When my husband and I found out we were going to have our first child, we were very excited. We tried to calculate the due date using a pregnancy calendar but had a hard time since we could never really pinpoint the date of conception. Even the midwives I was seeing were guessing. Because of my tilted uterus it was hard for them to determine size, so we went in to have an ultrasound. After drinking a lot of water and a very uncomfortable 15 minutes, the technician estimated that I was about eight and a half weeks along and due around November 20, 2001.
Since we weren't 100 percent sure when our little one would arrive, we tried to be very prepared. Our bags were packed and the nursery was finished by my seventh month, and since we didn't want to know the sex, everything was done in soft baby yellow, baby blue and light green. I pre-registered at the hospital and took not only a child birthing class, but also a local hypnobirthing course a full month before my estimated due date. We were ready!
My pregnancy had gone off without a hitch. I felt great and hadn't experienced any major problems. I had never even felt any contractions as so many other women do. We all assumed I was going to be about two weeks late, as many first-time deliveries are, and I was fine with that. When the morning of my due date arrived and nothing significant had yet happened, I was not deterred. That morning was my 40-week check up.
My grandmother and I piled in the car, her with her cane and me with my huge belly, and headed to the next town to my 10:00am appointment with the midwives. They got me right in and were all amazed at how great I looked and felt. I hopped up on the table for my exam and no sooner did the words "I can feel the baby's head," leave the midwife's lips, I felt a warm gush of fluid. Boy was I shocked, and from the look on the midwife’s face, so was she!
Apparently my water had broken in the night, but the baby's head was already stationed so far down it was blocking the water and keeping it from gushing out. All it took was her touching the head and moving it just enough and out came my water! Conveniently, the midwives' offices were located right across the street from the hospital, so we grabbed my grandma and made our way to the maternity ward where I called my husband.
After monitoring the baby and me for over an hour, and concluding I was only 1cm dilated, the nurses told me I would be fine for a few hours and recommended I go walk somewhere comfortable to help me dilate and the contractions to progress. Up until that point, I had not felt a single contraction, and was in no pain, so they were convinced I would not be having this baby anytime within the next 12 hours.
While my husband drove back home to call family, eat and grab our bags, Grandma and I decided to go to the mall and do some last minute shopping for a new pair of hospital slippers. By this time it was 1:00pm. After walking for one hour, including the stop we made for a piece of pumpkin pie, my contractions were three minutes apart and I was definitely feeling them for the first time. We then headed to my mother-in-law’s house where we met up with the rest of the family and headed back to the hospital. We arrived there at 5:00pm.
They checked me and the baby was at station zero, but I was only at 2cm so they put me directly into the warm whirlpool with the hopes of helping me to dilate further. I was only in for a half hour when the contractions started coming at one minute apart. I was ready to get out. They checked me again and I was at 8cm! Wow! Everyone in the room was shocked and caught completely off guard. No one ever expected this baby would be born on it's actual due date! There was quite a rush of nurses, phone calls and equipment at this point.
After about 1-½ hours it was time to push. I had never wanted any pain medication, but by this point I was getting a little tired since contractions had been coming so close together for several hours. If it weren't for the hypnobirthing classes, I don't think I could have handled the pain, but because of the breathing exercises, I pushed for 40 minutes and with the help of my wonderful husband, mother and midwife, my baby girl, Mallory Melina, was born at 10:47pm on her actual due date! She was 9 pounds and 21 inches long. It was a wonderful moment and just goes to show, you can never be completely prepared for childbirth, it is one surprise after another!