Wednesday June 8th
7:47am – Laura awakes from a restful nights sleep on the couch. She heads to the bathroom for the morning ritual and after finishing, pulls up her pajamas and immediately wets her pants. She thinks, “What the heck! I just peed…whoa” then shouts, “Corey! I think my water just broke!”
Laura and Corey spend the next 45 minutes calling family, friends, the midwife’s clinic, and Alicia Pillsbury, their Doula.
Because contractions hadn’t started yet Alicia encouraged them to be as active as possible. So the days agenda got completely changed. Laura began to cook breakfast while Corey cancelled his handyman job for that day. Next up, a walk around the block.
10:00am – Corey and Laura exit the house to begin trekking up and down the semi-flat part of our neighborhood. However, their walk immediately halted as their neighbor across the street yelled, “Have you seen my dog?” They helped her look for a minute and as the dog came running back home their neighbor says, “So when will that baby come?” Laura responds, “Actually, my water broke this morning!” The neighbor shouts, “What?!? Why are you out of bed! You have to go to the hospital right now!!!” Though Laura explains that it’s okay, the neighbor doesn’t really believe her, but she decides Laura isn’t in immediate peril. After a trek past a few more neighbors, Corey and Laura return to the house. During the walk Laura had one very small contraction.
11:00am – Next stop, the grocery store… or so they thought. First they take time to make a list of the basic foods they want to make sure are in the house. Then Laura takes a moment to call the midwife clinic again as they have not returned her call from 8:30am. After getting through to someone who will contact her midwife, they head out the door.
Knowing a certain previous scenario, before shutting the locked door, Laura says to Corey, “You have keys, right?” Corey absent-mindedly responds “Yup” and Laura shuts the door… at which point Corey turns around, reaching in his pocket and says “Oh wait, I don’t have keys.” After trying the front and back doors, it is officially determined that Corey and Laura are, again, locked out of their house.
11:32am – Corey calls Ashlie, a good friend and neighbor who was planning to care for our cats whenever we went into labor. Therefore, she had a key to our house. Ashlie very graciously takes some time off of work to come let us back in our house. Now… to the grocery store.
12:20pm – Corey and Laura are walking through the produce section when Jack the Midwife calls Laura. He explains that there is now a time schedule because her water is broken. As he explains the important times to remember, Laura catches very little of the information or the reasons why. Only two things stick out: 1) Be in labor before 3pm or go to the hospital and 2) Jack has commitments and won’t be able to attend the delivery. For the first time that day, Laura feels anxious: “What if my labor doesn’t get started? What if I have to be in the hospital and don’t get to labor at home at all? Who is going to deliver me? How do I feel about a person I don’t know attending my delivery?”
12:43pm – Laura calls Alicia… the solution to all anxieties. In just that way she does, Alicia calmly talks Laura through her emotions and helps her remember all the ways to get labor started. With a plan in place, Corey and Laura head to checkout and head back home. Laura’s contractions have moved now to approximately every 10 to 15 minutes.
For the next hour, Corey and Laura work on moving labor along. Corey makes lunch – eggplant and deer meat stew. Hopefully the eggplant will help to get things moving! He chopped two whole eggplants, planning to fry them, but Laura’s contractions began to interrupt lunch. So instead he threw one into the stew and the rest in the fridge. Later, Laura thinks, “Maybe I should have had more eggplant?”
Laura takes a shower. Between the warm water and the nipple stimulation, things start to progress. She takes time to walk around the house and talks with her mom, making plans.
Corey and Laura ate their eggplant stew and watched a tv show, The Voice – First Live Episode. Laura can tell that the eggplant, water, and walking are making a difference. Now contractions move to 8 minutes apart.
1:52pm – Laura calls Alicia with an update on contractions. Alicia says it’s up to Laura when it’s time for Alicia to come. Once the doula arrives, labor can sometimes slow down. So Laura decides to have Alicia wait a little longer.
2:35pm – Laura decides it’s time and calls Alicia to come. Alicia, like usual, was anticipating that Laura’s next phone call would say exactly that. She begins to pack up and head toward Gainesville. Unfortunately, there’s a wreck on the way causing her to get stuck in traffic and it takes her longer to arrive than expected. Laura finishes watching The Voice. During contractions, she would lean over the couch and Corey would squeeze her hips to help cope with pain. Contractions stay at 8 minutes apart.
