I was totally out of steam last night, but now I think I'm ready to write a quick recap of the big event.
Before I begin, keep in mind that my amazing wife chose to have a drug-free delivery for the possible benefits to the baby, and herself. We took classes (Bradley Method) to prepare (thanks Erin!) for the challenge.
12:00am - Brooke awakes to stronger contractions.
12:15 - I hear her coming downstairs (where I am working). Oddly, I didn't realize right away why she would be up at such an hour.
12:30 - We're not sure if this is the real thing... we time a few contractions... I fall asleep, Brooke stays awake a little longer, timing contractions. 5 minutes apart, steady.
3:00 - I awake to Brooke telling me that she thinks it's time to go. We gather a few things that weren't in already packed.
3:12 - Write blog entry.
3:30 - Leave the house for the hospital.
4:05 - After the first exam by the nurse, we are admitted to the hospital. Brooke is 5-6cm dilated.
4:05 - 8:00 - Brooke's contractions are monitored, we go for a short walk, we return to our temporary room and she spends the remaining time in that room in the recliner in a very relaxed, sleepy looking state. During this time her contractions go from 5 to 3 minutes apart. All the while I am lobbying the nurse to get us into our labor & delivery room as soon as she can, trying to sleep a little, and trying to make sure Brooke is getting plenty of fluids.
8:05 - 8:45 - We arrive at our labor & delivery room. Brooke's contractions are strong and regular when we arrive, but as time passes, they become more irregular. Still she looks like she's asleep, not making any sound, the only real sign of the contractions is the increased tempo of her breathing. When she is examined she is at 8-9cm.
8:45 - 9:09 - An abrupt change occurs in Brooke's behavior. She says she's feeling the urge to push. She waits through one contraction without pushing. On the next one the nurse gives here the go ahead and she pushes three times over the course of the contraction. As each successive contraction wave comes along, she pushes three times. She's clearly distressed, but still handling it in a cool-headed way. The only thing I can do for her at this point is help cheer her on, wipe her head and neck with a wet cloth, and hold her legs as she pushes. Each push gets a little more done and when we can see the baby's head a little, the nurse says to Dr. Long (who had been showing no outward signs of preparation), "Get dressed". At that point, Dr. Long and the nurse both began working with Brooke, the nurse did most of the push-push-cheerleading (along with me), while Dr. Long directed her and the other nurse regarding the technical aspects of the birth. A few biiig pushes later, we had a baby. I cut the cord, and the baby had its orifices cleared while Dr. Long finished up with Brooke. The whole process went better than I could have imagined.
Brooke and I were overwhelmed with joy. My heart felt so full. We had the baby and everyone was healthy. The nine month wait was over and one of our dreams had come to fruition.
Dr. Long and the nursing staff of Northside hospital were great. The training Erin Morrey gave us was great. Brooke was absolutely incredible. She went through the entire process with only a local anesthetic being applied just before the baby was delivered. I have heard a hundred stories about baby birthing since we announced Brooke's pregnancy, and none of them made it sound as smooth as this one turned out.
That's how it happened. It was an intensely beautiful beginning for our little Anne Marie.