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I am a God-loving, husband-adoring, mybabyboys-hugging, mind-reeling, photo-taking, life-documenting, yummyfood-cooking, garden-planting, country-living girl. Writing about life, with boys, in the sticks...
this is life... with boys... in the country...

Cooper's Birth

Monday, April 2

While we watched TV, Matt and I timed my contractions at 10 minutes apart for a couple hours.  I knew they were not just Braxton Hicks, and I thought it was strange that they started once I was sitting down, relaxing. I thought possibly labor was starting, but they didn't continue  through the night.

Tuesday, April 3

I had lots of these real feeling contractions throughout the day, but the  timing wasn't exact.  Gage and I went to the grocery store and I'd have to 'pause' several times to let a contraction pass.  Some were minutes apart, and then a half hour would pass before the next few. 

Wednesday, April 4

My contractions were steadily 10 minutes apart, all day.  They were in my low abdomen and were rather uncomfortable, getting to the point of painful in the evening.  Fortunately, this allowed Gage and I to have a low-key day since I was in a bit of pain and he was fighting a cold.  We spent a lot of time together, cuddling on the couch, going for a walk, and playing.  I don't remember everything that we did on our last day of just him and me, but  I do know not a moment was taken for granted.  I knew I had an appointment the next day and figured that with the contractions I was having it was a good possibility Tom would have me stay at the hospital and progress into labor.  Consequently, I tried to soak up as much Gage-time as possible.

Thursday, April 5

I woke up at 2:11am experiencing a contraction.  I laid in bed, trying to go back to sleep for the next hour and a half, but with no success.  I watched the clock and found that the contractions were now 5 minutes apart.  They were still manageable at 3:30 and I figured that I could go on for several hours at this rate.  I tried willing Matt to wake up so he could keep me company but he was sleeping soundly.  I prayed over and over again that we could wait until after Gage woke up the next morning before we had to leave for the hospital.  Matt finally stirred at 3:35am and I told him he wouldn't be going to work the next day.  I got emotional then, telling him I didn't want to leave in the middle of the night without seeing Gage one more time.  We were both shocked into the reality of the situation when we heard Gage's voice yell from upstairs "Mama! Out!" over and over again.  I waited only a moment before going to him, knowing that God was sending me a very clear message, because Gage has not woken up in the middle of the night for nearly a year.  It is impossible for me to recount these next 20 minutes without becoming overwhelmed with emotion and my eyes welling with tears.  I sat with Gage in the rocker, cuddling and contracting.  He'd fall asleep for a few moments but somehow knew when I was contracting and would wake back up.  He'd peer up at me with his stunning blue eyes and say every so softly, 'Mama?' He's so tender-hearted and can read me like a book, knowing that all I needed in those few moments was him.  I didn't want it to end, but I finally put Gage back into his crib, stroked his hair and told him I loved him.  He fell immediately asleep.  I will never forget this special time God gifted to me.

4am - Matt met me at the bottom o f the stairs just as I was having a contraction.  They didn't seem to be getting closer, but the intensity was going up.  I hugged onto him and cried that I wasn't ready for this. Even though I'd been nesting, preparing our home, packing our bags, TELLING people it would be soon, the time came and I was not feeling ready.  I cried and cried, until my next contraction.  We got back in bed, where I continued to contract and cry - not in pain, but in fear, sadness, and anticipation.  I wasn't even comforted by knowing that we'd be meeting Cooper soon.

4:30am - Noting the increasing level of pain, Matt told me to go get in the shower, While I showered, I noticed that I had several contractions, and I don't take long showers.  Meaning - they were closer than 5 minutes.  Matt called his mom and she arrived very shortly after.  I managed to put on some eye make-up and considered drying my hair until I remembered we still had a 50 minute drive to the hospital.  I packed up our bathroom stuff and managed to instruct Matt on other things to get and put where.  I couldn't walk through my contractions anymore and felt winded in between each.  I tried to talk to Myrna a bit, but don't remember much of our converstation.  We all remained very calm, all things considered.  Matt had even made coffee. 

5:10am - Sitting on a towel, just in case, we headed down the hill.  I called my parents as soon as I got cell service and I remember my voice was weak when I told them we were going to the hospital.  My mom still had to pack a few things but would be on her way shortly.  I finally realized when we got out of town that I should be timing these contractions - they were 4 minutes apart.  Matt drank his coffee, one big gulp at a time and this gave us a few good laughs between contractions.  This was just the beginning of the crucial part Matt would play in my labor.  With no traffic and only a little speeding, we made good time. 

