Born May 20, 2009
“On Tuesday night around 9pm I started feeling some cramping, but these didn’t feel like the braxton hicks – they were a little lower and I could feel them in my back as well. A bubble bath sounded nice, so I got in the tub and just hung out there with Nick for about an hour and a half. We were just talking and spending time together like it was any other day, but I would tell Nick when I was feeling some tightening and pressure so that we could keep track of when they were coming. The bath was great because it just helped me relax and I was excited knowing that this was what my body was supposed to be doing to get ready for this little girl. Because the contractions really were not that bad at all; I thought it was just practice labor (but I was excited nevertheless).
I finally got out of the tub and they were still coming every 5 minutes or so … they still weren’t painful, but I didn’t think that I could sleep through them. Nick checked me and I was dilated to about 3cm. He felt that baby’s head was starting to turn a little (being married to an OB definitely has its upside!). So, rather than lying on my side I got into the child’s pose position – I think also called polar bear- but that wasn’t very comfortable for me so I went and got our big blue exercise ball. We finally watched the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy on DVR and I just hung out on the exercise ball and bounced and rocked around. It was awesome.
Because the contractions were still not “painful” I really didn’t believe I was in true labor. Nick checked me again after Grey’s and I was about 4 cm. So, then we watched the season finale of American Idol. For me, watching shows I like was great because it was distracting and fun to not necessarily be focusing on what was going on. Every now and then I would just get crazy goosebumps and the hair on my arms would completely stand up with the contractions. But it honestly still was not painful. (I’m not one to sugar coat things and I’d absolutely have no problem saying that it was hurt if that was the case). Nick noticed that I was sweating a little with the contractions and that they were coming closer to every four minutes.
We finished watching American Idol around 2am and Nick checked me ag ain and I was 6 cm. He said that we had better go to the hospital, but I just thought he was being overprotective and still didn’t believe that this baby was coming that night! The car ride was about 25 min and I was not uncomfortable at all – although the seat heaters definitely felt great on my back!
We got to the hospital around 2:30 am and parked. We checked in and signed the final few forms. I remember thinking that if I was really in labor and had to stand there for 10 min filling out forms that I’d be less than happy- especially since we had filled out the packet and done everything a head of time that we could have. I went back into a post partum room (they were getting a delivery room ready for me) around 2:45 and felt like I had to pee. I sat on the toilet but couldn’t get a drop out; however, when the contractions came my body shook and the muscles pushed a little on their own. It was kind of a strange feeling.
Any way, they hooked up the monitors to see baby’s heart rate and see the contractions. We were in that room for about 10 min until they had one of the delivery rooms ready. I got up and walked into the delivery room and again felt like I had to pee. I tried again, and same thing. But this time when I got up my water broke and
I felt a little nauseous. I did throw up a little. Apparently Nick knew this meant I was close. I still didn’t think so and thought it might be hours until she came or even that I may have been in practice labor (I really like that term).
As I was walking to the bed, one of the nurses asked me if I was going to do this naturally. I said that I wasn’t so sure about that and just wanted to see how it goes. If this was just the beginning of labor and things were going to get a lot worse, I wanted to option. So, I got into the bed and they strapped on the monitors. We put on our favorite CD of Greek dance music and were just singing and dancing. It was great. By this time it was probably about 3:30 am.
The nurse asked me what my pain level was when the contractions were coming and I told her they were about a four. Nick saw baby’s heart rate dip and knew I was close. (Again, I’m completely oblivious). He kept asking the nurse to check me (he did such a good job of playing dad and not doctor). She after a min or two, she checked me and was pretty surprised to find that I was complete plus 1. Haha, no one was more surprised than me. Nick said almost laughing that it looks like you’re going all natural. We both just started cracking up.
They dimmed the lights and we were still singing and smiling. They said, “let’s have a baby.” It still felt like a dream and I couldn’t believe that she was really coming. I pushed three or four times and out she came! I could feel some stretching, but I remember being happy thinking, this is what it’s supposed to feel like – she’s coming. We were talking between pushing and Nick said my heart rate never went over 100. We went nice and slowly so that I wouldn’t tear and it was so incredible to feel her moving through me. Then all of a sudden I saw this little head. She was born at 3:47 am.
