To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Welcome to the World!

Early labor at home with my Lamaze breathing
All these months of build up and here it is .... the introduction of my beautiful daughter and how she finally came into this world!

Our story starts Sunday morning around 8am when my dog asked to go outside to potty. As I stood up I felt a small amount of liquid come out of me. Was it a trickle of water that may have broken? I wasn't sure. At 10:36am I knew for sure my water was breaking in a massive gush! I ran to my phone to text Man Friend and had to dive into my bathtub as I felt gush number 2 coming. During my whole shower this would keep happening. I notified my mom who was at my house before I even finished rinsing my hair! I felt she was ready to head to the hospital but I knew we had time. While she was doing laundry, dishes, pacing, packing snacks and doing anything she could to distract herself, I attempted to dress and put on socks to take my dog for a walk. We never made it to the point of putting on shoes.

Watching the Super Bowl
I started having mild contractions around 1pm and began timing to see if this was the real deal or not. We had learned that after your water breaks it could take 12 to 24 hours for labor to begin. I wasn't about to rush to the hospital until I KNEW. Plus I was going to stay home for all of early labor anyway. At 2pm we declared this was the real deal and I would stay and focus on breathing and relaxing. The contractions started getting much closer together and I had to let Man Friend know it was time to come home from work because I was going to be leaving sooner than later. The goal was to make it through the kick off of the Super Bowl! To get through that wait I used my pillows and yoga ball, lower back and leg rubs from Mom and Man Friend, as well as the breathing techniques we had been practicing in Lamaze class. By the time the game started I was ready to go. I was in active labor, which arrived rather quickly!

Love at first sight, fresh out of the oven!
It was about 4:30pm when we were in our room ready to get comfy and work on contractions. I made it through the half time show at least, then I was beyond the point of doing anything other than surviving contractions. They escalated very fast and I know at a few times I was half-assed saying I needed the drugs. My birth plan was to be drug free, unless deemed necessary for the safety of my daughter and I by the doctor. So needless to say my whining was ignored, which really is what I hoped would happen anyway. I did plenty of research and knew what I wanted. After all we went the entire pregnancy with zero drugs of any kind, not even a Tums, so why change it now?

I had a birth ball brought in to the room to help, but never did get to it. Once the jacuzzi tub was filled I got in and never looked back. The feeling of not having my back touching anything was such a relief as I was having a lot of lower back pain. The bubbles helped distract me, and the noise of them actually helped relax me as well -- although I'm sure my mom waiting by the bed probably didn't think that. I can only imagine the sounds she heard. Before making it to the tub, and IN the tub I did end up throwing up quite a bit. I guess pregnancy for me was book-ended with vomit! It was at the end of the tub time that Melissa, our delivery nurse, came in to see how I was doing and asked if I felt like I wanted to push. She barely asked and instinctively I was bearing down!

Out of the tub I went and back into my own delivery gown (yes, you CAN bring your own and avoid the awful hospital ones!!) and onto the bed. A week before I was 2 cm dilated, when I arrived at the hospital I was at 6cm. By the time I finished my tub I was ready at 10cm and my doctor was called. I actually feel so special and appreciative of her .... it was my doctor's day off but when she learned I was in labor she said she wanted to come in anyway. So there I was, the 1996 grad being assisted by the 1995 graduate and the doctor from the class of 1993 ... all of us from the RHS band delivering what will maybe be a future RHS band girl! It felt like the right group that was brought together for this intense experience!

And so pushing began. My mom was a saint and stayed by my head continually keeping a cold wash cloth on me. Even though I was in absolute misery that really helped a ton. Thank you, Mommy!! Man Friend took my left leg, Melissa on my right, and Amy (the doctor) was front and center monitoring the progress as I pushed. This is when I got discouraged. All of the pushing and it felt like I wasn't making progress. Any time the fetal monitor slipped and I couldn't hear my girl's heart beat I would get nervous. I was dreading hearing them say that things weren't working like they want and I would need an emergency C-Section. **Spoiler alert, no c-section happened! I could tell there was silent communication happening between everyone in the room.

