Besides being just about 37 weeks pregnant, it was a typical Wednesday morning. I went to the shop to work my shift, stopping by the corner bakery to get my usual cup of coffee. Soon after settling into my work routine I began to feel pretty darn uncomfortable (more so than the typical pregnancy aches). I got really hot, just looking at my coffee made me nauseous and I started getting cramps all over. I didn't think the cramps to be contractions because they felt higher up in the abdomen. Nonetheless selling last minute Christmas gifts to people became a bit too much to handle and around noon I (barely) got through one last sale, closed shop and drove myself to the hospital.
The nurses did the usual vitals check and hooked me up to the toco monitor. It was showing some faint, spread out contractions but nothing that indicated labor at the time. The nurse and doctor assumed I was probably fighting some bug and just needed to rest. They kept me on the monitor for another hour or so giving Greg and Leon a chance to drive out and meet me. Soon after they arrived the Doctor decided to let me go home but wanted to check my cervix just to see if anything was happening. To everyone's surprise I was three centimeters dilated and most definitely going into labor. This was three weeks before my actual due date.
Greg and Leon went home to pack bags, feed animals and arrange for Leon's Aunt Jordan to stay the night with him. While they were away I rested in bed because that felt like the right thing to do at the time. I was tired, a bit anxious and mostly just a bit shocked that everything was happening right then and there. My contractions were mild and manageable. I ate some bland hospital soup and drank endless mounts of water.
Greg drove through a terrible snow storm and got back maybe two hours later. My Dr. decided to get things moving and broke my water. That felt a little uncomfortable but mostly just a relief to rid myself of some of that pressure. My contractions started picking up a bit after that. We started walking the hallways. Greg distracted me with his jokes and laughing seemed to make everything better. We continued to walk for a couple more hours. I kept waiting for the pain of contractions to take me over but I never felt out of control of my body. The feelings were intense, but painful is not how I would describe them. I even helped Greg move our bags to our recovery room and set up camp (distractions were helpful). The nurses thought I was a bit crazy for my lax attitude. I sat on the birthing ball a little bit but mainly walked through out my active labor. Paloma was so gentle and I was able to comfortably breath and walk through contractions up until the point of having to push. When that time came I laid on the birthing bed with Greg holding one leg and the nurse holding the other. The Dr. gently guided me through the pushes, letting me know when I needed to slow down or push harder. It only took about ten minute for our little babe to push her way out into the world. At about 10:30pm she was out, purple and bruised and beautiful as can be. We had a few names picked out for our daughter. If she seemed bold and fierce she would be Ramona. If she seemed calm and sweet she would be Paloma. She most definitely was the later, our sweet little dove.
I feel so lucky to have had another quick labor with no medication and I didn't tear this time around thanks to the guidance of my great doctor. The whole experience was very calm, gentle and grounding and for that I am forever thankful.
I share my story not to boast or brag but because I find the experiences of childbirth to be both unique and universal. The transcendence a women experiences beautiful. These stories connects women in a magical way in which only we can understand.
"Childbirth is an experience in a woman’s life that holds the power to transform her forever. Passing through these powerful gates – in her own way – remembering all the generations of women who walk with her… She is never alone.” – Suzanne Arms