Jane's Birth Story

Jane Elizabeth Cowan was born on December 26, 2009, at Baptist Hospital at 7:01 p.m. She weighed 6lbs 4oz and was 19 inches long with an Apgar score of 8-9. What a tremendous and overwhelming blessing to have a healthy baby girl—our first!

When it all began…

After a very lazy and restful Christmas day, my husband, Richard, and I finally turned out our lights at around midnight. Not long after, at about 1:30 a.m. I got up to go to the bathroom, as usual! When I got back in bed, I had two waves of menstrual-like cramps about ten minutes apart. These cramps made me feel as though I needed to have a bowel movement, so I got up and headed to the bathroom once again. On the way, I felt a trickle of water coming down and proceeded to lose about a cup of liquid once I made it to the toilet. It was cloudy and tinted pink, so I told Richard I thought my water had broken. How exciting! Our due date was Dec. 24, so we were ready to meet our baby!

After my water broke, my contractions continued steadily. They were about 8-9 minutes apart and very bearable at this point. Once we determined that our baby really was on the way, we went downstairs at around 2:00 a.m. to get something to eat while my contractions were still mild. About an hour later, I got up to pee again and a giant gush of water came running down my legs. I just stood there laughing because I couldn’t believe how much fluid was coming out! It seemed like a gallon and soaked a couple towels, along with my pants, and it really did smell like ammonia, or some kind of cleaning solution—crazy!

At that point, we decide to shower and try to go back to bed… no luck! I was way too anxious and a bit uncomfortable to sleep. I managed to rest for half an hour while we listened to the “Fear Clearing” track from our Hypnobabies class. After that, it felt best to get up and move around. We had fun taking a final round of pregnant belly pictures, and then I tried to distract myself by puttering around the house: changing the sheets, doing laundry, packing last minute things for the hospital, snacking and trying to drink a lot of water.

At about 6:30 a.m. Richard texted our doula, Gaylea, to let her know labor was definitely in progress. By around 8:30, my contractions were getting more frequent and more intense. I knew they were picking up steam when I couldn’t even be distracted by watching a girly romantic comedy—ha! So, we decided to go ahead and ask Gaylea to come over and help. She arrived around 9:30, just as we were finishing listening to the “Easy First Stage” track from Hypnobabies. I then put “Birthing Day Affirmations” on repeat and listened to it for the next several hours while Richard and Gaylea helped me through each pressure wave.

Richard and Gaylea were a great team. Richard helped me emotionally and mentally by speaking encouraging words to me and reminding me of some Hypnobabies techniques for relaxation and comfort. Meanwhile, Gaylea helped me physically by massaging my lower back with oils, and rotating my hips while I leaned over the kitchen counter. To my surprise, it was my hips that hurt the most. With each contraction, it felt as though they were cracking. I am a fairly petite person, so I guess they needed to spread apart at lot to let the baby through.

At around 1:30 p.m. Gaylea said it was time to go to the hospital. I was so relieved and ready to get the show on the road! After a short drive, we checked in and they put me in an exam room. They told me to pee in a cup, but for some reason I couldn’t, even though I was drinking fluids all morning. While I was in the bathroom, a huge wave of oxytocin must have hit because I vomited. That kind of scared me because it made my pressure waves seem even more intense if they made me to throw up. Luckily, it only happened that one time.

Then, after 12 hours of labor, I got some pretty discouraging news… The nurse checked me and said I was only 3 cm dilated. What?!?! You mean I’m not even a third of the way there?! Gaylea thinks that I was further along at home, but switching to the unfamiliar hospital environment caused my cervix to close up. This also may explain why I couldn’t pee when I first got to the hospital. I was really disappointed and didn’t think I could keep going without an epidural. My pressure waves were really intense and picking up speed. Could I really keep this up? We talked to the doctor about the procedure for getting an epidural, just in case I needed one. I learned that the first step is getting an IV, so I decided to go ahead and do that. It was comforting to know I was one step closer to getting pain relief if I needed it. Also, it was really nice not to have to worry about drinking so much water, since the IV was now hydrating me. Thankfully, we had a wonderful nurse and doctor who were very supportive of me trying to deliver naturally. So, I decided to keep going…

At about 5:00 the doctor checked me and said I was at 5 cm. I was discouraged not to be further along and seriously doubted whether I had the mental and physical strength to keep going. The doctor told me that often the first 5 cm. were the hardest and slowest, so things could move more quickly now. I didn’t really believe him and wanted to give up, but Richard encouraged me to persevere through a few more contractions and then reassess. So, I labored in bed, where the doctor had checked me, for about another half hour, although I had preferred to stand or sit on the birth ball and lean over the bed.

All of the sudden, at around 5:30, I got an uncontrollable urge to push. That made me really worried because I knew you weren’t supposed to push at 5 cm. This kept happening with each contraction, so I got out of bed and changed positions to try to stop it. When that didn’t work, and my “pushing sounds” got stronger and louder, the nurse came in to check me again. That’s when it all changed… I was at 8 cm!! Praise the Lord, it was finally happening!!! I was so relieved and grateful. I don’t remember feeling any more pain after that. Gaylea thinks it is because the fear and discouragement were finally gone. Wow, the power of the mind is amazing!

A short half hour later, at around 6:00-6:15ish, I had reached 10 cm, so I climbed in bed and got on my left side to push “for real.” Richard was holding my leg and trying not to cry while Gaylea sat by my head and talked me through the pushing phase. We also put on the “Pushing Baby Out” track, but I didn’t hear a thing. Although, I was glad we were playing our Hypnobabies tracks because it seemed to make all the personnel in the room be more quiet and respectful. So, I just closed my eyes and tried to focus on each pressure wave that told me to push. Gaylea told me to curl around my baby and push like I was having a BM (which I think I did!). I couldn’t feel anything except for a slight burning when the baby was crowning, so I didn’t even know when the head came out! When they told me, I couldn’t believe it was almost over. Then the shoulders just slid on out and our baby girl arrived at 7:01 p.m.

Richard said “It’s a girl” about three times and was so happy and proud and relieved that the baby and I were healthy and safe. He cut the cord, which had already stopped pulsing, and they put our little girl on my chest. I couldn’t believe it was over and that I had a beautiful, healthy daughter. She was so amazing… within minutes she wiggled over and started nursing! About ten minutes later, they took her over to be cleaned and weighed, and then they brought her back for more nursing. She didn’t leave our sight for the rest of the night!