Here's Elliot's birth story, as written to share with our Bradley Birth class...
Saturday - 07/28/2012
Irregular contractions throughout the day – more like annoying Braxton-Hicks.
3:00PM – Leah takes an hour nap when the kids nap, just in case.
5:00PM – Contractions start to get a little more regular and more uncomfortable. Leah still in denial b/c contractions are still so short, and not every one is super hard.
7:30PM - Contractions begin to get stronger / more serious and 3-4 minutes apart. During contractions, Leah alternates b/t sitting on exercise ball watching the Olympics with the kids, doing laundry, walking around, or just relaxing. They start in the front like normal, but are radiating down to her bum and that’s where it really hurts the most. Starts worrying about back labor and another posterior baby. Ryan starts thinking THIS IS THE REAL THING – somehow, Leah is still in denial.
8:03PM – Leah e-mails sister-in-law Lori to complain about her annoying all-day “Braxton-Hicks”...
Leah takes shower and contractions really intensify. The pressure of the showerhead on her lower back is unbearable and sends her to her hands and knees in the shower. She gets out and sends the kids to bed so she can focus (previously, she had enjoyed them as a distraction). Starts to realize maybe this is really happening tonight. Also realizes that she needs Ryan to rub her lower back SUPER HARD during each contraction – this greatly helps alleviate the pressure/pain on her bum. He reminds her to relax during each contraction, and this helps.
9:01PM – Ryan calls his sister Lori in the next town over to tell her to be ready to come – “could be tonight.”
9:08PM - Called Tina's answering service (the midwife) and left message.
9:12PM - Tina returned call – Ryan let her know to be ready “just in case” – she listened to Leah through one contraction and knew she needed to be prepared to leave.
9:22PM - Leah texted her folks: "You guys are on alert. Tonight might be the night. Don't come yet, but get ready."
9:25PM - Leah's folks called in response to the text and were told just to be ready (they are an hour south, and would be the long-term babysitters). Would have told them to come earlier, but Leah really didn’t want company in the house so she could labor in private – she was starting to really need to “noise” thru contractions. Ryan is mentioning that perhaps going to the hospital now would be good, but Leah is super paranoid about getting there too soon like last time.
9:29PM – A little blood came out during a contraction – Leah told Ryan she was starting to “unplug.” Things really starting to happen fast – the contractions were on top of each other, and all Ryan got a chance to write down in his notes was “Blood”...
9:31PM – Ryan called Leah's folks to come. Leah told him if they get here and I’m still in labor, they have to wait in the car in the driveway!
9:34PM – While Leah was leaning over exercise ball during a contraction, her water broke with the Hollywood-style POP-GUSH! (Very surprising – the last 3 labors, her water has always been broken by Tina to try to speed up a stalled late 1st-stage.) Ryan called his sister back and said, “You need to COME NOW! We have to go!”
Leah’s first two thoughts: 1.) OH NO this means now I can’t labor in the tub!, and 2.) I have to get outside in the rain immediately so I don’t make more of a mess on the carpet! So she runs outside to the front porch in the rain. The very next contraction, she realizes she feels the urge to push.
Thru the door, Leah hears her 5-yr-old daughter Lily upstairs crying. Leah opens the the front door – Lily sobs, “I didn’t get to say goodbye!” and comes down to hug Mama. Mama starts to have a contraction, and encourages Lily, “Everything is OK, just please rub my back!” Lily does her best to console her mom despite all her Mama’s noise, and is SUPER SWEET in her effort. After the contraction is over, Leah encourages her that she did great, tells her the baby is going to come out soon, and tells her to go back to bed so she can meet him tomorrow. Lily is happy to have helped and said goodbye, and runs back to bed.
9:36PM – Ryan called Tina's answering service and left message.
9:41PM – Tina called back and Ryan told her, “Leah’s water broke! We’re going to hospital.” He frantically tries to finish gathering everything that needs to get put in the car from Leah's "last minute" list.
9:46PM – Could no longer wait for Ryan’s sister. Leah is on the front porch in the rain on her hands and knees wanting to push. When Ryan realizes what’s happening, he tells her, “OK, let’s go back inside and get in the tub and you can push!” But to Leah, the thought of going all the way back upstairs and climbing into the tub seems harder than driving to the hospital. Plus, in her head, that is not the plan – and she is somehow completely unable to deviate from THE PLAN.
