Today is my birthday. It is the first year that I haven't acclaimed this as "my birthday month", and made my family well aware that this is MY month. It just doesn't mean as much this year. As I sit and type our beautiful, precious, amazing little girl is laying quietly asleep across my lap. My whole world is now revolving around this little girl and I couldn't imagine it any other way. It's amazing how a two year battle for something you really want makes you appreciate it so much more once it's finally here. She is everything to Matt and I. She is the only thing on my mind these days. So what if it's my birthday, the only gift I ever wanted is already here, and her name is Kinley.
So in honor of my birthday here is Kinley's birth story:
December 6th, 2010- We headed to our 38 week appointment Monday morning, secretly hoping that I would be 5cm dilated, which wasn’t asking for too much since I was 4 cm dilated at 37 weeks. Anne, one of our midwives, checked me and said that I was definitely 4-5cm dilated, and 90% effaced. I was thrilled! She then went on to strip my membranes, which is basically a really rough exam with the intent of “stirring things up”, something that is meant to give labor a “kick start”, it only works about 30% of the time, and will only start labor if your body is truly ready to go into labor; apparently I was ready.
I left the doctor’s office and headed to the mall to find one last Christmas present and do some walking, which is also supposed to help start labor. I noticed a few mild cramps while walking around, but our midwife had said that I would be crampy for a while, so I tried not to get too hopeful.
Around 4pm I met Matt at the eye doctor’s office to help him pick out some new glasses. On the drive to meet him I had a really strong “cramp”, which I eventually would figure out was a contraction. While we were looking at frames I had another strong “cramp”… this time I told Matt that he should get out his cell phone, to which he had downloaded a contraction counter application, and start timing how far apart they were… “just for fun”. After a quick scolding from Matt for not telling him that I had had a few contractions, he began timing. By the time we got home around 7 that night, I was starting to wonder if this was the real deal, or if the contractions would fade.
We kept timing the contractions even though they were pretty short and pretty far apart. By 8pm we looked through the history of the contractions on Matt’s phone and saw that they were pretty evenly spaced at 5 minutes apart, and lasting about 25 seconds long. I began to feel hopeful that this was really truly the beginning of labor. At this point I was still able to talk, move and overall was able to deal with the contractions just fine.
At about 9:30 Matt asked if I wanted to head to bed to try to rest a bit since we were feeling like this was definitely “it”. By 10pm my contractions had jumped to a minute long and about 2 ½-3 minutes apart. I told Matt that I thought it was time to call the doctor. I was uncomfortable during contractions and had to lay still and be quiet to help calm my body and get through each contraction. I remember telling Matt that I felt silly calling the midwife already since I had only really been in labor about 2 hours, but I just felt like I was already to a point that I needed to go to the hospital. As he talked with the midwife I remember laying there, eyes closed, totally in disbelief that we were going to be meeting our little girl shortly. The midwife told Matt it was time to get to the hospital, and she would meet us there once we were admitted.
We gathered the last few things that we needed and got in the van. The drive went pretty quickly as I sat quietly and endured each contraction, knowing that this really was the real thing, but still worried that we would be sent home from the hospital.
Once we arrived at the hospital it was incredibly surreal walking down the hall. I can’t count the number of movies that I have watched where the pregnant woman in labor lumbers down the hallway to check in- now it was finally me. I was calm enough to talk to the nurses who checked us in, still a bit nervous that they would say my contractions weren’t strong enough to stay.
A nurse took us to a triage room and hooked me up to two monitors, one for my contractions, and one for the baby’s heartbeat. We were told that they would need 20 minutes of data. While being hooked up to the monitors I had to lay flat and still- two things that are hard, and awful to do during contractions. Being on my back felt AWFUL when a contraction would hit. Forty minutes later I told Matt that he needed to find a nurse because I needed to get out of that tiny room and off of my back. The nurses apparently had switched shifts and we got forgotten about in the shuffle of a shift change and an emergency c-section. An hour later, at 11:30pm, we were walked down to our room- we were being admitted!
Once in our room the nurse began doing all of the routine things that she needed to get done, and then asked me to lay on the bed so that she could start an i.v. I had tested positive for group B strep (30-40% of women have it without ever knowing) so I needed to have antibiotics every 4 hours during labor so that the baby would not contract the strep during delivery. She looked and looked for a vein and said she was going to get a colleague, because she didn’t see anything that would work. By this point my contractions were very strong and I was having a hard time lying still on the bed. I desperately wanted to get in the tub and help relieve some of the pain with the warm water. Another nurse began looking for a vein and couldn’t find anything “acceptable” either, so she left to get the lead nurse. The lead nurse poked, prodded, and wiped every inch of both arms with alcohol wipes trying to find a vein that would work. She thought she had one and as the iv began to drip she told the other nurse to turn it off because it wasn’t in my vein. At this point my contractions were nearly unbearable, mostly because Matt and I were not able to use any of the techniques that we had learned in our Bradley birthing classes. Techniques to use while being stuck in a bed with nurses prodding at you wasn’t covered in class. =-)
I suddenly felt the urge to puke and asked Matt for the garbage can. Instead someone put a bed pan thing next to my face and I began to vomit. Three rounds later my stomach felt relieved, but my mind began to wander. We had learned in our classes that vomiting is usually a sign of transition- which means that your body is transitioning into the last stage of labor. I got a bit nervous thinking about the fact that I still hadn’t gotten any antibiotics, nor had we seen our midwife, and I was already in transition. Nearly an hour into the i.v. ordeal and I finally had a working i.v. with antibiotics flowing.
