April 14, 2015

The Labor and Delivery of Clark Henry Hyatt

Clark’s birth story begins on March 10, 2015 at my 36 week check up. It was at that appointment that I found out that I was already a half centimeter dilated and 25 percent effaced. Since Sawyer was a week late and I had no progress at all until 40 weeks, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was already making progress. My midwife, Katie, told me that she didn’t think I would go over my due date this time around, and while I knew it was just an educated guess, I was thrilled to hear her say that! I continued to have weekly appointments from then on and each time I found out that I was progressing more and more. By April 6, at my last appointment, I was 3 centimeters dilated, 60 percent effaced and Clark was at a 0 station, which means that he was “engaged.” Katie told me at the conclusion of my appointment that she would be awaiting my call…

Tuesday, April 7 was a regular day. A man came by to fix our washing machine that had been broken for about 2 weeks and joked that I better not have the baby while he was there. I laughed and told him I was just glad that I would have my washing machine back in working order before the baby arrived! That night Jason’s parents came over for dinner (Penn Station) and to play a game of marbles. In a rare occurrence, Jason and I lost at marbles and we all joked that maybe the intense game and frustration of losing would send me into labor! His parents left around 10pm and Jason and I went to bed. Despite the fact that I had been losing large amounts of my mucus plug over the past few days, I didn't expect to go into labor any time soon.

At 3:03am, I woke up feeling like I really needed to use the bathroom. I was able to, but still felt crampy afterwards, so I sat there on the toilet google-ing “contractions feeling like you have to poop.” (Sorry if that’s too much information, but it’s part of the story!) My google search led me to believe that perhaps I was actually in early labor instead of just having gas pains, so at 3:39am I called my doula, Elizabeth, to let her know. I told her it was probably nothing, but that I wanted to tell her just in case. She said for me to call her back in 30 minutes to update her on I was doing, so I decided to take a shower while I waited. Before I got in the shower though, I woke Jason up to let him know that I thought I might be in early labor, but told him to go back to sleep and that I'd wake him up if it turned out to be anything worth getting up for.

While I was in the shower, the contractions started getting a little worse, so I decided to practice the 3 R’s method of relaxation, repetition and rhythm that Elizabeth taught me. During each contraction I made a sound like, “ahhh” that kind of felt like singing. Jason heard me and figured that maybe it was time to wake up after all. Once I got out of the shower things continued to intensify. I sat on my exercise ball in front of the fan in our bedroom and “ahh-ed” through the ever-increasing contractions. I tried to get ready, but all I managed to do was dry my hair and put some clothes on between contractions before they got too intense for me to do anything but focus on getting through each one. 

At 4:08am I called Elizabeth back and told her I thought this was the real deal. I had a minute long contraction while on the phone with her, and she too realized it was time. She was actually attending another birth in Shelbyville at the time, but told me to let her know when I wanted her to come over.  At 4:20 Jason texted Elizabeth to tell her I wanted her to come right away and at 4:22 he texted my mom to see if she was awake. Neither replied, so at 4:29 Jason called Elizabeth. He then called mom at 4:30 and she left immediately to come stay with Sawyer, who miraculously slept through all my moaning without stirring at all. At 4:40 Jason called Katie, the midwife, to let her know that I was in labor and that Elizabeth was on her way to our house.

Around this time, Mom arrived, followed a few minutes later by Elizabeth. At this point I was in serious labor and couldn’t do much aside from moan through my contractions and lean on Jason, who was on his knees in front of my exercise ball.  I had to use the restroom again, and once I threw up, but other than that I was parked on my ball. “ahh-ing” consistently and trying to explain  between contractions what all I needed mom and Jason to grab to pack in my bag for the hospital. I think Jason was also taking bags downstairs at this point, but honestly it is all a bit hazy.

