Ellie Jude was born January 4, 2018 at 7:55 AM. She was 6 lbs 1 oz and 18 inches long. She has become my whole world and being her mother is the greatest privledge I’ve ever known. Below is the story of how she entered the world, otherwise known as my two and half hour labor and delivery.
My 39 week appointment went well. Still 3 centimeters, like I had been for the past few weeks. 80% effaced. Station -1. Things were looking good. I didn’t have much discomfort, just some back pain.
That Thursday, at 39 weeks and 2 days, everything changed. I passed out super early that night. Then at 5 am I woke up to the distinct sensation of something dropping in my stomach. I felt pressure like I needed to use the bathroom, so I tried. Nothing happened, so I went back to bed. I kept feeling that pressure and couldn’t get comfortable, so I got up to try again. Gani noticed I got up twice and asked me what was wrong. I told him I wasn’t sure, but I was feeling the pressure to use the bathroom and that I had heard that could be a sign of labor.
He had a huge meeting that morning and I knew this was bad timing, but such is life. He told me to call the doula. I waited a few minutes until I felt my first contraction, a mild cramp at the bottom of my stomach. I called her and she told me to start timing the contractions and to take a shower, labor could be starting.
Things happened very quickly after that. The contractions were coming every 3-5 minutes consistently. I got in the shower and had a few in there. Some were just across my lower back. I would say “it’s starting” so Gani would start the timer. Then when it would finally subside I would say “okay”. I was able to manage the first few. Then they very quickly intensified. I was moaning and rushing Gani to put counter pressure against my back. I would grab onto the nearest surface, and let them rush through me. I remember going up on my tip toes and moaning. I knew I was being loud and probably waking up the boys. But there was no controlling it at that point.
I tried to make some of my herbal teas to help with labor and never even got to drink it. It stayed steeping on my counter as the contractions became worse.
We called the doula back to update her. As we were on the phone she heard me begin to scream. A very distinct scream. The scream of a women who is transitioning to be ready to push a baby out. She told us to go to the hospital and she’d meet us there.
I emptied my bowels a few times and threw up. I honestly thought the baby was coming out in the toilet. I was screaming bloody murder. I had no control over the screams. I remember Gani looking between my legs in the toilet. I started to bleed a little.
We had texted the nanny to see if she was available to come over for the boys. By some miracle she saw the next in time and was over in the next few mins, just as we were rushing out the door to the hospital, with me screaming my head off through the contractions. I kept going to sit on the toilet and I remember crying that I couldn’t get up, that I couldn’t walk.
Gani was an absolute rock star. He remembered everything we had gone over and got everything we needed. He managed to get me in the car with our bags, the birth ball, towels for me to sit on. It all happened so fast. At this point it was about 630, only an hour and a half from the first feeling that woke me up.
He drove through every red light to get to the hospital. Thank God it was only a few mins away, otherwise I would have absolutely had the baby in the car. I was screaming so much.
We got to the ER entrance. All I remember is standing there screaming in pain. Someone rushed toward me with a wheelchair. I struggled to get into it. Then I was rushed toward an elevator, down a hall, into labor and delivery and up onto a table in triage. Someone was taking off my clothes.
Gani told me later that he got there and everyone was just staring at us. He was screaming that his wife was having a baby and he needed a wheelchair. No one was acting fast enough. He found a wheelchair himself and got it to me. He threw his keys and ID to the security guard and ran down after me with whoever was pushing me.
In triage they quickly saw that I was 10 cm and crowning. At this point it was about 730 I think. They got me into a room, and asked me to get over to another bed. All I remember is a room full of people talking at me. Apparently a code OB CAT was called when I go there, which stands for OB Catastrophe, I think. Basically every staff member available had to come because they didn’t know my history, how many weeks I was or if the baby was okay. I was still screaming, I couldn’t get control. Everyone was telling me I was to stop screaming but I couldn’t. They were telling me I needed to take deep breaths in and bear down to start pushing. But with every push I just kept screaming and releasing all my air.
They gave me an oxygen mask at one point.
I remember hearing Gani trying to tell people that I wanted my doctor, but they were saying he wasn’t there. He told us he’d be back on call that morning at 7am from his ski trip. But apparently, he gave us or the hospital the wrong info because they thought he wasn’t there and called his backup. I remember telling Gani to forget the doctor (except I used another, four letter, F word). He was also telling everyone about my birth photographer and doula and I remember screaming, fuck the birth photographer!
The pain was so intense. I don’t distinctly remember the sensation of the pain as much as the terrifying intensity. Just writing this is making me feel sick. I kept looking around at the faces trying to help me and calm me down and I remember saying “I can’t do this” over and over. They assured me I could, and I must.
All of a sudden I saw my doctor’s head between my legs, with a big light over him. I heard Gani saying look he’s here Dr. Sudimak is here! I kept telling him to get her out of me. And he said that I had to do that.
We found out later that he was on call, but had told the hospital the wrong day he’d be back. He was scrubbing in for a surgery when he saw my name pop up on his screen. He figured he’d come in to check on me then come back after his surgery to deliver her, later in the afternoon. He walked in as her head was coming out and barely had time to put on his gloves.
The doula and birth photographer miraculously showed up as well. They ran into each other in the parking lot, both running to get to me. They found out they were both rushing to the same place and got there just in time.
The last thing I remember is Gani rubbing my leg, staring at Sudimak between my legs and a nurse showing up at my right telling me to breathe. She looked into my eyes and told me to breathe with her. Then I turned to my left and saw my doula at my side. I looked at her, she told me to take a deep breath in and coached me to hold it in and bear down. Something clicked and I started pushing the right way. It hurt. It hurt so much. But I just wanted her out. So I pushed and pushed and suddenly I felt her body slide out of me.
The next bit is a blur. I was shaking. I was handed my baby, right on my chest. She was warm and slippery. I could feel my cord pulling between my legs. I was in complete and utter disbelief. Shock. Awe. How in the hell did I just do that?!
Gani was crying. I looked into his eyes and fell more in love with him than I thought possible.
I’m so grateful the birth photographer made it and we got these amazing pictures. But even if she hadn’t, one of the nurses in the room had grabbed my phone and took photos of the entire birth for me. Shot for shot. And I’m so happy she did! Otherwise I would never believe I actually did that.