a huge feeling of pressure and relief. We immediately heard the baby cry.
Once I opened my eyes I looked down and saw that my baby was a boy! I could not believe he was a boy! No one had announced it and Jared must not have noticed. I must have said one hundred times, “It’s a boy!?” I was convinced he was a girl because I thought I accidentally saw on the ultrasound nothing between the legs. I must have been looking at an arm pit ha!
He was perfect. His APGAR scores were 8 and 9. We let the cord stop pulsing and Jared cut the cord. We did skin to skin and Jonah was able to latch on and breastfeed for an hour. He then got weighed and measured. 7 pounds, 7 ounces, 20 inches long. 13.5 inch head circumference. Our baby was finally here!
I looked at Jared and asked “Is he a Jonah?” We had decided on the name Jonah Edward months before delivery. I loved the name in Sleepless in Seattle and was watching it one day. I mentioned it to Jared and he liked it to. I then thought that Jonah had all the letters of John, my father and grandfather’s names. I then thought Edward would be nice as a middle name to honor Jared’s dad and grandfather.
So, that is how we got our little Jonah Edward.
Our birth story started June 30 2015. I was 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I slept in that morning until about 10:30. Because I was so pregnant, I needed to hoist myself out of bed. While doing this I suddenly felt fluid running down my leg. I quickly made my way to our master bathroom, only three steps away to assess the situation. It was only a small amount of fluid and I wasn’t sure what had happened. I was instantly excited but apprehensive, could this really be it? My mother’s first labor started two weeks early with her water breaking. My pregnancy was taking after hers so I kind of thought my water might break.
I quickly called Jared and told him, “Well I either peed my pants or my water broke!” He was instantly excited but said, “Well how do you not know, wouldn’t you know if you peed your pants?!” I called my midwifes office to let them know. I had an appointment that day at 2pm and they said if nothing else happens to just get checked at 2pm when I come in to the office.
The morning went by normally, I had no symptoms of labor. I thought for sure I had just peed my pants. At my appointment my midwife tested the fluid on a pH strip and looked at it under a microscope. She said both tests were negative. While we were chatting, she noticed that the pH strip started changing color. She said she now didn't know what to think, my water might have broken.
She said she was going to send the sample off and get it tested and we would know for sure in a little while. With all the excitement I decided to get checked, I was 3 cm dilated, 80% effaced and -1 station. Jared was excited, thinking for sure my water had broken, while I was still unsure. He decided to go back to work and I was planning on just calling him with the results of the testing.
About a half hour after I got home, my midwife called me herself stating, “Well the sample was positive, your water broke!” I couldn’t believe it.
I had two options; either go in tonight and get induced, or wait until 7am and then I had to go to the hospital and get induced. I was scared, I had worked so hard to prepare myself to get through labor naturally and learned all the risks of induction and I didn’t want to go that route. I chose to wait until morning and was determined I was going to get this labor going.
I decided to get my membranes stripped. I didn’t feel anything and it didn’t start labor. My midwife recommended I see a chiropractor. I had been seeing Dr. Pulse my whole pregnancy. I called her office and she was out of town and her partner was too! I couldn’t believe it. I had a tilted sacrum my entire pregnancy and wanted to make sure that was aligned before labor. I called two more chiropractic offices and neither could get me in. It was about 4:30pm by this point and I knew all other offices were probably closing soon. Heidi let me know there was one open until 6 and I was able to get in. They were so accommodating and nice to us, maybe thinking we were going to have this baby right in their office! He said my spine was aligned and he did pressure points.
We then came home and went on our first walk. During the walk I had three sharp shooting pains in my pelvis. Other than that I felt normal. We then came home and tried using my breast pump… that was awkward and didn’t do anything either. We had supper and kept talking about what we could do next. I had heard about an astrological phenomenon that was to be seen that day. The Star of Bethlehem was going to be in the sky for the first time in 2000 years. While on our second walk we saw it and it was almost overwhelming to me. I took it as a sign that our baby was coming, of all nights on the night the Star of Bethlehem was in the sky?!
When we got home I talked to my doula again and we made a plan. I would let her know if anything started in the night and if not she’d meet us at the hospital at 7am. Jared and I went to the store to get red raspberry leaf tea, our last attempt at inducing labor naturally. When I came home I drank a cup while I did hip exercises on my birthing ball. I was staring to get upset because I was worried we would never get things going. Jared encouraged me to get showered and try and rest because we were going to have a busy day the next day (boy, is he a smart guy.) We went to bed about 11 pm.
My mind was racing, I kept praying things would start. I wasn’t sleeping and then by 11:30 I started having contractions. They were 7,9,8,5,8 and 12 minutes apart. They were too painful to sleep through. They were about a minute long. By the last one I needed to wake Jared up, I needed his help. It was about 2:30 by this point. My contractions were now 2.5 - 5 minutes apart. I sat on the toilet backwards and asked him to rub my back through the contractions. The baby’s head was pressing against my pelvic bone so this was very uncomfortable. I asked Jared if we should let Heidi know what was going on, I didn’t want to wake her if this wasn’t the real thing but Jared thought we should text her.
By the time Jared had texted Heidi to ask her, I knew it was time to go. I knew we needed to get there, I didn’t want to have this baby at home!
It was pouring rain as we ran to the car. The ride to the hospital was a good one, I felt okay and was making it through the contractions. I knew that adrenaline can slow things down so I was trying my best to remain calm. I remember vividly that as we passed labor ready there were 7 men sitting in the rain waiting for it to open so they could have jobs for the day. Seeing this while I was experiencing labor pain made a profound impact on my heart. I was physically struggling but seeing this made time stand still in my mind.
Stay tuned for part two!
Paige Goldade - A Birth Boot Camp Instructor living and loving in South Dakota. She is a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers. She works as a childbirth educator and Board Certified Registered Nurse.