Zoe's journey into this world began around 4:30 a.m. on August 8, 2011. I had been up most of the night feeling possible contractions. They went back and forth between being really far apart to being kind of close together...maybe 10 to 20 minutes apart. It was a Monday, and I had been working from home for the last two months of my pregnancy. Being the workaholic that I am, I emailed some people at work to let them know that I thought I was possibly in labor and that I would not be working and probably starting my maternity leave right away. I went back to bed and tried to go back to sleep.
Matt woke up around 6:00 (or I woke him up...I can't remember.). I told him what I had been feeling. He said I should page Blossom. So that's what I did. I paged them around 6:30 or 7:00 a.m., and Nichelle called me back. I told her what I had been feeling, and she told me to be sure to rest and eat and to let her know when they're closer together. She sounded pretty excited about the possibility of helping us bring Zoe into this world. I also called (or maybe I sent a text to) my doula Michelle and told her that today might be the day and that I already talked to Nichelle. I told her that I'd let her know if we would need to go to Blossom. I then called my mom to let her know what had been happening. Just like everyone else, she was excited!
I continued to rest and waited for my contractions to get closer. They seemed to really slow down. I was disappointed. Matt and I were so excited to meet Zoe, and it didn't seem like today was the day.
That night, I had trouble going to sleep again. Around 4:30 a.m., I started to feel contractions again. They were way more intense than the ones that I felt the previous morning. I remember thinking that I much preferred the ones from the day before. I was really uncomfortable. I downloaded an app on my phone a couple nights before to help me time and keep track of my contractions. I entered the times into the app. They were about 10 to 15 minutes apart. I figured that they should be closer, so I didn't say anything to anyone and tried to wait it out.
I tried to go back to sleep around 5:30 a.m., but the contractions were too intense to even move. I woke Matt up and told him about the contractions and how they had been really intense since 4:30. I thought that they might need to be closer, so we kept trying to rest.
I had my next prenatal appointment with Mary that morning at 11:00. I called her and told her what was going on and asked her if I should go to Blossom for my appointment or if I should skip it and go in if I thought I was ready. She said that we could skip it but that we could go in if I felt like we needed to. She said to make sure to eat eggs, which Matt was already making for me. I called Michelle to let her know that we might be going to Blossom today. I told her I'd keep her posted.
It was about 11:00, and the contractions will still pretty intense, and it didn't seem like there was much of a break in between them. We paged Blossom, and Mary called me back. I told her that I felt like we needed to go in. She asked when we thought we would be there, and I told her we'd be in there in an hour. I then called Michelle and told her that we would be at Blossom around 12:00. Matt finished packing our bag with our bathroom stuff and snacks for us. Matt put everything in the car, including Zoe's car seat. I hadn't finished my eggs, so I brought those with me to finish in the car. I got in the car and managed to finish my eggs.
I felt every bump we went over on the way to Blossom. When we arrived at Blossom, it was about 12:30. Pam came out and greeted us. She walked me into the room, and I immediately sat on the birth ball. Mary and Michelle soon showed up. Mary checked my cervix and said I was 7 cm dilated. I was definitely ready! Right after that, I took off all my clothes and got into the whirlpool tub. It felt so nice. As I felt each contraction coming, I moaned through each one to cope with the discomfort. Matt was right behind me in the tub to hold me and comfort me. Michelle was at the side of the tub cooling me with wet washcloths and giving me ice water to drink. I really liked the tub. If I could have, I would have stayed in the tub forever, but I knew I had to keep moving to help the birth progress.
I was all over the place - leaning against Matt in the tub, draped over the side of the tub, on my back on the floor, on the toilet, on the bed, and I think I was even standing up and leaning on either Matt or Michelle. I had no concept of time during labor. I remember always vocalizing as each contraction came and went. I remember wondering when I would get to the rest-and-be-thankful stage. I'm not sure I ever got to that stage. It seemed like I was constantly going in and out of having contractions.
During one of the first times I was on the bed, Mary told me that I had to start pushing. I thought that I wouldn't have to push for too long and that Zoe would be born soon after that. Although I don't know how long I was pushing, I'm pretty sure I was doing it for a long time. There were a few times when Mary and Michelle told me to use the energy that I was putting into vocalizing into the pushes. I tried to do that as much as I could.
My water hadn't broken, and I remember Mary saying that she might have to break my water bag if it didn't happen within the next hour or so. I knew that I didn't want to have to do it that way if I didn't have to. Not too long after that, Mary and Pam left the room. I was on the toilet with Michelle, and Matt was with me. I was leaning forward on Michelle and pushing. I remember really trying to focus on the pushes and making them count. My head was down, I pushed, and I heard a popping sound. I felt something go into the toilet, and I asked Michelle if that was my water breaking. She said she thought it probably was. I was so happy to know that it broke on its own. As soon as Mary and Pam came back, we told Mary that my water broke.
There were so many times that while I was pushing, everyone was saying that they could see Zoe's head come out a little. With every push her head would pop out but then go right back in when I stopped pushing. Every now and then, I would reach down and feel her head. One of the times I was on the floor, someone gave me a mirror so that I could see her head. I remember saying that I couldn't see her head because I didn't have my glasses on, which I had taken off way back when I was in the tub. Someone gave me my glasses and then the mirror. I saw the top of her head. I wanted so badly to meet Zoe. When I saw her head, it made me want to keep working on helping her out so that I could meet her.
There was a point when I noticed that the sun was going down. I knew that I had been in labor for a really long time. I was tired, but I knew that I had to keep pushing. After maybe a couple of hours of pushing, Mary said that she might have to snip me a little. I didn't want an episiotomy, but if Mary said that she would have to do it to help Zoe come out, then I knew that we needed to do it. I laid on the bed while Mary made a teeny tiny incision. She told me to push, and soon after, I felt Zoe come out. Matt caught her and put her on my chest. I finally got to meet my little Zoe. At 8:47 p.m. on August 9, 2011, weighing 8 lbs., 10.5 oz. and 21 inches long, Little Miss Zoe came into this world.
Zoe on my chest right after she was born
I was bleeding a lot after Zoe came out. Mary said that she might have to call 911 if it didn't stop soon, but she was able to stop it. Michelle helped me breastfeed Zoe for the first time. She latched on without any trouble. I stayed up pretty much all night feeding and holding Zoe. I think all the adrenalin from having her kept me going. We left the next day around 3:00 p.m. to start our journey as a family of three.
Zoe's first picture with her daddy
Zoe sleeping between Matt and me while at Blossom
Now, nine months later, we have the cutest little girl in the world. We love her, and she loves us. All the work that went into birthing her that day was so worth it. I will never, ever regret having her the way I did. Naturally...feeling everything...beginning with the contractions from the day before to the pure, indescribable joy that I felt when Matt put her on my bare chest. I love my little Zoe Akina Kerr. I love her with all my heart.
I'm so happy that I had Zoe at Blossom. Nichelle was great during all of my prenatal visits. Mary was awesome during my visits with her and during Zoe's birth. Pam was so comforting and made the most delicious smoothies while I was in labor. I'm pretty sure she made me other stuff to eat during labor, and I'm pretty sure I liked whatever she gave me. Michelle was the best, too. She was so calm and encouraging. Of course, Matt is the greatest husband ever. He was so loving and encouraging throughout the whole thing. I had the best the prenatal and birth team ever!