4:00pm – Alicia arrives. Corey, Laura, and Alicia talk excitedly for a while, anticipating what’s to come and telling stories. One could tell this is still early labor as Laura is participating in the conversations. When contractions would interrupt the conversation, Alicia would help Laura experiment with pain coping techniques that would also help increase contractions. They tried things such as leaning on the couch, leaning on a birth ball, and squatting. Corey and Alicia would help through hip squeezes or rubbing Laura’s back.
Because contractions are staying between 6 and 8 minutes apart, Alicia asks Laura if she would be up for a walk around the neighborhood. Laura eagerly agrees, knowing this will help labor progress, but warns that there’s a big hill in the neighborhood and requests that the walk not include that hill. Corey, Laura, and Alicia set out on their journey. They walk one direction down about five houses, and then turn around before heading downhill. They walk the other direction, heading toward Rosedale circle. As they approach the hill, Alicia suggests that if they tackle the hill, even slowly, it could be just the thing. Taking a deep breath, Laura agrees and they head slowly down the hill and begin the trek back up. Once they reach the top, Laura’s contractions immediately move to 3-5 minutes apart. The team stops along the street and takes a few moments to cope with pain as they head back to the house. What a sight for passersby!!!
As they return to the house, labor becomes more quiet. Laura is no longer as interested in holding conversations. Instead she spends most of her time leaning on the birth ball while Alicia or Corey do hip squeezes. Corey’s arms become exhausted from hip squeezes, but he keeps it up anyway. Alicia suggests that this would be a good time to eat something to help keep up energy levels and Laura requests a smoothie. Alicia makes Laura a smoothie, while Corey helps her cope with contractions. Laura labors a while longer with the birth ball and then moves to squat at the bed to help keep contractions progressing. Because Laura is experiencing a good amount of back labor, Alicia has Laura move to the bed and lay on her side to help the baby turn into the right position for birth.
In between contractions, Laura begins to discuss heading to the hospital and how to know when is the right time. Alicia reminds Laura that it’s always her decision and explains that now is a reasonable time to make the decision to go and still a reasonable time to stay. Laura decides she wants to head to the hospital now while she still has time and capacity to get comfortable at the hospital.
7:13pm – Corey calls Jack the Midwife to tell him we are going to head toward the hospital. Jack will call the midwife-on-call to let her know Laura’s birth plan and that the team is headed that way…little Ezekiel is coming!
Alicia is in her car waiting to follow us. Corey throws the hospital bags into our car and Laura climbs in the backseat. Corey puts the carseat in the back and places the birth ball on the carseat base. Laura kneels in the backseat and leans forward onto the birth ball to cope with contractions. Corey drives very carefully, staying quiet and calm outside, but inside screaming at the other cars “MOVE OUT ‘DA WAY!!!” Laura occasionally thinks of how funny she must look to those they are driving by… but ultimately couldn’t care less.
7:42pm – The group arrives at the hospital. To get in, there is a black phone to pick up that connects the person in the waiting room to the triage nurse. Good thing Corey and Laura took a hospital tour or they never would have guessed that’s how to get in! In true hospital fashion, the nurse on the other end says “How can I help you?” After considering ordering a burger and shake or asking for a mani/pedi, Laura says “Ummm… I’m in labor?” The nurse says to wait there and someone will come get them soon. Of course, this takes forever. Granted, forever at this point is really only 8-10 minutes, but that is 3 contractions! Finally a nurse comes out and brings us to get checked in.
The next stop is affectionately known as the “Prove your labor” room. This is a small room and only Corey was allowed to come with me. It’s not such a nice first impression to send away someone’s labor support! In this room, Laura is hooked up to the monitor to see the baby’s heartbeat and the contraction times. While the monitor is running, a nurse asks 50 ba-gillion questions, most of which seem to be out of left field and highly irrelevant to whether a baby is coming now or not… but such is life. Laura has her first exam – 4cm, 3-5 minutes apart… Ezekiel has passed his first test!!
Disclaimer: From here on, everything runs together. Time is just a clock on the wall and light coming in the window, so the actual times now are relative. All focus was on mom and baby.
8:00pm – Welcome to Labor and Delivery, Room 10! Laura tries to get comfortable while Corey goes to get Alicia and then set up shop for labor. In Laura’s labor bag are an outfit, inspirational posters, and all the tools they had gathered through How to Have a Baby class. Funny enough, at this point Laura couldn’t care less about any of those items! Other than the birth ball, Laura’s bag stayed pretty much packed.
