Last Updated on March 21, 2016 by Jenny Pena
Julia’s Birth Story
Born 12/16/15, 11:33pm
8lb 1oz, 21 ½ inches long
Intervention-free Vaginal birth at Holy Cross Hospital, Fort Lauderdale, FL
The morning started like many others; Jack bounding in to ‘wake’ me, about 8a, even though I was already checking email from the phone. I vaguely remembered being woken in the wee hours of the morning by something- a dream? Gas? I just wasn’t comfortable, but I couldn’t pinpoint it. Within an hour, I started to feel what could have been active Braxton Hicks. It turns out, they were not!
Contractions were very mild, but there; I was so unsure I could hardly allow myself to believe it. We were waiting for SO LONG for labor… Julia’s original due date was 12/9. She was a week late!! So I was certainly hesitant to acknowledge these contractions, and yet, they were there. So I sent Justin off to work, letting him know that I’d keep him updated.
I had just seen the OB the day before (Tuesday), and she had stripped my membranes in the hopes to jump start labor. I was scheduled for an induction that Thursday (12/17) and I was not wanting that at all. She didn’t have very good news regarding my anatomy that day, so I had just about given up hope.
I decided to do a drive by the doctor’s office since I was spotting a bit and thought it might have been the m. plug beginning to come loose. I told her about the contractions, and she checked me again, but there was still little dilation. However at this point, (about 10a) I was confident that we were on and I started to pay attention to the timing of them to see if they were regular. They were, just far apart!
Nothing like a Massage, Reflexology, Shopping, lunch and a blow out during LABOR!
I dropped by my office to check in with the staff, opened some mail, and then decided to walk the mall to keep contractions going. I stopped at the Vietnamese massage chairs for a little TLC, and asked for some reflexology on the feet to encourage the labor to keep going. After picking up some last minute Christmas presents I took myself to a late lunch; one delicious Bento box later, I knew that would be my last meal. The contractions were settling into a regular tempo at this point, and now it’s nearly 3pm.
I ended my outing by stopping by Swank for a blow out; I figured clean hair couldn’t hurt and I wanted to look pretty. ☺ I arrived home about 4p, and started to get things in order. Doula Gloria was in touch, and encouraged me to lay down to rest up for the work ahead. I tried, but every 10-12 min I’d get pulled out of my partial nap by another contraction. Now it’s close to 6p, and at this point Justin was home with a pizza. I finished two small slices in the hopes that I’d digest them enough to use the carbs for energy. Yea, that didn’t work out, but that’s much later…
For this birth, I knew I wanted to labor at home.
I knew I wanted a photographer, and a doula with experience in the event that I had back labor again. Now it’s nearly 8p, 12 hours from when this journey started. The photographer was on her way, and none too soon, since Grandpa Rob was also on his way to pick up Jack. He was getting excited, even though he wasn’t exactly sure what was going on. All he knew was that his baby sister was coming soon, and his life was going to change!
Now we are to 8-9 min apart, the photographer has snapped a few of Jack, and Grandpa Rob has arrived to take him to Grandma’s. I kiss him goodbye, knowing it would be the last time I would see him for a while.
Hard work begins now.
I am trying to find my happy place. Justin calls Gloria, and she says to get in the tub, which sounds pretty great to me. These are not bento-box eating contractions anymore. It’s close to 8:30p, and they are down to 5 min apart. Gloria is on her way, Paulina the photographer is snapping away at my grimaces in the tub. Justin is holding my hand, providing emotional support for the pain he could only attempt to imagine. After about 40 minutes in the tub, and some spectacularly double-peaked contractions, I empty my stomach of the pizza. So much for those carbs!
Gloria arrives just after 9p, and it’s time to get out of the tub. She wants me to sway and have some movement. I lean over the end of our bed and attempt to sway my hips back and forth. The contractions are waves at this point and I keep thinking the pain will totally dissipate in between, because that’s what they want you to think… this is not the case. I just want a break from the pain.
Mom shows up, very proud about her sack of snacks. When she’s nervous she tends to talk about anything and nothing just to fill the silence. I try to be as nice as possible and tell her that I really need silence. I hope it came out as kindly as I attempted it to be. Turns out said sack of snacks actually saves me at the hospital since I had completely emptied my stomach and she was born so late, so come 2am her peanut butter crackers were pretty spectacular. Now back to the moment at hand…
After I empty my stomach a second time, Gloria says it’s time to go… I’m nearing transition. I have two contractions on the way to the hospital, we live ¼ mile away and we hit every green light! Gloria says to pat my lap when the contraction happens, speed up at the peak, and slow down when it’s done. Brilliant. It helped, and it was so simple, but it helped.
We pull into the ER entrance about 10pm and I’m wheeled up to L & D and checked; I’m just over 5 cm and progressing quickly. They have 100 personal medical questions they ask you, while going through these grueling contractions. You would think this could be a part of the pre-registration process, but I suppose not. Memo for the survey from the hospital that’s coming my way I’m sure.
It’s been over 14 hours of labor and I’m starting to get a little frantic.
They ask if I want an epidural. I give in and say yes please and start apologizing to Gloria. She waves off my apologies and says that I can do this. It’s almost like she knows a secret that I haven’t figured out yet. But I soon did, because my water was about to break, and once that happens the whole energy in the room changes! Everything kicks up a notch. The nurses are no longer relaxed, either. Oh, and it’s too late for that epi.
Now I feel an unbelievable need to push. Dr. Calvo is still not there. I tell everyone and no one at all ‘I need to push!’ The entire staff yells NO you CAN’T. That was pretty brutal. Again, Gloria comes to the rescue and tells me to pant like a dog. Breathing techniques save me during these last three contractions.
The Grand Finale…
Calvo is here finally; it’s time to go. I roll onto my back and push hard. She’s already through the birth canal and crowning. I push again, and her head is almost through (and yes, it’s called the burning ring of fire for a reason). Justin notes that they literally emptied a bottle of lube on me. I push again, her head is out. Gloria tells me to push once more as hard as I can to get her little body out.
No problem- I now know I was born for this at this point.
Four pushes total; she comes out and I’ve never felt such relief. They put her on me for a few quick seconds; her Apgar was a 10, but there was meconium in my amniotic fluid so they take her from me to make sure she didn’t inhale it (can cause infection) and wipe her down. Then she’s placed back on me and we are both in heaven and very relieved.
She nurses like a champ for a solid 30 minutes; great latch and she smells so sweet! The room slowly empties out; Gloria says her good byes and Paulina captures her last shots. They move me to my room, and it’s nearly 1am.
Justin is still with me, and Julia is bundled and placed next to me in the little clear bin. We are both still on a high… she’s beautiful, perfect, pink, long fingers, long toes, strawberry blonde hair, and I’m pretty sure she’ll have Justin’s eyes. <3
I finally kick him out; he needs to sleep (we both do). We say our goodbyes, and I settle into my role of mother warrior, protector and nurturer of this perfect little being, so helpless and trusting.
I will love you forever, Julia Jane. Welcome to the world!