I remember having my first contraction on a Monday night, November 6th, after walking up many hills. When I say contraction, I do not mean Braxton hicks. I was sitting on the couch at my mother’s house and she handed me dinner. Even though I was very hungry, when my first contraction hit, I had to set down my plate of food and wait for it to pass. I knew this was much different from braxton hicks, yet that was my only one.
We went home and crawled into bed. Throughout the night I was awaken slightly by pain. Around 3:30am, I realized that this pain was my belly contracting and I began to time my contractions around 4:00am. From 4:00am to 5:00am, my contractions were consistently around 4 minutes apart, progressing to 3 minutes apart. The app on my phone where I had been recording my contractions kept saying “Go to the hospital!” I then woke up my sleeping hubby: “babe, I think we should go to the hospital.” He got of bed and said, “do I have time to shower?” I replied “I think so!” After his shower, he said, “do we have time to eat?” I replied again “I think so!” I sat on my yoga ball at our bar as he poured me a bowl of captain crunch cereal and I continued to eat breakfast between my contractions. We grabbed a phone charger and made sure our dog was good to stay in the house for a while as we left for the hospital.
On November 7th, we reach the hospital at exactly 5:45am. They had me in a smaller room to monitor my progress. Levi helped me put on the gown, as it was confusing and difficult for me between contractions. At 6:00am, I was checked and I was 3.5cm or 4cm dilated. The nurse told me to walk around for a while to see if I progressed, and if I didn’t, they were considering sending me home. Levi first ordered a coffee to wake up (haha) and then walked the halls with me. After going down all the halls, he sat on a bench and told me to do (walking) suicides. I giggled and began my sets of (walking) suicides. If you don’t know what these are, we use to run suicides in high school sports. You start at one point and run to the first line (mark on the ground), then come back, and go to the next line (a little farther) and repeat this process.
When I came back around 6:45am, they monitored baby girl’s heart beat. A different nurse came in and checked me. I was 4.5cm dilated. Again, they wanted to wait another half hour to see if I continued to progress. I really did not want to be sent home, therefore, stairs it was! (Please take a second to notice this picture where I am walking stairs and my husband is cheering me on from the bottom, bagel in hand.)
After climbing the stairs and walking more, I was excited to see my progress. I came back into the room and before I was checked, my doctor asked me to stay and be admitted. My first thought was ‘WHAT? I did stairs for nothing?” but I knew it must have helped the labor process and wasn’t for nothing. I was so thankful to be admitted because I was scheduled to be induced two days later!
They moved us to a much bigger room and Levi unpacked our bags from the car. A nurse came in to place my IV. She tried twice and couldn’t get the IV in. Another nurse came in and also struggled. The fourth time they were able to get it in my arm. Thankfully that was over! At this time, my contractions weren’t too bad (obviously) because I asked for a chocolate muffin and was dancing to music. I continued to walk around as the contractions were getting stronger and then I tried the Jacuzzi (the tub in each hospital room). After awhile, I decided to get out and walk more. As the contractions were getting very painful, I tried to keep my mind off of them as much as possible. The nurse and my husband, Levi, were sitting on the bench watching me as I grabbed one of my packed bags. I began to unpack all of the clothing items I brought for baby girl, and by ALL I mean way too many. They laughed as I organized the outfits on the shelf in the room.
At 12:40pm, my doctor came in and checked me. I was 6cm. She then broke my water. The contractions continued to be strong, and though I didn’t know they could, grew even stronger. With the amount of pain and pressure I was in, my nurse checked me again at 2:40pm and I was 7cm. I thought I would have been a lot further along with the contractions that had happened within the two hours.
Though I was discouraged, my husband encouraged me and reminded me that I could do this. I tried to walk back and forth in the room, but the pain was getting unbearable. I then decided to go in the Jacuzzi again. Here’s some advice for all the further mamas: if you go in the Jacuzzi, make sure that you bring your phone with you to tell your husband to come help you out. Although if you forgot, simply knock hard on the wall and it should get him by your side quickly! He then helped me out of the tub.. I greatly needed the help out of the tub as the intense contractions were running together. At this time, I was asking the nurse what kind of pain medicines I had as options. Again, my husband’s support and encouragement made me believe I could continue to labor naturally and without any medication. After a few minutes of monitoring the baby heart rate, I call for my husband to come help me stand. I leaned on him…
As soon as I leaned on him, my biggest contraction happened. This contraction was unlike most. An un-lady-like noise came out of my mouth. I then was able to say the words, “I cannot NOT push…”
Even though I really wanted to wait another half hour for my doctor to come, the nurse really wanted to check me, and my husband thought it was a good idea too. It was so painful the first time, but I got myself to crawl on the bed and hold onto the bed rails during contractions. Around 4:30pm, she checked me and I was over 9cm, “only a lip away,” she said. She then said, “okay I am going to go call your doctor!” as she sped-walked out of the room. Another nurse came rushing in and said “I was sent because you feel like pushing” and I said “yes!” With the pain and nerves, I do not remember who this nurse was or what she looked like.
My nurse came back in the room and said my doctor was on her way. She then proceeded to check me again and I remember her whispering to another nurse “mark her as complete.”
My nurse said, “okay, give me a little push so we will know where you are at.” On my next contraction, I did so. She said “okay, okay, this isn’t going to take long!”
The contractions were giving me the biggest urge to push. I kept thinking the nurses were going to be delivering my baby girl! I was thanking Jesus when my doctor came rushing in the door a few minutes later. She must have quickly put on gloves because in a few seconds I was pushing.
In between contractions, my husband’s face looked a little nervous as he asked our nurse, “is our baby going to be okay?” Her response was “we just need to get her out now.” Oh goodness… hearing that made this mama push like no other. And when I say no other, there were multiple broken blood vessels to prove that!
My doctor was calm and I listened to her voice. She was incredible. Little did I know, our baby girl had her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice and her heart rate was dropping. In between pushes, they had Levi place an oxygen mask over my mouth and nose in order to provide more oxygen for baby girl too. Only 22 minutes of pushing later, she arrived into the world and was screaming with beautiful and healthy lungs.
I laid back in the hospital bed, listening to the crys of our precious newborn. As she was laid on my chest, my husband reminded me to look at her, with tears in his eyes. He kept saying, “I am so proud of you.” This is a moment I will treasure forever. She was perfect with long, red-ish brown, curly hair and beautiful eyes. I fell madly in love with her immediately and more in love with my husband through the process.
We announced her name: Piper Lindsey Chappell!
She came into the world on November 7, 2017, weighing 7 pounds 7 ounces, at 1700 hours, and 20 inches long.
XO, KATLIN LINDSEY