Meredith Laurel was born on Monday, June 28th at 9:01 am after an intense, but short labor. Around 3:20 am I woke to a strange kick feeling in my belly. As I stood up to go to the bathroom, I realized that feeling was my water breaking. I called my midwife who told me to head right to the hospital because I was strep b positive and needed to get started on penicillin. She also said I'd need to get started on Pitocin since I wasn't having strong contractions. I was really disappointed by this news. My hope was to have a nonmedicated natural birth and I knew Pictocin could make the contractions really strong and fast.
Chris got in the shower after I got off the phone, I got some last minute things together and then showered after Chris. By the time I got out of the shower contractions had started and were about 3-4 minutes apart. While they weren't yet causing me to stop in my tracks, they were markedly different than all the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been having throughout my pregnancy. Once we had gathered all our things, we got in the car and headed to the hospital. We were both feeling very excited and a little nervous. It was crazy to know we'd probably meet our baby by the end of the day. We prayed in the car together, asking God for safety, health, peace and calm through the labor.
We got to the hospital very quickly, around 4:30 am, and checked in at the Emergency Room (since it was after hours). We then headed up to Labor & Delivery where we were met by a very sweet nurse named Misha. We were able to go right into a birthing suite which I was happy about. As we settled in with our things and started to be monitored (for contractions and the baby's heartbeat) the contractions were definitely getting stronger. I was able to use hypnobirthing breathing to help keep me calm and get through them. After a while the midwife came in and checked me. I was already at 5 cm, which I was so grateful for. This made me more confident that I could make it without an epidural.
After I had been monitored long enough I got up to go to the bathroom. I think this was around 5:30 am. Almost immediately I threw up several times and then proceeded to the bathroom to get changed into a johnny. While in the bathroom the contractions started coming really close together and much harder. Breathing and leaning back against the wall helped me get through them calmly. I also stood, leaning against Chris, through a few.
I was then ready to head out to the room. I sat in a rocking chair for a bit, but I found it difficult to be comfortable through contractions there. I was most comfortable leaning against Chris, so that the lower part of my stomach could stretch out. At that point I thought it might be nice to get into child's pose. The nurse asked me at that point if she could monitor the baby's heartbeat while I laid on the bed, because getting the heartbeat in child's pose very difficult. I was fine with that. I laid on my side while she monitored the baby and had several very strong contractions.
As she was finishing with the monitor I had one contraction that felt much more intense and much different, ending with an urge to push (that large bowel movement feeling I had heard a lot about). The nurse noticed that my response to that contraction was much different and almost involuntary. She told me that it seemed like my labor was progressing very quickly and that she wanted the midwife to come back in and check me.
I tried to get into child's pose while we waited for the midwife, but the pressure to push was too much for this to be comfortable. The midwife came in then and told me I has dilated to 9 cm. Hallelujah! I was so happy I'd be able to follow my body's urge to push soon. I stayed laying on my side, breathing through each contraction. Soon after that the contractions were very strong and I was really needing to push. My midwife checked me again, confirming what we all could tell- I was fully dilated and free to push as my body told me. I believe this was around 7:15. This was also around the time that the nurse shift changed. I was sad to see Misha go, but fortunately got an equally amazing nurse named Katie. I will never forget either of them and what amazing support they were.
I really tried to stay calm and remember what I had learned with hypnobirthing- breathing down. This was remarkably helpful and kept me from being scared, tense or anxious. It also allowed me to get rest between each contraction. From this point on, its all a blur, except that I know each contraction got much more intense. While I kept breathing through each one, I did feel that I was truly pushing. Pushing was so intense, but knowing that I would be meeting my baby soon helped me get through it. My midwife eventually had me feel during a push that the baby's head was coming down. This was very encouraging. A couple of contractions later, they turned on the baby warmer, brought all the stuff over and my midwife got in position. I knew she'd be out soon!
I would say the last three or four contractions were super intense and I was determined to get her out. I have never put more physical effort into anything. I was pushing with absolutely every ounce of strength I had. Each contraction saw visible progress. Once the baby had crowned I was determined to get her out- the final push I pushed so hard and I was so grateful and shocked that her whole body came out and she was soon laying on my tummy! Meredith was born at 9:01 am!
The relief, joy and shock I felt is indescribable. I was so happy. My baby was born and perfectly healthy. Chris and I were able spend two hours cooing, cuddling and falling in love with our little baby before she headed off to the nursery.
Meredith's birth was exactly what I had been hoping and praying for. It was quick, nonmedicated, calm and incredibly special.