Once Elizabeth arrived, I told her we needed to go to the hospital and she agreed. Jason called Katie at 5:17 to tell her we were getting ready to go to the hospital while Elizabeth and I went downstairs. I told her I needed to use the bathroom again and while I was in the bathroom she asked if I wanted her to check me to see how progressed I was. She didn’t have gloves, but I didn’t care. She washed her hands, checked me, and quickly realized things were serious. She told me I was completely effaced, 10 centimeters dilated and that I had a decision to make. Either we leave for the hospital right that second or we call Katie back and have her come to the house. I was in no way prepared to have a baby at home, so we decided to try to make it to the hospital. As it turns out, I didn’t actually have to use the bathroom; my body was trying to push the baby out whether I was ready or not!

Elizabeth told Jason to drive slow and steady and to pull over if I said I felt like I was pushing, because I probably was. She told me to do everything in my power not to push unless I wanted to have the baby in the car.  She suggested I breathe when I felt a contraction come, so I huffed and puffed the whole way there as Jason sped through stoplights to make it to the hospital in record time. Amazingly, we made it!

Once we got there, Jason parked the van right by the entrance to the ER (which I’m pretty sure isn’t allowed!) and Elizabeth wheeled me up to the Labor and Delivery floor. There was no time for checking in! I got to the delivery room, took my shorts and panties off, climbed on the bed and asked if I could push now!  The nurses were planning on monitoring me and doing all that jazz,, but Elizabeth told me to do whatever my body was telling me to do. So, I pushed and immediately my water broke. I pushed about 5 times, letting the contractions do most of the work, and within 5 minutes of arriving at the hospital, at 5:42am, Clark Henry Hyatt was born! Katie didn’t make it to the hospital in time, so there was no midwife or doctor at his birth, but there was a team of about 5 nurses. In fact, a nurse named Donna delivered him! After he was born, Donna went into the bathroom to compose herself because as it turns out, Clark was the first baby she had every personally delivered! The nurses did an absolutely amazing job and I wasn’t at all worried. I was too focused on what I was doing to even realize there were only nurses present and I could not have been more impressed with how well they handled the likely very stressful situation.

10 minutes after Clark was born, Jason cut the cord after it finished pulsing. Then, once Katie arrived, she delivered my placenta and stitched me up where I had a small tear. It was a second degree tear, but nothing compared to what I went through when Sawyer was born. Honestly, since I am so afraid of needles, getting the shots to numb me to get stitches was one of the worst parts of the whole labor. I hate needles! Unfortunately, I was bleeding a little more than they were comfortable with, so I also had to have a shot of Pitocin in my thigh. I was holding Clark while they gave me the shot of Pitocin and I think I startled the poor little guy because I yelped when they gave it to me.

After the Pitocin, everything was fine both for me and for Clark. I held him skin to skin for 45 minutes and then the nurses took him to be weighed, measured and bathed. He was 8 pounds, 2 ounces and 21 ¼ inches long. While he was in the nursery getting his bath, I was able to get up and go to the bathroom to put my makeup on since I didn’t get that far when I was getting ready at home. It felt amazing to be able to get up right after having a baby instead of being numb from the waist down like I was last time. I changed into my nursing gown, put on my makeup, and felt like a million bucks!

Looking back, I could not be any happier with how Clark’s birth turned out. It was an absolute whirlwind, but since it all happened so fast I was pretty much forced into having the natural birth I so badly wanted. Labor was definitely intense, but only for the last 2 hours. The first 45 minutes I wasn’t even sure if I was in labor! I loved that I was able to go through my whole labor at home in our bedroom and Jason was an incredible birth partner. He was busy trying to get everything ready, stay in contact with Elizabeth, Katie and my mom, and still managed to stay by my side encouraging me the whole time. His calm demeanor made the situation seem much more normal in the moment than it really was. My mom said if he hadn’t been so calm she would have called 911 when she got to our house and saw how intense my labor was!

Additionally, I am so happy with our decision to utilize a doula this time around. Even though Elizabeth was only there for the last 30 minutes or so, the coping techniques she taught me were essential for me making it through without ever panicking. She also gave me confidence that everything was going to be okay and that it really was time to go to the hospital. As crazy as it sounds, I felt like it was time, but couldn’t really believe it could all happen that quickly!

All in all, Clark’s birth was everything I hoped it would be and I am so happy I was able to have the experience I wanted. He is absolutely precious and Sawyer is smitten with him. He is the perfect addition to our family!

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