Abigail's Birth Story
After 41 weeks of pregnancy and having
my membranes stripped twice (the first time it barely
hurt, the second time I didn't even feel it), I went
into labor. The contractions started and stopped many
times during the last week, making every day be a mixture
of expectation, frustration and disappointment.
Finally, on Sunday, when the doctor stripped my membranes
the second time, the contractions started to get stronger.
I felt that I was going to go into "real"
labor soon, so I went to the shopping center and walked
around for a whole hour, having contractions every few
minutes. When I got back, the contractions were pretty
regular. Finally, I told my husband & he came home
from work. We took a leisurely drive to the hospital
and I promised myself we'd go eat Chinese food if they
ended up sending us home.
My contractions had slowed down & the midwife wasn't
impressed by the monitor. An internal exam showed dilation
of 2-1/2 to 3 centimeters & she wasn't even convinced
that the doctor would have been able to strip the membranes
since the cervix was so far back. The baby was also
very high. So they sent us home...
When we left the hospital, the contractions got stronger.
We went to look for a place to eat & by the time
we got near an area with restaurants, I was ready to
eat just about anything. The contractions were really
strong & pretty close together, but we managed to
eat a great dinner (not Chinese food) and drive 30 minutes
to pick up the kids who we'd left at my parent's house.
At 10:30 we went to sleep & the contractions had
pretty much stopped. Once in a while I would have a
strong contraction, but I was able to sleep pretty well.
A little before 3:30 I had a strong, really painful
feeling, as if something were exploding. The next contraction
led to a gushing, that I immediately knew must be my
water breaking. We turned on the light and saw that
the water was greenish - meconium.
I started to panic, knowing it could mean that the
fetus was in distress. I asked my husband to wake the
kids & tell them we were going to the hospital (he
did). I took a quick shower. My husband called the hospital
& told me that the midwife just said to get there
& that from her voice it didn't sound like it was
an emergency. He took a really quick shower & I
went downstairs to hug the kids (except Judy, who didn't
wake up) and then we left. The bags were still in the
car from our earlier trip to the hospital.
It was a long ride. Almost 30 minutes with no traffic.
My husband drove 140kph (over 85mph) most of the way
while trying to calm me down & promising that everything
would be OK. I was trying desperately to feel the baby
move. It either didn't move much or the speed at which
we were driving made it difficult to feel anything.
Toward our arrival at the hospital, I did feel some
movement, which reassured me a bit.
My husband grabbed a wheelchair (I just wanted to get
up to labor & delivery as soon as possible) and
we waited for the elevator (L&D is on the 9th floor
there...) and zoomed in at 4:18am.
The midwife put me on the monitor right away. The heartbeat
was OK, no decelerations... I was 4 cm dilated. After
15 or 20 minutes on the monitor (I was still worried,
even though the monitor looked basically OK) I asked
to go to the restroom & I hung out there for a while
(the midwife yelled to me 3 times to make sure I was
OK). When I came out, she put me back on the monitor.
We discussed pain relief. I had wanted to avoid pain
relief, but she told me that because of the meconium
I wouldn't be allowed to get up at all during the labor
& knowing I was only at 4 cm, I knew the labor could
still be several hours. I decided on an epidural.
It was only my 2nd contraction back on the monitor
when I begged to stand up. Controlling the pain while
lying down was too much. The midwife said that I could
get up & that she would admit me. I walked to the
delivery room, stopping on the way with a killer contraction
that practically knocked me off my feet.
My husband came in, I got up on the bed & saw the
midwife getting the IV ready. I was happy because I
knew that 20 minutes after getting the IV I could get
my epidural (the pain was really strong). I begged for
pain relief NOW & they quickly brought me nitrous
(laughing gas). My husband held the mask over my face
& it was a big relief -- it didn't dim the pain,
it just made me care less about it -- made it more tolerable
(I was still able to shout in pain, even with the mask
on -- fortunately I had warned my husband that when
the pain got really bad I was likely to shout).
I had only had a few contractions in the delivery room
when I said that I must push. I was
sure that the midwife would tell me to wait, but instead
(without ever getting a chance to even check if I was
fully dilated) said to do whatever I want.
I pushed and the urge to push got even stronger --
actually, no matter what she would have told me, I don't
think I could have stopped pushing. The next thing I
heard was the midwife saying that the head was out.
I thought she meant (like in my first birth) that she
could see a little bit of the head, but then my husband
said, "Wow, there's so much hair!" and I realized
that she was serious. She asked me to give another push,
which I did & then I felt the rest of the baby being
born. The midwife turned the baby over and told us it
was a girl! It was 4:58am. We had gotten to the hospital
40 minutes earlier & had been in the delivery room
just 5 minutes.
Apparently there hadn't been any fetal distress. My
husband cut the cord and they placed the baby on me.
We were given over an hour with her in the delivery
First I called the kids. Judy answered the phone &
asked, "Mommy, who's on the phone?" I answered,
"I'm on the phone." (She thought I was on
another extension in the house.) and she asked if the
baby had been born. I said yes & she yelled, "Mommy
had the baby!!!" and then I told her it was a girl.
I talked to the kids who were all really excited. Harry
was disappointed that it was a girl, but quickly asked
if I had seen her birth. When I told him that I hadn't,
he was really happy -- he's the only one whose birth
I did see. After that we called our
parents and all our siblings (hey, how frequently do
you get a chance to wake people up so early?)
I had prepared treats for the kids to take to their
classes in school & they got ready on their own
& my parents came to pick them up & drive them
to school. When they got home, my husband gave them
the sweatshirts that I had made for them & presents
that we prepared so that each would have something to
give the baby. They came to the hospital to see their
new sister for the first time & each got a chance
to hold her.
I had literally walked out of the delivery room (no
IV, no epidural, no stitches...) and was anxious to
get home. We surprised the kids by checking out of the
hospital the following morning (Tuesday) and meeting
them as they got off the schoolbus, with their new sister
in the stroller.
In my family, we reveal the baby's name during a special
ceremony. Both sets of grandparents & all of my
siblings came for the naming. We named our daughter
Abigail. (Abigail, in the Book of Samuel is described
as "a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful
countenance" - i.e., smart & pretty). Her middle
name, Rebecca, is after my maternal grandmother and
my husband's paternal grandmother.