Here's a really long story about how Miss Makenzie Raye Dallas came in to this world:
Well, let me just start by saying that my birthing experience was nothing like what I thought it would be. After12 weeks of Bradley Method classes, reading a ton of books and reading/hearing different women’s birth stories, I really thought that my labor would come on slowly. I figured that we would have time to labor at home, we would be able to use all of the techniques we learned in Bradley classes and then after awhile we would go to the hospital and then the real labor would start. That was not how it was at all! It was a whirlwind beginning. Here’s my side of the birth story.
February 19th - My side of the birth story actually starts on February 19th. I woke up at 2 a.m. with pretty bad cramping that would not subside. By 2:30 I had taken a shower to try to get a little relief, at this point the cramping was every 7 minutes or so. When relief didn’t come I made sub plans and called in a sub to take over my class. I went to sleep around 4:30 and by the time I woke up around 8:00 the cramping had subsided.
For the next week I was crampy off and on and had a lot of pressure. Looking back I really think I was in and out of labor that whole week. I continued to work, which was getting very tiring and almost impossible. By Wednesday I needed to take a half day for the rest of the week, I just couldn’t handle the random contractions and exhaustion for a full day.
February 25th, 3:30 - I went to the doctor for my weekly doctor’s appointment. The doctor had mentioned stripping my membranes at my previous appointment but after doing some research and getting some advice from my mom and our Bradley instructor/friend Lisa, Dirk and I decided we wouldn’t get my membranes stripped. I went into the office praying for God’s will because I still didn’t feel completely set in our decision. At the appointment the doctor explained that I would have a better chance of delivering naturally if he stripped my membranes and reassured me that in all his years he’s never broken a bag of waters, so I agreed to let him do it. I never do things spur of the moment but for some reason I felt like this was okay. I’ve been asked if I’d do it again or suggest it to someone else but I would really have to see what the situation was. I really felt like my body was ready to deliver this baby. When I left, the doctor told me that I would probably have the baby within three days. Little did he know that he had just started my labor.
4:30 p.m. - Only an hour later I was beginning to feel crampy. My mom assured me this was normal and I didn’t think much of it but I really started to wonder if something more was going on.
5:30 p.m. - I was really crampy, about every 10 minutes and had heavy spotting. I texted Dirk who was teaching at CBU and told him not to be alarmed but I felt like I was starting to contract every 10 minutes. He decided to grab some dinner for us and come home. I took a quick shower, leaving my hair and makeup intact because I had a feeling I wouldn’t have time to redo either one, which is completely opposite of what I had envisioned. After showering, I was determined to get some laundry put away however as determined as I was, I just couldn’t manage to put the clothes away and deal with my contractions.
7:00 - Dirk came home with pizza. I tried to eat but could only manage to eat the crust. At this point the contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart so we decided that it would be best to call the hospital to see if we should come in. I was so skeptical that we were really in the real thing because it happened so quickly and I didn’t really labor at home at all. When I called the hospital the nurse couldn’t really say whether or not we should come in but said that we could come in for observation if we felt we needed to. We decided that this would be best.
7:30ish - This is when I saw Dirk act differently than I ever had before. He was almost running through the house grabbing last minute items and loading the car. He was out of breath and stressing out. If you know Dirk he is always calm and collected so to see him like this was actually quite comical. It kind of reminded me of that “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy goes into labor and they all run out of the house without Lucy. Anyway, we got the rest of our stuff packed and in the car and headed to the hospital.
8:00 - We arrived at the hospital and first thing I see and hear is a lady who is moaning super loud, although I didn’t tell Dirk, I realized that we were really doing this and I started to get nervous. We filled out the paperwork and headed to our labor and delivery room. When the doctor came to check me he said I was dilated 2cm. I was held for observation for 2 hours. If I dilated to a 4 in that time they would keep me, otherwise they would send us home. For the next two hours we walked around the room and managed the contractions together.
10:00 – The doctor came in to check me and I was dilated to a 4. Because I was 4 cm dilated we had to stay at the hospital. The doctor gave us an overview of what we should expect. His estimate was that we would have a baby around 8 a.m. I am usually a calm and collected person but after hearing this I panicked. I had taught a half day earlier that day, waking up at 5:20. I was so tired and I really didn’t think that there was any way that I would be able to manage the contractions and push out a baby without any sleep for the next 9 ½ hours. I was so disappointed that I was considering the epidural, but I really didn’t think I had it in me. I expressed my fears to Dirk and I could tell that he was totally torn. On one hand he knew what was best for baby and what we had planned for all these months but on the other hand he could see how exhausted I already was and how much pain I was already in. He remained strong and kept me from making a rash decision, which I am SO thankful for.
11:30ish – My parents arrived and Dirk explained what I had told him. My dad encouraged us by saying that we needed to do what we felt was best and that any way we chose to do it would be okay. My mom encouraged us to just keep pressing on until I thought that I couldn’t do it any longer. She kept saying that she didn’t think that my labor was going to be as long as the doctor said it would. She was right but I didn’t believe her (sorry mom). At this point we had a great team going on. My dad was there to do whatever we needed and of course to offer support. My mom was really supporting Dirk and reassuring him as he supported me.
February 26th, 12:00 a.m. – It sounded like the nurses were having a party in the reception area. They were bumping music so loud and just talking. Dirk was trying to keep me relaxed by offering all of the things we had packed in the birthing bag, but I didn’t want anything. Because I was so tired all I wanted to do was lie in bed and just focus on relaxation. It was so frustrating because my contractions were so irregular. Sometimes they were 5 minutes apart and other times they would come as soon as a minute and a half later. In our contraction practices Dirk would let me know when the next contraction should be coming but they were so irregular that he could only rely on the contraction monitor. This was when I really started to hone in on my body signals and tell him and my mom when they were coming. I was able to tell them a contraction was coming before it even registered on the machine.
