Kaiser’s Fort Riley birth occurred smack dab between the first and second days of my doula training; how cool it was to put some of my new knowledge to use! I knew that Tia needed to decide between a doula and a birth photographer early in her pregnancy and I was honored that she chose to hire me. She had a very quick birth and I was relieved to discover not just how comfortable I felt playing a major role in her labor support, but how easy it was to adjust to her needs while also capturing the images to illustrate her story.
The day started like any other. I spent most of the day cleaning and then took a hot bath. After my bath I got dressed and posted my 40 week bump photo (a day late) and captioned it about how comfy baby was in there… little did I know that in 2 hours I’d be in labor.
We went grocery shopping around 6pm and I started feeling a bit off. I messaged Tammy telling her that I wasn’t feeling the best, but I was convinced it was just gas pains. By 7pm I had my first contraction. I sat down to time them, and right off the bat they were 5 minutes apart. After an hour and a half of them 3-5 minutes apart I decided to go in to the Fort Riley birth center at Irwin Army Hospital to be checked.
The nurses told me that I’d be monitored for about 25 minutes before they admitted me. 25 minutes had come and went, and I was still being monitored. Tammy asked me if I wanted her to come on out and we decided she would, even if something happened and I stalled out.
I had to send the husband and toddler away because things were getting too intense. My slight discomfort quickly turned downright painful and I texted Tammy telling her that I didn’t care about a natural birth anymore and I just wanted an epidural because things were getting too painful too fast.
I sent my husband down to get the hospital bag and just before 10pm a doctor FINALLY came back in to check me… to my disappointment she told me I was still 3-4cm dilated and they were sending me home until things were “more consistent”. What’s more consistent than contracting every 2-3 minutes?
Tammy showed up right after I got the news. Things picked up again and I started getting nauseous and shaky. We debated between walking the hospital or going home, and nothing sounded better to me than a hot bath, so home it was. We left the hospital at 10:55pm.
My husband took our son to a friend’s house. While my husband was gone Tammy helped me through contractions by rubbing my head and pouring warm water on my back. I remember asking her what if things stalled, because for a short time things seemed to be calming down.
I lied down in the bath and felt a small pop and gush and told her I thought my water had broken. That is EXACTLY what I wanted because I knew I’d be admitted and we’d have a baby! Again, things started picking up very quickly and it was very difficult to relax during contractions.
Minutes later my husband got home and we told him I was ready to go to the hospital. At that point, any “big move” I made had to be planned around contractions. I had a few more upstairs while getting dressed. We waited through one more before I ran down the stairs. We waited one more, which had me screaming, before I ran to the car.
We sped to the hospital with me screaming and apologizing to my husband, Tammy following close behind. I told my husband I couldn’t walk through the parking lot, so he stopped by the door and got a wheelchair.
We got upstairs, and announced that we were back. I don’t think anyone took us very seriously until I started screaming and crying that I NEEDED something to take the edge off before I got out of the wheelchair. Somehow though, I was coaxed out and soon felt baby’s head drop and the urge to push.
At that point all the pain was gone and it just felt amazing to push. The nurse checked me and told me he was coming. It didn’t really register until Tammy very excitedly started telling me that I did it, and was getting the natural birth I wanted.
They got me back into the wheelchair and put me into a delivery room. All I could do was cling to the side of the bed and push.
Suddenly, 20 minutes after arriving back to the hospital, my beautiful baby boy was placed on my chest.
Things happened so fast I’ve had a hard time piecing it all together. Tammy was able to document it all for me and I am very grateful that I was able to focus on the moment while she captured all the pictures. These mean more to me than I could ever put to words.