The Birth Of Kellianne – A Girl After Four Boys

For the past few months I had spent much of my time wondering how I would be able to tell the real labor contractions from the many hours of false labor that I had with my other pregnancies and hoping that by the time I figured out that they were real, I would make it the thirty minute drive to the hospital, I had been checking my temperature at least twice a day, hoping to see it dip before labor. I had made charts for my temps, charts for my contractions and charts for any other labor symptoms. All of this did little but help the time pass.

On the afternoon of the thirteenth of January, 2007 I went to run some errands. My last stop was the video store – at my husband Jeffrey’s request I rented a movie and headed home for the usual Saturday evening.

We put the kids to bed and waited for the last of the talking to die down before we made popcorn and scooped some ice cream. Then we headed into our bedroom to watch the movie. Jeffrey was out pretty quickly. He had been getting up at four o’ clock in the morning for awhile, and even working some evenings. After a little while I paused the movie and got up to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. Before heading back I checked the locks and then looked on my kitchen wall at the midwives’ "on-call" schedule taped to the bottom of my calendar. If I go tonight I’ll be seeing Joyce, I thought.

About a half hour after returning I started having contractions. This wasn’t the first night of them, so it didn’t necessarily mean anything yet. I decided to wait as long as possible to make my usual trip to the bathroom, because on the other nights of contractions when I got up they would slow and eventually stop. I was really hoping that they would stay and that this would be it.

Everyone had expected me to go early. When people start asking you at thirty-one weeks "When are you going to have this baby?" then by thirty-nine weeks you’re bound to feel over due! Now, for the first time in five pregnancies, I was facing the possibility of actually going over due, with a "postdates" ultrasound scheduled and all. It was wearing on me. I was feeling very tired of being pregnant, but knowing how the previous contractions had fizzled out I mentally prepared myself for yet another day of not being in the hospital.

Jeffrey had woken up and, as we lay in bed watching the movie, he made his usual pm request: "Let me know if you have one contraction." A few minutes later I would say "I’m having one contraction!" Then he would respond "Let me know if you have one more contraction." And on we would go. This had been our nightly conversation for some time! He fell back asleep, but I was awake still and timing the contractions. After the movie had ended I was trying to rest, but still timing off and on. I decided around 2 am to turn my light out and just try to get some sleep. If it was real then eventually I would know it (. . . in some yet undetermined way,) and if it wasn’t I would need the sleep to get through tomorrow.

I ended up just getting a little bit of rest when the "real" contractions started. They did have a different feel to them. Instead of just the very tight and achy/crampy feelings they also had a sharp sort of pulling very similar to round ligament pain, but in the middle that would come and go with the contractions (after I realized that that was my cervix.) So at 3:17am I started timing once again. It didn’t take long for me to poke Jeffrey and tell him that I thought this was it. "Can you give me a little longer?" he asked. I said "Honey! What! Do you think I have a snooze button?!" He laughed, but I knew he was exhausted so I said "I’ll make the call to the midwives and come back in after they call back and let you know what they said." I went into the kitchen and dialed. The answering service answered, took my number and told me that if I hadn’t heard back within ten minutes to call again.

While waiting for the call back I looked at my checklist of to do’s for labor and started getting all of the necessary things out and ready. After about five minutes the phone rang. It was Joyce. I told her my name, that I’d been having contractions all night and that they had started feeling "different." They weren’t that bad yet, but this was my fifth and my previous labors had been very quick. She said to head in to the hospital and she would meet us there. I also mentioned that I would like to labor, and possibly deliver in the water and Ellie had suggested that I be admitted directly to the tub room. Joyce said she would take care of it. Then I went back and forced Jeffrey out of bed. I was starting to bring all of the things into the breezeway to be loaded when I noticed him putting his clothes on the bathroom counter. "Honey, you’re not going to take a shower??" I asked. "It’ll just take a few minutes." He said and I told him "We may not have a few extra minutes. Could you just wear your hat?" I wasn’t sure what he had decided, but a second later he was in the kitchen with his hat on.

The contractions could now be classified as painful and I asked Jeffrey to call his brother Tom. He called, but there was no answer. He tried again … no answer still. He tried both cell phones … no answer. So he walked next door. As he was planning the "break-in" he decided to try the phone one last time. He was peeking in the window and could see our nephew get up to answer the phone. "Tiger, wake Daddy up and have him come over." he said. Meanwhile, at home, I poured my to-go cup of "Recharge" and called my mom so that she would be ready to come over to watch the children in the morning. When Jeffrey came back he grabbed a pillow and blanket and put them on the couch for Tom.

