Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Chief's Birth Story

To be honest with you, I wasn't sure if I'd write this post.  I don't really follow any strictly "mommy blogs," and with those that I do, I don't read the birth stories.  To me, a birth is such an intensely personal event that it feels like prying to read the details of someone else's.  And if I were to write about our experience, how detailed should I get, anyway?  Do people really want to read about my bodily functions (or lack thereof)?  Do I really want to share that?

Now that I've experienced it, however, I do like hearing other women's stories.  And, frankly, I feel like I accomplished something rather amazing- even though my body was literally designed to give birth, as was every other woman's body- and I kind of want to brag about it by telling my story, too.

But I promised you this wasn't going to be a mommy blog, and I know that most of the internet is very much NOT interested in the details of labor and delivery.  So if you are most of the internet- don't read any further.  In fact, you should probably just stay away from this space for the rest of the week, as it's going to be birth-central over here.  I promise that next week I'll get back to regular blogging, with minimum mentions of bodily functions.

If you are interested in reading- buckle up, it's going to be a long ride!  Throughout the story, I've put things in bold that we learned in our Bradley Method classes that helped us handle labor.  If you're getting ready for your little one to arrive, hopefully these tips can help!

This is Chief's birth story.

Her due date was Thursday, November 7, but I was skeptical of that estimate and Mr. Geek and I had both agreed early on that she was probably going to be late.  I went in that morning for a regular check-up and reluctantly lay back for a pelvic exam- which, as I expected, showed absolutely no progress.  "Maaaaybe 1cm," was the doctor's assessment.  We made an appointment for the following Thursday and were sent home with instructions to call if my water broke or if labor progressed to a point where contractions were 5 minutes apart for 1 hour.  We went home and enjoyed my first official day of maternity leave with a delicious dinner prepared by both of our moms, who would be staying with us for the whole month of November to help out.

The next day dawned equally as uneventful, so we used the opportunity to get things ready.  The weather was mild, so Mr. Geek and I took a walk around the block and talked about everything we still had left to do.  We finished packing the hospital bags, went grocery shopping, tidied up the house...but we did manage to forget a couple of things.  At dinner, Mr. Geek and I agreed we'd run back to Target the next day to grab some tennis balls to help with back massages during labor.  During the past couple of days, everyone had been sucked into this show, Damages, on Netflix- everyone but me, that is.  We all hunkered down on the sofa to watch another couple of episodes and see what was happening on Facebook, but I started to get uncomfortable.  My hips hurt, and my back was starting to ache a little bit, so I got up and started aimlessly walking around.

I ended up in the nursery, at the back of the house, walking slow circles around the room.  I was studying every detail- the pictures on the wall, the toys on the shelves, the sheets on the crib.  My mom joined me after a few minutes, but I don't really remember what we talked about.  Mr. Geek joined us, and he and I stood in the middle of the room and hugged each other for a while, talking about how ready we were for Chief to arrive.  Apparently we were all tired, because everybody went to bed before 10 that night.

Mr. Geek and I lay in bed that night talking about our baby girl and feeling her kick.  I was tired, but my hips were still hurting, and lying on my side was just not working, so I sat up and asked Mr. Geek if he wanted a back rub.  He gave me an unconvincing "nah..." but I reminded him that he would probably be rubbing my back a lot in a couple of days.  Relenting, he rolled onto his stomach, and I moved to straddle his hips on my knees like I always do- I was way too huge to be sitting on him while I rubbed his shoulders- and then...

"Shit!  I have to pee!"

I jumped off of him and practically flew to the bathroom, feeling like I was wetting my pants, whispering "shitshitshitshitshitshitshit" all the while.  I didn't think it was possible to move that fast at that size, but I managed to make it to the bathroom without getting anything on the bed- or on him, thank goodness!

It was 10:55 PM.  My water had just broken.

Well, technically my bag of waters was leaking, and it would continue to leak for most of my labor.  I sat on the toilet for what felt like forever because every time I went to stand up, more would come.  Mr. Geek grabbed my phone from the bedside table and joined me in the bathroom- "We've reached that point now," he reminded me as he knocked on the door.  He was right- we'd reached the point where he wasn't going to be leaving my side, no matter where I needed to go or what my body was doing.  I called our OB's after-hours number and informed the nurse that my water had broken but contractions had not yet started, and a few minutes later, the doctor on call called me back.  He told me that once contractions were steadily 5 minutes apart for 2 hours, it would be time to call back and head to the hospital.  (Note that this was different than our original instructions- 2 hours instead of 1.)

Once I finally felt like I could get off the toilet, we decided to wake up our moms and give them the update.  "My water has broken, but contractions haven't started yet.  Get some sleep, because we'll probably be going to the hospital in the morning!"

I probably should have gotten in the shower at that point, but I had literally just showered a couple of hours ago, so that felt like overkill, and I was more focused on the mantra "if you can sleep, sleep," so we got back in bed.

