Rooney Lowe- 6:27 AM 5 pounds 3 ounces 17 inches long
I am so excited to have this down for my own memory, but also share about my experience. I had a ton of questions of whether I was able to go unmedicated or did I have a C section, and I went unmedicated. From start to finish it was about 5 hours, and that for sure helped with being able to manage the pain. I am a huge advocate of doing whatever you want to do, and feel confident doing. For me, this was my thing, and yes I felt weak a time or two during labor, but overall I did it and I was totally in control. Such a beautiful day. Hope you enjoy!
We went to the RSL game on Saturday night and I was feeling so hot the entire game and was, honestly, exhausted. After the game, we headed home and I got into bed at about 11:30 p.m., like normal. I felt big, but the heat had been insane, so I figured it was just that.
At 1:45 a.m., I woke up having to pee, so I ran to the bathroom and a small gush came out, which made me think my water had broken. I went to the bed and told Trent what had happened. I kept thinking, “my doula is in Oakley, I can't bug her, and everyone else thinks I'm totally fine right now.” I decided I should start texting her because I couldn't sleep and I felt like I was leaking (sorry, TMI). I finally got up and walked around and called the on-call doctor, who told me go to the hospital because it sounded like my water broke and they would want to check me.
I woke up Trent and we were both hesitant, but decided we would take it seriously and started gathering our bags and supplies. I called my photographer, Tracy, and videographer, Bri, to tell them it was all going down. I kept calling my sweet doula and started to realize she had no service in Oakley and I would just have to wait until she got service again. I then ran to the bathroom where a huge gush happened and I knew for sure at that moment that it was my water breaking. I looked at Trent and was, like, “this is real.”
We both stayed fairly calm, shockingly, got our things together, and loaded the car. I knew that if I was, in fact, in labor, it would be a long time, so I had Trent stop and grab me a donut and Gatorade at a 7-11 on the way to the hospital.
We arrived at Alta View Hospital at about 2:15 a.m. and checked in, cool as can be. They took us to a room to get started, where they took a swab test to see if my water had broken. The test came back inconclusive, so they did a different test, which confirmed it was “go time.” It was funny that I was in labor, because I have a video of me that Trent took where I was talking calmly, not knowing that everything was about to go down. Throughout my pregnancy, I had said over and over that I really hoped my water would break on its own, so I was relieved that it actually did.
I started to slowly have contractions. Trent and I were shocked because they came on really quickly and were only 3-4 minutes apart. At first, I labored quite a bit on the toilet because the position was relaxing. They needed a solid 20 minutes of monitoring me, so they had me get back in bed and that was when the contractions picked up even faster. I would say, at that point, it felt like the contractions were happening every 2 minutes and all I wanted was to get in the Jacuzzi they offered. I had tested positive for Group B Strep a few weeks prior, so we knew I would also needed antibiotics during labor. They were eager to get those started so I could get enough of the dosage. At one point, the head nurse, Callie, who acted in a way as my doula, said they needed me to labor for 8 hours to get through both doses of the antibiotic because they had to be so many hours apart (I’m allergic to penicillin, so the alternate antibiotic took twice the time). With how bad my contractions were, I was feeling a little defeated that I would have to get through 8 hours of these contractions without any medication. Trent was amazing in encouraging me to stay positive and breathe, telling me how strong I was and that I was able to do this without an epidural. I could not have done this without him. They finished the monitoring and sent us to the Jacuzzi and said they would send in my antibiotics for me to start them. I got in the tub, and that's honestly where things get hazy for me. Trent told me all I requested was a fan to cool me off and pressure on my lower back. After about 30 minutes, I felt like I needed to use the bathroom, so Trent helped me up and took me back to the hospital room. I started feeling the urge to push, so I sat down to go to the bathroom, but realized it was a contraction and not a bowel movement. I tried to get back to bed, but instead just dropped to my knees to get through the contraction. At that point, I kept thinking, “I need to push, I need to push.” I couldn’t do anything except lie on the ground. She was worried about me because they really needed me to have that first round of antibiotics, so she wanted me in the bed. I felt like I couldn't move and Trent said I threw a tiny tantrum (there had to be one during labor, right?). On the bathroom floor, there in my room, they laid me on my back, and the nurse got down on the floor next to me to check me and I was dialated to a 7. I had gone from a 2 1/2 to a 7 in under an hour and a half. She was coming so fast! I truly felt fairly good at this point, I was happy to know I was a 7, but honestly I'm not sure I really realized what was going on. I really had gone to another world.