On a funny side note, during baby class we discussed how a warm fuzzy robe wouldn’t be necessary for having a summer baby. But for some reason, Laura decided to pack her robe anyway. Corey was very thankful for this robe as he wore it most of the time to keep from freezing in the labor room!!!
8:00pm Wednesday – 5:00am Thursday – Holy active labor Batman!! Contractions remained 3-5 minutes apart, but during this entire time, Laura only moved from 4cm to 6cm. Alicia worked with Laura to not simply cope with the pain but to help labor progress. Together they would stand and do leg raises and squats. Each time Laura would take a deep breath and choose not to talk about how painful that made contractions, but instead to talk about how effective that was! Amazing how that one little word can change an attitude! Laura spent time on the birth ball, leaning over the bed, and other various positions to cope while progressing. Eventually, Laura moved to the shower for some relaxation.
After a while in the shower, and eventually soaking in the bathtub (despite the fact that it wouldn’t stay filled) Laura was nicely relaxed while still having contractions. The nurse offered to check her in the bathtub, and announced Laura was only at a 6. This was probably the most discouraging moment for Laura. She began to gently cry and say “I don’t want to be a 6!”
5:00am – Because Laura’s water had broken, the clock was continuing to tick down on how long she would be allowed to labor. This meant that it was time for the dreaded P word… Pitocin. Pitocin is a replacement for the labor hormone commonly given to begin labor or to help labor progress. Many women describe labor pains on Pitocin as much more intense pain than natural labor. Laura began to battle her thoughts now. On the one side, Laura knew that her biggest doubt about being able to labor naturally came with whether she could cope with labor while on Pitocin. And yet even that morning, a good friend had talked about having no pain medication and a great delivery despite being induced. Could Laura really handle this new point in labor?
Contractions on Pitocin definitely changed. Laura progressed into Transition – the point of labor between 6 and 9 cm that is often described as the most intense. In fact, in training future World Racers, Laura had heard many talks about surviving transition periods and even heard labor as the main analogy! Laura mentally retreated to an inner, focused placed. Through a lot of touch and very little talking, Alicia and Corey supported Laura as she focused on each contraction. While Alicia continued to help with positions on the birth ball, standing, stomping, and walking, Laura mostly focused on her thoughts, using hypnobirthing and guided imagery techniques almost unconsciously.
The only time this process was interrupted was when Laura needed the dreaded pink tubs… The Vomit Bucket. For those of you who have ever walked through life closely with Laura, you will know one thing – She’s a puker. Corey actually was surprised that it took this long before Laura began puking! The first time, Corey grabbed the bucket and held it for Laura, but Alicia immediately noticed he was more green than the vomit and quickly relieved him of that duty.
Later on, when Laura was complimenting Corey on being so present and supportive, he would confess that the hardest point was after Laura would puke and then want him face to face to help her breathe!! Sorry about the breath honey!!!!
In the midst of Laura’s transition labor, she found her “mantra”, a sound to make to focus during the contractions. Funny enough, this sound was “shhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!” Alicia shared with Laura after labor that they would all be together quietly focusing on a contraction, breathing and “shhhh”-ing when a nurse would walk in and start talking. Laura would immediately turn to the nurse and start loudly “shhhh”-ing at her! Apparently, no one was allowed to talk until the contraction was over!
Sometime in the morning as Laura was on the birth ball, she began to feel the need to push during each contraction. While this was much more intense, it was also very exciting as this could mean Laura was reaching fully dilated! Alicia cautioned Laura to wait just a little more before continuing to push. A nurse should come check her because if Laura was pushing too early, it would actually cause more harm than good. The nurse came, and unfortunately Laura was still only 7cm… the pushing was causing swelling instead of helping to dilate.
11:00am – At this point, the midwife returned to talk about needing to speed things up as the clock was becoming our enemy. The midwife insisted on increasing Pitocin as soon there would be consequences of not being fully dilated by 24hrs of active labor. She said Laura would have an increased level of Pitocin and then at 2:00pm she would be checked. If at 2:00pm, Laura wasn’t fully dilated and ready to push the baby out, it would be time for a c-section.