It was 4:13 when Tom arrived. My contractions had been 3-5 minutes apart from 3:17 to 3:46. I lost track of them after that as I was getting things ready, but they were still coming and still strong. As we loaded everything in the van I was thinking to myself I’ve been up a lot, I hope they don’t stop because of it. On the way to the hospital I was thinking more and more about the contractions that I WASN’T having. I finally had one after about ten or fifteen minutes. I started thinking Oh no! It is stopping! What am I going to say when we get there?! Then I thought Well, I better tell Jeffrey so at least he knows! Then I tapped him and he said "Are they getting pretty bad?" I told him "No, actually I’ve only had one since we left." Then we were discussing what to do. There wasn’t anything to do except keep going, we had already called and they’d be waiting for us. As we drove on Jeffrey asked me which way I wanted him to go. It didn’t matter … I wasn’t contracting, so the bumps wouldn’t bother me. Over the bridge we went.

We arrived at the hospital just before five. I felt so silly walking past the ER desk and down the long halls to "The Birthplace," knowing that I wasn’t having contractions. When we got to the desk I told the nurse there that my labor "kind of stalled on the way over." I signed in and then saw Joyce and told her the same thing. They both told me that that happens sometimes and is normal. Joyce was holding the copy of my birth plan that I had dropped off at the hospital. She said "Let’s get you in the room and see where things are and then decide what to do." So we went into our room, where the tub was already partially filled.

Joyce checked me, I was 5 cm, but only about 50% effaced. With the ice storms in the forecast and my labor history, she told me that I was not going home. Boy was I happy to hear that! While doing the check she stripped my membranes to try and stir things up a bit. The baby was still pretty high up so breaking my water was not an option. My first nurse, Nicole, hooked me up to the monitors. They picked up a lot of uterine irritability and some tiny little contractions, but not much else. The baby was doing great.

We talked a little about the different things we could do. I was not too eager for any of the induction drugs and castor oil was definitely out! We decided to sleep for awhile and see if things would pick up once my body was rested. Nicole brought a cot in for Jeffrey and the lights went out in our windowless tub room. There was some sort of duct running through the ceiling that made the coziest hum. It was so peaceful in there, we fell asleep with ease.

It was about nine thirty when Joyce came in to see how we were doing. She told me that the other mother who had come in delivered already, so I would have her fall attention. She gave me the breakfast menu and I put my order in. Oatmeal. I figured if it’s good for race horses it must be good for laboring women! Joyce told me that once we were done eating it would be time to get to work. I had been having fun bouncing at home for the past few weeks, so I opted for the birthing ball, which Nicole brought in for me.

After calling our parents to let them know what was going on and to ask for their continued prayers, Jeffrey went down to the cafeteria to get some breakfast for himself. He ate down there while I rested a little more. I felt like I could sleep for the whole day and I wasn’t looking forward to getting up soon! By the time my breakfast came (just before 10:30) Jeffrey was done and back. We chatted about how different this experience was compared to the others and wondered how it would go from here. After I finished eating 1 sat on the ball and was bouncing for awhile. I was still having contractions but they weren’t regular or frequent. Jeffrey brought some more of our things in from the van and put them in the room set up for the rest of our stay (since there was only one tub room they would move us out of it within a few hours after the birth to get it ready for anyone else who may want to use it.) He stayed in there watching TV for awhile (I guess that’s one drawback to not watching TV at home – whenever we go to a hotel or hospital I can’t seem to pry him from it!)

By now I had a new nurse, Carol. I had done more monitoring, same story as before. It was almost getting to be lunch time. Carol was telling me of things to get labor going, no Jacuzzi, but yes shower. She told me how the hot water hitting your chest can really move things along. I thought after lunch I’d give that one a try.

I walked the halls a bit and could hear the little tiny cries of other mothers’ newborns. How envious I was that they were holding theirs already. I still felt like I was doomed to be pregnant forever, although I was enjoying my "day off." It was very strange for me to be the one walking the halls, getting all of the sympathetic glances, to be the one that I had always seen while I was already holding my newbom and thinking Oh the poor thing.

