Birth Story: Riley

July 1, 2009 {Krista & Chico: A long, long labor…}

My birthing journey began late in the night on Sunday the 28th of June. I remember waking up with slight cramping that I had never quite experienced throughout my pregnancy thus far. A slight anticipation came over me wondering if this could possibly be the beginning of Riley’s welcoming. I slept off and on throughout the night, waking every few hours with cramping, but I was always able to fall back to sleep. The next morning, Monday June 29th, I was up early and wanted to go for a walk to see if I could maybe get some things moving… this was at 7 am… when I got back to the house I could still feel the bouts of cramping that now seemed to be amplifying. By 10 am I was making my second breakfast and at this point had to stop every few minutes to sort of lean onto the counter while my “contraction” took place. Chico walked by and asked if I was alright? I told him I was fine just feeling a little different and experiencing some cramps that were getting stronger. He had a look of slight panic in his face and asked if we should call someone… I told him no, we should wait it out a little longer.

Throughout the day the cramping continued and we went to the store to get the last of our supplies, just in case Riley decided to make her appearance a few weeks early (I was 38 weeks at this point). By 4 pm I knew something was going on and decided to call the birth center. I spoke with Mfon and she instructed me to call the midwife on call because from the sounds of things I may have been starting my labor. I called and got Christina on the phone, she said it would result in one of two things, either the labor was going to progress or it was going to fizzle away…. it definitely didn’t fizzle away, by 9 pm that night I was experiencing hard contractions 5-10 minutes apart, they stayed this way for quite some time but by 2 am (Tuesday the 30th) I called Christina back explaining to her that my contractions were 2 minutes apart and coming on very strong. She said she would be down within the hour. By 2:30 am Christina had left another birth and was at our home in Venice. She brought with her our pool we hadn’t gotten yet along with all her other supplies. She checked my cervix soon after and we found I was about 5cm dilated… baby soon we hoped??

Yeah right!

We labored through the night and into the next morning, I was still having really strong contractions but they varied anywhere from 2-15 minutes apart… we walked around the house a lot, I rocked in the rocking chair a lot and used the birthing ball a TON… but still no Riley yet… all day Tuesday we continued the same thing, walking, rocking, sleeping whenever possible, and pretty much carried on normally other than the fact that whenever a contraction occurred, my world stopped and became reminded by the fact that there was a little girl waiting to be born. By Tuesday evening and into the wee hours of the night, I was in hard labor, everything became about getting this baby out…not really joking as much anymore, and more exhausted than anything. Chico was growing more and more quiet, wondering if this was going to ever end…around 3 am I was back in the pool for a third time, this time though, I knew she was coming. My body was aching, I was tired, and I just wanted her to be here already. I was shaky and couldn’t stop moving in the water..my contractions were making me dry-heave and there were times when I wished so badly that I could just get a little break, the contractions were one on top of the other… I was experiencing pain I have never had to endure in my life… this coming from a strong-willed athlete my whole life, experiencing many different injuries and levels of pain. But this was the WORST.

I was able to feel her head inside me and at one point I felt a pop, like if a blister had popped, and I said “Oh Shit!” My water broke, everyone laughed and Christina said that’s what it’s supposed to do and not to worry, I was already in the pool… I was worried about tearing and with each push was reminded by Christina and the birth assistant to hold and wait a few moments, I knew that once her head was out, things would be ok. I was pushing and pushing, sounds emanating from my body I had never heard, groans and moans I never knew I could muster up… I pushed and pushed, getting her head out and feeling it in my hands, and after a few more pushes I had her out and pulled her from the water onto my chest (5:11 am July 1st). The first thought was wow, she’s so tiny, and her eyes looked like black holes on her face. She was mushy and warm, not making much noise at all. She lay on my chest as I lay there both relieved and astonished… Chico at first sight of me pulling her out of the water had jumped in the tub to love and greet us both. We sat only for a minute trying to soak everything up, even to this day there are parts about the birth I have to have Chico tell me, my body and mind were in another world. After being helped to the bed, I felt relieved, relaxed, and intrigued by this new life that lay before me. What an experience!

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