Monday, July 22, 2013

The Ava Story

Yes, I've decided to let Jen whip me into shape via 7 in 7.  Ava's FOURTH birthday was on Saturday so I thought I'd start with a birth story because EVERYBODY LOVES BIRTH STORIES!!!!

Stay tuned for a blogging therapy sesh at some point during the week when I ask you to help diagnose my issues of why I can't get a blessed post pulled together these days for heavens sake.

***In case you skipped the above paragraph, this is a birth story - so if you don't like hearing about mucous plugs, TURN BACK NOW!!!

July 19, 2009:

I am 4 days overdue.  For at least a week I had been attempting most of the usual suspects when it comes to labor inducers - lengthy walks, spicy foods, pineapple, Hawaiian labor dances, etc. - to no avail.  Stephen's sister Anne was staying with us and for some reason we decided tonight was a good night for...arm wrestling?  I'm pretty sure that's what put me over the edge.

Hawaiian labor dance.  Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

Anyway, we all got in bed around 10 or 11, but I couldn't fall asleep.  I had that nervous butterfly feeling in my stomach.  I got up again around midnight and Stephen and Anne were having a hard time sleeping too.  We all sat around playing 20 questions and I started to notice the nervous butterfly feeling was coming and going periodically and I started timing these little nausea episodes.  It wasn't super regular but definitely coming at intervals between 7-10 minutes or so.

After 3 kids, I only wish I could look this good at 21 weeks postpartum...
Stephen and Anne decided to get back in bed some time before 2am (they offered to stay up with me, but I insisted they sleep - it was a Sunday night and Stephen had to get up for work in the morning) and I ordered "New in Town" with Rene Zellweger on On Demand - I may be biased because I wasn't feeling great, but that was one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life.  As the movie went on the nausea episodes were turning into actual contractions, but I wasn't in any substantial amount of pain so I just kept on watching and didn't wake anyone up.  I was timing the contractions periodically, and they were pretty sporadic - around 3-7 minutes apart and sometimes longer. Most of them were pretty short in duration.   I was wary of going to the hospital too early thanks to the Bradley book I'd read, and the midwives I was working with had said to come in when the contractions were 5 minutes apart, lasting for 60 seconds each, and had been continuing for at least an hour.  Everything I'd read insisted that "real contractions" were regular and that irregular contractions were more indicative of Braxton Hicks so I wasn't even convinced that I was in labor at this point.

30 weeks.  There's that cute little belly I was waiting for.

I suddenly got hit with 2 strong contractions that came one right after the other and I woke Stephen up and asked him to draw a warm bath so I could try to relax.  Stephen watched me as he filled the bath and suggested maybe it was time to go to the hospital?  I reminded him that first time moms labor an average of 14 HOURS and that I had only just begun!!!  As soon as I got into the bath I lost my mucous plug and although I didn't realize it at the time, my water broke.  I quickly got out and decided Stephen was probably right about heading to the hospital.

However, he was not right about the
purpose of a Boppy pillow.
And also about the proper usage of a baby bjorn.

I got dressed as Stephen and Anne rushed around getting my hospital bag ready.  Oh, I had the bag "packed" - and I also had a list on top of the bag of all the last minute items I would need to collect from around the house that I was using on a daily basis, such as my pillow, hair dryer, hair straightener, makeup, etc...yeaaaa I'm a real piece of work sometimes.  Since my water had broken in the tub, the contractions had ramped up to a whole new level - and while Stephen was doing something ridiculous like deflating the giant bouncy ball to transport it to the hospital room to labor on, I sat down on the floor and whined that I DIDN'T CARE ABOUT MY BAG I JUST WANTED TO GO.  Stephen and Anne helped me walk down to the car and I suddenly remembered we were supposed to call the midwives before showing up at L&D and also told Stephen he needed to call my mom since they were planning on making the drive down from New York for the birth.  So Stephen was trying to make all of these phone calls while driving and meanwhile my feet were up on the dash and I realized hey - bearing down relieves some of the pain and pressure!!

36 weeks with baby #1.
About the same as 16 week belly with baby #3.

After driving all the way around the hospital because we missed the ER entrance the first time, I insisted that Stephen pull up to the door and I leaped out and hustled myself in before another contraction hit.  I love this part - I said to the man at the desk "I think I'm in labor!"  I think??  I THINK I'm in labor??  Spoiler alert - I was fully dilated at this point.  Stephen ran back in after parking and they had just asked my name but another contraction hit and I couldn't answer. Someone ran and got me a wheelchair and told me to sit down.  I just stood there gripping the desk white knuckled and the orderly and Stephen had to physically sit me down.  I was wheeled up to L&D and we bypassed triage and were put right into a delivery room.  As I rolled into the room I had another contraction and my body completely involuntary started some full on pushing - that is seriously one of the weirdest feelings ever.  The orderly had left to get a nurse, and as soon as the contraction had subsided I jumped out of the wheelchair and tried to climb onto the bed but didn't make it all the way up before the next contraction hit.  Stephen was frantically trying to signal a nurse and when one finally arrived I informed her about my pushing urge.  I was still dressed at this point and she and Stephen were trying to yank my pants off so she could check my progress during the next contraction.  Jamie's second awesome quote of the day: I yelped "I THINK I NEED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!!" and the nurse calmly informed me that actually my child, not a bowel movement, was coming out.

I might not have been ready for this moment, but at least the crib was.

What happened next is all a blur to me.  I think I actually went into shock.  I fully expected to be in labor for many more hours, and instead was just told that it's time for me to have a baby.  NOW.  Even though I was 5 days overdue at this point, I just expected to have more time to mentally prepare for this moment - or you know, at least get checked into the hospital.  (Side note - signing papers immediately after giving birth is not the easiest task in the world.  Shaky hands and all that.)  The room was buzzing with people now, and my midwife had arrived and was telling me not to push because they were trying to get an IV line into me.  Because of my history of passing out due to mild amounts of pain, there was concern about how I would be able to tolerate labor and they wanted to have some precautions in place in case I needed any emergency medication.  Despite their repeated warnings, my body was pushing and there was nothing I could do to stop it.  They were having a horrible time with the IV on me, and when they FINALLY got it set I was given the green light.  3 pushes later, Ava Marie Gewand was born at 6lbs 4oz. and about 30 minutes after we pulled up to the hospital.

Ava, you bring so much joy to our world!

Happy birthday, you crazy awesome 4 year old :)


  1. Oh my gosh that is crazy? Did all of your kids come crazy fast? Happy birthday to Ava! :)

  2. You're right, I do hate you a little bit after this story :P But what an awesome first labor! And I looooove the bathroom quote!

  3. Oh I love birth stories! I am a total birth junkie. Thank you for sharing with us!

  4. Love! However, with this next baby, I really think you should aim for a more exciting delivery location. The hospital is just so... pedestrian, don't you think?

    1. HAHAHA you know Micaela, I think I've got a good shot at a more interesting story this time around - we are currently bracing for what is promising to be a terrific blizzard here on the east coast, and I'm like a ticking time bomb here with on and off contractions......o_0