Thursday, July 19, 2007

She's here!

After 25 long hours of labor, Ada Lorraine arrived Tuesday night at 10:18pm. She weighed 8 lbs, 1 oz at birth and she measures 20 inches long. She's got brown hair, gray-blue eyes and she's absolutely perfect.

And because so many people are dying to know the details, here's the birth story. (Feel free to skip it if birth stories aren't your thing.)

I felt my first surges (contractions) shortly after going to bed Monday night around 9:30. They were coming every 10 minutes for half an hour, but I was worried it might be more false labor so I ran a hot bath and poured myself a glass of wine. By 11pm it was clear this was the real thing, so I headed downstairs to call my doula. I couldn't get through to her for an hour, but I was managing all right alone. I woke Josh for support around 12:30 and Tricia came over close to 2am, at while point my surges were 7-8 minutes apart and harder to manage.

I put myself in Tricia's hands, asking her for position suggestions and having her help me breath through the pain. Most of the night passed in a blur. Josh and Tricia called the midwives at 4am and Julie advised us to come into the office at 9am to check the baby on the monitors and see my progress. Low and behold, when we made it to the office I was 6cm dialated and ready to be admitted to the hospital's Alternative Birthing Center.

But that's where things got tough. I made use of the labor tub, the birth ball and a variety of different laboring positions, but from 10am to 5pm my surges got stronger and stronger but I wasn't making much progress. I was only 7 1/2cm dialated. I hadn't slept since Sunday night, I was tired of Gatorade and cheese and crackers, and I was getting discouraged. I was beginning to think I wanted to throw in the towel on natural childbirth, get an epidural and go to sleep. But fortunately Josh, my doula and my midwife conspired to keep me on track, and we all agreed that if breaking my water bag and nipple stimulation didn't result in any additional progress, we could talk interventions.

Fortunately, they worked. By 7pm I was 9 1/2 cm dialated, reinvigorated and ready to move Ada into the world. I hopped back into the laboring tub and breathed her down (kind of a soft pushing) for a couple of hours. When the tub water got cold and the pressure increased, I asked to use the birthing stool. Sitting on the stool felt right; gravity was going to help me birth my baby. And indeed, after some manageable contractions I felt a big surge and an enormous need to push. And one huge, animalistic push was all it took. Ada came out wailing and Julie caught her and immediately placed on my chest. She earned perfect Apgar scores and Josh held her as I delivered the placenta, Julie took cord blood for donation and checked me out for collateral damage (I needed a few stitches). Ada nursed shortly after birth and we headed to the maternity ward for some much needed sleep around 11:30.

I'm thrilled I managed to have the drug-free VBAC I wanted, but I couldn't have done it without Josh and the support of the midwife, nurses and my doula, Tricia Fitzgerald. Doula services and Tricia in particular will be the subject of a future post.