My morning started like any other morning. I woke up, laced up my running shoes and was ready to go for a run. I noticed a couple of contractions when I woke up and decided to run only 2 miles instead of 5 just incase. When I got home, I sat down to eat breakfast and didn't notice any contractions. After breakfast, I showered and got ready for the day. I was having contractions about ten minutes a part while I was up and about. They were strong enough I had to breath through them.
James had wanted me to go into labor during the day but I didn't think that would be possible. Babies come at night when you least expect them to come, that's just how they roll, right? So it looked like James was getting his wish! We decided to get our bags ready for the hospital. And I did what every woman who thinks she is in labor does-- curled my hair and made sure I looked cute for the pictures. (Oh vanity!)
The contractions continued as I FaceTimed my friend in Alaska, Hi Emily! She told me if I laid down on my left side and the contractions continued, then it was active labor. I didn't want to do that because what if the contractions stopped?! I listened to my wise friend. And when I laid down the contractions became further and further a part. Ho hum... not active labor.
I was torn with two choices. I could either try to "speed up labor" by exercising/walking or I could listen to my body and rest. It made more sense to rest and wait for active labor to begin. Labor would happen when it was time. We all took a nice long nap. And by then the contractions had stopped. I decided it was time for a walk. As I walked I didn't have any strong contractions. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon and I just prayed that something would happen within the next hour. It was killing me to be so close to going into labor but not being in labor! Well the next hour went by and nothing. So I sat down and rested some more with James.
At 5:30 the contractions started again as I was sitting down. I wasn't sure what to expect so we planned to go to the mall. The contractions were about 6 minutes a part and soon 3 minutes a part. By 6pm I sat in the tub to labor in the water. It was very relaxing in between the contractions but the contractions were getting stronger. My contractions went from being 3 minutes a part back to 6 while I was in the water. So after 15 minutes I got out. I thought it would be silly to slow down labor if this was the real deal. As the contractions continued, I found it hard to relax and find my happy place. I prayed for wisdom to know whether or not to go to the hospital. At that same moment, James suggested we drop Jacob off and go to the hospital. Prayer answered.
It was close to 7pm as we loaded in the car and drove to the Jones' house. The contractions were strong and I was starting to feel really discouraged. I didn't know if this was active labor or not or how much longer I would have to wait for my princess to be born. I wanted to cry and decided I needed a focal point. I grabbed a newborn diaper, a big bow, and my pillow. I would look at these in between my contractions to remind myself what the end result was--- our sweet little girl!
There was a lot of traffic but I was prepared to get through my contractions in the car. When the contraction would come on I began to cringe and bear through it. I found it took almost another minute after the contraction had passed for me to feel relaxed. As the next few came on, I breathed through them mentally telling myself to relax. It was difficult to relax but it made the contraction so much more easier to handle. I asked James if he could help remind me to relax as he saw me having the contractions. When the next one came on he told me to relax and reminded me of sunny Florida and putting my toes in the sand. If I wasn't having the contraction, I would have laughed. But it was working. We pulled into the Jones' and thankfully their daughter was down stairs waiting to bring him up. I had just had a contraction and wasn't ready for small chat. My friend Jess hung out the window all excited and happy for me. In my couple of minutes of relief, I was able to talk with her. I told her I can understand now why ladies get epidurals. I wasn't sure I would make it much longer!
7:45pm: Another contraction came on as we were entering the hospital. I stopped in the entry way which doubled as their smoking area and tried to relax and breath through this contraction. Nothing like the smell of smoke, I thought to myself. We walked down the hall to check in, and it smelled like beef and cheese not much better than the smoke. I just wanted to get off that floor and in our room. The two ladies that helped us were their sweet cordial Russian selves. And by that I mean, they were pretty rude. :) Thankfully, the language barrier kept me from understanding what they were saying to James and I could concentrate on getting through my contractions while inhaling beef and cheese fumes. They gave me this awesome garment to wear and had me sign a million forms.
Now in their defense, the Russians usually don't have a lady coming into the hospital in active labor. The ladies all check themselves into the hospital about a week prior to their due date and wait to have their babies. It's like a college dormitory filled with preggos!
We got through the painful process of checking in and headed upstairs. Where I could finally go to the bathroom that wasn't being hogged by another pregnant woman. The doctor was very very friendly (no sarcasm this time!). She asked me how I was and I said good. She laughed when I said good and gave me a hug. It was very motherly and soothing :). I got up on the table and she checked me and broke my water without asking. She told James I was 10cm dilated and would have the baby soon and that my contractions may get stronger now that she broke my water. And I thought we were friends! When James told me the good news, I was so relieved!! It was about 8:15pm and I couldn't believe I was fully dilated!!
