Denver wrote about his perspective of Charlotte’s birth, but we figured it would be nice for me to share my perspective as well. There might be some details he didn’t notice – not that he ever does that…
As Denver mentioned, I had been having contractions off and on since February 28th. Some days they’d last a few hours while others would continue for an entire day.
I had felt random contractions throughout the majority of the pregnancy – as most women do – but they would never continue for more than a few minutes.
Starting on February 28th, contractions came regularly and stayed quite a while, but none could get my cervix past 2cm.
Almost a month later – on Tuesday, March 24th – my contractions once again started getting consistent and pretty close together
These contractions did feel like they were getting stronger but it was hard to tell, and I didn’t want to get excited for no reason (again).
Contractions stayed pretty regular the rest of the day, but when we went to bed I was surprised to fall asleep almost immediately. Denver always falls asleep in 2 seconds, but I’m usually up for a while, so falling asleep so fast was strange for me.
I got woken up at 4am by stronger contractions, and Denver woke up after the second one. I felt like these were different and figured I should probably try to eat something.
I ate, took a shower, and finally decided we should go to the hospital to see what was happening.
Checking in took forever and it was hard to answer all their questions while having contractions, especially when all I really wanted was to get in the tub.
The nurse told us I was only dilated to 3cm and that she would call our midwife to see what she wanted us to do, but she asked if we would prefer staying or going home.
For a minute I thought we should stay. I really wanted to use the tub and our tub at home just isn’t the same. But I told her I’d rather go home, because I was worried that if we stayed in the hospital my labor wouldn’t progress quickly and they’d want to do things to speed it up.
I did not want that.
Our midwife agreed that we should go home, and the nurse told us we’d probably be back in about 6 hours.
Denver asked how we’d know when to come back, because we couldn’t use contraction frequency anymore. I’d been averaging a solid contraction every 2 minutes for the past who knows how many hours.
She said I’d know to come back when the contractions felt twice as painful as they were right then. Well, “right then” they were pretty uncomfortable, especially after sitting up on a bed for an hour. Sitting during my contractions was pretty much the worst position to be in.
So that made me super excited for the rest of labor. (It did not make me super excited for the rest of labor.)
We drove home with contractions continuing to be 1-2 minutes long and 2-3.5 minutes apart, and I wondered why Rexburg needed so many railroad tracks between the hospital and our apartment.
Once at home, I got in the shower again, and it felt like the contractions immediately got stronger. By the time I got out I felt like they were twice as strong as they had been that morning, but I kept second guessing myself.
Maybe I was just being a baby about it. There was no way they’d gotten that much stronger in an hour.
Obviously they had gotten that much stronger, but at the time it seemed unlikely.
I could no longer find a position that was comfortable, and it started to feel like there wasn’t even a break between contractions.
Just a bigger one, a smaller one, a bigger one…without breaks in between.
I started to feel really shaky but thought I was just cold. There was no way I was in transition already.
Denver asked if I wanted to go back to the hospital but I said no. I didn’t want to be the girl that goes back every hour only to find her cervix is being a little B!7€#.
(Denver wrote that, not me.)
We tried counter pressure, but it just made things feel worse. I got in the shower again only to get out almost immediately.
I finally ended up on the toilet trying not to throw up, and Denver called the hospital to see if we should come back in. They said we could take our time, but coming in might be a good idea.
By this point I was really worried about the next 6 hours or so. If I was feeling so bad only an hour and a half after leaving the hospital, how bad was it going to get? Looking back, it would have been so much easier emotionally if I’d known I was at the end of labor instead of the beginning.
Right after Denver hung up I realized I might be pushing. I still wasn’t sure what was happening, but it felt like my body was pushing baby down.
I told him not to call 911 and tried to get up, but I couldn’t. He called the hospital again, and they told him to make me get up and walk.
We tried, but whenever I stood up it just got worse. He told them again that I couldn’t get up, and they told him to be firm and make me stand up.
The nurse wasn’t being rude, I just don’t think anybody, including myself, knew how close I was to giving birth.
And that’s when I felt baby’s head.
Denver called 911, and the ambulance got there just in time to lift me onto the floor before my final contraction.
Side note: Have you ever heard EMTs knock on a door? We live in an apartment complex with a long indoor hallway lined with apartments. They knocked on our door like there was any possible way we wouldn’t hear them and yelled “Ambulance!” (Now all of China knows you’re here.)
They initially wanted to take me into our room onto the bed, but there was no way I was going to make it that far. When we got home from the hospital the next day I walked in our room and saw they had pulled all the sheets off the end of the bed and laid a hand towel out (yes, a hand towel), which was apparently the only towel they could find.
It’s a good thing they left me on the floor, because that towel would not have helped to contain very much.
Second side note: The EMTs were wonderful. They were calm and polite, while also being assertive – maybe a little nervous at first, but never rude or upset. The one who ended up delivering Charlotte called the hospital about an hour after dropping me off to see how we were doing. Everything I’m saying before and after this note about them is mostly things we find humorous about the situation looking back at it now.
When Charlotte was born, I was the one who got to tell Denver we had a girl. We didn’t know going into labor what we were having, and Denver was behind a couple EMTs when baby came out. So I got to look up at him peeking over a few shoulders and say that we had a girl.
Once baby was out Denver got to cut the cord, and one of the EMTs went looking for a hat to keep baby warm.
They found a hat (after totally ransacking baby’s room) and lifted me onto the stretcher, took us up the stairs, and put us in the ambulance.
Our midwife met us at the door of the hospital, and they wheeled the stretcher in and up the elevator.
Probably the best moment was passing the receptionist we’d seen a few hours earlier and seeing her surprised face when I rolled by holding a baby.
When we had left the hospital earlier she had asked “so, not in labor?”
She probably thought I got this baby from Target.