It was Thursday, June 21st and I was 36 weeks 2 days along in my pregnancy. We had been planning a homebirth with our midwife Mary Anne; I just had to make it to 37 weeks to birth at home. Since this was my first pregnancy, I thought for sure I would go to 40 weeks, possibly beyond.
I had a rough day the day before; one of our birds died in the morning and I was too emotional to go in to work. So I called my boss and let her know I was taking a sick day. I buried Pretty Boy out in the yard next to Echo and Sunshine. Since I was not going in to work I decided to go down to Dr. Kalb’s office and get registered so I would be prepared when the baby came. Dr. Kalb was going to come to our house for a newborn exam the day after the baby was born. While I was in his office his nurse saw me. She smiled and said “You look like you are ready to have that baby!” I smiled and said “Yep, just four weeks to go!” Did she know something I didn’t?
Thursday morning started out just like any other morning, Ron and I got up and got ready for work. I didn’t feel too great; I was still exhausted from my emotional day the day before, and I did not sleep well that night. I had been constipated for a couple days and that always makes me irritable. Just the usual pregnancy complaints. I went to work and just wanted to be to myself, I did not feel like socializing, I just wanted to get my work done and go home. I had been training my replacement, and he was beginning to get the hang of it and had some accounts of his own to work on. So that allowed me to just hang out at my desk and focus on my work. But I had a hard time focusing on work that morning because of how I was feeling. I was on instant messenger with my friend Heather complaining about how I felt. She was sympathetic to my whining, she said she always feels like that right before the baby comes. For some reason, I started taking down my photos from my cubicle walls. I just had this feeling that I needed to start wrapping things up at work. I had already cleaned out my e-mails and other personal documents from my computer a couple weeks before. Now it was time to get my personal belongings out of there too.
It was around 11:20am and I was over at Crystal’s desk to give her something I wasn’t going to use anymore. Suddenly I felt something warm like I had just peed my pants. But I knew I didn’t pee my pants. I walked back to my desk without saying anything to anyone. I grabbed an envelope out of my purse that had a piece of “litmus paper” in it to detect if it truly was my water breaking. I had just received that paper from Mary Anne only two days before at my 36 week prenatal visit. I briskly walked to the bathroom as the water trickled down my legs; I happened to be wearing a skirt that day and I wondered if anyone would notice. When I got to the bathroom and sat on the toilet, a bunch of water trickled out. I touched the paper to the fluid on my underwear and the paper turned dark blue. My water was broken!!!!! I sat there for a moment in total shock; I was going to have a baby TODAY!!
As I walked back to my desk with water still trickling down my legs, I passed my friend Andrea and I told my water had broke. She followed me back to my desk. I stepped in to my boss’s office to tell her also. The next thing I know I have about 5 people surrounding my desk frantically asking me who was driving me to the hospital and so on. I called Ron to let him know, he was rather shocked to say the least! I told him I would call Mary Anne then call him back. I called Mary Anne and she also sounded a bit surprised, she told me to come over to her house so she could check me out. I called Ron back to tell him to meet me at Mary Anne’s house. My co-workers did not want me to drive myself, but I told them I did not want to leave my car there. So I said Andrea could follow me to Mary Anne’s to make sure I got there okay. Andrea grabbed all my bags and stuff and followed me out to the car. She had a towel in her car that I put under me so I wouldn’t ruin the seat. And we headed out to Mary Anne’s house. I called my friend Kim in Maryland to let her know that my water broke and that I would more than likely have to deliver in the hospital instead of at home. I asked her to post to the Yahoo groups about it so they could start praying for me. After I got off the phone with her, I realized I had been instant messaging Heather and I left suddenly. So she had no idea what had just happened to me. I called her real quick to let her know my water broke and to start praying for me. I wanted to have as many people praying as I could since I had no idea what we were in for by having to deliver in the hospital. We got to Mary Anne’s and both Mary Anne and Ron came out of the house to meet me. I gave Andrea a hug and thanked her for following me out there; I told her I would call her later to let her know what was going on.
We went into Mary Anne’s birth room and she took a sample of the water to test it. There was some blood in it, so that was a good sign that labor was eminent. Ron and I sat down to talk with her and go over our options. While we were talking, I suddenly got a sharp pain in my back. At first Mary Anne thought it was probably back labor. But then it got sharper and made me feel dizzy. So they brought me over to the bed to lie down. I told her I had been constipated lately, and she said that was more than likely what it was. She used the Doppler to listen to the baby’s heartbeat, it sounded good. While she was listening, she noticed I had a contraction, which I really did not feel. She said it was a good one and she did not want to “dilly dally” around with me, she had always said that because I am tall and thin, I would probably labor quickly. So we decided to see if Dr. Wilters at Centennial Hospital would take me in as a patient. He works with Mary Anne as a doctor of consult, but he had never met me before. And he usually likes to have at least one prenatal visit with Mary Anne’s clients before he delivers for them if they have to transport to the hospital. Fortunately, he decided to see me, so we headed to Centennial. Ron drove my car and I rode with Mary Anne in her van just in case I needed something or if my labor started to kick in.
I was still just in shock that all this was happening. Part of me was excited, but part of me was also disappointed that I was not going to have the homebirth we had been planning for months. I wanted to just cry, but I thought I better keep it together. I had a lot of work ahead of me to labor and deliver and I needed to remain positive, especially going into the hospital setting. I silently prayed to God to give me the strength, and to just protect us as we entered the unexpected “Plan B”.
