Friday, August 27,th was the day after my due date. I remember it clearly as it was 119 degrees outside, and I was over being pregnant. I decided to swim laps in my pool and walk on the treadmill alternately for over an hour even though I could barely move. I had heard that exercise, pineapple, and lots of walking could bring on contractions, so I did all three. That night, around midnight, I felt my first contractions. I started timing them, and finally decided to go to the hospital around 7am.
I was dilated to 3 cm when they checked me, and I decided to stay. I did a lot of walking at first, and remember asking the nurse at what rate I could expect to progress. She said approximately 1cm an hour, so I remember playing mind games with how well I was doing, and stated at 12 noon I wanted to be checked, expecting to be at least 6-7 cm and almost done. Well....I was at 4 cm at noon, and while the pain was bad- it was somewhat manageable in the tub. I had back labor, so the contractions were painful, but they were far enough apart that I could handle it.
The pain in my back began to worsen around 1pm, and I tried several positions with a ball and in the tub to try to get the baby to turn. I decided the tub was the most comfortable, so I went back there to wait. Shortly after I got in the tub, my midwife had to leave to deliver another baby. It did not seem like I was progressing, so I thought this would be more than fine. By the time the nurse came in to check the baby’s heartbeat the next time, I was yelling in pain and was thankful to throw up to get a break from the pain. My contractions started happening one on top of another, and I felt like I could barely catch my breath. I literally fell out of the tub with each contraction while the nurse was asking me to “rate my pain from 1-10”. I made her leave, and during one horrible one yelled, “I need an epidural now!” to my poor mother sitting outside the bathroom. She ran to get the nurse I had just told to leave, who needed me to get back to the bed to check me first.
It took me about ten minutes to get back to the bed because the contractions literally made me fall over. The nurse thought I was exaggerating my pain I am sure, and thought I was just being dramatic. We got back to the bed, and I was at 6cm, and my water had popped sometime while I had been in the tub yelling. My midwife was still delivering another baby, so she gave the ok for an epidural. I was so frustrated with myself that I had not “stuck it out” with natural childbirth, but I felt like I was passing out and I couldn’t think of an alternative. I remember looking at the clock, which read 3:40pm. I was convinced the clock had stopped for several hours and that it could not possibly still be the same day. The epidural involved getting an IV in and some fluid that the nurse promised would only take ten min. She could not get the IV needle in my arm for about ten minutes, because my contractions were constant. By the time the fluid started entering, I was begging her to make it go faster, and a minute later I was overcome with the urge to push.
The nurse looked at me, somewhat shocked, as it had only been 30 minutes since I was at 6cm, and said she should probably check me. I was at 10cm and could not stop pushing. She ran and got my midwife, who ran in as I was already pushing regularly. This part I don’t really remember at all, but it was not painful. I was on a mission, and it felt like my body took over as if it knew exactly what to do. I was told I pushed for less than 15 minutes, and I kept thinking I had to wait, because my daughter’s father was not there yet.
Amaya Grace was born at 4:08 pm and weighed 9lbs 2 oz and she was 21 inches long. They put her right on my chest, and I will never forget how she squeezed my finger and turned and looked right at me with huge, beautiful eyes. She had a full head of hair, and was absolutely the most perfect miracle I could imagine. It was almost shock I felt that the whole time I had been waddling around in pain, and wishing away my third trimester, I had the most amazing little girl inside me.
Her dad made it about ten minutes later, and was able to cut her umbilical cord. I sat for a long time with her on my chest, not wanting the moment to be over. I felt a great sense of pride in the fact I had made it, although unintentionally for a portion of the time, through natural childbirth, and I was overcome with love for Amaya, as if she had always belonged in my arms, lying on my chest. She is truly an angel sent by God.