By Mom Andrea:
After two continuous weeks of “pre-labor” symptoms I had a break on
Saturday and had not experienced any contractions, cramping, etc. We stayed up
pretty late and went to bed around 1:00am on Sunday morning. I was having a
hard time sleeping because I just wasn’t tired and I had to go to the bathroom
to pee about every 30 minutes. At 3:20am I got up to go to the bathroom
*again.* On the way there my water broke and I yelled at my husband,
Brandon, and woke him up. I told him it was time to call the midwife.
My water had broken and I had no signs of contractions. I called
Leslie right around 3:45am. I described what had happened and we came
up with a plan. If I did not start having contractions within 6 hours I was
going to meet her up at the birth center to take some castor
oil. Otherwise I was to give her a call back when my contractions were
I hung up with Leslie and not 3 seconds after I got off the phone I had my
first *strong* contraction. So strong I stood up off the toilet (where I was camping
out). I exclaimed to Brandon who was standing in front of me, “This is not
like the other contractions!” It was a sharper pain that I felt deeper in
my abdomen and I didn’t have any of the tightness in the top of my belly like I
had with the previous pre-labor contractions. This one was long and strong.
When it was finally over I was relieved. I decided I did not want to sit on the
toilet anymore. I decided to put on a pad and move to the living room to labor.
Brandon was trying to convince me to go back to bed when I had my next
contraction. It was fierce and I told Brandon to run and get the computer so we
could start timing contractions. I was thinking that this contraction was
coming a lot sooner than it should have come.
Sure enough after 12 minutes I had had 6 contractions- my contractions were 2
minutes apart on the dot. I told Brandon to call Leslie back and tell her my
contractions were 2 minutes apart. During Brandon’s phone call I clearly went
from late first stage labor into transition. I started screaming out during my
contraction. I think this is when some adrenaline kicked in because I remember
getting this clarity in my mind about where I was at and getting very serious
about what needed to happen next. Brandon and Leslie came up with a plan. It
was going to take Leslie 35 minutes to get to the birth center. It would take
us 15-20 minutes so we needed to wait a little longer before leaving.
I told Brandon to call my friend Melissa who lives nearby to come over right
away. Melissa is a nurse practioner who has been working in labor and delivery
for several years. I don’t remember a lot about the pain of the
contractions at this point except to say that they were one right on top of the
other and I had no breaks in between. Melissa arrived very quickly and when she
arrived we decided to go ahead and try to make it to the birthing center. I
figured that if I was going to have the baby in the car, at least Melissa would
be there to help deliver her.
We left the house and Brandon started driving the speed limit down the 35 mph
street. I looked at Brandon seriously and said, “You need to speed. We are
going to have the baby in the car if you do not speed.” Brandon told me
lovingly to focus on my breathing and that we would get there soon enough. I
told him he was wrong and that he needed to speed. We continued to argue about
the speed of the car for the next five minutes. My contractions were still
coming one on top of the other. About 5 minutes into the trip, my contractions
changed once again. I was now entering Stage Two labor. I literally came out of
my seat in a new pain. I screamed loudly and Brandon stopped arguing and
started speeding. I told him I had the urge to push and it was strong.
My mind immediately became focused on what we learned in our Bradley
classes. I was mentally focused on not having the baby in the car. I
remembered to start panting and doing shallow breathing. I started the
breathing; trying to focus on the breathing instead of the urge to push. The
urge to push was undeniably strong. There was no question in my mind where I
was at physically. Brandon then lovingly reminded me to take deep breaths so I
wouldn’t hyperventilate. He didn’t realize where I was in labor. I barked back
at him that if I was going to start taking slow deep breaths then I would be
having the baby in the car. The next contraction hit and I couldn’t help but to
bear down a little. I could see the birthing center now. We were almost in
front of it. I remember letting go at this point and letting my body do what it
was trying to do. I didn’t bear down or fight the contraction, just let it come
over me. I could feel the baby pressing down into my pelvis.
Brandon put the car in park and I immediately threw the door open. I was
suddenly a woman with a purpose. I ran (yes ran) up to the front door and
checked the knob. Relief went through my body when the knob gave way to let me
inside. This told me Leslie was there and waiting for me. I saw Leslie at the
top of the stairs and ran to her. Taking the stairs two at a time I was
yelling, “I have to push!, I have to push!, I have to push!” Leslie was so calm
and helped me the rest of the way up the stairs. I blew past her into the room
and threw myself on the bed. I remember my head hitting the headboard but it
didn’t hurt- I had to push! I threw off my clothes and assumed the position.
Leslie calmly came over and put on a glove and told me she was going to check
me to see where I was at. She took less than 10 seconds to check before telling
me that I was a 10, she could feel the baby’s head and I could push. The next
contraction hit at that moment and I immediately put everything in my body to
work towards pushing her out.
I remember Brandon holding my hand; hearing both him and Melissa give me lots
of encouraging words. I was focusing on my pushing and the things they were
telling me gave me the strength to do what felt impossible at the moment. My
contractions still were pretty close together, but I did get a small break
in-between (maybe 30 seconds to a minute- it was short). They all encouraged me
to breathe during those times and I needed the reminder because I wanted to
keep pushing even though I wasn’t having a contraction. I remember saying,
“This is not the way to have a baby! This is not the way to have a baby!” I was
lying flat on my back. When I had jumped in the bed I did not consider my labor
position. Too late now the next contraction was coming. Leslie told me that it
was okay, my body would do what it needed to do and I believed her.
So I resigned all of my preconceived notions about labor and decided to push my
baby out. Within 3 total pushes from the time I landed on that bed, I had her
head out. When I was pushing her head out during the third push, Leslie told me
to stop pushing and take 3 deep breaths. It was everything I could do to stop
pushing but I gave in and let my body have a break. I took the breaths, Leslie
gave me the okay and I completed my third push. I remember feeling some relief
when her head was out. Two pushes later, the rest of her body was out and they
placed my beautiful daughter on my stomach. The first thing I said after
delivering her? “Well, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be!”
What we didn’t expect was how much our lives would change after that moment.
We’ll be parents for the rest of our lives to our beautiful baby girl. Hannah’s
statistics were impressive: 8 pounds and 6 ounces of happiness. Both her head
and chest had a circumference of 13 ½ inches and she was 22 inches in length-
we have one tall girl! She was born at 4:45am on August 21st, 2011.