She was so alert and happy. She just had her eyes wide open and was checking out her new world. They put her right on my chest and it was such an unbelievable feeling.
I was never set on going naturally and have always believed (and still do) that there’s nothing wrong with an epidural if you need one. But it was such an amazing experience and I was up and walking around after. I felt great… honestly great and was so happy that I didn’t get an epidural. I wasn’t confined to a bed, I didn’t have a catheter and I was just so present for the whole delivery.
It was such a blessing. I still am amazed that we have a daughter. The bath and birthing ball were great tools to have … as well as the positive reinforcement that this is what my body was supposed to be doing and to just relax and work with it. [We took a Hypnobirthing class with Carol Yeh-Garner].
I didn’t realize how other physicians dealt with birth until Nick and I talked about it more. It makes me sad to think that the experience I had was not the norm. There were no harsh lights, no surgical gowns, I wasn’t strapped down to a table, and I got to hold my little girl as soon as she made her way into this world. They bathed her and did everything in the room with us – the nurse practically had to kick me out of bed to even take a shower because I just didn’t want to put her down or not be able to see her for 5 minutes. (and the shower was in our room too!).
If posting this story can help more moms have the same experience, I’m all for it. It was truly amazing and something that I’ll never forget.”
Victoria Irini Capetanakis
Birth Story – 11.20.2010
So, I thought that this time around would be the same as when Yianna was born, only faster. But as life would have it, that was not the case.
I woke up Friday morning (November 19th), and it was business as usual. I went to the office to help Nick with clinic – which I LOVE – but at some point in the day I realized that my water might have broken. There wasn’t much fluid at all and I really wanted to just ignore it. If it was my water that was broken, I was not going to be happy. I had yet to have a single contraction, and because I was GBS positive, I knew that if my water was broken, I’d have to head into the hospital for IV antibiotics. So, I tried to employ the “denial” method for a little bit. I didn’t say anything for a while, but when I needed to ask Nick for a pad, he got a little suspicious. Around 4:00pm, Nick called me out on my denial and we decided to find out if it was in fact amniotic fluid. So we did a litmus paper test- which is a little strip of paper that turns blue if it comes in contact with amniotic fluid. I really did not want the paper to be blue. My water couldn’t have broken, I hadn’t even had a single twinge of a contraction. I just assumed that my water would break right before I delivered because that is what happened when I had Yianna. Throughout my entire pregnancy I envisioned that I would start contracting, labor at home, show up at the hospital complete, my water would break and 5 minutes later, I’d be holding our newest little angel. But life had other plans … the paper was blue.Here I was, at 38 weeks, with “broken water” and GBS positive. I couldn’t just sit at home and wait for contractions. I needed IV antibiotics, and as much as I wanted to just stay home, I knew that even with the slightest chance of the baby getting sick, I had to go in and do what was best for the baby. So, I took a shower and tried to stall as much as I could, but we finally made our way into the hospital around 7pm Friday night. I was seriously annoyed at Nick for “making” me go to the hospital, but really, I was frustrated that I was not contracting. I was convinced that the baby wasn’t coming and that I was going to end up with a c/section. If you want to talk about having a bad attitude, I certainly had one going into the hospital that evening. But I trusted my husband and I knew that I had to stop being selfish and do what was best for the baby. In my heart, I knew he was right, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t complain about it. My notion of hanging out in the bath tub and going for walks on the beach etc. while in labor were all going out the door… and I had every right to throw myself a little pity party, of which I took full advantage.
We checked into the hospital and everyone was super nice. Magda was our nurse, and she was great; she put the hep-lock in the side of my wrist so I really couldn’t even feel that it was there. I got the first dose of antibiotics around 8 pm. It took less than five minutes and was so not a big deal. Don’t get me wrong, I was still mad, but I was at least a little more optimistic and was determined to get this baby moving. Nick and I started doing laps around the hospital. Poor guy; he was such a good sport; walking laps with his pregnant pissy wife. We walked for an hour, but I still wasn’t contracting.
