First Friday Birth Story! This month: Melissa Lehman and her baby boy, Owen Turner
Mama: Melissa Lehman
Baby: Owen Turner
Due Date: Thursday, November 18, 2010
Birthday: Wednesday, November 10, 2010
It all began at 4:30 am on November 10, 2010. I was 39 weeks and 1 day pregnant.
As I was lying in bed, I started having sharp pains that resembled menstrual cramps. I immediately picked up my Blackberry and googled stomach cramps at 39 weeks pregnant. To my surprise, all of the results mentioned early labor.
After an hour of trying to go back to sleep, I decided I should go rest on the couch. With each contraction came more anxiety, pain, and intensity. I timed them and wrote each one down. They were coming anywhere from five to two minutes apart. I called our doula, Jacqueline, and let her know what was happening. At 7:00, Pat came downstairs and suggested we go for a walk. We only made it to the end of our street!
At noon we got checked into our room and situated. The room was very spacious. Before I even got my hospital gown on, the nurses asked, “What would you like for pain?” I responded with, “Nothing. I will let you know if I think I need something.” I handed the nurses my birth plan and let them read for themselves how I intended for the labor and delivery to go. They agreed to try their best to stick to the plan. Even though I did not want an IV, my doc warned me ahead of time that they would have to start a block in case of an emergency. The nurse inserted it with great difficulty into my forearm so it wouldn’t be in the way.
For the next two hours I walked the halls, stopping to breathe through each contraction. When the pain intensified, I decided it was time to stay in the room and work it out. Pat plugged in the CD player, got the music going, turned down the lights and I paced back and forth, leaning over the end of the bed during contractions. After pacing for a while I decided I needed to sit down and rest between contractions so I pulled a chair up to the end of the bed. I continued this for another two hours. Because my contractions stayed in a wonderful pattern, I was completely on my own without augmentation.
As I was beginning to transition, I got more serious and shaky and began to feel pressure- a lot of pressure. I knew I had serious work ahead! Then out of nowhere- warm water everywhere. I was scared. I thought for sure I lost all control of my body and urinated everywhere. Nope- it was just my water breaking. I knew it would eventually happen, but I got so caught up in breathing that I completely forgot about it.
Around 5:00, after my water broke, the nurses checked my cervix to see how much I had progressed. I was 5 to 6 centimeters and a +2 station. So far I had been laboring for 12 ½ hours and I was only at 5 to 6 centimeters? I was frustrated. After checking me, the nurses said the baby needed to turn (180 degrees) before delivery. In order to help Owen turn, the nurses suggested I get on the bed on my hands and knees to ramp things up. Thirty minutes later the nurses checked again and Owen had turned-AND I was at 9 ½ centimeters! Only one more to go. I lay on my side to rest in between contractions and to help the cervix complete dilation. It was hard for me to stay on top of the contractions while lying down, but I held on to the side rails for dear life and managed to do it!
Around 6:20 I was at 10 centimeters and ready to push. Time to celebrate!! Baby Owen was an arm’s length away!! Even though the doctor wasn’t there yet, the nurses told me to start pushing during the next contraction. The urge to push was painful, but not nearly as bad as the contractions that got me there. I heard the nurses telling Pat Dr. Neal was dressed in his scrubs and coming down the hall.
I never realized that in between contractions and pushing you have a few seconds (ok maybe a minute) to rest and regain your focus. During this time the doctor encouraged me to fight through it, and he also got a chance to talk with Pat.
As Baby Owen was descending down the birth canal, the doctor asked me the dreaded question: “Melissa, why are you against an episiotomy?” My automatic response was, “Because I don’t want it to hurt." I had been laboring for 14 hours with no medication or monitoring and I was worried about having more pain? Luckily, the doctor told me he could give me a local anesthetic so I wouldn’t feel it. And, if he did this, then I would have Owen within the next few contractions. Anything to get this baby out! After the next contraction, I vividly remember Dr. Neal saying, “Melissa look down at your baby!”
Thanks, Melissa, for telling us your story! You are a brave mama! Give sweet Owen all our love!