Anna Joy Roberson’s Birth-Day

Our estimated delivery date was 10/16/03 (a Thursday). Mike, Levi (then 2 ½ yrs old) and I spent the evening walking through Home Depot and Meijer. I had been having lots of Braxton-Hicks and it felt good to think something might actually be happening. We went home about 10pm and slept peacefully all night. That would be the last night for a while.

Friday, 10/17, Levi went to daycare and my mom and grandma walked me all over town. They were determined to get things moving. I had been feeling great all through the pregnancy but was just ready to move on!

That evening I made supper for Mike and Levi and didn’t feel much like eating. By 9pm the Braxton-Hicks contractions were coming frequently. Started making notes of the frequency and noticed that by 11pm they were between 3-10 minutes apart. Not at all painful, but certainly noticeable.

We went to bed about 11:30. At 3am I woke quite suddenly because the “practice” contractions were no longer practice. Got up about 3:30 and ate something and walked around just to make sure it was the real thing. Sure enough, contractions continued. Called Patrice a little before 4am. Spent the next few hours in bed with Mike holding me as I breathed through contractions. Again, not terribly painful, but I could tell they were quite different.

My parents and Mike’s parents arrived about 8am. Grandpas were going to bum around town together while Grandmas stayed here to help/watch. Patrice arrived about 8:15 and things were just moving along. Levi mimicked me in my different laboring positions. Thought it was great fun!

Spent much of the labor standing/leaning over tables or chairs. Dozed a little between contractions while sitting in the computer chair. It all seemed quite bearable and peaceful. Tried eating a little sliced turkey and pears about 1:45pm but didn’t get much down. At that point I was still visiting with everyone between contractions. I felt really good.

At 2pm I was laboring in the recliner, using the arm rests as support. I was very shaky all of a sudden and wondered if that was transition. 8 minutes later during a contraction I felt a wonderful relief of pressure. My water had broken – while still in the chair!

Spent a few more minutes sitting on a blue pad which, unfortunately, hadn’t been there before. I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. Patrice and Barb helped me from the chair and Patrice commented that I was walking more like a woman who was about to have a baby. Hooray!!!

After laboring on the toilet for a few minutes I slowly made it to the bedroom. I was feeling a little worried that I wouldn’t know what to do when my body was ready to push. Patrice and Lori and Barb were so encouraging.

I positioned myself on my hands and knees about 2:45pm. After a few minutes it became exceedingly clear EXACTLY what it felt like to need to push. Oh, that felt really great to be making such progress! The warm compresses were wonderful. My mom and mother-in-law watched from the doorway, Mike was on the bed with me, Levi was napping, and Patrice, Lori and Barb were doing their thing. My dad and Mike’s dad were back by this time and stood outside the bedroom window listening through the air conditioner. It was kind of nice to be on my hands and knees because I was able to focus on the wall or the pillow in front of me and not be distracted by people’s faces or objects in the room. I kind of just centralized all of my energy and strength on myself. Lori encouraged me that I could roll over if I wanted to, but this position felt perfect. After every contraction I was able to completely relax, almost near a light stage of sleep. It was so peaceful. My arms and legs didn’t get tired at all.

After a bit of pushing Patrice helped me see through a mirror. That little hairy head was so close to being born! I tried to breathe through as much of the pain as I could but still push. I really didn’t want to tear. I was also trying not to be too noisy and wake up Levi! A few hollers of “Push, Becky!” later, that little head was out! I touched her head and commented that one would never think it was so soft by the way it felt coming out. Everyone laughed. TWO FULL MINUTES passed between her head being born and another contraction to deliver her body. During that time my body was so relaxed. She was making soft crying noises and everyone was just wiggly with anticipation. Anna Joy made her entrance into the world at 3:37pm.

After a few minutes of post-delivery activity, Levi was awakened from his nap and joined Mike and I with Anna on the bed. He was so proud and amazed with his baby sister. We had made apple pies earlier in the week and saved them for Anna’s birth-day, so by 4:15, we were all enjoying a big slice of pie.

Notes on VBAC: After my son’s labor and delivery, I did a lot of reading, praying, and soul searching. I knew that my transport during labor and eventual C-section was the right choice for us at that time, but we also knew that my body was totally capable of delivering vaginally. The rewards of Anna’s labor and delivery have so overwhelmed me. I believe Anna’s peaceful entrance into this world has played a tremendous part in her content personality, as opposed to Levi who, after 31 hours of labor, an emergency transport and C-sec, seemed entirely put-out with his arrival and screamed about it for 9 months!