The Birth of Kateri Elizabeth Ann Costello
August 1, 2018
8 lbs 1 oz
19 in long
39 weeks 4 days gestation
Wednesday, August 1 I woke at 4:30 am. This was becoming my norm and I had not been sleeping well for some time. I began noticing contractions and began timing them while laying in bed; 6 mins apart for about an hour. I got excited thinking that today was finally going to be the day!!! I got up around 6am and quietly crept to the couch. I started reading in a large family facebook group about funny birth stories that made me laugh. Contractions were still 6 mins apart, but nothing to write home about. Jeremiah got up around 7:30, along with Gabriel. I told him what was going on and he decided to cancel some plans he had for the day. He started doing a happy dance around the house. I was annoyed. Because when you’re 39.5 weeks pregnant, everything is annoying!
We got kids fed and dressed for the day and I threw a few more things into the van that I thought I’d need at the hospital. Meanwhile, my contractions STOPPED. Kyle and Alissa offered to take the older 2 girls to the fair, and Gabriel was at school. That just left us Ruth. We decided to go for a walk to try to bring on contractions. (We had been walking every night so I wasn’t sure this was going to do anything special!) We walked for over an hour. No contractions. I was seriously annoyed and disgusted.
By this time Gabriel was back from school and it was lunchtime. I was so disgusted with my lack of progress that I made myself a sandwich and sulked in the corner of the porch by myself. I then promptly left for my massage appointment at 1pm, without offering to help with lunch. With Ruth I had a ‘labor induction massage’ that worked wonders, so I had scheduled one for this day, hoping I would have already had a baby by now. About halfway to the appointment, the lady let me know that she would have to reschedule, she was heading to the hospital with a doula client. Ugh. I knew I shouldn’t be upset, and it sure wasn’t her fault, but of course, I was annoyed.
I headed home and limped upstairs for a nap, as mostly everyone in the house was doing the same. I slept for about 1.5 hours then came downstairs. We sat on the porch and visited with my parents who had stopped by and then I played Gabriel in a game of checkers. I was seriously uncomfortable, and not because my 9 year old was beating me. I had so much pelvic pressure, random contractions that had no rhyme or reason, pain everywhere and swelling everywhere. My pelvis hurt the most, especially just above my pubic bone. I was cranky. I went inside to use the restroom and upon walking back across the living room floor, I felt a gush of water. I thought there is no way my water just broke! It was 5pm.
I told Jeremiah that I thought my water just broke and he sat upright real quick. Gabriel launched into big brother mode and started putting on his and Ruth’s shoes. We had told the kids previously that when it was time to go to the hospital they needed to MOVE. With my last delivery things had went quickly and I wasn’t planning on delivering a baby on the side of the road! G got Ruth in the van and just as we were climbing in, Kyle and Alissa arrived to drop off the older girls from the fair. They offered to take all the kids and drop them off at my parents, so we could GO. I was thankful for that as I was already feeling the baby move lower and contractions were starting to feel more real.
We drove very quickly to the hospital, but of course there was a lot of traffic. I thought we were going to be in an accident more than once. I was timing contractions and they were 2-3 mins apart consistently and getting quite painful.I let our midwife, Kim, know we were on our way.
I was relieved when we got to the hospital. Kim called just as we were getting out of the car and let us know she was on her way. We walked all the way up to labor and delivery and checked in. I was hurting. Check in seemed to take forever. They got us in a triage room and Kim arrived. She checked me and said I was 5 cm and cervix was ‘paper thin’. I had been 3.5 cm a few days ago so I wasn’t impressed. She reassured me that it would not take long. Kim has been our midwife for almost 8 years and delivered all of our girls. She knows us well and has become a great friend and fellow Christian. She kept telling me that she’d be home my 9 pm, which meant I’d go quick. I wasn’t so sure. They started my IV and got it on the first stick, then capped it off.
They wheeled me in a wheelchair to the labor room. They offered me a gown and I declined, I’d rather birth in my own clothes, thank you very much. They double checked that I wanted no pain medication. They hooked me up to the monitor and I sat there in bed. Jeremiah kind of paced. At this point I was scared. My contractions had dwindled to almost nothing and were very spread out. I was thinking that this was probably going to be an 8am birth at this rate. Again, I was super annoyed with my body. This was supposed to go fast!!!!