At this point, Laura moved to her most rational state. She was able to recall the things she learned in Baby class, knowing that despite phrases like “we will have to” or “I insist on”, she always had choices. However, Laura was also able to realize that she was reaching a point of truly needing help. In Baby class, the instructor talked to the fathers about how their wife doesn’t need to be rescued during labor. The instructor gave each mother a key and said “If there is a point that you need rescued, you can give this key to your spouse to show that you really need help.” This was that point for Laura. Between contractions Laura is able to calmly and rationally talk about adding Pitocin and she decides to choose a pain medication. With no regret or disappointment, Laura asks for an epidural in order to get some sleep and have strength for a vaginal delivery. Alicia and Corey fully support her. In fact, Alicia later told Laura that she discussed this with Corey THREE HOURS earlier and was so amazed at Laura’s ability to continue on without help.
12:00pm – The anesthesiologist comes to give the epidural. Laura thinks it’s absolutely ridiculous to have to stay still and have a needle put in her back while having contractions at the same time… but she obliges. The doctor tells her to let him know if anything hurts as he’s inserting the epidural. However, each time Laura would say “Ouch!” he’d simply go “Okay.” Annoyed, Laura thinks “So doc… if you were going to ignore what I’m saying why did you ask me to tell you?!?!”
Laura immediately falls asleep on her left side, obviously exhausted from all the work. While sleeping she begins to feel contractions despite the epidural, but also doesn’t really wake up for those contractions. Alicia, ever attentive, notices the breathing changes and little sounds and calls the nurse so we can push the “happy button.” Apparently Laura had a hotspot and needed to pump additional medication to truly be pain free.
Laura wakes up around 2:30pm and with help rolls to her right side. She begins to feel more intense pressure with the contractions, but chooses to not push the happy button anymore so that the feeling can help her deliver once the midwife comes back. Corey, Laura, and Alicia are all thankful for the high number of births happening right then as the midwife was delayed an extra hour from the original deadline for checking Laura. This means an extra hour to get to fully dilated. Alicia, Laura, and Corey begin to discuss the options that could happen when the midwife returns. Alicia reminds them of the options that always exist and helps Laura phrase questions and suggestions in order to make informed decisions no matter what the midwife says.
3:00pm – Midwife comes back to check Laura. She immediately shouts “HALLELUJAH! We’re at 10cm and +1. Let’s have a baby!” Alicia, Laura, and Corey all celebrate. There may have even been tears shed. Now there’s no need for questions and suggestions, Laura can simply bring Ezekiel into the world now!
The nurse comes in to set up the room for delivery. The nurse and Alicia explain how to position your body and bear down for the most effective push and let Laura know that it’s ok to have to take a few contractions to figure it out. Corey holds the left leg and Alicia holds the right leg while the nurse watches the business end of this ordeal. It does take a few contractions and a few adjustments but eventually Laura is pushing really well.
Ezekiel begins the dance around the pubic bone… three steps forward, two steps back… three steps forward, two steps back. This process continues for approximately an hour and with each push Ezekiel comes that much closer.
About 5:30pm the nurse calls the midwife and says “We aren’t quite ready to have the baby just yet, but go ahead and come toward the room as it will be soon.” Laura pushes maybe two more and then all of a sudden says “bucket!” Knowing this routine, Alicia turns to grab the puke bucket as Laura turns her head and begins to vomit again. The nurse, Alicia, and Corey are all trying to get Laura what she needs to help calm the vomiting when all of a sudden the nurse exclaims “OH MY!!! Okay…. Ummm… try not to vomit!”
Apparently, vomiting is even more effective than all other pushes! While everyone was paying attention to the vomit, Ezekiel’s head was almost completely out! The nurse reaches down to hold his head from coming any more, the midwife (who entered right as the nurse exclaimed Oh my!) rushes to throw on her gloves, and with one more littlest of pushes at 5:40pm on Thursday, June 9, Ezekiel Richard Jacobs entered the world.
He was calm, cool, and collected from the beginning. Almost as if after such a dramatic entrance he was saying, “What? It’s just me.” The midwife holds him momentarily to help him begin to cry and then places him on Laura’s chest. The nurses continue to help him cry to pink up and get rid of the mucus from his nose, mouth, and lungs. Everyone immediately starts to discuss how beautiful and perfect he is… and not just in that “We have to say this” sort of way… but in truth being surprised at how beautiful he was from the very beginning.
After helping Laura begin to nurse, Alicia says her goodbyes and leaves for home and a MUCH EARNED rest. Laura’s mom comes into the room, glad to finally see her baby girl happy and healthy and holding her own baby. After nursing and bonding, the nursery nurses come to weigh and measure. Ezekiel was 7lbs 14oz and 20in long. His head was 14.5cm (average is 13cm!). And most importantly, he is perfect in every way.