9:47PM – Ryan calls a college-aged neighbor named Zoe and tells her to COME NOW! Waits all of 10 seconds, can’t wait any longer, then starts RUNNING next door to another neighbor’s house to get her IMMEDIATELY – then sees his sister’s headlights down the road! Ryan calls Zoe as he runs back home and tells her to forget it.
9:48PM – Ryan helps Leah into car (where she won’t go until after she’s assured there’s a garbage bag under the towel on the seat – priorities!), and they speed off before Lori is even out of her car. Leah has 2-3 contractions on the short ride to the hospital, and is working VERY HARD to not push through them – noising LOUDLY. Ryan reminds her to relax (probably b/c she is squeezing him so hard) and this helps. We will not document here the speeds travelled en-route...
9:55PM - Arrive at hospital. The minute the car stops, Leah gets out onto her hands and knees in the wet parking lot for another contraction. Guard with wheelchair is unsure what to do – Ryan rubs Leah’s back and assures the guard it’s OK – she’s just in labor. Now, Ryan has suddenly switched from frantic to calm and IN CONTROL. After contraction, Leah is persuaded to get into wheelchair (after she initially refuses, the guard says, “At least to the front door so you don’t slip in the rain!”). But she has absolutely no desire to sit, so she climbs onto it, rides it backwards on her knees, hanging onto the pole and over the back of the squishy black seat.
9:58PM – Official time the hospital marks us as having arrived. Ryan wheeled Leah inside (who now does not want to get off the wheelchair), and a second guard runs ahead and opens doors to labor/delivery area. Ryan yells, “We need a room!” and nurse at desk asks if it it’s Leah (Tina had called ahead). Other nurses direct us to room and tell Leah to get off the wheelchair and onto the bed. Leah opens her eyes for the first time and realizes she is no longer in the rain, but in a delivery room with four or five people rushing into the room behind her.
She climbs out of chair and says, “No, I don’t want to get on the bed!” because, again, the idea of doing anything on her back or bum is out of the question. She tries to get onto her hands and knees on the floor, but is told she really must get on the bed, so she climbs up and she hangs her upper body over the top of the raised bed and pillows with her knees on the flat part of the bed. She’s still not sure they’ll let her stay that way, but it’s the only way she can imagine staying.
The hospital doctor (Dr. Grady?) asks if she can check Leah, and Leah yells, “NO!” The idea of someone’s fingers doing an internal is unimaginable. Leah bears down during a contraction, but is still not 100% pushing because she feels the need to wait for Tina to make sure no one tries to intervene or stop her from laboring in this position. After contraction, hospital doctor sticks her fingers in there anyway and says, “Here’s the head – right there – look, Dad!” Ryan takes a peek and confirms he sees hair and head! Leah absolutely can’t believe the head is right there. It’s always taken SO MUCH WORK to get this far in the past. One more pushing contraction that Leah did not fight got the head to show a little more, but then it slipped back in a little. (Two steps forward, one step back!)
Leah heard Tina arrive and then decided it was “go time” – no more holding back! With the next push, the baby’s head was out to just below the nose, then the contraction stopped. Tina and the hospital doctor tried to pull the baby's head down and everyone kept telling Leah to keep pushing, because the baby began to turn blue (tho they did not tell her this, of course). They somehow maneuvered him out to below his chin and removed the umbilical cord from around his neck, and everyone was still telling Leah to keep pushing. It was very hard without a pushing contraction because she couldn’t FEEL HOW TO push – but she knew from experience what must be happening with the cord and was trying very hard.
10:10PM – With the next push, the baby's shoulders and the rest of his body came out! Tina caught the baby and he started crying immediately – the quickest we’ve heard one of our baby’s cry – such a relief! Leah was in shock and couldn’t believe it was over already. It was very unreal – and she couldn’t see anything because she was facing the wall! The umbilical cord was clamped and Ryan cut the cord.
The baby was taken to the other side of the room with his daddy to be quickly weighed and measured. Leah got turned over and realized she hadn’t even seen her baby yet! Ryan brought him back and he looked JUST like one of our babies – only with the nicest little round head – no wonder he just popped right out!
10:17PM - Ryan texted Leah's dad "8lbs 13oz, all ok" and he texted back that they had just barely left the house! =)
(Abbreviated timeline compiled the day after Elliot was born, thanks to the call history on our phones / texts and in our e-mails. Official hospital arrival time and baby's birth time supplied by Labor & Delivery.)