Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lucy's Story

I've been meaning to sit down and write Lucy's birth story for days now before all the little details escape me but it seems life with two is just a tad more demanding of my time. I made it through the whole day yesterday all by myself and nobody died. I did forget about Lucy's diaper for five hours and William did spend quite a bit of time crying and on the stairs for being naughty and it may have taken me an hour and half to clean the bathroom but we got through it.

Today I'm fortunate to have hubby at home all day. Tomorrow too! What a treat!

The baby's fed and sleeping and William is being entertained by daddy so here I am in front of my computer screen with a steaming cup of coffee. Here we go.

Remember Brian's cousin Karen? The one with the same due date as me? The one I've been texting for the past three weeks swimming in our own self pity of the last uncomfortable weeks of pregnancy? On my eighteenth trip to the bathroom early Friday morning I heard my cell phone ding with an incoming text downstairs.

"I have me when ur up."

Karen went into labor in the middle of the night and delivered a beautiful little girl around 2 a.m.

In the midst of our phone conversation I started glancing at the clock because a funny thing began to happen. I was having contractions. Very regular contractions. About four minutes apart. But nothing painful. And after three previous episodes of false labor I didn't think too much of it.

The day continued as normal and the contractions remained. Sometimes three minutes apart. Sometimes five. But never more than seven. It was enough of a pattern that Brian decided it best to work from home. But still...I had been through labor once before and I knew these contractions were not nearly as intense as they needed to be.

I slept. I ate a little. I played outside. I took a bath. I chatted on the phone. I packed a bag. I slept some more. But still the contractions remained light.

At 3:30 I called my midwife to get her thoughts. Looking at my chart she agreed that I was very dilated but that the baby was still very high (negative 2 station, if you know that lingo) and my cervix wasn't very thin (only 50% effaced). She concluded that I probably was in true labor and that my body was slowly trying to get the baby to drop and thin out my cervix.

If I was still comfortable at home, which I was, she didn't see any reason to come to the hospital yet. I was instructed to call back if my water broke or if my contractions became so intense that I couldn't speak through them.

The day continued. I began to get more tired but was still relatively comfortable. Just before 9 o'clock I was lying in my bed when I heard Brian begin William's bedtime books. I went into William's bedroom and the three of us read books. I got a little emotional because I knew this was probably the last time William would have our undivided attention.

Once William was snug as a bug Brian suggested we watch the recorded episode of Grey's from the night before. We started the show but I soon needed to pause it every couple of minutes to breathe through a contraction.

"Alright, it's time to go," Brian said.

I was happy he made the decision for me because there's this weird part of my personality where I'm just never 100% certain if I'm in true labor.

Brian ran our baby monitor over to our neighbors because we realized we didn't have the 20 minutes it would take for my sister to arrive. In the meantime I called my sister and asked her to come as soon as she could. Brian then called our midwife and said we were on our way in.

The hospital is only about a mile away from our house and I was never more thankful for that then during that drive. I had two contractions in the car and let me tell you, it was not fun. Sitting down during contractions just feels like torture.

We arrived at the ER entrance and I had one more contraction outside before I arrived on the maternity floor. A doctor just arriving at the hospital to start his shift asked if I needed a wheelchair.

"Nooooo," I panted. No more sitting down.

Once we were on the maternity floor all was calm and peaceful. I had a contraction in the hallway and a nurse approached me and softly coached me through it. When it was over I asked to get in the bath.

"Absolutely," she said.

Before I got in she checked me and said I was at 7 cm with a bulging bag of waters. I got in the tub and my midwife arrived shortly thereafter.

In between a contraction I remember glancing at a clock across the room and giggling. It was just after 10 o'clock.

"What are the chances we get this baby out before midnight?" I asked, knowing that then my baby and Karen's would have the same birthday.

Just as with William's birth I labored for the entire time in the bath. But unlike William's birth I had a midwife instead of a doctor. The difference was like night and day. She was amazing. She taught Brian how to apply counter pressure to my back. She pressed my hipbones together which reduced the pain intensity dramatically. She massaged my lower back with the warm water from the shower head. And most importantly she was quiet and calm. And because it's in our nature to feed off the energy in the room, this in turn made Brian calm and attentive as well.

Around 11:20 my midwife told me that she could tell by the sounds I was making and how close together my contractions were that at anytime I could choose to have her break my water and I could immediately start pushing.

"You just say the word," she said.

"Yes!" I exclaimed.

So out of the bath I went and into the awaiting warm blankets the nurse draped around me. My midwife broke my water and I immediately began pushing with the next contraction. About fifteen minutes later she was halfway out with the cord wrapped around her neck. The midwife asked me to stop pushing briefly so she could unwrap it.

"What is it?! What is it?!" I was shouting at Brian.

"I can't see yet!" He said.

"One more push and you can see for yourself," my midwife said.

So I pushed once more and she flopped on my belly. A girl! I had a hunch but still couldn't believe it until I saw her with my own eyes.

This moment of elation was followed by an extreme sense of self accomplishment. I did it! I birthed my baby without any intervention. No pitocin. No epidural. No episiotomy. Not even an IV. It felt so gratifying.

There was pain. A lot of it. But as soon as she was out it was all gone. And the minute it was over, I still would have done it all over again the exact same way.

"What was the time?" I asked the nurse.

11:43 p.m.

Seventeen minutes before midnight.

After I took a bath with my new baby girl and we settled into bed for the night I grabbed my cell phone and sent a text to Karen.

"Two baby girls in one day! Lucy Nash arrived at 11:43 p.m."

Karen called me the next morning bawling with excitement.


  1. Someday you will be so glad you wrote this all down. It sounds like Lucy's birth was a miracle! I hope you don't mind a new reader. My daughter steered me to your blog by saying it was wonderful, well-written, and would restore my faith in the next generation of families. She was absolutely right. You have a new fan. - J-9's Mom

  2. Such a beautiful story! I read every word.

    I have no idea why hospitals offer wheelchairs to women in labor!?! That is absolute craziness. Contractions hurt far worse when you're sitting down. I definitely declined that "offer" as well.

    I understand what you said about having a midwife. I went the midwife route too this time and - wow - it was SO much better than my experience with an OB. Is there a birth center in your area? I can't remember...



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