We arrived at the hospital around 2:00pm. Ron went down to do the paperwork to get me admitted, and Mary Anne helped me get situated in the room. I still was not really feeling the contractions at this point. I changed into a hospital gown and the nurse came in and introduced herself. She put the monitor on me and began asking me a ton of questions to fill out my file. Thankfully Mary Anne had brought my file along, so she was able to answer a lot of the questions for me. Then the nurse checked me and I was dilated to a 4 and 100% effaced. So I was definitely making progress. The monitor showed my contractions were really good, but I just was not feeling them yet. They had to run two different kinds of antibiotics through my IV. One was because I had not been tested for GBS, so I was considered “GBS unknown” and they give the antibiotics to be safe. The other one was due to my having Mitral Valve Prolapse (floppy heart valve) and that would keep me from having any bacteria build up near my valve opening and causing infection.
Mary Anne sat down with Ron and me and went over some of the standard procedures of hospital labor and delivery. She made us aware of the things we could decline and to let her know ahead of time so she could be our “voice” while we were both pre-occupied with all we were about to encounter. She also had brought along her charts and went through the basics of labor and delivery since we had not been through our “birth crash course” with her yet. After this went on a bit I was feeling a little more uncomfortable and I was noticing the contractions now. I was starting to get irritated having to listen to people explain things to me and ask me questions. I just wanted to be left alone. The nurse checked me and I was dilated to an 8. I felt like I had to have a bowel movement so I went into the bathroom and closed the door. I sat on the toilet for some time, I had more water come out with blood in it, and I had a bowel movement too. The contractions were getting stronger; I was closing my eyes through them and holding on to the bar next to the toilet. I have no idea how long I was in there, but I remember Mary Anne asking me if I was okay. I said I was. I came out a little later and Mary Anne could see that my labor had gotten stronger just by looking at me. Ron decided to step out of the room to call our parents since we had not told them that I was in labor. We wanted to make sure things were going to happen before we contacted them.
Mary Anne asked the nurse if we could get a birth ball for me to sit on, she thought I might like that. The nurse brought it in and I sat on it while they attached the monitor to me. But it was very uncomfortable to me because I was having such rectal pain with my contractions. So then they put the bar up over the bed so I could squat and hold the bar during contractions. I tried that for a bit too, but it was not comfortable to me either. The contractions were getting much stronger now, and I was getting a bit more vocal during them. (I say I was vocal, but both Mary Anne and Ron said I really was not very loud) I remember one strong contraction caused me to have a loud groan, and it seemed like that made the whole room come alive! The nurse quickly called for the doctor to come and they began preparing everything for the birth. The nurses had just changed shifts as it was 7:00pm, and I was very happy about that. I did not like our first nurse; she had a bit of an attitude. The next nurse that came in was awesome! She even called herself a little bit “crunchy”. She has worked with the midwife Ina May Gaskin at The Farm before, so I knew I was in good hands. They checked me again and said I was definitely at a 10, so I could push anytime. Then doctor Wilters came in. This was the first time I had ever met him. I barely looked at him, or anyone else. I just could not keep my eyes open. It was better for me to keep them closed and to focus and breathe through my contractions. And in between contractions I rested.
Dr. Wilters is a very gentle, kind looking man with gray hair. He came in and introduced himself; he sat on his chair in front of me and patiently waited while I pushed. He used olive oil to massage my perineum during contractions in order to keep me from tearing. The thing that surprised me most about him was how quiet he was. He just let me be while I labored and did not try to tell me when to push, how to push, or anything. Mary Anne was on my left side and my nurse was on my right side. They were both wonderful coaches in telling me how to breathe while I was pushing. They were both very encouraging and helpful. I never even looked at them, but I can still hear their voices coaching me on. Neither of them was forceful with their words, just encouraging and supportive. And I really needed that for my first time laboring.
I pushed with each contraction. And the part of my body that hurt the most during the contractions and pushing was my rectum. I never expected that. The first time I finally looked down was when his head was crowning. His head came out on a slant and there was a big “egg” on his head just to the side because of that. His cord was loosely around his neck; Dr. Wilters just gently lifted it over his head. They suctioned out his nose and mouth and then I pushed out the rest of his body. He had his hand up under his chin, which is what caused me to tear, and what was causing my rectal pain. At 7:40pm as he slipped into Dr. Wilters hands, I quickly caught a glimpse of his penis and said “it’s a boy, we have a boy!” And he started crying immediately. Oh what a good set of lungs he has! Ron was crying, and I was in awe. I asked someone to hand me my glasses so I could see! They brought him over to the little area where they did his apgar test and wiped him up. During that time, I pushed out the placenta and Dr. Wilters just let it come out without pulling on the cord. After it was out he showed it to Ron and I, we were both fascinated by how the placenta is actually an organ that is created just for the purpose of sustaining a baby, and then it is discarded. God is awesome!
Within minutes they brought the baby over to me and placed him on my chest. Ron and I just stared at him in awe and wonder. He was awake and alert and he looked right at me. It melted my heart and at that moment I knew life would never be the same. I was a mommy and it was wonderful!! What an amazing experience!
Since I had a “natural birth” (no pain medications) people have asked me “would you do it again?” and my answer is always a huge “YES I would!” There is no doubt in my mind that I would do it all over again. Watching that new life that God created for 9 months come out of my body, and then holding him in my arms is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced.
Ronald Gerald DePew III born June 21, 2007 at 7:40pm. 6 lbs 9 oz and 19 ½ inches long.