By: Lia Davidson
We got home at 11 am and the contractions continued and picked up in intensity. I spent time on my birth ball while Sean finished up some assignments for school. I finally accepted that he wasn’t going to class that day. I still wanted Allison to come over for early labor. Sean made me mac & cheese from Trader Joe’s and I ate that in-between contractions around 11:30. At 11:45 Sean called Merrill to tell her things were picking up. I was on the bed on all fours working through each contraction. They felt very intense and seemed super close together considering how early in the process it seemed but, I was still totally coherent in between contractions.
Sean and I were doing a good job getting through each contraction. He would talk me through it and encourage me during the breaks. I was just surprised at how intense it felt so quickly! At 12:35pm Merrill arrived at our house with Allison getting there 5 minutes later. My contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting about 1 minute. I was still on all fours on the bed working through contractions and Allison worked in the kitchen on making Adair a birthday cake.
At 1:30pm Merrill suggested we go on a walk around the block. I got some pajama pants on and we took off. Allison was walking our dog Pippa ( who was confused about why we were on the slowest walk of her life). Every contraction we had to stop and I’d put my arms around Sean’s neck and hang on him. Pippa looked at us like we were crazy and so did all of the cars and people passing by. We found a stairwell on Belmont Ave and in between contractions Merrill had me lunge up and down them just in case Adair was not in the best position. We slowly made our way to Subway and Sean ran in to get a sandwich. I labored in the alley behind Subway, leaning against the wall during contractions. A homeless man found the whole scene fascinating and proceeded to tell us all about his many children while I was having crazy, intense contractions.
We finally made it back to our house after a 45 minute walk around the block. Merrill suggested I try getting in the shower for a bit. That sounded great to me so, they put my birth ball in the bottom of the tub and turned the water on. Every time a contraction hit, I’d get on my knees and lean my chest over the ball and breathe through it. Sean sat in the bathroom and talked me through each contraction. I was in the shower for half an hour but I remember it seeming like just a few minutes. They also gave me some pb&j sandwich that I only ate a tiny piece of, food wasn’t appetizing anymore.
After spending time in the shower,I moved back to the bed. Merrill started diffusing some oils and in between contractions Sean used the rebozo to “shift apples” on me. Our birth instructor Jeannie had showed us this move in class. We tried it out in case Adair was not in an optimal position. We were concerned about it because my contraction pattern seemed odd as many of my contractions were short but I had very brief breaks in between them.
Around 3:00pm there was a shift an intensity. At 3:30pm I found sitting on the birth ball next to the bed to be comfortable. During contractions I would stand and rhythmically squat up and down all the way through. I was vocalizing through each contraction very loudly. Sean and Allison were each holding a hand, encouraging me and being comforting. Merrill was standing and putting her cool hands against my back in between contractions, I remember it feeling heavenly. The room felt peaceful and I wasn’t scared, just focusing on each contraction as they came. I kept getting louder and louder through contractions and started to feel some pressure. Around 4pm they put a heating pad on my back and I was still squatting through the contractions, it felt so good to be active through them, it gave me something to concentrate on and I just did what came naturally. A few minutes after starting the heating pad I got really nauseous and ran to the bathroom and threw up. It crossed my mind that it could be transition but I also didn’t want to get my hopes up, it all seemed to happen so fast. I remember I kept saying “these feel SO intense”.
At 5pm we decided to head to the hospital. Once we made that decision I was ready to GO! I wasn’t very patient while they packed things up and was so nervous for the car ride because the contractions were so intense. Finally, at 5:15pm everything was ready to go. Sean put me in the passenger seat of the car turned around holding onto the head rest. The contractions were coming one on top of each other and I was moaning through them as we drove down 21st avenue during rush hour. I insisted the windows be down because I felt hot and nauseous. Sean had the pleasure of exchanging some awkward looks with the people in surrounding cars…I had no clue and could have cared less about who was looking at me.