Back in my room it was time to eat. After I finished Jeffrey wanted to go and eat lunch in the cafeteria. I really didn’t want him to, I knew once things picked up they would go quickly. He persisted and I suspected ulterior motives, so I told him that I would be going in the shower and that he could watch the TV while I was in there. Then he said "Okay." Aaargh! So he went and got his food and brought it up. I was in the shower for probably 45 minutes, bouncing up and down, rocking side to side, singing the silly little song that I had made up in there – "Move that baby, gunna drop that baby! Move that baby, gunna drop that baby! Drop, Drop, Drop, Drop!"

While I was in there I had a couple good contractions that I squatted through, trying to get the most out of them. When I was starting to get tired of being in there I decided to at least wash off before I got out, so I washed my hair, did a little more bouncing and singing and then started to take off my bathing suit so I could dry off. When I took it off I noticed some blood tinged mucous on it. Oooo was I excited! I thought Oh good! At least something is happening! I called for Jeffrey and told him that I had a little bloody show, and asked him to tell Carol. He was like "You want me to tell her what?! I can’t buzz her with that!! I’ll have to go find her!" So off he went. When he came back he seemed very amused by her reaction and told me that she was excited and had said to let her know when I was out, I shut off the water to get out, but as soon as it was off I had a contraction that was pretty intense and I thought I/that’s how much the water helps… I’m not getting out quite yet! So I hopped (as much as any nine month preggo can hop!) back into the shower for a little longer. When I finally did get out I dressed and asked Jeffrey to tell Carol that I was out, then I braided my hair.

Soon I was hooked to the monitors once again. Carol was explaining the graphs to me and photocopied a section for us to keep. I only had one tiny little contraction while I was on there then as soon as she had finished monitoring I had a stronger one.

It was about one o’ clock when Joyce came in to check me again. This time I was six to seven centimeters but still just 50% effaced. "Six, seven … I could stretch you to whatever, but the baby’s head’s just not there. As soon as the baby’s head is there that [effacement] will be gone." Joyce explained. Once more she stripped my membranes hoping to get things going. Again we went over the choices we had. Again I opted for the least invasive. This time that meant walking the halls. Joyce said she’d be back to check on us in a little while. I stayed in the room for a little bit and bounced a little more on the ball. Then I went walking. I walked through every hall in "The Birthplace," stopping to look at all of the cute newborn pictures on the walls. I walked to our other room to check it out, then I walked the halls some more.

I was walking by the nurses break room when I had the first contraction that made me bend over. I looked down at my watch, it was two o’ clock. Carol happened to be in the break room at the time and asked me if that one hurt. When I said yes she smiled and said "Alright!" After that I headed for the room again – if things were going to pick up now I didn’t want to be in the middle of the hallway for all staff, patients and visitors to see! I was pacing the floor in there, hoping to have another strong contraction. I tried calling my mother to let her know that there was no baby yet. Finally it had been so long that I decided to get back into the hallway. I made a bathroom stop before heading out. As I was leaving the bathroom I had another very strong, knee buckling contraction. It was 2:27. I thought I better head back. So I went back to the tub room. It was time for more monitoring. Just as they finished the strip I had another killer contraction. It was 2:53. I headed for another bathroom break. While I was in there I had another big one. 3:05. I told the nurse about my strong contractions and the pattern they seemed to have – 27 minutes apart and then 24, then 12, but since she was seeing other contractions on the monitor between them she said that she was just going to put "irregular contractions" on the chart for now. I knew that at least the ones that counted were getting regular, and I had another at 3:14 – only nine minutes from the previous one.

The nurses switched again. Now I had Linda. At 3:21 I had another biggie that brought me to the floor. Then at 3:28 I was holding myself up on the end of the bed and letting all of my weight on my arms through another. That "pulling" of the real contractions was so strong now that any pressure of having to support my legs or any weight was just unbearable. I was writing my "big contraction" times down still. Linda noticed my paper and that the past two were only seven minutes apart. At 3:33 I had another. That was only five minutes! Now I was sure things weren’t going to stop again and I asked when we could fill the tub! Linda said "I can start filling it now if you want." I smiled and nodded. Then I headed to the bathroom again. On my way in Jeffrey said, in an excited voice "I know you Honey. I’ll bet you only have about twenty minutes more!" I had to laugh. "Not that fast!" I said. I had another contraction or two while I was in the bathroom. When I came out Linda helped me into my bathing suit top. I had another mega contraction as I was about to get into the tub. Then – I was in! The water was nice and warm. It was warmer than I had expected it to be, and I was happy about that. I looked at the clock on the wall. It was just about four. I thought to myself , "This is about how I felt as we left the house for Nicky, so I’d say I have [mentally doing the math and trying to err on the longer side] about another hour of this."

