Aiden Charles Hampton made his debut on Monday, October 29th, 2012 and I don’t think we could have asked for a better labor and delivery. You can read the details below if you’re interested (I wrote it out mostly for myself, before I forget).
I woke up Monday at 3:40am with real contractions. I was so worried about not knowing the difference between the Braxton Hicks contractions and the real thing, but everyone is right when they say “you will know.” My contractions were about 8 minutes apart at the start. I woke Andrew up to let him know and then we both rolled over to get some more sleep before what we thought would be a long day and possibly night ahead of us. Around 5:00am I got up to do a few things around the house and at 6:00am called Debra, our Doula, to give her a heads up. I was going to go about the day and let her know when we were ready for her to come over to the house. Shortly after that phone call I started to get very uncomfortable through contractions, which is when I decided I didn’t want to be awake by myself anymore and got Andrew up. He began timing contractions and they were about 5 to 6 minutes apart. Quickly between contractions, he collected our last minute items and put our hospital bags in the car. He was extremely calm, and if he was at all worried he didn’t show it. He talked me through contractions and made phone calls to Debra and the doctor’s office. After talking to Debra again about the frequency of contractions, she recommended I get in the tub to slow things down a little and she would be on her way shortly. A little before 8:00am we called my doctor’s office since my contractions were now 3.5 minutes apart. They recommended I come in to check how far dilated I was, and be admitted to the hospital if I had made enough progress (my doctor’s office is in the hospital). We updated Debra and she was meeting us at the hospital. Once at the doctor’s office between the nurse and Debra they wasted no time in deciding that I should go straight to the hospital maternity center, so that’s where we headed. I walked down the hall having a few contractions along the way, one in the elevator to the second the floor and a few more at the admitting desk. I thought the contractions felt like extremely intense cramps and I felt most of it in my lower back. Because I had back labor Andrew or Debra would massage and “hip squeeze” my back through each contraction. I was taken to the triage area where the nurse confirmed I was 7 centimeters dilated. It was roughly 9:30am. I remember thinking and saying “holy shit” a lot, partially out of shock and happiness that I had progressed so far and totally overwhelmed that we would be meeting our baby very very soon. I had expected a little more time to let that idea soak in. My water broke just a minute or two later and my socks were tossed. I began the short trek to my hospital room leaking amniotic fluid the entire way (nearly slipping a few times) and stopping to have 2 or 3 contractions as we went. Once in my room I labored in the bathroom for about 30 minutes while starting transition then moved to my hands and knees on the bed. I was lucky enough to get the 15 minute “rest and be thankful” phase before beginning to push. This is where I needed serious reassurance and guidance. It was very hard to listen and focus on what Debra and Andrew were saying to me. I thought the contractions were very intense before, but I found pushing to be extremely intense and painful. However it was a relief to be able to push and motivating to know I was so close to the end. During pushing I started saying “I can’t” a lot even though I knew I could and would and really had no choice. I started out pushing on my back but quickly realized that was not effective and switched back to my hands and knees which allowed me to make far better progress. It felt far more instinctual whereas on my back I needed more instruction on how to push. I rolled back onto to my back for the last 2 or 3 pushed so that once baby was out I could hold him right away. He arrived at 11:24am and I felt immense relief the second he was here. They laid him on my stomach and I just stared, like it wasn’t happening to me. The nurses had to tell me “hold your baby” and I remember thinking “oh yeah, he IS my baby.” Of course, at that point I was completely unaware of anything else happening in the room. Andrew was right next to me looking at our new son and Debra was taking pictures. Andrew cut the umbilical cord a few minutes after he was born. At one point the doctor held up the placenta and Andrew made a face Debra wished she’d caught on camera. I don’t think anything else about this process or experience had phased him much up to that point (but the placenta just looked so weird). Aiden was able to lay with me for almost two hours and get his first feeding before the nurse came in to do a few standard tests and procedures. It was all very quick and painless and he never left the room. Andrew was right next to him the whole time. He got a shot in each thigh and fussed for all of 10 seconds. Then Andrew, with a little assistance from the nurse, gave Aiden his first bath. Then he got swaddled and was out like a light (it was a big day after all). Once I was no longer holding him, I took the opportunity to get out of bed and shower. And Andrew finally got the opportunity to get our bags from the car. He’d been told he probably didn’t have time before delivery once we got into our room. Once things settled down in our room Andrew called our families and we emailed our friends to let them all know. The night in the hospital went relatively smoothly. After sleeping for about 4.5 hours, Aiden woke up about every two or three hours to eat and then was quickly and easily back to sleep. We saw my doctor the next morning and she approved me to be discharged around lunch, which was great since we were absolutely not interested in another night at the hospital.