Around 10pm I was still only 2cm and we talked about what to do next. The OBs at PCWH were my doctors of record; they are all wonderful. Dr. Rambur happened to be on call for PCWH that night. She called and asked if I wanted her to break my water, but I didn’t want to make her come in so late at night. I felt bad. Besides, as wonderful as Dr. Rambur is, I trust my husband more than anyone, and I really just wanted him to do everything. We talked about it, and Nick said it might be a good idea to break my water because this usually will trigger your body to start contracting. (even though my water was “broken” it was really just leaking). So, Nick full on broke my water. I was afraid this would hurt, but I literally couldn’t feel it. I was starting to get more hopeful that contractions would come soon and this baby would be born.Okay, so my water is officially and fully broken, I’ve walked miles inside the hospital, and *insert disappointing music here* I’m still not contracting!! I decided that it was time for more drastic measures! So, we … okay just me … started running the halls of the hospital. Well, there was one hallway in particular that was all windows on one side and artwork of hearts by little kids on the other side that was a dead end into an emergency exit. There was no one around and just I started running up and down that corridor. Nick was cheering me on. It was hysterical. We were laughing the entire time… it must have been a sight to see. I was finally starting to get over myself and just appreciate this experience for what it was. I ran for about 45 minutes, but still didn’t have a single contraction. I just kept thinking, “how is this possible??”
Around 11pm we went back to the room. Nick saw that I was still sad and frustrated and I asked what else we could do to try to get these contractions started. He asked if I wanted him to strip my membranes. I was worried that this baby wasn’t coming, so I was all for it if it would help get contractions going. He went in and did his thing; this time I could feel it, and it was uncomfortable. It was definitely tolerable, but not something I’d like to do all the time. But, he was able to tell that my cervix was dilated to about 4 cm and he adjusted baby’s head to a better position. This did the trick! I finally started to contract!!
I was so happy. I got on the big exercise ball (yes, we brought one to the hospital) and we got caught up on all of the episodes of Grey’s Anatomy that we missed. The hospital has wireless internet, so we were able to just watch them on my laptop. I got my second dose of antibiotics around midnight. We watched some more Grey’s (I really think that being distracted is my best tool for ignoring the contractions). Then I got bored with that, so we went and walked around the hospital a little more. The contractions felt much stronger when I was walking than sitting on the ball so I wanted to walk more. I figured the stronger the contractions, the more effective… right?? Who knows, but I went with it. It made me excited that the contractions were getting more intense. I thought there might be a baby yet! The contractions didn’t really bother me; I was able to talk through them and keep walking. It wasn’t until the last few contractions that I actually felt like I wanted to sit down. It’s strange, when I contract towards the end, I feel like I want to pee. And since at that point, I’m not sure if I have to pee or if it’s just a contraction, I feel most comfortable sitting on the toilet. That way if I pee, fantastic, otherwise, who cares. Magda was great, and she checked my vitals even when I was just sitting in the bathroom. I sat there for about 10 minutes and then I wanted to walk again. We didn’t make it very far that time, because I felt the contractions get even more intense. Now I was really getting excited. The stronger the contraction, the happier I got. It was awesome. I sat down again to pee, and I think from already having had a baby, I was able to recognize that it was time to push. So, I told Nick that I wanted to push. He said, okay, and I jumped up on the bed. We turned on our favorite Greek CD (the same one from when Yianna was born), and they called Dr. Rambur – I felt so bad… by this point, it was about 4:30 in the morning.Again, when I lay down, my contractions get way less intense, but I tried to really focus and listen to my body and try to push when I felt like there was a contraction. At that point, I couldn’t even really feel the contractions. I didn’t want to push too hard or too fast because I was afraid that I might tear. So I listened to Nick; he is an awesome coach, and pushed when he told me and also when I could feel a contraction. I almost wish that I could