While I was in the tub I was considering whether or not I really wanted more kids. I still did, but adoption was sounding nice. During the contractions I was sitting, with my feet in front of me, on the floor of the tub, holding my self up off of it a little with my hands and breathing. Between contractions I would rest my head on the footrest that was built into the side of the tub. The nurse put a towel down to cushion the footrest for me, but after a few minutes I moved it. The cool smooth tub felt better to me. After a few more contractions that I was just breathing through I started moaning while exhaling. I found that helped a lot, it put a tiny bit of "pushing" pressure and forced me to relax my abdomen and everything below it. Then I started over-analyzing things and wondering if it was the "pushing" that felt good. I could not be getting pushy already I thought. I kept looking at the clock and every time I moaned I would think that again. At one point Jeffrey said that if I wanted to have the baby out of the tub I should move soon. No way I ‘m budging I thought as I shook my head. Soon my moans started getting louder with each contraction. They got really loud with one and as I was looking at the water in front of me I saw it bubble up and I thought Hmm. My water just broke . . . clear, good, no meconium, but I was too lost in my own world to realize that maybe I should tell the nurse. Right then she asked me if I was starting to feel like pushing and I said "Yes!"

Then she asked me if my water had broken and I said "I think so!" At that point she asked another nurse to go get Joyce. Not even a minute later I was moaning (although at this point it was so loud and uncontrolled that it probably would be considered screaming) through another. My body was taking over and demanding more pushing as Joyce came in. After that contraction ended, she said that she was just on her way to check on me and that things had certainly picked up, I could push when I was ready. During the next contraction I held myself off the floor of the tub with my hands and I pressed my feet hard against the side of the tub in front of me. I was pushing and yelling with all my strength as the baby’s head came out. I could see a dark blur that was the baby in the water in front of me. I kept right on pushing and the rest of her came out. The blur quickly moved forward and up to the surface, my sweet little baby. Joyce brought her out of the water and into my arms. She was so tiny and covered in vernix. Joyce suctioned her a tiny bit. She had a full head of hair and was crying the most delicate, feminine little cry that I had ever heard.

My first thought was Is it a girl?! I looked down to check, but the umbilical cord was down between her legs and it took me a minute to move it enough to be able to see. "It’s really a girl!!!" I said. I saw her sweet little chin and I said over and over "She’s so tiny!" There were smiles all around.

It is so amazing how you can be in such pain that seems like it will never end, and then, when it is at its worst, suddenly have it stop completely and have such a miraculous little reward.

After a few more minutes of marveling Joyce helped me over to the seat of the tub, covered the baby with a blanket and then drained the water. I stayed there for the remainder of the thirteen minutes that it took for the placenta to be delivered and for a little while after. Silently I rejoiced over the fact that I had experienced no "ring of fire."

After regaining a little strength I moved to the bed while Jeffrey held his first daughter for the first time. The fun chatting that had been silenced for an hour and a half finally resumed. Linda and Joyce were saying how she just "swam right out" and that I must have set a record pushing her out all in one push, I asked for the scale, she was so tiny I just had to know her weight. She was six pounds, six and a half ounces. Linda told me she had been born at four forty-one pm and yes, it was now the fourteenth!

We rested and cuddled our newborn examining almost every inch other perfect little body. Even her feet were smaller than the boys’ had been. We wondered at the greatness of God, His infinite wisdom and His will. We had agreed before we were married that God would be the only planner of our family and He has certainly blessed us.

Eventually we walked our little Kellianne to room 108. During the rest of our peaceful stay we had next to no visitors due to the inclement weather and a phone with a defective ring that I couldn’t hear at all when I was sleeping. Every nurse I had was fabulous and only checked in when we were both awake. God truly knew my needs and even the smallest desires of my heart.

Laudatur Jesu Christe! In saecula saeculorum!