You found the hidden text! Did you know... One single drop of a mother's colostrum has nearly 1 million white blood cells in it! True amazing power we hold as human mothers to heal. "Every Drop Counts!" - Summer

Charlotte Olivia

The week of my due date came and we were getting anxious! I only had a few days left of work before my maternity leave started and I was determined to finish out those last few days. My friends kept asking how I was feeling and if I were feeling any contractions. Each time I answered, “I feel great! I don’t think I’m having contractions…” I was feeling more of the Braxon Hicks and they felt a little different than the normal ones, but my husband kept telling me just to relax and ignore them. From what we learned in class we would know when the real ones started. We had another doctor’s appointment on Thursday, my first day of maternity leave. I had been puttering around the house all day, cleaning a few things here and there and filling the time before the appointment. In class we had joked about being nice to the nurses and how cookies were always a good thing, so I decided to fill some time by making chocolate chip cookies. I joked to my husband that she could come now because I had the cookies ready for the nurses! We went to our doctors appointment and my midwife, Jeane, said that I was ready to go any time and she didn’t think I would make it through the weekend. She even joked that “tonight would be a great night to have a baby.” We went home and decided to enjoy the beautiful day by taking a walk. I had to stop a few times and rest because I was getting what I thought were side aches and possibly contractions. They weren’t very strong and didn’t last long, so again, Brent reassured me that I needed to relax and ignore them. We went to bed that night excited about what was to come and anxious about when she was going to arrive.

I woke up at 2:00 in the morning with a strong contraction. I laid there, wondering if I should wake up Brent or not. The next one came just as strong and only a few minutes later. I woke him up and told him I thought I was having contractions. He told me to relax and I told him I needed to go to the bathroom as the next one came. As soon as I got into our bathroom my water broke with a huge gush on the floor. I told Brent my water just broke and then immediately had to sit on the toilet for the next contraction. We had made the decision early on that when my water broke we were going to call Jeane. Brent called while I labored through the next contractions. At this point, I was trying to relax in between like we had learned in class, but I wasn’t able to lie down because my body was cleansing itself with each contraction I had. Each time I tried to get up and lay down I had to get back to the toilet for another contraction. I remember Summer saying this might happen during labor and you might find the toilet more comfortable. In class I had thought, “Gross. I will not be doing that.” I guess my body had other plans! Brent got ahold of Jeane and she told him that since I had only had a few contractions, to go ahead and stay home for a little while and try to rest. She wanted to see us in the morning regardless of what happened, but didn’t want to send us into the hospital just yet in case I wasn’t in active labor. I again tried to go lay down but found that every time I got up I needed to run back to the bathroom. I was able to talk in between the contractions and we had talked about in class about “fake labor” when you think you are working hard, but it has really just begun. I shouted to my husband that if this was the fake labor I was going to kill someone! I didn’t realize that my labor had actually progressed into the transition stage and our baby was going to be coming soon! At this point, I started to get cold and started shaking, which worried me. I was also feeling the contractions very low, and it felt like our baby was in my vagina. This worried me as well and my contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I became nauseous and threw up. Summer had told us we could call her anytime during our labor if we had questions and we decided at 3:00 to put that to the test. She kindly answered her phone and reassured us that these were all normal signs of labor, although I think she was surprised at how quickly I was progressing. My contractions continued to get stronger and closer together and at 4:00 we decided to go into the hospital. I was finally able to walk around and not have to be on the toilet every five minutes so Brent gathered our things and we made our way to the hospital around 4 AM.

The car ride was not comfortable at all! Our baby girl felt very low and I felt like I was sitting on her! I leaned forward and grunted through the contractions as we drove to the hospital.

We parked in the Emergency entrance and walked in. I expected a big reaction from the receptionists- clearly I was in active labor! The only thing they asked though was if I needed a wheelchair. I emphatically told them no and started walking down the hall- that got their attention! On the way to the elevator I stopped every few minutes to squat or get on my hands and knees- positions we had learned in class to help with the pain. We made our way up to the maternity floor and I was on my hands and knees when the doors opened. The cleaning lady saw me on all fours and ran off in a panic to get the nurses. The nurses ran up to us looking worried. Again I was asked if I was ok and if I wanted a wheelchair and again I told them no. Couldn’t they see I just needed to walk? Between my refusal for a wheelchair and my getting on the floor to handle the contractions, I think I scared every nurse and hospital worker there that night. I have to assume they don’t see very many natural labors. However, they calmly insisted on taking me to triage for an exam. I was a bit frustrated (I felt like my baby was going to come any minute!) and politely asked for some water. They told me no, just ice chips and I still needed to be checked. The nurse told me to put the hospital gown on and she would be back in a minute to check me. I took one look at the gown and gave a halfhearted attempt to put it on before deciding to just be in my sports bra- modesty was no longer an issue! (Something else I had worried about was what I was going to wear during labor. I guess I didn’t need to worry so much!) When they checked me, the nurse told me (with a bit of panic in her voice) I was already 7 cm dialated and 100% effaced. Finally I was being taken seriously- they wheeled me down on the gurney with a sheet over my legs into a labor and delivery room.