Once we made it from the parking garage up to triage the midwife checked me. I was SO glad to hear that I was 9cm and 100% effaced. I didn’t think I could handle much more at this point. A few times I said “I can’t do this” and all of my birth team would say ”you are doing it!”. They wanted me to get off the bed and into a wheel chair to go to L&D and I refused. Hands and knees was the only position I wanted to be in so, they threw a towel over my bottom and wheeled me on the bed to my room. As soon as I got to the room I started pushing spontaneously. There was so much pressure and my body just took over. My midwife checked me again and found that I had a cervical lip so she had me flip over onto my back so she could try and move it. I didn’t like being on my back but I didn’t really have the ability to communicate at that point.
At 5:56pm my water broke and it had light meconium in it. My midwife started to explain that NICU would be in the delivery due to the meconium and I just nodded and couldn’t even process any of it. That “NICU nurse curse” strikes again (Lia is a NICU nurse). At this point my midwife wouldn’t let me push because of the cervical lip. She had me blowing through the contractions and resisting the urge to push. It was the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever done. My body was pushing spontaneously and I was trying to fight it to stop. I would blow through part of the contraction but by the end of it I would find myself pushing.
Finally, at 6:15pm they did another cervical check and I was a full 10cm and they let me start pushing. It was such a relief to be able to push with my body. After just a few minutes of pushing Adair started having decels. They put some oxygen on me to help but her heart rate went down again and stayed down for three minutes. I was so far into “labor land” that I wasn’t even able to really communicate or process what was going on. I saw the nurses watching the monitor and I remember my midwife looking concerned. She told one of the nurses to call a OBET (STAT) and I remember thinking to myself this is not good…but I couldn’t actually process anything out loud.
Her heart rate came back up right as they were calling the OBET so they canceled it but called in the OB team to help out. The resident came in and said she was going to “help me get the baby out”. The room seemed to be very tense at this point. She had them put a vacuum on the delivery table. A few minutes later the attending OB came in it and it just so happened to be an OB who goes to our church. His presence changed everything. His calm confidence put me and Sean at ease. He encouraged us that I could push the baby out without any intervention. He started counting to 10 during my pushes to help me push for longer so they could be more effective. This helped me to put every last bit of effort into each push. I knew I needed to get her out fast because she kept having decels with each contraction. I pushed with every ounce of energy I had left.
During the pushing they were trying to place an IV into my hand. The first one blew (probably because I kept ripping my hand away from the poor nurse while I was pushing). She finally got one in and they ran a bag of fluid through it. Shortly after the bag went in the IV got knocked out.
After only 39 minutes of pushing, Adair Edina Davidson entered the world at 6lbs 14oz with her cord around her neck. Our midwife was able to reduce it and she was placed on my stomach. She was a little bit stunned and floppy so they had Sean quickly cut the cord. She was whisked away to the NICU warmer. Adair started crying as soon as she got to the warmer. I immediately started yelling out “is she ok?”. I couldn’t see her or hear her with all of the commotion in the room, Allison reassured me that she was crying and doing just fine. After 5 minutes they brought her back to me. Our nurse handed her to me and I was bawling. I was so relieved she was okay and I was so happy it was all over and I could finally take in every little bit of her face. I couldn’t believe how tan her skin was and how much she looked like me! Sean and I spent some time gazing at our beautiful daughter, thanking God for the amazing gift.
I spent so much time dreaming about how Adair would enter this world, and the story unraveled even better than I could have ever imagined. Sean was an incredible coach and never left my side. He was so comforting and confident through the whole process. Allison and I had never discussed if she would be with me through all of labor but once she was at my house, I never wanted her to leave. We walked through every step of pregnancy together and so it was so special to have her walk through every step of labor and delivery also. I’m so glad she was with us. Merrill was the perfect doula for us, she countered our crazy with her calm presence and peaceful spirit. I’m so grateful for Adair’s birth story and I’m so grateful I get to be her mom.