Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Elizabeth's Birth Story Part 1

This post is a tough one for me to write.
I was hoping to have some great experience to talk about, but I don't really.
(Many of the following details will be of interest to few people but myself,
but I write them here to be a sort of record for me and for Elizabeth, too.)

To start with, I was a bit overdue.
Even though I told myself (and others) over and over again that I wasn't too concerned at being overdue, the truth is, all the "what-ifs" were starting to niggle in the back of my mind .
These "what-ifs" plague me all throughout each pregnancy,
but seemed to intensify the last several weeks this time.
It was hard to stay focused on just preparing to have my baby when I was reminded at every turn just how overdue I was and all the risks, etc.

I was worried, and yet I wasn't.
Makes sense, right?

And so...
I called my midwife per our agreement when Monday arrived and my baby remained INside.
I had had a non-stress test the Monday before and that is what was recommended for this day as well.
When I called my midwife she said it was funny that I was calling because she had just gotten off the phone with the hospital who had called her wondering what the scoop was on me--her "42 week-er" who had not delivered at their hospital yet.

Jen (my MW) said to come down anytime between 1 and 3.
I was agitated and distracted and I was irritated with my husband (don't even remember why) that day.
I waited for him to finish trying to fix the skid loader and then we set off on the 45 minute drive to the clinic.
I did bring along the camera and my bag, "just in case" we stayed.
Afterward, in talking with a friend whose baby was 2 weeks overdue, she recalled how she had pretty much convinced herself that her baby was never really going to be born--that she would just stay pregnant forever.  It put words to just how I'd been feeling!  That was my thought process that day--I knew we were going to an appointment, that there was a (seemingly remote) possibility that the baby could be born, but it was really more likely that I'd just be pregnant forever.  It was as if I couldn't entertain the thought that I'd be having a baby that day because it would get my hopes up again and I didn't have the emotional stamina to be let down again.

We checked in at the desk after a conversation-less drive.
(I was a really charming lady that day--delightful, in fact.)
While seated in the waiting room, I said to Dennis,
"I am NOT stepping on that scale."
Moments later, the unsuspecting nurse called us back.
She stopped expectantly at the scale, waiting for me to step up on it.
I said, "I don't want to."
She nervously giggled and...waited.
Dennis said, "She just told me in the waiting room that she didn't want to be weighed today."
She nervously giggled again and...waited.

Though I didn't say it out loud (that I know of) my body language probably conveyed a great big
I stepped on the horrible scale and watched her ratchet the number increasingly to the right.
And then,
I burst out crying.
I shoved my big feet back into my slippers (I hadn't fit into my shoes for many weeks)
and tried to find my way to the exam room through the tears that were blurring my eyes and running down my cheeks;
the same tears that were bewildering the poor nurse
and leaving my husband feeling quite helpless to know what to do with me.

Once in the room, I sat there, looking at my feet and wiping at my tears, while the nurse took my blood pressure and ventured her first words since my emotional otburst:
"You're just ready to done...aren't you."


Hooked to the monitor and waiting for Jen to come in,
I felt like such a patient.
I just wanted to be a pregnant mama.
It was very difficult for me to come to terms with the point at which I had arrived--
needing some extra monitoring...intervention.
I felt so defeated.

When Jen came in, we discussed some options.
With more crying from me, we eventually decided to do a sweep of the membranes.
She then advised us not to leave town, to walk around the mall for a bit because she felt things could happen fairly quickly.
This was at about 4:00; she said to wait around and call her at about 6:00 to touch base and see how things were going.

I did have some things I needed at the fabric store in the mall, so we went there.
Dennis was SO EXCITED to trail along with me!
Except he wasn't.
He had a migraine and was bored out of his mind.
I told him to just go wait in the car and I would call him if I needed him.

I wandered around the store, called my mom to give her an update,
she offered to go get the younger kids and take them to their house for the night.
I was getting discouraged that contractions hadn't really started up,
and so I checked out at the register and began to walk to the car.
Dennis had decided to wait inside the mall,
and as I walked to him and we began to walk to the car
I had some strong contractions.

He was on the phone and I was irritated about that so I didn't really say anything to him.
(Just being honest...)
We had already decided to have supper at Subway
so we made our way over there.
I waited and waited--STARVING away to practically nothing--
(a lot had changed since my weigh-in?)
while he finished his conversation in the Subway parking lot before going in to get our sandwiches.
I decided to call my friend and doula, Megan,
and talk things over with her.
While we spoke, I had some more contractions and then decided to call Jen.

Dennis came back with the sandwiches before I had a chance to call her
so we ate in relative silence, me not drinking the pop he had not bought me, but I wasn't bitter.
I wish I would have been in a better mood, but I was still having a hard time coming to terms with having to have a hospital birth instead of the homebirth I had my mind and heart so set upon.

We made our way over to the hospital parking lot while I spoke to Jen on the phone.
Knowing it can take quite some time to get checked in to the hospital,
even when you've sent them all the pre-registration papers,
we went in.

This was a new hospital for us, so I didn't even know exactly where we were supposed to go.
Getting checked in, answering all the questions,
ie, do you wear dentures, do you have tuberculosis, do you feel safe, are you wearing jewelry, are you having a contraction now?  How about now?  Now?
and all I could think was
"I didn't want this.  I don't want to be here."
People I didn't know, a strange place...so much of what I didn't want.

Finally, knowing that train of thought was getting me nowhere,
I decided that birthing this baby was what I had to do.

This story is getting rather long, though, so I'll divide it into more than one post.
And in case I forget, do remind me to tell you about Elizabeth's "day before."


  1. Keep it coming Melissa! I love birth stories, and I LOVE your openness and honesty. It's what makes you awesome.
    And I'm with you, by the end of my pregnancy, it didn't take much of anything to make feel fear that I may end up in jail for doing something awful, that's how irritable I was. Ugh...hormones, feeling huge, I so get it.
    You are wonderful. :)

  2. Birth stories are one of my most favorite things to read! I LOVE THEM, this one included so hurry and tell us Part 2!!!

  3. Melissa- I just want to reach out an hug you! Because I know the heartbreak of a birth not going anything like you planned. I also know that there was so much pressure on you and it is so HARD to be overdue! Just want you to know that you did an incredible job!!!! And it is okay to grieve your birth not going the way you wanted. It is part of the healing process. It is important to remember not to get stuck there though! Hugs!!!

  4. You DID have a great experience! I am watching for part II!


  5. Ahhh..you are leaving me hanging here!!! I've been waiting for forever for this and now I have to wait longer... :)

  6. Love birth stories! So glad you're sharing...and can't wait for the rest of the story!
    I pray all is going well. Blessings-

  7. I loved reading this post! I can't wait for part 2! :) I hope that things are going well for you! Please don't hesitate to ask if there is anything we can do. :) Take care and God bless! :)

  8. Not that I'm waiting or anything ;) but I sure hope the second half is better than the first half! You poor thing - it sounds awful! :( I bet you did amazing, though. Can't wait to hear more!


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