As they hooked me up to the fetal heart monitor machine and the contractions monitor, I also smacked my hand to tell them I needed the antibiotics for group B strep I had tested positive for. (Words were few and far between at this point.) They started the antibiotics and told Brent he needed to move his car. Brent didn’t want to leave me until my mom got there, but I really felt like our baby was going to come soon. In my mind I was thinking he was going to miss everything if he didn’t go and get back soon so I grunted between contractions, “Move the car!” My mom came and he left to move the car. At that point I was able to convince them to take the contractions monitor off and they kindly dimmed the lights while I was on my hands and knees on the bed. I asked if I could get in the tub and they said that I needed to be on the fetal heart monitor for 20 minutes, which was how long it would take to fill the tub anyway. My mom helped to do that while I continued to labor on the bed and on the birthing ball they got me.
It was about 5:00 by this time. Brent came back from moving the car right around the time that Jeane, showed up. She took one look at me, and the tub of water that I had thought I could be in, and said, “Yeah…we don’t have time for that. We’re just going to have a baby instead.” There went my plans for laboring in the tub! I continued to grunt and groan through the contractions- on my hands and knees with my face in the pillow, on the birthing ball, while Brent and my mom tried to help as much as possible. I’m sure Brent was saying very encouraging words but the only person I was really listening to was Jeane. I didn’t want to be touched and I really just wanted some water. Brent had been sneaking water into my ice chips with the nurses, but Jeane didn’t care if I ate or drank so I was finally able to have more water. Brent will say that Jeane did more of the coaching than he did, and that is probably true. However, knowing that we had been through the classes together and knowing how supportive he was of me and our intentions for a natural birth was exactly what I needed. I knew that he would be my advocate if need be.
Throughout the contractions, I kept remembering what we had talked most about in class- low grunts throughout and to relax in between. A few of the birthing videos we watched in class featured these women who were so quiet and calm during labor you would have thought they were having a lovely day at the spa. I tried to emulate these women the most. I know I wasn’t nearly as quiet as they were, but it least helped me to stay calm in my mind and relax in between.

I told her I thought I needed to push, so she had me scoot to the end of the bed and she pulled out a ledge underneath to stand on. I was able to hold onto the side bars and squat down (something I thought was going to be incredibly uncomfortable in class but turned out to be a huge relief!) It felt so good to push! The time between the contractions were more spaced out, so while I was able to lay back and relax longer in between, I could also feel our baby getting lower so I really wanted to just keep pushing. I remembered what we talked about in class though, about exhausting yourself and to only push when you felt the need to, so I let myself close my eyes and relax in between.

Around 6:00 is when I actually noticed the clock on the wall. I just kept thinking, my baby is coming soon and I wanted to see what time it was when she arrived. I started to actively push with my mom and Brent holding my legs up. Jeane told me with each push that I was really bringing the baby down and to keep it up! She said this with such enthusiasm that I kept asking, “Where is she? Why isn’t she here? Is she ok?” Everyone assured me that our baby girl was fine and Jeane even remarked that the contractions weren’t bothering her at all. Most babies’ heart rates slow during contractions but hers was remaining steady.

Jeane told Brent that he could help deliver our baby when the time came. During the pregnancy he had said he wasn’t sure if he even wanted to cut the umbilical cord, so imagine my surprise when he said he wanted to help deliver her! She said she would be putting her delivery scrubs on when it was time, but she was so encouraging with how I was pushing I kept wondering, why isn’t she putting her scrubs on yet? Isn’t it time? I continued to ask, “Where is she? Is our baby here?” I must have sounded really worried because one of the nurses asked if I wanted to feel her head. I shook my head no, partly because I was afraid it would hurt more if I reached to touch her head, and partly because I was thinking, I can feel her just fine!

The pushing was becoming more intense. I was very against the thought of having an episiotomy so Jeane was using a warm compress and stretching my perineum to help avoid it. That was NOT pleasant, but I didn’t need an episiotomy. I was also feeling the “ring of fire” the burning sensation when the baby is crowning. It was around 6:30 at this point and the pushes had gone from feeling comfortable to hurting a lot! After a few of those pushes I remember looking from Brent to Jeane and shaking my head when she said I needed to push again. I wasn’t doubting that I could do it, I just didn’t want the pain anymore. They both said I could do it! Jeane encouraged my screams to stay low and to help push out the baby because she was finally coming! All of a sudden, I was surrounded by nurses and Jeane put her scrubs on. She told Brent to come help and that our baby was coming. I gave two more pushes and Charlotte Olivia came into our world! She was immediately placed on my chest and nothing else mattered after that. Brent helped cut the cord and I delivered the placenta a few minutes later with Charlotte still on my chest. With Jeane helping stretch my perineum, not only did I not have an episiotomy, I didn’t have any tearing either. I was bleeding quite a bit though and they grew concerned. Jeane was pretty firm after about 15 minutes and we agreed to have Pitocin to help clamp down my uterus. After they wrapped Charlotte up and finished their procedures, they left Brent and I alone to enjoy our first moments with our baby.

Our beautiful baby girl arrived at 6:48 AM on March 2, 2012. Charlotte Olivia was 9lbs. 4 oz., 20 inches long and 100% natural!