I rolled out of bed, took a quick shower and made a snack to go. Most of our bags were in the car so within 20 minutes of our phone call we were on the road. I was tempted to see what the car could do as I figured this would be the 1st time in my life that I would have a reasonable excuse to do 100+ but there didn’t seem to be major urgency as Laura was not in terrible pain.
We got to Covenant at about 5AM and were admitted by Tina who would become our primary nurse (she was great! Good temperament, easy to relate to and she told us that she had been primary for 4 previous natural births so she knew Laura could do it.) At 5:30 we were in a triage room and Tina checked Laura for dilation and did a test to determine whether her water had broken. Quickly it was determined that today was the day and we were set up in a birthing suite. Tina’s initial reaction based on the fact that Laura was only 2+ cm was that it would be a long day of laboring at the hospital and by her calculations we would be having the baby around 7 or 8 that night!
This immediately bummed me out because we had really wanted to not be that couple that “raced in” at the first signs but I would quickly have my disappointment erased. Laura didn’t say much but later told me she really didn’t believe it would be that long so she didn’t let it even enter her mind. She couldn’t imagine having painful contractions that long so I think she was determined to make it move faster.
I went down to the car to grab our bags, got back to our room and Laura was being attended to by another nurse. Tina had tried to stick her left wrist but had trouble so she had to call in another nurse who finally got the IV started in Laura’s right hand. Because of the Group B Strep she needed to have an antibiotic administered. This took some time so Laura was confined to a bed from 6:30 or so until about 7 when the IV was finished. She immediately wanted to get up and move around. I think unbeknownst to us this may have been the beginning of the transition phase. Laura didn’t want to be touched!! No relaxation time for her. :) About 8 AM Tina gently suggested another check as her instincts told her things might be moving quickly. Sure enough Laura had gone from 2+ to 5+ in 3 hours. That is when Tina mentioned to another nurse that she better call the midwife because she might be delivering this baby without her if she didn’t come soon…
Laura had made a few rounds around the room and had tried a few positions on the bed but the contractions were getting pretty intense for her at this point so Tina suggested she get in the bath. Immediately, this improved Laura’s situation. She relaxed a great deal and the jets on her back really felt good… Contractions continued to be painful but were much more bearable in the warm water…
Soon after Laura got in the tub, Anne, our midwife arrived. She immediately ordered various equipment be brought in and set up in anticipation of the birth. She spent most of her time, huddled with me over the tub watching Laura, talking her through the contractions, and being a calming influence on her. Anne told a few nurses that were waiting inside our room to be quiet because they were distracting Laura. After some time, with contractions getting more intense, she suggested another check. I don’t recall her actually mentioning cm but she told Laura, it would be a good idea to move out of the tub soon. Laura was reluctant and asked if she could deliver in the tub. Anne was calm and said she would be willing but I could tell she wasn’t entirely comfortable with it as the tubs were not designed with a delivery in mind. I gently suggested that I thought it would be better for everyone if she got out and she agreed so at about 10:30 we moved to the bed. The next hour is a blur… She was side facing with her left leg in the air. I was taking turns with Anne supporting her leg and feeding her water and ice chips. The contractions continued to intensify to the point that Laura was really screaming with each one… She noticed that if she turned the screams into grunts and really bore down that progress was faster… She tried very hard and with each push we would tell her she was doing great and he was almost here although I had no idea. :)
Suddenly though, during a contraction, I noticed a real physical change as the baby began to really pass through the cervix and I figured it must be a matter of a few more pushes… Laura was getting disheartened with each push that it wasn’t over but Anne asked if she would like to see the baby so she brought a mirror in and Laura could see that he was really almost here. This gave her renewed strength and resolve and after 2 more pushes I was suddenly thrust into position to catch my son. One last big push and Max shot out like a hot potato… I caught him with some assistance from Anne and immediately put him on Laura’s chest… I think she was slightly in shock because she seemed surprised when there was suddenly a little baby clinging to her…. We waited a few minutes and I cut the cord. The placenta came a few minutes later and Laura said she felt it but it was easy. Anne said Laura had a couple small tears she needed to stitch. The second one didn’t absolutely need stitched but she did it just to make it heal faster.
There was a little commotion when the baby was born because he was purple and not crying right away. He had apparently swallowed quite a bit of fluid. The nurses gave him a 5/9 APGAR score. Anne wasn’t pleased with the score and said she would have given him a better score.
Laura commented after that it had indeed been the most painful thing she had ever been through but also that she would do it again no question.
Maximilian was born Wednesday September 25, 2013 at 11:37 AM. He weighed 6 lbs. 15.8 oz. and was 20.5 inches long.