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Elissa's Birth Story

by Cyndi Egbert

I went into labor the day after my due date, on my husband's birthday, after a long walk and a nap. I woke up with steady contractions about five minutes apart at 4:15 in the afternoon. My husband had just gone to work at 2:30, so I didn't want to call him too early. Thirty minutes of steady contractions convinced me that this was really labor, and I started calling the people on my prayer chain to let them know I was in labor. I had just called the last person on my list when my husband walked in the door! I hadn't called him yet. He walked in, and before I could tell him I was in labor he said, "It's time to have this baby." It was so COOL!

We went for a walk in our neighborhood, and then when it started to get dark we went to the mall and walked around for a while. I bought a new tape "A Capella: Hymns for All the World" and I couldn't wait to get home and put it in since I love their music.

When we got home, I called my mom and she took the kids (this was around 9 p.m.) to her house for a while.

I kept wanting to get in the bathtub for relief from the contractions. I must have taken about 10 baths that night. I'd sleep for a while, then get out because the water was cold, and then end up right back in there within a half hour.

Around midnight I called my mom and told her I thought it was going to be soon, so she needed to bring the kids back. She got there and my two year old wanted to snuggle with me on the bed. She started crying every time I started moaning with a contraction, so I was trying to deal with the contraction and comfort her at the same time! That didn't last for too long before she calmed down. Finally Mom took the kids into the living room and put them all down to sleep.

The contractions were getting harder to deal with and very painful (I had been having pre-labor contractions off and on for the entire week prior, and my uterus was a little sore to begin with) and I kept heading for the tub. My dh and I had a fight about this at one point because he said that every time I got in the water my contractions spaced out and it was just dragging things out. I'm not usually a mean, whiny person in labor, but I told him he was being mean to try to deny me the one thing that was making this more comfortable for me. I got back in the tub.

Around 4 a.m. my water broke. It was clear, the baby was still moving occasionally, and I felt confident that labor was progressing, albeit slowly. We went through quite a few towels, though. I didn't move around a whole lot after my water broke. I was too tired to get up and go to the tub, so I just stayed in a propped, sitting position in the corner of the bed. Around 6 a.m. my husband brought some of the hot compresses over to me and accidentally set one on my belly for a minute. The relief from the pain was exquisite. My midwives with my previous labor had only used them for the perineum, and so it never occurred to me to use them prior to that.

Within an hour I checked and I could feel the baby's head and there was no cervix. The contractions spaced out from two to three minutes to five minutes again, and I finally got some rest. I slept for the next three hours, woke up to breathe through the contractions and ask for more hot compresses, and went back to sleep. Finally, around 10 a.m. I started to feel a pushing urge. By then her head was almost on the perineum so the burning sensation started as soon as I pushed. I woke up my husband (asleep on the bed beside me) and told him it was time. He started doing hot compresses and olive oil on my perineum as her head slowly eased out. At one point I was unconsciously holding her head with my hand, keeping her from coming too quickly. My husband called to my mom, and she brought all the kids in (my five year old, my two year old, and my eight year old little sister). The kids sat on the bed next to the one I was on (we have two double beds pushed together--family bed), and my mom was taking pictures at the foot of the bed.

Elissa's head finally came out, no tears, and my husband checked for the cord. It wasn't around her neck, so, after a short break, I started pushing again with the next contraction. It took another two or three contractions for the rest of her to come out. 10:23 a.m. 18 hours. The longest labor I've had.

As soon as her head was out, amniotic fluid and meconium splashed my husband, who was NOT pleased! So we were all pretty messy. It appeared that she had passed meconium while she was in the birth canal because there was none on her face or in her mouth, but my husband wanted to suction her just in case. After I held her for a couple of minutes, he took her and started suctioning her while my mom helped me with the placenta. It came out within a few minutes and one push and then my husband cut the cord. My mom helped with the cleanup and finally my husband was ready to give up his new baby! So I took her again and she nursed at about 15 minutes of age. After she nursed for a few minutes, my husband took her back and weighed and measured her while my mom helped me to the shower. 7 lbs. 12 oz. and 17 3/4 inches. Right in the middle of our other two.

The three of us went to sleep, and the kids, after holding their new sister, went out with my mom for the day.

That's Elissa's birth story.

Copyright by Cyndi Egbert
Used by permission


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