Naomi Faith was born three weeks ago this Tuesday, at 9:13am. She was a week overdue, but she wasted no time at all in labor and delivery! Her labor took just over 5 hours, and she was born less than 45 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. She weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces at birth, her head was 14.25 inches around, and she was 20.5 inches long. She has dark blue eyes and head full of thick dark brown hair. In her 17 days outside of the womb, she has already added a new kind of adventure to Brad’s and my lives. I have very little extra time for writing these days, but for Naomi’s sake I have been trying to find a little time to write the details of her birth story. What follows is her story, as best as I can remember it. Enjoy!
12:30am I go to bed late after proofreading Brad’s interview questions for a potential job in Oklahoma.
4:00am I wake up and go to the bathroom. This is not unusual, because I’ve been getting up at least once a night for weeks. I feel uncomfortable, with back pain moving toward the front of my abdomen. As I lay in bed, I continually arch my back to deal with the pain. I go to the bathroom twice more over the next three hours. The contractions (which I think are more of the Braxton Hicks that I’ve been having steadily for the last two weeks) begin around 11 minutes apart, getting closer to 5-7 minutes apart, but staying at irregular intervals. I try to sleep, and leave Brad to sleep as long as I can because he’s running 18 miles the next morning as part of his marathon training. I think about going walking with him (while he runs) so that I can naturally accelerate my labor.
7:00am Brad sleepily rolls over and tells me that I’m breathing hard. I inform him that I’m breathing hard “because I hurt.” He asks me if this is “it,” and I tell him that I think she’s coming today. Brad begins timing my contractions.
7:20am Brad informs me that my contractions are coming 3-5 minutes apart, and tells me that we should think about going to the hospital. I insist that I don’t want to go to the hospital, and that I want breakfast and a shower if I’m going to be there all day. (I don’t want an Induction, Epidural, or Cesarean-Section, and I’m afraid if I show up too early they will pressure me into those options.)
Brad and I eat a bowl of cereal, and he tells my parents that I’m in labor. After watching me have contractions through breakfast that leave me bent over and groaning, my Dad urges me to go ahead to the hospital. I ask him to call Dr. Kim (my OB/GYN) and the hospital to tell them we’ll be there “sometime before noon.”
Showering and getting dressed are made very difficult by harder and harder contractions that leave me on all fours groaning in pain. Between contractions, I do manage to paint my toe nails, figuring that I’ll be staring at my feet for hours in labor. I can’t get dressed between contractions or finish packing for the hospital. On my hands and knees on the floor, face to the carpet, I gasp “Brad, help…” and look up to see him updating our Facebook status on the computer. He jumps up immediately and begins grabbing the last few things for my suitcase.
As we hurry out to the car, my Dad says we’re to go to Dr. Kim’s office first. I tell him if we go there first, I’m having the baby there. He runs in to call Dr. Kim back, and tell him that we’re going to the hospital. I have hard contractions lying in the grass on the front lawn and leaning against the truck’s bumper. Brad gives me a towel from his bag to sit on, and we’re on our way to the hospital.
8:15am Brad drives South on Route 15, driving 85 mph (30 mph over the speed limit) to the hospital. I ask him not to get pulled over or the cop will slow us down.
8:30am We pull up at the hospital and Brad runs inside to grab a wheelchair, telling the women at the desk, “My wife’s in labor!” A woman says, “I’ll help!” and follows him out to the truck. She pushes me to delivery in the wheelchair while Brad parks the car. I have four contractions in the wheelchair on the way there while they weigh me and ask for my basic information. They take me right into delivery and I climb on to the bed. My water breaks immediately. A nurse announces that I am 6-7cm dilated and asks when and what I was at my last appointment. I tell her my last appointment was yesterday, and I was only 2cm dilated!
At this point, things are a blur for me. I keep my eyes closed through a lot of the process. A nurse pokes me with an IV mid-contraction and tells me to try to hold still. (A week later my left forearm is still black and blue from this IV.) Two monitors are wrapped around my waist. Nurses keep trying to put a hospital gown on me, and I pull it off and throw it aside because it makes me feel hot and restricts my movement. Another keeps telling me to open my eyes and breathe, but I keep yelling and groaning. I position myself on the bed on my hands and knees. Brad tries to comfort me by massaging my shoulders, but I ask him to stop touching me because I’m so hot. Dr. Kim arrives, checks me, and tells me Dr. Chen will arrive shortly for delivery. Dr. Kim returns to his office (he is due to leave for a medical conference in San Francisco by 11am), but is immediately called back when the hospital staff realizes that the baby is coming now. A nurse tells me that I’m transitioning, which confuses me because I think that it will take much longer to reach this point. Dr. Kim arrives again, to my puzzlement, and tells me that the baby will be coming in about ten minutes. I keep asking Brad, “What do they mean? What are they talking about?” He keeps repeating that the baby is coming now. I’m asked to lay back on the bed, and begin pushing.
9:00am With Naomi’s birth now imminent, Brad convinces them to remove one of the monitors from my waist at my request. I ask for a mirror so that I can watch Naomi’s birth, but Dr. Kim sits right in front of it, blocking my view. As I push through one contraction after another, Dr. Kim insists on, “Chicken Wings!” He demonstrates by walking around the delivery suite doing his best impression of a chicken. I look at him as if he is insane, and ask Brad, “What is he talking about?” Brad tells me that Dr. Kim wants me to point my elbows outward when I push, not down into the bed. Everyone is talking at once and my brain is on overload. Brad and a nurse hold my legs back on either side, while Dr. Kim feels for Naomi, yanking downward on the birth canal. The pain of this action is too much for me, and I promptly interrupt everyone, yelling, “Stop! Stop! STOP! Whatever you are doing, STOP!!!” I simultaneously loose my leg from Brad’s hold and push my foot toward Dr. Kim’s arm to make him stop. Brad says I almost kicked Dr. Kim in the head! He removes his hand, scoots back on his stool, and everyone stops talking and looks at me. Then Dr. Kim explains to me what is going on. Naomi is in the birth canal, but she is “in distress” because she is momentarily stuck. Naomi’s head is too big for my birth canal, and I have a choice to make. I can have an episiotomy and have Naomi in less than 5 minutes, or I can not have the episiotomy and have her in 1-2 hours. Obviously, I choose the former.
9:13am Once the cut is made, Naomi slides out a few pushes later. As I push, Brad yells, “I see her head! She has a head full of hair! I see her shoulder! I see her other shoulder!” Once she is born, he yells, “She looks like a lizard! She sounds like a lizard!” Naomi is immediately whisked away to the other side of the curtain while Dr. Kim stitches me together again. She isn’t crying a lot, so I keep asking, “Is she okay? Can I see her?” Brad goes to the other side of the curtain and photographs her, and then comes back and shows me the photos on the camera. My legs are shaking involuntarily for a long time afterward. After Dr. Kim finishes the stitches, they place Naomi in my arms for the first time. I am so tired and shaking so much that I ask Brad to take her because I am afraid I might drop her. We both marvel that she doesn’t look like either of our baby photos, since we were both bald and blonde at birth. She nurses for the first time shortly afterward, and Brad and I just stare at her in amazement.
For most of the first hour of Naomi’s life, it is just the three of us. Brad and I snap photos and record video of her first moments. There in the delivery room we finally get to meet the little one who has grown us from a couple into a family. We are in awe of the wonder of life…the ache of pain and beauty, the mess and the miracle. Thank God for these moments that take our breath away… where words are insufficient. Thank you, God.