After 20 or 30 mins on the monitor Kim told me she had saw 2 drops in baby’s heart rate that were a little concerning, enough to keep me on the monitor. I knew this was necessary but the LAST place I want to be in labor is in bed. Kim knows this about me and said I should sit on the birthing ball for awhile and I could still be monitored. I sat there and bounced, rolled and did pelvic rocks and talked to Kim about women’s health physical therapy, her kids, what I wanted to eat after labor, etc etc. My contractions had slowed to every 5 or 6 minutes. They hurt some, but between them I was bored. Why was this taking so LONG?! (Looking back, at this time I think we had been at the hospital a whole hour, so it wasn’t really that long). I told Kim my concerns but she said that contractions don’t always have to be right after another to deliver, and that I might be surprised. We joked that I hoped this would be a Quick Bix and not a marathon.
Kim said she was going to give me a ‘smell of pitocin’ which means she hooked me up to the lowest dose available. I’m a very naturalistic birther and really don’t like intervention, but at this point I knew this could help. I wanted a baby already!
Within a few minutes, contractions were stronger and a bit closer. I was still sitting on the ball. They let me up to go to the bathroom then Kim suggested I try hands and knees to see if this would put more pressure on my cervix and speed things along. Lucy and Ruth were both born in this position so I was all about it. Instantly I had stronger contractions. I was getting noisy at this point and a bunch of people showed up. I looked over my shoulder and saw that sterile blue cart that they bring in when you’re about to deliver. Jeremiah was at my side, letting me have the death grip that I needed on his hand and arm and he kept telling me what a great job I was doing. I think I had maybe 15-20 mins of contractions in this position then felt really pushy. I threw up and thought I was going to die, literally. The pain was so bad. Kim suggested I roll to a reclined position but I told them I was staying where I was. 2 nurses gave me counterpressure on my hips and Kim kept encouraging me and telling me ‘strong work Sarah!!’. She checked me again and said 8cm, almost complete and then tried a maneuver to slide a lip of cervix over the baby’s head. I started bawling between contractions but it didn’t last more than a few seconds and I was pushing……once….twice….and I felt the baby’s head slide out. I thought I was done but all these people who suddenly appeared told me to keep going! Keep pushing! I did as told and heard the baby cry! A nurse announced 7:47pm. 2.75 hours from start to finish. YES!!!!!! Jeremiah had disappeared so I knew he had caught the baby. (He’s caught all the kids except Amelia, which was my fault because I couldn’t release the death grip). I was SO RELIEVED at this point and started crying myself. I was still on my hands and knees, with all my clothes still on and my skirt hiked up. They handed the baby up to me between my knees and I announced she was a girl! We had all guessed this baby was a boy, so another girl was quite a surprise! I was elated with either one, and just completely relieved that labor and delivery was over. She had great color and was still crying. She looked perfect! Kim waited until the cord stopped pulsing then clamped it and Jeremiah cut it. Then I carefully and painfully turned over and sat on the high part of the bed while she checked me out. No tears, no stitches! I have never had stitches due to birth and was exceptionally happy that this was the case again. All those deep squats I did paid off!!!!
The nurses kept pushing on my belly and that was intense pain all over again. I realize the importance of this but it still hurts a LOT. I delivered the placenta and I told Kim I wanted to see it. That thing is absolutely AMAZING. We commented that the ‘tree of life’ image in the placenta would make a great art piece. I kind of wished I had a print of it!
We decided on Kateri for a name, which was our top choice, and because I didn’t think she looked like any of the other secondary options we had decided on. Kateri checked out great and weighed in at 8lbs 1 oz. We are completely in LOVE with our new baby girl!
I always feel incredibly blessed to have such an amazing husband and midwife to guide and support me through birth. They are nothing short of incredible and I am exceedingly blessed. A beautiful birth for a beautiful girl!!!
If you’re in the mood for more birth stories:
Ruth’s birth story
Amelia’s birth story
Lucy’s birth story
Gabriel’s birth story