I don’t remember times after this point so I’ll just finish it up:
Man Alive! The contractions weren’t just getting closer together they were starting to come one on top of another with no relief, double peaking. Dirk had our Bradley methods book and was tracking the signs of each phase. Poor guy was doing an amazing job but for some reason I could only focus on what the doctor had told me and didn’t believe anything he said. When he told me that I was in transition I didn’t believe him because according to the doctor I still had like 5 more hours of this excruciating pain. My mom would try to reassure me with the same words but I didn’t believe either one of them (sorry guys). I got a few minutes of sleep in between contractions only to be rudely awakened by a massive contraction.
Holy Mackrel! The pain had reached it’s peak. Seriously, anyone who says that labor is like really intense period cramps was kidding themselves. I’ve had pretty severe, sick to your stomach, stay in bed period cramps and this was not even close. There are no words to use to describe the pain or type of pain of labor. Toward the end it was so crazy because they were so close together.
Finally! I felt the urge to push around 4:15. I always wondered what that would mean and if I would recognize it. Oh man, do you recognize it. It’s an incontrollable muscle movement, very weird. My parents told the nurse that I was feeling the urge to push. The doctor came in and checked me. He said that I was 10 cm dilated but that I wasn’t quite ready because there was a little lip still. He went ahead and asked me to push on the next contraction when I felt the urge. As I did he was doing something to help the lip go away. The next contraction after that I felt the urge to push but he told me not to. Oh man! That was the worst feeling, he’s telling you not to push but all you can think of is pushing. I remember telling them that I couldn’t not push. The nurse told me to take a deep breath and that helped tons. After my first two pushes, I asked the doctor a question that I couldn’t stop thinking about, “Do people poop when they do this?” Of course everyone sort of chuckled but I was serious. He politely said, “Yes, quite frequently but we’re trained to deal with it.” I immediately said, “That’s disgusting” and went back to focusing. I’m told that I said quite a few comical things during my labor. Maybe Dirk will share them one day.
Showtime! Loma Linda is a teaching hospital so like a million people were in the room. There were people observing plus a whole slew of neonatal nurses there because Makenzie’s heart rate was dropping. Our birth plan was to push slowly to help preserve the perineum. The first contraction or two was fine but then all of a sudden I saw worried faces, a bunch of commotion and an attending doctor come in the room (my doctor was a resident). I kept hearing the doctor and nurses talk about a kiwi. I was super frustrated because nobody was explaining what was going on. Finally, I managed to yell out, “What is a kiwi?” The doctor explained that Makenzie’s heart rate was dropping so he was going to use a kiwi to help suction her out. There was no way that I was going to let this doctor suction my baby’s head. The attending doctor (who I didn’t care for) said, “I’ll give you 4 more contractions, if she’s not out then we’re going to have to suction her.” At this point I threw the birth plan out the window and pushed harder than I ever knew I could push. It felt like a wildfire down below but I didn’t care, there was no way that some doctor was going to suction my baby’s head. I think she was out in two more contractions, leaving me with a second degree perineal tear.
After that I just remember them whisking her away to the little bed thing at the side of my bed. There wasn’t time to put her on my chest or let me see her. My first sight of her was on my parents’ camera.
Are You Kidding Me? This is where it all gets frustrating. The resident doctor delivered the placenta and then started stitching me up. When I could finally hold the baby, I was in so much shock that I didn’t feel comfortable holding her. I was shaking so bad, so uncontrollably. Dirk brought her to my face so I could see her and give her a kiss. She was smacking her lips ready to eat but I couldn’t do anything about it. The doctors literally took 2 hours to stitch me up and they weren’t doing it very nicely either. They would forget to give me lidocaine in one spot and start stitching and I would totally feel the needle go in. I was so frustrated because I wanted to hold my baby but I was in so much pain that I didn’t feel comfortable enough to hold her. The doctors were not explaining anything that was going on and never told us that it was going to be awhile. Had I known it was going to be so long I would have tried to hold her with Dirk’s help. I really don’t feel like I got my bonding time with her because by the time they were done she was ready to go into her deep sleep. I was so disappointed that I didn’t get to breastfeed her right away and that I didn’t get to bond with her while she was alert. She was screaming the whole time and Dirk and my parents were taking turns holding her and trying to console her. It was absolutely miserable. I was so thankful that Dirk and my mom took turns watching out for me and making sure that I was okay, despite the little bundle of joy that had just arrived.
By 6:45 the doctors were finally done and everyone left the room so that we could have our family bonding time.
It was such a whirlwind experience. I’ll admit that the intensity of the pain has not subsided, especially since I’m still in quite a bit of pain, 6 weeks later. It was well worth it and would I do it again? I’m sure I will but I don’t even want to think about that right now.
I am so thankful that the Lord gave me the strength to make it through the most physically difficult thing I’ve ever done. I’m so thankful to Dirk who was the most amazing, supportive coach and to my parents who were there supporting us and willing to do whatever we needed. The past 6 weeks have gone by so quickly. Makenzie is already growing and developing so quickly. There are still times when Dirk and I are just watching her sleep or play that one of us will say, “So she’s really ours, huh?” It’s so surreal but I’m so thankful to be raising such a beautiful little girl with such an amazing hubby and daddy. I know that you will hear many more of my stories but I promise that none will be as long as this one.