1:00am 12/7/10 – As soon as the i.v. was in I asked to get in the tub. Our nurse quickly went and filled the tub as I tried to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom. Each time I would stand up to head to the bathroom I would quickly fall back on the bed with a contraction. It hurt so badly to stand or walk but I was dead set on getting in the tub, so I did what any woman in labor would do, asked Matt to grab the nurses rolling chair so I could roll to the bathroom. =) The rolling chair was just the trick, I could stop at any point and breathe through the contraction without needing to find a nearby piece of furniture. I got in the tub and felt some relief as each contraction came and went. The water faucet was running next to my head and somehow the running water sound helped calm me as I dealt with the contractions.
About 30 minutes later I suddenly felt the urge to push with each contraction. I asked Matt to tell the nurse that I wanted our midwife to check me because I need to push. She came in and said that our midwife was on her way to the hospital so a nurse was going to check me. I was 9-10cm dilated and ready to meet this baby girl! The nurse told me that it was time to get out of the tub, to the bed, and ready to push.
I desperately wanted to stay in the tub because it was the only thing that was helping with the pain, it was also really the only thing, except for Matt rubbing my back when he could, that we had tried. I finally got out of the tub, back on my wheely chair, and back in bed. The contractions were so strong at this point that I needed to close my eyes to help block out the distractions of the room. My eyes remained closed for the next hour or so until it was time to push.
1:30- Our midwife showed up, apologized for missing so much of my labor, and began prepping for the birth of our babe. (Apparently the nurses were supposed to call her as soon as the i.v. was in so that she could come to the hospital, but with the chaos of getting an i.v. in she wasn’t called until later on). By now I was beginning to lose faith in my abilities to continue on without medication. My contractions were coming less than a minute apart by this point and I remember saying to Matt that I couldn’t do it (which we had also learned in our classes that this meant I was ready to push and that labor was nearly over). I kept my eyes closed and rolled side to side and moaned as the contractions would peak. As Kim, our midwife, finished prepping everything she told me that when I had the urge to push I could go ahead and start to push when I was ready. I sat for a few contractions, not really knowing if I was ready or able to continue on, let alone push. Matt stood by my side and reassured me over and over that I could, and was doing it, that our baby girl was almost here, and that he was so proud of me.
By 1:50am, I decided that I needed to get the baby out if I wanted the pain to be over. As the next few contractions came I began to push, not really sure what I was doing, or if I was doing it correctly, but I did know that I felt “right” and felt better to be pushing than it did to sit through the contractions. So I pushed when I felt like I wanted to, for as long as I could and then rested and waited for the next contraction. A few minutes into my pushing (looking back I wasn’t putting all of my effort into my pushes yet because it hurt so badly when I did push and her head would crown) Kim told Matt to come see the baby’s full head of hair. With my eyes still closed, which they had been since I got back into the bed, I remember hearing Matt say to me that he could see her hair, and that she was going to be here so soon.
By now each and every time I would push, her head would come a bit farther out, causing the most severe burning pain I have ever felt. The “ring of fire” that we had learned about in class was no joke. I began to tear up, and was repeating over and over that I couldn’t do it, it hurt too much to go on. Matt leaned next to me and said I was doing it, and she was almost out so I had to keep going. Kim leaned in close, told me to open my eyes, and then said that she knew it hurt but a few good pushes and it would all be over and I would finally get to meet my baby girl. Kim continued to encourage me and tell me how great I was doing, and reminded me that we had waited 2 years to meet this little girl (Kim was the very first doctor that we had seen almost exactly two years ago when we knew we were having problems conceiving). Hearing her remind me of that gave me a little spark. With the next few contractions I finally gave all of my effort with each push and out came Kinley’s head, quickly followed by her slippery body. I had never felt such relief in my whole life! 2:07am, Kinley Maxine King was welcomed to the world; 6lbs 14 oz, 19 inches long. I felt like I was on top of the world; we had just gone through the most amazing, and challenging experience of our lives. We had accomplished everything that we set out to do, and now we had an amazing prize to show for all of our hard work.
Kim placed Kinley on my chest as I sat speechless, staring at our beautiful little girl. It was such a surreal moment. I had dreamed of this moment for years, having days that I thought I would never get to have this moment, but now we had done it. She was here, quiet, and calm, and all ours. The nurses began to wipe her off and she began to cry, a soft beautiful cry. Kim told us congratulations and that she was absolutely beautiful and then asked if we had a name. I told her it was Kinley… I felt like I had just slipped up on our big secret, it was so bizarre to finally to able to say her name to someone besides Matt.
As Kim began to stitch me up, I later found out that I probably wouldn’t have torn except for the fact that Kinley came out with both hands by her shoulders, we sat and stared at our precious baby, who lay quietly on my chest looking back at Matt and I with her big beautiful eyes. We were both already so in love with our little girl after only a few minutes of meeting her. I remember Matt saying only minutes after laying eyes on her, “She is going to be one spoiled little girl”. I couldn’t have agreed more. I was so in love with her already, I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing experience, or a more beautiful baby.