They got me on the bed, hooked me up to the antibiotics, and, at that point, contractions were coming fairly quickly. Truly, I don't remember a whole lot at that point, but I do remember the nurses being worried because her heart rate was dropping. Throughout the pregnancy and earlier in labor, her heart rate was between 140-150, but it had dropped to between 60 and 80. Once I realize what they were saying, I remember thinking that I didn't care how bad this hurts, I would go in any position that they wanted to get her heart rate up. They kept flipping me from side to side to try and increase her heart rate. From what I understand, I got one round of antibiotics, and with her heart rate dropping, the nurses kept checking my dilation and decided that we needed to get the baby out ASAP. To help stop me from pushing and having my cervix swell, they had me do low groans, and I still am shocked at the distraction it created and how it helped me get through each contraction.
One thing I remember was that their checking of my cervix was way worse than my contractions. They checked me again and I was about a 9 and almost fully effaced. Within what felt like seconds to me but I'm sure was a couple minutes, they had checked me again and I was fully dilated and fully effaced and ready to go. We were still waiting for my doctor to show up, so the lead nurse helped me through my laboring and said that they might need to just deliver the baby because of her heart rate. Then I heard them say, “Dr. Smith is here, we're ready to go!” I briefly remember thinking in my head, “oh my gosh, this is it!” I somehow had made it through my entire labor naturally, with no medication, and so fast. At that point, I remember being worried that I was going to tear, but those feelings went away pretty quickly when I realized we were about to start pushing my baby out. They laid me on my back, which is something I hadn’t been sure I wanted to do, but at that moment it felt the best because it brought little girl’s heart rate back up and she was normalized and totally good to go. They let me push at my own pace and when I was ready, and then as I was pushing, they would coach me through different things. I was so happy that they let me push when I was ready and that I wasn't feeling pressured to push when I wasn't ready. Pushing honestly was my favorite part because I felt so much relief at that point, and it just felt good to get pressure off of my back. During the pushing, nobody was giving me progress updates, except I remember hearing my photographer, who is one of my best friends, say, “Oh my gosh, she’s crowning!” Once I heard that, I was so excited that we were close! I have to admit one of the things I was looking forward to the most when I was pushing was being able to know how long and how hard I could push. I truly believe that helped my labor because I really was in such control with my body at that moment and I didn't feel like I was questioning what was going to happen or if I was going to push too hard. One thing I requested was, when I was pushing, that I was able to reach down and feel her before she came out, and it's so interesting because I did reach down, but it truly did not feel like a baby at that point. We got her head out and I remember Dr. Smith saying, “Okay, let's get her shoulders.” Once she came out, I remember feeling so much relief in my body and so much happiness and they immediately put her on my chest. I honestly was so exhausted, but felt like this was the most euphoric experience I'd ever gone through. I was able to hold her on my chest, kiss her, touch her hands, look at her with Trent, and just take it all in. My little tiny miracle was here!!! We waited to cut her cord until it stopped pulsating, and I delivered the placenta, which felt like the second-most relief ever! At that time, they did ask to take her for a second because her temperature was fairly low. Trent went with her and got some good time with her! They brought her back within about 20 minutes, and she went straight to breast-feeding immediately. She was such a champ already! Before they had handed her back to me, they weighed her and she came in at 5 pounds and 3 ounces. We all honestly were so shocked that she was so tiny!! I had requested that they waited to do any other testing until after I got some one-on-one time with her. It did take me about 30 minutes to stop shaking from the adrenaline, which freaked me out a little bit. They took her one more time and drew some blood due to my Group B Strep and the fact I didn’t get all the antibiotic doses. After that I got my baby. We just spent the next few hours taking it all in, and enjoying the moment.
At the end of the day, it was perfect. Everything that I wanted to have happen truly happened. I've never felt so happy and so lucky. We love our little girl so much and are so grateful for everyone's kind words and for everyone who has reached out. It really means the world to us. I also want to mention what an amazing partner Trent was and how glad I am we did relaxation classes together to help us both prepare. It made the experience so calming and we were able to really work together as a team.
Huge thank you also to the staff at the Alta View Hospital. Without my labor nurse, Carrie, I honestly am not sure I would have been so calm and able to be in control. You all are amazing and I will never forget this experience.
Imagery by Tracy Layne Photography
Video by Bri Robbins - Copper Creative