Welcome to Georgie’s blog. Here’s his birth story:
George Thomas, born Sunday, January 18, 2004 at 12:33 PM. 6 lbs. 9 oz. and 19.5 inches long. Apgars of 9 and 9.
Tuesday, January 13, 2004 was my 40-week midwife appointment. My midwife checked me and I was still 3 cm dilated and about 80 to 85% effaced (which I’d been for the past three weeks). She mentioned that she’d like me to come in for a non-stress test on Thursday or Friday, and that they’d talk about scheduling an induction for the week of the 19th. By my calculations, my EDD wasn’t until 1/15 and I know that the average first time mother goes overdue by 7-10 days. Plus, aside from a little indigestion, back pain and sleeplessness, I still felt great. I agreed to the NST but asked if we could put off scheduling an induction until at least Thursday or Friday, or maybe Monday the 26th. She agreed that should be fine, providing the NST was good.
The NST went well; the nurse asked me several times, “are you feeling those contractions?” Of course I was. “Well, they look like they’re pretty strong.” “They are, I’m just breathing through them.”
Saturdays are my errand day; I usually go to the bank, post office, and grocery store. But on Saturday the 17th I didn’t want go anywhere without George. I made him go grocery shopping with me and dragged him to Target. He offered to take me to a movie; no way. I couldn’t imagine sitting in a theatre seat for 2+ hours. We rented a DVD from Blockbuster and stayed at home. While George walked the dog, I did 30 minutes on the treadmill, then sat on my exercise ball in front of the fireplace. I vaguely noticed that my contractions weren’t stopping when I drank some water, got up, sat down, etc. George was very nonchalant when I’d tell him I was starting a contraction; he’d coach me through it with the Bradley breathing techniques that we’d been practicing, but that was it. (He told me later that I seemed a little testy, and he figured I was in the first stage of labor, but he never mentioned anything. Very wise on his part.) We went to bed around midnight.
Sunday the 18th I woke up at 7:30 AM with a hard contraction. I figured my bladder was just overfilled, so I went to the bathroom and came back to bed. As soon as I threw my leg over my body pillow, another contraction hit hard. Whew, a bit of a surprise. George woke up and I told him to go back to sleep, I was going to get into the tub, since I’d had a few uncomfortable contractions in the past five minutes. Of course, he couldn’t sleep any more than I could at that point.
The tub helped immensely, but the contractions weren’t stopping. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remember thinking, “I’m probably in labor. But if I’m not, and this is still pre-labor, I won’t be able to handle real labor!” George stoked up the fire and made me some Red Raspberry Leaf tea, and had my exercise ball ready. I made my way to the basement and managed about an hour on the exercise ball before telling George that I needed to get back into the tub. (At this point, he figured we should be leaving for the hospital, but I was in no mood to be argued with.) He helped me into the tub and started running around, moving the cars around, getting the hospital bags into the car, packing his snacks, letting the dog out… all of which were starting to irritate me to no end. I recall saying to him, “Call the midwife and call your sister.” I started having more bloody show in the tub, and figured that we should be leaving for the hospital, but really didn’t want to get out of the tub. George had to prod me out of the tub, and helped me to get dressed… I remember batting his hands away and saying, “Stop it!” when he tried to help me put my shirt on while I was having a particularly strong contraction.
We got to the hospital at 11:15 AM and had to enter through the Emergency Room. The midwife had called ahead to Labor & Delivery to let them know I was coming, so they were expecting us. George got out of the car, and I sat in the passenger seat, feeling another contraction come on… but this one was different. I heard myself grunting and felt the desire to push. The thought I had was, “Oh, no, the baby turned posterior.” But I just panted through the contraction. When George opened my door, he tried to get me to do the deep Bradley breathing, and I just shook my head – I couldn’t articulate what was happening.
A little old man brought a wheelchair out and George got me situated. He told the man, “She’s in labor. Move her someplace quiet and don’t let them take her until I get back in here.” The little old man wheels me into the ER and starts talking to me and patting my arm. I recall putting my arm up and saying, “Don’t touch me.”
George came in and talked me through another contraction, trying to correct my breathing. I didn’t want to tell him “I want to push” because I didn’t want to freak out any of the ER personnel. So I just shook my head and panted, which helped a lot. The L&D nurse arrived and wheeled me upstairs, chatting about the weather, asking me questions that I wouldn’t answer. She asked George, “Is she OK?” He said, “She’s concentrating through her contractions.” The nurse just said “Oh” and finally shut up. (That nurse later said, “I couldn’t believe you weren’t screaming or yelling, that’s what most women do.” I told her I was prepared for labor because of Bradley.)
Once in the L&D room, another nurse started asking questions, which George was answering. The nurse told him, “I need your wife to answer them.” I remember thinking, I’m a little busy right now, trying not to push in the bathroom… but I just said, “I can’t right now.”
As George helped me into bed, the midwife came in the room, did an internal, and said the two most beautiful words that a laboring woman could hear:
Woohoo! George coached me through pushing, and I am so grateful that I had him to concentrate on. Whenever a nurse would try to coach me, I’d turn away from her and turn toward George, and he’d talk me through. It was amazing. Crowning was like a split second of white hot pain that was over almost immediately. Then I had this beautiful little boy on my chest, eyes wide open, staring at me. It was the most beautiful, awesome, God-inspired moment of my life. Words simply cannot adequately express my feelings of amazement, power, courage, determination… I seriously felt like I could climb a mountain.
I started pushing around noon, and George Thomas was born at 12:33 PM on January 18, three days after my EDD.
Little George latched quite quickly, and the placenta was delivered within 10 to 15 minutes. I had two small labial tears, only one required suturing (3). The other healed within days.
I would have to characterize my labor as perfect. (The midwife and nurses even said that I had ours was a picture-perfect delivery) I only had a few painful contractions – those were the ones I lost control over, or tensed up during them. It was hard work to try and relax and get out of the way of my uterus. And, considering that I went through transition in the car, I think I did pretty well. George read all of the emotional signposts perfectly, and was able to gauge where I was in labor from the beginning. I wanted to wait as long as possible to go to the hospital, and that’s exactly what we did!