James had to fill out more paperwork before she could deliver the baby. At the moment that was fine because I wasn't feeling the need to push. They monitored the baby's heartbeat and had me lay on my side. Laying down on my side was a lot easier than laying on my back, but I would have rather been standing. Meanwhile, a nurse came in and took my blood, another nurse was answering her phone while in my room, and the best part was hearing the lady in travail in the room next to me! My room door stayed open the whole time. So I got to hear this lady screaming through her contractions. Which kinda made me laugh.
James came back in and I asked him if I could get a drink. They didn't want me to drink much but I could have a few sips of water. I found that odd because in the States they kept me drinking water throughout my labor. I was so thirsty but the doctor wanted me to wait since I would be pushing soon.
The doctor had me hold my legs and push. Again this was odd for me to hold my own legs and push, but I did. I believe she was checking to see where the baby's head was. She wanted me to stand up and have 4 or 5 more contractions while swaying my hips to help the baby move down. 4 or 5 more?! I was ready to die! Okay it wasn't that bad, but I was hoping to be on my way to pushing. By now my contractions were very close together, so the time passed quickly. We heard the lady next door screaming again, and James kept saying he was so glad I wasn't like her. He later told me the nurses were yelling at her to shut up and relax. I should have loaned her my Hypnobirthing Book.
The doctor had me push one more time holding my legs and said I was ready to go to the delivery table. They wheeled my little bed over to the bigger delivery bed and had me crawl over. They kept telling me not to sit on my bottom but lay on my side and then roll over to my back. So I did my best to do just that. (They said sitting on your bum may push the baby back up.) There was now four ladies in the room all geared up to catch this baby!
9:00pm Pushing time! I was pushing against the stirrups rather than two people holding my legs which was a little more difficult. James grabbed my one leg because I was almost kicking the doctor each time. Oops. After two contractions of pushing her head was out! With each push I heard my doctors sweet little voice "Davai, Davai, Davai!" Which is "Come On". It made me smile as she would say it. Next the shoulders. The shoulders were almost out when they told me to stop pushing. What?!! Stop pushing! I feel her shoulders and need to get them out! I looked up at James so confused and in pain. The nurses and doctor were all saying different things and telling James to translate. Push--- Don't Push. They had me wait until the next contraction came on and then finally relief! She was born! That was a pretty painful 30 seconds of having her shoulders almost out but I got through it. I couldn't believe I was now holding my girl!
At 9:20 she was placed on my chest. Macy Kate Pranger, 7 lbs 21" long and perfect! I couldn't believe she was here and in my arms!! Then the worst part came. They started poking my belly without warning. That was the first time I was really vocal. It caught me off guard and I wasn't ready for that. I asked James what in the world they were doing. I knew what they were doing but a little warning would have been nice! Sheesh. The doctor asked how I was and I thought, much better than the lady next door! But I said, great! She smiled and gave me a hug and kiss. She was so sweet!
Well there you have it-- my first birth experience in Russia! The Lord truly blessed every aspect of my labor and delivery and I give Him all the honor and glory! I was so thankful there was no tearing or anything that went wrong. I felt great afterwards! With Jacob I felt like I had just given birth but with Macy I felt fine! All that running must have paid off! And the best part was we were able to leave the hospital before noon the next day! Thank You, Lord!
**Read Jacob's Birth Story Here**
What I liked about giving birth in Russia as opposed to the States:
1) They are more naturally minded. They don't offer you pain medicine but you can get an epidural if you ask for one. In my birthing class the lady talked about your mind controlling your body and being able to relax during the contractions.
*I loved that! That is exactly what I had taught myself when I was pregnant with Jacob and was able to do with this birth. Birth is mostly mental. You must mentally prepare for it and teach yourself to relax your body through pain. It can be done! :)
2) They left us alone in our room all night long! In the States they poke and prod you and your baby every three hours or so. No one gets any sleep that way. And we were thankful to get some sleep that night. After the drunk man stopped yelling "I love you, Tanya!" at 2am. I thought it was another lady in labor telling her baby she loved them trying to get through the contractions. haha
Dislikes about birth in Russia:
1) My private room wasn't too private during labor. But I managed to get through it anyway!
2) We heard every noise and sound in our room that night.
3) The garments and linens they used were very used. They had stains on them and were just hideous. They sanitize and sterilize everything so they look at it as clean. But it was pretty yucky to see stains on the clothes I was wearing.
All that aside giving birth in another country wasn't bad at all. The Lord truly blessed it all and I am so thankful. We are just in love with our little princess. It's so weird to say "the kids" but we love it! God is good!
|Getting ready to go to the hospital! Let's do this!|
|Just found out I was 10cm dilated!!|
|Just gave birth! Can't believe it! She's here!!|
|My awesome doctor! :) And Awesome daughter!|
|Ah fresh out of the womb!|
|This was funny to me. |
They wheeled me like this to our room.
|Daddy holding his daughter for the first time!|
|The next day after we left the hospital-- first family photo!|
|So in love!|