5:50am - We pulled into the kaiser parking garage, found a great spot since there was no one there, and by the time we got to Labor and Delivery I'd had about 5, knee-weakening, tear-inducing contractions, one of which I was experiencing when we were greeted at the desk.  I was crying so they figured we weren't there for 'labor' but for 'delivery'.  We were admitted promptly at 6:00am.

6:00am - I changed into the robe, got into bed, met our first nurse and got hooked up to the monitor.  Contractions were 3 minutes apart, Cooper's heart rate ranged between 110 and 135 which seemed low to me, but no one else seemed too concerned.  The midwife checked me and found I was 6-7cm dilated and completely effaced.  Two nurses had to try to find a good vein in my arm to use for the IV, which was necessary giving me the antibiotic for Group B Strep.  They were working fast because they figured there may not be enough time for me to get a full dosage.  I remember hearing one of the nurses asking Matt questions.  She asked who would be in the room, and when Matt told her my mom was coming for Seattle, the nurse said "She wont get here in time". The nurses offered the birthing tub, but the midwife said there wasn't enough time for that.  Not enough time - we were going fast.  They also told me that now was my window for the epidural.  I thought, "We've gotten this far - just keep going.'  The contractions WERE painful, but manageable.  Matt was an amazing coach and guided me through each one.  I say 'guided' because he said exactly what needed to be said for each moment of the contraction... 'low voice ... let it go ... almost over ... 2 more breaths... 1 more breath... " The contractions never got to the intensity that they were with Gage's labor and  that, I'm sure, is because I had no pitocin this time.  And I actually got to rest between them which gave me time to think and regroup for the next one. 

7:30am - The midwife checked me again and found that I was 8cm.  I was having pressure down low with each contraction, but still without the urge to push.  Then I started to feel like my water broke and was trickling out, but with another check they determined I was probably just peeing.  I asked if they'd just break my water to get things moving faster and they made sure I knew that doing so would bring on a lot of intense pain, very quickly.  I knew, but it hit me all the sudden - I got through the contractions without pain meds, but now I'd have to get through the pushing.  This FREAKED me out and I quickly asked if I could have the Fentinal they offered earlier.  Too late for that. 

8:00am - I was pretty panicked, but said to go ahead and break my water.  They did and oh Lord, it was ON.  There are not words to describe the next 16 minutes.  I can't believe that some women have to endure that pain for longer.  A new midwife ran in with the rest of the team because I immediately felt Cooper come down with the gush of water.  She checked me and found that I still had a tiny amount of cervix left.  I just remember yelling 'NO NO NO NO!', screaming at the top of my lungs, arching out of the bed, pushing my legs against the midwife and nurse, screaming obscenities, bawling, shaking, and completely unable to avoid pushing.  I felt like my entire lower half was going to blow off my body.  I had no sense of contractions and even though I was still at 9cm, the midwife and nurses yelled at me to push. They kept telling me to grab behind my legs and the I SERIOUSLY needed to push.  They seemed panicked and I remember thinking something was wrong. I pushed with more strength than I knew I had in me and now think that the term 'ring of fire' is the biggest crock ever.  HUGE understatement.  My entire lower half was on fire - a RAGING fire and I was sure that I was not only pushing out Cooper, but all of my insides were being dragged out as well.  The midwife was digging into me which definitely aided in the pain.  They never told me that he was actually coming out - I thought my pushing was still just getting him down the birth canal.  But when the midwife told me to 'pant' I knew his head was out. 

8:16am - Cooper was born, 7 pounds, 12 ounces, 20.75 inches long with a 13.5 inch head. It was, for the most part, over.  This little bitty body, all perfectly formed, perfectly clean, and LOUDLY crying was laid on my stomach.  My emotions and thoughts are somewhat of a blur, but I do remember hearing tears in Matt's voice, feeling my entire body shaking, the warmth of Cooper on my skin, and the agonizing pain that was still churning in my abdomen.  I could see the reflection in the TV and knew the placenta wasn't out yet.  I delivered it with the next contraction, just as a nurse came in to tell me my mom had just arrived.  Perfect timing.  I was so glad she'd missed seeing, well, HEARING, me in labor.  I had quite the trucker's mouth and completely mortified Matt.

I asked the midwife if all labors are that painful.  She said, "Well, when Cooper came out, his arm was up by his head and his hand was in a fist.  So, it was like you delivered a baby with a 15 inch head.  So, no, most labors aren't that painful."  Hmm.  Thanks Coop.  Because of his fist pushing against his face, he had a bit of bruising, which caused concern for jaundice.  That test, and all the others, though, came back totally fine.  Myrna brought Gage to visit later that morning and all he wanted to do was drive his new cars on all of the chairs.  

Despite the pain that made me want to die, this was truly a pretty ideal labor, and I am so glad to have been able to experience at least one labor as God intended.