I honestly can’t believe that it has been 12 days since this beautiful little girl entered our lives.
Today is the day she was “due,” but, in true Alfonso fashion this child would not be held back!
So here is the story of our little girl’s fast and explosive entry into our world!
Someone (Nana and Papa?) was looking out for us up there.
On Monday night/Tuesday morning I woke up at 2:15 with some uncomfortable, but not painful, contractions. Unable to fall asleep I timed them and they were running about 3-5 minutes apart. Is this labor? Is this not labor?
At 4:30 I finally called my mom and told her I thought I was in labor and to please come to Philadelphia that day. I told her not to worry about flights because I could get a sitter, so around 6 am she left Erie. Once she was about halfway here, and it would have been silly to turn around, labor stopped.
I slept for a few hours and woke up feeling slightly stupid and embarrassed about the 4 am phone calls to my mom and doula; not to mention the fact that now my mom was in Philly and I felt so bad that she might be just sitting around with us for 2 more weeks – a woman who has never been known to sit around in her life!
Tuesday rolled along with a few, random contractions but nothing registering pain or making me stop what I was doing.
I went to bed around 9:30 that night and slept until about 2:15. At that point I woke up, mind still churning with guilt and the feeling that this baby was going to hang out for a few more weeks. I read a little bit and fell back asleep around 3:30. At 4:15 I heard Reny get up to go to the bathroom (he had been sleeping on the couch) and I asked him to come up and lay with me. We talked a few minutes and then fell asleep.
At 5:30 I woke up with some cramps. I went to the bathroom, came back and closed my eyes. Another crampy feeling. Around the 3rd feeling I felt the urge to vocalize through the contraction. Went back to the bathroom. Came back and laid in bed with Reny. I had 3 or 4 more contractions that were painful and I held Reny’s hand (I don’t even think he remembers that – in fact at one point he mumbled, “Reny stop” – they have been doing a lot of cosleeping over the past few months!) Between the need to hold his hand and vocalizing I thought that maybe this was the real thing – but wasn’t counting my chickens just yet. I decided that I needed to change positions to see if anything changed (or stopped) and start timing. I got in the shower and had a few contractions but the water felt good. While I was in there a certain little boy ran up the stairs and my mom followed asking if everything was ok – I said yes, that I was having contractions but they still weren’t too bad and that I would be down soon. I went downstairs, made a cup of tea and sat down to watch Ren and my mom read some books. My mom then poured Ren a bowl of cereal and I sat down with them but I didn’t sit too long and the next few contractions were more comfortable on my hands and knees. At this point I called upstairs to Reny that he better call for someone to open the restaurant that morning – I didn’t think he would be making it! I had the sudden urge to go to the bathroom – so I did and had a few major contractions while on the “potty.” I called to Reny and, once I was relaxed enough to move, went upstairs and jumped in the hot shower with him. The contractions began coming faster and faster at this point and I needed him to apply pressure to my lower back. We got out of the shower and I attempted to dry my hair
… umm yea …
At this point I was falling down to lean on the toilet every minute or so and calling for Reny to apply pressure to my lower back. I had texted Brittany while on the toilet not 20 minutes before and now told Reny he better call her and tell her to meet us at the hospital.
Reny calls Brittany to meet us at the hospital
While on the phone with Brittany my water broke and I knew that we better hurry up. I threw my hair in a ponytail, Reny ran downstairs to grab a water bottle and my mom ran up to help me get dressed. I ran down the stairs and had to stop in the hall with a contraction. When we got outside, I had to get down on all fours, in the rain, on the sidewalk, with another strong contraction. At this point I kept thinking/saying “I can’t do this. I can’t do this,” and I knew then that I was in trouble, that this baby was coming soon! Reny threw the bag in the car, got me off the ground, into the car, and got out the phone.
We call the midwives to tell them we are on the way to the hospital.
We then headed out in rush hour traffic. I couldn’t sit so I leaned over the back of the seat, Reny applying pressure to my back while driving. When we arrived at the hospital entrance (about 8:15 AM) the entire driveway area was full so Reny parked in the middle of 8th St. and I got out, immediately collapsing onto all fours on the sidewalk. A (very pretty – very Irish!) woman walking by asked me if I was ok and if I wanted her to get a wheelchair from inside. I just looked up at her and I guess she took one look at my face and turned to run inside – all I heard was her click-clacking as she ran into the hospital lobby. Reny came up from behind me, picked me up and helped me into the lobby where, once inside the doors and out of the rain, I again got down on all fours. The security guard told me he called for a stretcher and, at about that same time, I saw 2 women in scrubs running toward me. They got me in a wheelchair and ran to the elevator. We had just gotten on the elevator when I heard “please press 2” and the nurse said, “unless you want to help us deliver this baby on the elevator we are going to 3 first and the rest of you can get off where you need to after”
We got off on three, they ran me into a delivery room (yay! No triage!) and starting firing questions at me as they got me undressed like “whats your name? Who’s your doctor?” Seriously – it was going super fast. I laid down and a resident checked me saying “6cm” Really!? 6cm!?!? I knew there was no way I was only 6cm! I immediately rolled over on my knees, holding on to the top of the bed and my midwife, Judy, came in. She asked “are you pushing?” and I said “I think I am” and she checked me and said “there’s no cervix” (2 minutes after the resident said 6cm … body knows better than doctor!) and I said “I need to poop” and began to push. At this point Judy looks around and says, “where’s Dad?” and I think my reply was along the lines of “I don’t know but I need him!” and at that point I looked up and saw Reny and Brittany running into the room (she was at the elevator when he came in from parking the car)
I said I was hot and Brittany put a cold cloth on my head, took off my gown and I began to push. I pushed and thought (said?) “I don’t remember how to do this!” and immediately remembered reading in Ina Mays book that when you say/think that, you are doing exactly what you should be doing. I pushed again and “oh my God” it hurt – it really really hurt but I felt the baby’s head pushing down, every inch of her body pressing against mine, the midwife massaging my perineum and asking me if I could lay on my side (I was on my hands and knees). I said no, pushed again (ring of fire) and then gush/explosion/force of energy she rushed out. I was watching between my legs and, while I didn’t see her face, I clearly saw her girl parts and said “it’s a girl?” It took me a minute or so to relax and roll over and they handed her to me and I asked again, “Is it really a girl?” I could not believe it!
I got check out – no tearing, nothing. Beautiful and easy (?) this girl was all ours! She latched on and nursed for a solid 30 minutes, the midwife came in multiple times looking for a birth weight but the girl would not stop eating! Must be a Dahlkemper!
Honestly, I still can’t believe she’s here.
All day yesterday (Easter) I kept thinking about the fact that I had planned out a maternity Easter outfit, not a postpartum one and that I expected to be waddling to Church and brunch, not wearing my daughter all wrapped up and cozy in my wrap.
I can’t describe how amazing it felt to push her into this world, to feel every little cue that my body provided, to feel her body and mine working together. The experience of having a completely natural birth left me in awe and wonder at what my body and mind can accomplish.
There are many more aspects of her birth and 12-day life but this birth story is exactly what I wrote on April 13th.
More to come I’ sure … 🙂
Lots of love from the very blessed and lucky Alfonso family of 4!