Cutting the cord
Apparently it was a lot of hand signals, with Amy showing numbers to Melissa on the state of my progress. Melissa, when the head was showing, was showing my mom circles indicating how much head she could see. I just continued on with the pushing. To summarize, with each contraction for the first hour or more I would do four strong pushes. The first always felt like a failure so I cut it short, I couldn't figure out where to push since it was all hurting my tailbone. I'd immediately get a breath and go for the second push where I could actually feel I was pushing right. The third and fourth pushes would make the most progress.  

In the last hour or less (I have NO concept of time during any of this, but I was actively pushing for at least two hours), I was feeling that progress was being made which motivated me to push harder and longer. I was up to about 6 strong, long pushes per contraction by the end. I was confused when I felt the progress happened and suddenly the room atmosphere changed. They removed half of my bed, brought out foot rests for me, the doctor was putting on a blue gown, a bucket and strange bag thing were brought and placed under the bed, and two baby nurses were standing on alert. I looked at Melissa and said, "Am I having this baby soon?" She gave me the most wonderful smile and said Yes! It was surreal that it was almost time! And then .... the ring of fire.

Pausing to rest during her first meal
They weren't lying when they used the ring of fire as a phrase to describe what it feels like down there. I was probably making noises of someone being skinned alive, but my best pushes happened when I made more noise and just let it all out. My body, pain wise, wanted it all to just go away. How could I possibly get her out if it already felt like this? But mentally I knew she was there and I could feel the fullness. I just had to cross over that one spot. And then I did, and boy did I feel it. I felt a pop. I had a very small tear, which I suspect might have been that pop? But I really don't know. It wasn't long after, with the rest of the push that there was this strange sudden relief. 

Warm, slimy, a feeling of lightness, and a cord. She was out! In the movies you always see them push and get the head out, then they have to push again to get the shoulders. My little girl cooperated with my pushing and slid out all at once! It was NO time at all, and she was on my chest. She had only the tiniest cry before she was staring up at me peaceful. The most beautiful little slimy thing I've ever seen in my life!

Here are the not-complicated complications, that were possibly part of why I was getting frustrated. She wasn't wanting to rotate. She had been head down for weeks, but instead of her head facing my bottom, she was head up. The doctor kept reaching in monitoring progress and trying to rotate her. That reaching at first was uncomfortable, but then I used it to help me know where to push... and that's how I started making progress on getting her out. As much as it sucks, you DO have to push like you're pooping. If you feel like you're pooping, you're doing it right - that's what they told me and it was so true! Eventually she cooperated after the doctor tried to guide her 3 times and she was lined up. To get to that point though we did try having me on my hand and knees pushing a couple times. That position didn't work for me as I couldn't figure out how to bear down like that. At the end the cord was wrapped around her neck 1.5 times, but not a big deal at all and was easily fixed. So really, is that much to have happen? Not at all!

She and I stared at each other and bonded for 8 minutes before her cord was clamped and then cut by her daddy. Delivery of the placenta was a breeze. I gave half a push and it was out. And continuing in my quest to learn as much as I can, I was asking to see the placenta and get photos of it!  As quickly as the room filled, it was soon empty again. Her grandma went home to let us have alone time, and it was pretty much just the three of us and our nurse until the wee hours of the next morning. I helped give her her very first bath, she did her hand footprints, and got to have her first meal. It was a very busy, exciting night! I didn't sleep at all ... I couldn't stop staring at her and oohing and aahing over every little coo she made in her sleep! For those interested in stats: 10:34pm on February 7, 2016 she was born. She weighed in at 7 pounds 2 ounces and is 20.25 inches tall. Perfectly pink!

So that's the big culmination of this nearly 3 year long adventure to bring her here! I avoid using names in this blog, so I'll leave out her last name...  I am so happy to introduce Katura Inez Rae!


  1. Congratulations!! So happy for you!!

  2. How exciting! She looks perfect!

  3. I didn't get tears until you said she was the most beautiful slimy thing you had ever seen... yes, I'm weird like that. such a great story you have Ronda Rae...

  4. Super congratulations to you guys! She's lovely!


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