I continued experiencing contractions throughout the night but nothing that took my breath away. The next morning the contractions had slowed to every half hour, so Chris went to work. I had lunch with Jessica Tunstill, her 1yr old daughter Willow and son Colton, during which I had contractions every 10 minutes. However after lunch they slowed to every half hour again. We stopped by Jessica's house to grab some raspberry tea (old wives tale) and brewed it at my house afterward. My mom offered to make dinner for Chris and I that evening and on the menu was beef stroganoff and a fresh salad. I had no idea this would be my last real meal before having my daughter. Throughout that evening the contractions were mild but steadily increasing, including one "take your breath away" contraction as I laid down for bed. Around 1:30 AM, I was awoken by the most painful contraction thus far. I got out of bed and began timing the next few contractions while practicing yoga positions (like cat and cow) and deep breathing. Around 3:30 AM the pain was immense enough that I woke Chris up to help me time them. They ranged in length from 11 seconds to 60 seconds and occurred anywhere from 3 to 7 times per hour. During the slow hours I did things like take showers and nibble on a banana, which was the only food I had that day. Finally at 9:51 A.M. after a 58 second contraction that came within 3 minutes of the previous one, Chris called the hospital and they suggested we come in. We loaded up the car with our overnight bags for the second day in a row (haha), and Chris made me smile as he opened the door for me to get in. I felt every single bump on that 15 minute ride to the hospital and was shaking like a leaf! I had three contractions in the truck, one on the walk through the front door of the hospital and one against the wall in the hallway to my labor room. Strangers asked if we needed help (which made me cry), a doctor (named Patella) held the elevator and got me a wheelchair. I was met by a crew of nurses outside the doors to the birthing center. I began to cry and they asked if it was the pain or the nerves. I said I didn't know, but I'm sure it was everything combined and the lack of food, too. I was shaking like crazy, too. Chris signed us in at 10:40am.
They immediately dressed me in a gown and my nurse, Becky, did a check to verify that I was 100% effaced and 3 cm dilated. The lab tech drew my blood and my nurse inserted my IV. I requested an epidural and since it was during the day, the anesthesiologist was on duty and I received it within the hour. It hurt a little bit and I felt some funny electricity in my right foot as he administered the drugs.
During that same hour my waters broke. Once the epidural kicked in, my nurse inserted a catheter and set me up with a pink peanut shaped yoga ball between my legs to help my cervix open further. I shifted from side to side and within an hour I had dilated to a five! Since I was feeling fine from the epideral, we invited Chris's family back to our labor room for a while and after they left my family came in as well, which was nice so they could experience what I was going through with me. They mainly watched the monitors go up and down and I joked, "Am I having a contraction?" My mom and sister got me a wet washcloth for my forehead and my sister stroked my hair. At some point during this time, the doctor on duty (Reardon) came in and ruptured a bubble in my water sack, as well as broke through some scar tissue on my cervix that was stopping it from dilating further. Within another hour or so I had dilated to an eight and the baby was at a plus one station. I was hoping to be able to deliver before 6 PM shift change, however the new doctor (Olhausen) did an exam and changed his reporting from dilated to a seven and a zero station. I felt very nauseous and even threw up. We had just sent our family back out to the waiting room expecting for me to begin pushing at 6 PM. I was pretty bummed as I had not dilated any further and from Dr. Ohlhausen's report I felt like I was moving backwards. It was at this time that I also met my new nurse Janet and I began feeling every contraction again. I guess when they changed out the bag of drugs in my line to my epidural they failed to restart the 15 minute drip. I had labored for twelve 15 minutes cycles without any pain meds. I began to push the button on the epidural for pain relief but could only get in two15 minute sessions before I got cut off so that I would be able to feel my pelvic floor (push) muscles.
Janet had me doing a few different poses as the doctor had said the baby was face up and she needed to turn in order to be delivered. Within two hours I was dilated to 10 cm and the baby had turned.
Around 8 PM I started to push. I had my legs in stirrups and my hands were gripping on these bars on the side of the bed to pull myself forward. My first few pushes revealed the baby's head, however once the doctor came in I was not making very much progress. We pushed for an hour and a half and eventually the doctor stepped out to go to the bathroom. My nurse Janet immediately took his position and begin coaching me on how to push towards her face. She also massaged my perineum. After five more contractions, she called in Dr. Olhausen. Within a few more contractions the baby's head came out and I was done pushing. Her body followed and Chris cut the cord. Even though the doctor said, "Cut here, between this clamp and these hemostats," Chris had to repeat, "Here?"just to be sure. The total time for pushing was two hours.
Kaya Lynn Surber was born at 9:51 PM on Tuesday, July 28, 2015. She weighed 7 pounds and 13 ounces and measured 20 inches long. Her eyes were blue, as well as her wrinkly hands and feet. I was able to have her on my chest for about eight seconds before the nursery team whisked her away and began working on suctioning out her lungs, her nose, her mouth, and cleaning her up. Her breathing was pretty fast. They seemed pretty concerned but eventually let me have her back for some skin on skin time. During that first hour I also breast-fed with a nipple shield and around midnight we invited the family to come back and meet her.
The cameras were out in full force and the family got to witness her first bath.
So many people try to explain the miracle of becoming a parent as the greatest love you ever feel, but that is only beginning. There really are no words to justify the 40 weeks (and sometimes longer if you go past your due date) that you wait to meet the little person who has been growing inside of you, kicking you, giving you indigestion, hiccuping, making your hormones a roller coaster ride – sometimes for the better, sometimes not so much – and seemingly although you know it's a human being making those awkward little (and big) movements, you still wonder if it is an alien growing in there.
So when the time comes to go through the most painful contractions - to rise above them one by one - and to become a mother, it's almost like even though you know you're going to have a baby you still can't believe it until it actually happens. Once that little person appears in front of your eyes, it makes all that waiting, eating five times a day, crying over nothing meltdowns, an oddly shaped growing body that interrupts sleep and sex, the multitude of people asking you over and over "Is she here yet?" and the nesting - oh my goodness the nesting…the struggle is real! But once that little person appears and you see her for the first time - it's as if the world has changed forever, for better, for now this little human being depends a hundred percent on you and you couldn't be any happier.