My little girl Alyson was born on January 20, 2003. It was an incredible journey for my husband and I. This was my first pregnancy and everything had been going smoothly...at least as smoothly as a pregnancy can go. I didn't have problems with morning sickness and Alyson was growing steadily, like she was supposed to do. Anyway, did we ever have a sudden jolt to the "smooth ride" on the day Alyson was born.
My girlfriends had held a baby shower for me on January 18th and one of my best friends was still in town staying with us on the morning of the 20th. I woke up feeling a little funny that day. I felt like I couldn't leave the bathroom because I had to go so often! I was also experiencing cramping every once in a while. I thought it must be Braxton Hicks contractions, but I wasn't sure because I had not had any contractions up until that point. Alyson's due date was not until February 21st, so I really wasn't thinking that her birth might be impending at that time. I decided to call my doctor just to be safe. She was out of town, but her partner wanted me to come in for a check-up just to be sure nothing was going on.
Well, my friend was still with us and was flying out later that day. I told her we would have to detour by my doctor's office before we took her to the airport. Naturally, she didn't argue with me. At the doctor's office, I found out I was 3 cm. dilated and Alyson was in position for birth. The doctor did a stress test and said I was not having contractions at that time, which was around midday. He said that the baby could come any time, but he really didn't expect her to be born today. He also told me that just in case I did go into labor after 5 p.m., I would have to contact the "on call" doctor since my regular doctor would still be out of town. Little did I know that this would become very important information later on in the day!
Wow! I hadn't expected to be told that Alyson may be arriving any time now. We hadn't even packed our bags yet! Even after my visit to the doctor, I still didn't think the contractions I was feeling every now and then were anything to be concerned about. We ended up going to lunch and then taking my good friend to the airport. I told her I would call her later and let her know how I was doing. Boy was I ambitious about that plan!
By the time we dropped her off at the airport and made it back to our house, it was close to 4:00 in the afternoon. The doctor had told me to drink some water and lie down when I got home, so I tried this for a little while. After about 20-30 minutes of lying down, I decided that perhaps these "cramps" I had been feeling really were the early labor contractions we had learned about in our childbirth class. I told my husband that we better think about going to the hospital in a little while because the contractions were getting closer together. Well, since we hadn't prepared for our hospital trip yet, he started scurrying around the house to pack some bags. We also have horses and dogs that needed to be fed before we left, so he also ran around taking care of the animals.
I felt a little guilty that he had to do all the packing, so I began packing for Alyson in-between the contractions, which were beginning to get really painful. I had to stop and lean over the bed every time I had one. My husband was still running around feeding animals, so he really didn't realize that the contractions were getting this strong.
We finally got everything together and I told my husband that we should go on to the hospital. He asked me how far apart the contractions were and I thought they were about ten minutes apart. I hadn't really been timing them because it was all I could do to get through them and I hadn't thought of looking at the clock. Once we got in the car and headed to the hospital, my husband started timing the contractions and found out that they were closer to two minutes apart! Yikes... we were getting a little nervous!
Once we got to the hospital, I told my husband that I couldn't walk, so he got me a wheelchair and took me to the admitting area. It was around 7:00 p.m. He told the admission clerk that my contractions were two minutes apart, so she had me sign one release form and sent me upstairs to the maternity floor. She said she didn't want me to have the baby in her office. Funny, I completely agreed with her!
Once we got in a labor/delivery room the nurse had me get undressed and said she wanted a urine sample. It took a few minutes of working through the contractions to accomplish this and get back into the bed. It was about 7:20 p.m. when the nurse did her first exam. She took one look at me and then pushed the call button to call for back-up. I wondered what was going on and she told me that I was at 10 cm. and fully effaced. She then explained that the nurses would be fully able to deliver our baby if the on-call doctor didn't make it here in time.
WHAT! I was just bewildered at that point. It was going so fast! What had happened to the purported hours of labor and waiting? Not that I was complaining, but I was not prepared mentally for Alyson to be coming quite that fast!
Luckily for us, the doctor was already on the maternity floor and was able to come right over to deliver Alyson. In almost the blink of an eye, we went from having two nurses in the room to at least six to eight people in the room with us. Since Alyson was five weeks early, they had called the NICU nurse to come as well, and they brought a special cart to help assess Alyson's vitals when she arrived. I don't know exactly how long I pushed, but it wasn't very long and my sweet little girl, Alyson, was born at 8:09 p.m. on January 20th. As I said, she was five weeks early, but thank God, she was healthy and able to breathe on her own. She was even able to stay in the room with us that night. My husband and I were just filled with awe and joy when we first saw her. It was truly the most joyous experience I have ever had.
Alyson has just turned one-year-old now and is a happy, healthy baby girl. Luckily, her fast and furious entrance into the world was not a problem and she was delivered safely and naturally. My husband and I are hoping to have another baby in the future, so I think we may camp out at the hospital starting at about 35 weeks... just in case!