Vienna Christine + Birth Story.
Eight PM on a Friday my husband and I went for a walk. We walked 1.75 to the Mill Bay Casino on back roads, only to find some friends across the street from the Casino, red solo cups in hand, dancing to MC Hammer. After a little road-side-dancing we walked back home, stopping on our way at The BBQ in the Vineyard at Lake Chelan Winery to pick up a few rib-sandwiches. Once we got home and I stopped walking, around Ten PM, my contractions started. Little did I know, that this time, it was the real thing. Jonny went to bed and I was up all night contracting. They would be 18 minutes apart, then 12, nothing consistent but constant through the night. I walked around the house, bounced on my yoga ball, took a hot shower, it all helped with the pain but nothing stopped the contractions. Holy cow. I was in ACTUAL labor. "Babe. Wake up. We’re gonna have a baby today!" We spent all day at the house, finishing last minute projects, watching TV, playing dominoes, just enjoying the last hours of "us" time. We consistently were in contact with our doula, Roberta, asking questions and gaining excitement together! Roberta was our lamaze teacher from the Wenatchee Valley Community Health Center. Coincidentally, she was in Lake Chelan for the weekend when we went into labor. Around Ten PM Saturday night, 24 hours after they had started the day before, my contractions were five minutes apart and the three of us agreed we should head to the hospital. Jonny packed up our bags in the car and we met up with Roberta at the local gas station. After a quick snack stock up by my husband, we were ready to make the one-hour trek to the Wenatchee hospital. I was scared to be in the car for an hour while in labor. With contractions five minutes apart, that's at least 12 contractions while refined in my seat. I think it was a God sent that Roberta just happen to be in Chelan and able to be there for us during the car ride. With Jonny focusing on the road, it gave me comfort knowing I had someone to support me if I needed it. Contractions at this point were painful. On a scale of one to ten I would say I was at about a three. I remember thinking to myself “we’re okay, we’re doing okay”. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. We made it to Entiat and my cars’ "Tire Air Pressure" light came on. Oh brother. We pulled over and got out of the car, Jonny checked the tires while I enjoyed some much needed standing time. We determined the tires were fine and continued on our journey. We arrived at Wenatchee’s Central Washington Hospital at Eleven PM. Our pre-admission paperwork was sent in prior so luckily check-in went quickly. They put me in a wheel chair and took us from the emergency entrance to the labor and delivery ward. Once in a room we met our labor nurse, Rita. Rita had me get changed, then checked my and our baby girls vital signs. She then had me lay back and checked my cervix. Then it came. Those dreaded words that every mother-to-be dreads to hear. "You're only 3 centimeters dilated." This did not make me happy. Rita told us we had an hour to get to 4 cm, and if we weren't she would have to send us home. Again, I was not happy.
So we walked. Down the hall, contraction. Up the far hall, contraction. Across the main hall, contraction. Down the hall back to the room, contraction. Seriously?! How was I not to 4 cm yet?! After two or three rounds of the halls my pain was up to about a five. Shower time. A few contractions alone in the shower were good, the pain was still at a five, but the shower helped considerably, for a few minutes. A few contractions with Roberta helping me through them. Jon got in his suit, rubbed my back in the shower with the hot water, good God this was painful. Rita was back. Our hour was up and she had me get back onto the table. She checked my cervix. 5 cm dilated, thank God! And in her words, “oh, you’re gonna be a quick one!”. Music to my ears. We were officially admitted sometime after midnight.
The following hours were a blur. I tried every position possible but each contraction was more painful than the next. Jon, Rita, Roberta all helping me through every minute. What would help one contraction would make it worse the next. Finally the contractions got to me. I was trying so hard to make it through this with no pain medicine, all natural birth. I remember turning to Jon and telling him I was sorry. I knew we had the same wants for our baby. We wanted no drugs. We wanted her to be brought into this world with the most natural of conditions, and at that point in my labor it hurt me to let him down, to let our baby down, but I couldn’t bare that pain any longer.
Rita explained what fentanyl was, and what an epidural was. fentanyl did not help with pain but is used to calm you for the in between stage of contractions, this drug would be passed along from mother to baby. Epidural was pain relief, it numbs you from the waist down, and this drug was not passed along from mother to baby. I wanted the epidural. We called for the anesthesiologist ASAP. No answer. We called again. No answer. Rita decided to check my cervix to see where we were at. I was 8 cm dilated. Looks like this baby was coming no matter what. I decided that something was better than nothing so I gave Rita the go ahead to put the fentanyl in my IV. All I can say was that it was interesting. Fentanyl was an all too familiar feeling for me. For a long time sufferer of depression all I can equate it to was when I’ve taken Xanax. You’re numb. Its like you have a birds eye view of everything going on but no control over what is happening. The pain was still intense, but between contractions I just lay there. Not talking. Not feeling. I didn’t like it at all.
Mean while, the anesthesiologist called back. She was already at the hospital and hadn’t answered her phone because she was with another patient, right down the hall. She was to my room in seconds. I was now 9 cm dilated, contracting every 90 seconds. Which means she had 60 seconds at best to place that ridiculously long needle into my spine. I remember her telling me “even if a contraction comes on, you have to remain completely still”. Had this women ever had a child?! Yeah right! The anesthesiologist gave me what is called a walking epidural. The pain block lasts two hours at best. My pain relief was instant. I loved her. I wanted to kiss her repeatedly and tell her how amazing she was.
The next thing I remember was feeling like I have to poop. Oh dear lord please don’t let me poop during labor or delivery. As a woman you read stories in horror about woman that poop on the table and we all don’t want to be “that” woman. I tell Rita and she tells me that its just the feeling of the baby moving down the birth canal, she must have seen the terror in my eyes because she looked at me and said not to be afraid because I was so close to meeting my baby girl. That keeps me going.
My delivery doctor, Dr. Sublet has been waiting outside our room this entire time. He read in my birth plan that I wanted my delivery room to have as little people as possibly due to my anxiety. He was amazing. The way this man listened and communicated still amazes me to this day.
They call Dr. Sublet in. It was go time! I pushed when he told me to. I didn’t push when he told me to wait. I pushed as long and as hard as I could when instructed. 30 minutes later, there she was. The room went silent. Everything was still. 25 years of dreaming. 25 years of waiting. I was a mom. In that split second all of my dreams had come true. They laid her on my chest and she was perfection.
She was so alert. She was so strong! Picking her head up and looking around the room, it was incredible! I told her how amazing she was, how much I and her daddy loved her. How she did such a good job the past few hours, and that we made a great team. Jon was on my left and he started talking to her also, her head turned frantically around the room. Up, left, right. Up, left right. Stop. She found him. Her eyes locked into his and she went still, she stopped crying. She had found her daddy and she was in love! Watching her watch him was the single most amazing thing I've ever seen.
She eventually decided she was hungry and inched her way towards my breast, latching on perfectly. We laid in that bed for two hours, as a family, soaking up every little bit of her perfection.
Photography: Kristi Bonney