December 27, 2014
I was beginning to feel hopeless that my labor would ever start. My lack of hope was starting to get to me and the discomfort I was feeling in my body was becoming overwhelming. I was just 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant but I felt I couldn’t handle one more day. My doula called me that morning and she could tell by the tone in my voie and the lack of my usual optimism that I was not doing great emotionally. With a sympthatic tone she said, “You know what? It’s usually when women feel as miserable as you do that they go into labor….just hang in there!” I was not holding on to hope though. I had thought I was on the verge of going into labor for the last week and had even been up for hours each night with uncomfortable contractions but all of them had ended in nothing but a lack of sleep. Even though I was impatient, I knew their was probably a good reason for this baby to hang in there. After all I had done (high impact exercising,running up and down the hill by our house, pressure points and having my membranes stipped twice) I was done feeling like it was possible for me to make a difference. That night as the normal rounds of ctonractions began that I had expereinced the previous 5 nights, I decided to just try to sleep through them. At 1:30 AM I could no longer ignore them so as I had the previous nights I got up and took my phone out in the living room where I used a contraction timer app to time them. I was discouraged to see they were sporatic in length and time so I turned on the television and watched ‘The Big Bang Theory’. at about 2:30 AM witht the contractions becoming a little painful I called the hospital to talk to the nurse. My contractions were only 11 minutes apart at best and she tactfully reminded me no one has a baby when their contractions are 11 minutes apart but if I wasnted to be checked I was welcome to come up to the hospital. I decided to wait longer, telling myself it was likely a false alarm. I walked around, ate and orange and drank some water and nothing changed the discomfort of the contractions. As they began to get a little more painful I finally felt at my wits end. I didn’t care that it was snowing like crazy outside or that it was 3:30 in the morning. I was exhausted from nigths of false labor and if anything else I just needed the hope that I was cose---surely they could tell me if I had dialated past the two I had been at earlier. I woke up David and he asked if I was sure I was in labor. I honestly admitted that I wasn’t sure but I couldn’t deal with the false labor anymore and needed someone to check on me. leaving out 3 older boys sleeping our plan was for me to go up to the hospital and then he would return home with our boys and I would call and let him know whether he should come pick me up or not. Snow was falling heavily and there was already several inches on the ground. It was a beautiful drive to the hospital. He stayed with me as I got admitted and then left to go back home to get a little more sleep before the kids woke up. I felt more cheerful as I got up into the delivery room---even though I knew it was possible that this was a false alarm I felt glad knowing someone was going to be treating me as if I might be in labor---I needed to think I was.
The nurse on staff was a woman who had attended my Zumba classes in the passed so we chatted a little as she hooked me up to the machine to monitor my contractions. She checked me and said I was about 3 centimeters dilated. I was relieved to know I was no longer a two. The contractions were so uncomfortable but still not very close together but I was determined to try to get things moving a little faser. I asked if as I was checked if I could sit on a stability ball. She agreed and brought it to me and laid a sheet over it soI could sit on it. All I really wanted to do was curl up in the fetal position and try not to deal with the pain, but I was desperate to not be sent home so I sat on the ball rolling my hips in a circle and bouncing gently trying to imagine my body doing everything to help bring the baby down.
All this time I still did not know whether the baby was going to be a boy or a girl. I had a feeling deep down it was girl, but because I wanted a girl so badly--I didn’t trust the feeling as it likely was just a desire rather than intuition. The hard thing about not knowing is that I had not bonded in my mind with the baby. Knowing the sex of the baby had helped me bond and create a relationship with my previous three babies as I was able to gather clues about their personality through their movement and with the knowledge of their gender it helped me create a more complete idea of what they would be like. I was a little nervous that I didn’t feel the same connection based on my lack of knowledge, but trusted that boy or girl I would feel again that immediate mother-love.
When the nurse came into check me again I prayed I had made some progress so she would let me stay. She said I was then at 4 centimeters and because of how quickly I had progressed to that point they would keep me. I was so relieved and felt the last of my despondancy drain away giving way to excitment! I called my doula to come join me at the hospital . By then it was almost 5 AM and she showed up about 5:30AM. I was still able to handle the pain of the contractions alright on my own, but when she arrived as I had a contraction she applied pressure with her hands to each side of my hip giving me an incredible amount of relief from the pain. I was so amazed and VERY grateful. I texted David to come join me when he could but said it may still be some hours so it was not a big rush. He took the boys all over to his parents house and joined us at the hospital--bringing along his library book, ‘Sister Carrie’ to read as we waited for things to progress.