And then I felt my first contraction.

It felt like a menstrual cramp; it didn't hurt, but it was uncomfortable.  I was lying on my side, facing away from Mr. Geek, and he started running his hands down my back and my side as we walked through one of the relaxation techniques.  It was easy for me to fully relax my body, but my mind was definitely not going to relax.  Even though it was way too early, I couldn't help but time it.  I checked my phone when it started and again when it ended- "Okay, so that lasted 2 minutes."  Mr. Geek reminded me that I needed to sleep, and I tried- really, I did!- but my mind was racing.  A little while later, another contraction came, which I announced by saying, "Okay."  Mr. Geek stroked my arms and back again as I went limp, and he asked me if I could talk.  "Oh, definitely," I said, "this is easy.  That one was one minute."

Mr. Geek had taken a Benedryl before we got in bed originally, so he was having a hard time keeping his eyes open.  Contractions continued to come every 10 or 15 minutes or so, and occasionally he would suggest that I go to the bathroom.  I told him to stay in bed, so he ended up sleeping for the 20 minutes or so that I would be in the bathroom.  As the night went on, the contractions started to get a little more intense; I would sometimes need to lean up against the wall as I walked back from the bathroom, mainly to relieve the pressure in my lower back.  Mr. Geek would jump out of bed at these times and either rub my back or let me lean against him, then help me back to bed.  I knew I was supposed to sleep if I could, but...I couldn't.  Not only were contractions becoming more and more uncomfortable, but I couldn't get my mind to calm down.  So we took each contraction as it came, both of us doing everything we could to relax every muscle in my body, talking our way through it.  He kept telling me I was doing such a good job, and even then, in the very beginning, that meant so much to me.

Early in the morning- maybe 5 or 6am- Mr. Geek suggested that I eat something, even though I wasn't particularly hungry.  He got me a cup of yogurt- we knew I would need all the protein I could get.  I ate it slowly, one small bite at a time in between contractions which were coming much more regularly now, 5 minutes apart.  We had hit the 2 hour mark already, which meant we should be calling the doctor, but I hadn't hit any of the other signposts that labor was progressing, so we waited.  More than anything else, we were waiting for contractions to become so intense that I couldn't talk through them anymore, or for me to otherwise lose control of the situation.  Neither of those had happened yet- I could still talk (though slowly) and I was still in control enough to decide that it wasn't yet time to go to the hospital, and, more importantly, I was in control enough to decide what position I should try when the next contraction came.

About an hour after my last bite of yogurt- I never did finish that little cup- I felt like I needed to throw up.  I've never been so calm while getting sick before- it was bizarre.  "I'm going to be sick," I said quietly, then I walked as fast as I could to the bathroom- which wasn't very fast anymore.  I lifted the lid on the toilet, took a deep breath, and waited- and then, eventually, I threw up, Mr. Geek holding my hair and rubbing my back the whole time.  Calm though I was, it was reeeeeally unpleasant to have a contraction while I was vomiting at the same time, so I started vocalizing.  In between retching, I moaned softly in the back of my throat until the contraction stopped because it made me feel better.  "Can you talk?" Mr. Geek asked me.  "Yes," I gasped, "yes, I can still talk."

At 7:15, we made our way back to the bed; I sat down on the edge and Mr. Geek sat on the floor and rubbed my feet while we talked about what to do next.  I was still in control, but I had just thrown up, and we'd had almost 4 hours of contractions every 5 minutes that were starting to get more intense- plus my water had been broken for 8 hours at this point.  Although we both agreed that I hadn't yet reached the emotional signposts that were supposed to mean it was hospital time, Mr. Geek suggested that we give it another half an hour and then call the doctor, so that's what we did.  You've gotta listen to your coach!

So, at 7:45, I called the doctor, who said it was definitely time to go to the hospital.  We put on some real clothes, grabbed our hospital bags, making sure to remember all the power cords for the various electronic devices coming with us, and announced to our moms- "It's time to go!"

Of course, even though I was too hot to wear a coat, it was November, and therefore cold outside.  Mr. Geek had to scrape ice off of his car before we could leave; the moms would be following us in my car, parked in the warm garage.  That little hiccup meant we didn't leave the house until after 8am.

So that was labor at home; tune in tomorrow to read about what happened when we got to the hospital!

How long did you labor at home?  When did you decide it was time to go to the hospital?

Much love,
The Geeks

Read Part 2 here


  1. yay, so glad you're sharing your birth story! You're doing a great job telling the story, I felt so bad for you when you were throwing up and contracting. :( Thanks for posting this. :)

    1. Don't feel bad for me yet, it gets way more intense lol! But I do think it's important to share all the gory details, because they don't really tell you these things before you go into labor- it's information you have to seek out yourself. We knew from our Bradley Method classes that throwing up is a normal part of active labor, but it's certainly not something our doctor ever brought up. Had I not known, it would have freaked me out when I started getting sick!