The nurse said that since it was a weekend and my doctor wasn’t even on call I would have a different doctor deliver my baby and she would call him. I was a little sad my doctor, Dr. Whitaker would not be delivering the baby, but at that point I was just anxious and excited to meet the baby. As wave after wave of contractions hit I was amazed at how with the help of my doula (she would push on pressure points each time I had a contraction) I was able to get further into my labor as the contractions grew longer and stronger. I told myself when one would start that it would only last a minute or two and then it would be over. I breathed as fully as I could imagineing the baby descending further. Soon the nurse came in and said that there had been a note in my chart from my doctor that she should be called if I went into labor on the weekend in case she was able to deliver me. Upon hearing I was in labor she agreed to come into to deliver the baby---even though it was a Sunday and she was not on call! I felt so blessed. The nurse checked me again and said I was at a 7. I was so surprised! In the past when I would get to about a 5 I would be in tears and struggling to handle the pain and pressure of the contractions. I had just started getting to a whimpering stage when I contracted, but I still felt capable. My plan all along had been to get to 7 centimeters and then have the anethesiologist come in and give me a spinal block. Even though I felt capable to continue without the pain block, I was so exhausted from lack of sleep for the past week that I decided it would be best to follow my plan so I could sleep through the last part of my labor. I asked my doula to go ask the nurse to send for the anthesiologist who I leanred was a woman who had spent a half hour with me on the phone that previous summer explaining about epidurals and giving me an education about my pain relief options. She was wonderful! It was the second mini-miricale that made me feel blessed and very loved. She was the best anthesiologist there AND her little girl was in my Zumba kids class so she was glad to help me have the best experience possible. After she administered the spinal block I felt a comfortable numbness and all the pain sensations were gone. I settled into nap as my wonderful doula (Miriam) shooed everyone out. She had kept the lights dim for me throughout the labor so with just the sound of the monitoring maching I fell asleep. It seemed only moments later that my doctor arrived. She was cheerful and insisted on checking me right away even though I wanted to keep sleeping. I was hoping I still had another hour to sleep, but she said I was at a 10 and it was time to push. A nurse wheeled in the baby crib and got the towels and baby gear ready. Because I was so numb my doctor and nurse had to position my body for delivery. I had delivered all my babies on my left side and since I hadn’t torn with any them I decided I better do it again---I didn’t want to chance additional injury. David held my leg and as a nurse announced I was having a contraction (I couldn’t tell from the numbness) I pushed. With the first push the baby head crowned and with the second the baby was born completely. It was just 6 minutes of pushing! As soon as the baby slid out David said, ‘It’s a girl--you have your girl!” I began to cry not surprised, but so relieved. It felt like the perfect end to our childbearing years and what a high note to go out on! They placed her warm little gray-toned body on my belly and began to rub her down as she cried her newborn cries. She began to look pinker and Inspite of the mess on her and on me I pulled her to me and began to nurse her where she calmed down and nursed hungrily for an hour as they finished delivering the placenta. When she was finally done nursing and I was willing they took her and cleaned her up, wrapping her in a warmed blanket donning her with the standard pink and blue striped cap before handing her back. My doula had called another young woman who is a professional photographer who came in then and took some pictures. I couldn’t believe it--I had a daughter! I had hoped and even prayed for a daughter but was not certain I would ever be mother to one. It was such a loved, contented and miraculous feeling as I cuddled her tiny 6 lb 12 oz self. It was not even 9AM when she was born. Outside it was snowy, but bright. I loved everything about her birth. I wouldn’t have changed anything and reflected at how grateful I was that she didn’t come any sooner as she was so small that every day she stayed inside must have been valuable. I loved that only women and her dad were in attendance of her birth--how fitting and beautiful! My gratitude to my Father in Heaven for allowing me to have a daughter made everything about the pregnancy and birth and after birth seem like small potatoes. I refused to complain about anything because it was so worth the wonder of having the daughter I had felt I was going to have someday but not certain it would happen. When the boys first met their little sister is was amazing--so much love from each big brother! I was a littler concerned about how Dallin would handle it, being just 2 years old,but he was as smitten as any of them and has said each day since she has been born, “I love her!” in such a sweet and adoring tone. I have no doubt they will be close. Preston and Eli want to cuddle and talk baby talk to her all the time and are eager for opportunities to hold and cuddle her. We named her Rayne Grace Westenskow. David had come up with the name Rayne although he wanted it to be Rain Grace Westenskow. I was surprised he had come up with such a unique and beautiful name. We love it, but love her much, much more.
She inspires all of us.....We love you Rayne!