have felt the contractions at that point, so I would have known exactly when to push, but I did my best. I only pushed a few times over the course of about 10 minutes and then I remember them saying, the baby has a lot of hair! I finally started thinking, oh my gosh, there really is a baby coming! I was so excited. I remember reaching down because I wanted to see if I could feel the baby’s hair. I could feel the baby moving down, and I felt pressure and stretching, but it didn’t hurt. I was relaxed and I knew that everything was going to be okay. Then it was time to push again, and with that last push, I remember Nick saying, good job, the baby’s head is out, just push a little harder and let’s get the shoulders out. Without even thinking, I reached down and Nick says that I delivered her the rest of the way. I really didn’t realize that I did this, but I remember he said, hold up the baby and tell us if it’s a boy or a girl!! It was funny, because at that point, I really didn’t even care, I just wanted to hold that little baby. It took me a second, but I finally looked past the umbilical cord and announced that it was a little girl! I put her on my chest and Nick and I just got to stare into her eyes. (In case anyone is wondering, I was wearing Nick’s USCB sweatshirt the whole time, because it’s huge and comfy (and because I happened to have it on for Yianna’s delivery – and since Yianna’s delivery was awesome, I figured it would be good luck to wear it again – so I just lifted the sweatshirt up so I could warm her up on my chest and have that skin to skin contact).
She was amazing. She nursed about one minute later and we just held her and got to know her. After about a half hour, they finally convinced me to let them weigh her – ah, how I hated to let her out of my arms… but I was curious as to how big she was! She was six pounds, fourteen ounces and was 19 inches long. Then Nick held her for a few minutes, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to jump into the shower. I felt great, but it was strange that I just couldn’t get warm. I took the hottest shower I could and even still was shivering so badly I almost had to sit down. I guess Nick said this has to do with a rush of hormones. Then I put on some clean warm clothes and jumped back in bed with my baby and my amazing husband! I felt better than ever.
From the time of my first contraction around 11 pm, it was less than 6 hours until Victoria came into our world. She was bright eyed, alert, and perfectly healthy. I was fortunate enough to have another pain free delivery without any tears or complications.
George Nikolas Capetanakis
Birth Story – 12.25.2011
Boy did baby George decide to make an entrance.
My due date was January 2nd, but I was a week early with Yianna, and two weeks early with Kiki, and since I had been contracting almost daily since 20 weeks (one of the perks of chasing around a two year old and a crawling baby), I figured that George would also come early.
I would have been 38 weeks on December 19th, and I was hoping that he would be born on December 20. This would be far enough from Christmas, and then all three of our kids would be born on the 20th of their particular months. It had to be. But then the 20th rolled around, and nothing. As the days got closer to Christmas, I kept getting more frustrated; I have never met a Christmas baby (or one close to it) who was happy about their birth date. Oh well. I think I finally resigned to the fact that despite my best attempts to will little Georgie to come on the 20th, I had zero control in the matter.
So, here we are at Christmas … still no baby. Yianna was so excited that Santa was coming and since Kiki had just turned one, her little personality had really started to shine – I just wanted to enjoy the time with my girls and my husband. It was wonderful. Then both of our families came over to celebrate the day. Around 2:00, things started feeling a little different. My water broke. But I really don’t have a ton of fluid to begin with, and as with Kiki, it was just a pinhole leak. So, I did what anyone would do… I put on a pad and didn’t tell anyone. There were 25 people over at the house; I didn’t want to freak anyone out.
I finally told Nick around 4:30/5:00 that I think I had been contracting, but that they were really mild and felt like braxton-hicks, but that I think my water was broken. He checked me and I was dilated about 4 cm. He asked if I wanted to send everyone home, but I figured that hosting dinner for our family was as good of a distraction in labor as any. So, we had a wonderful dinner and then spent the rest of the afternoon playing soccer with all of the kids in the back yard and Greek dancing in the kitchen.
Around 6:00, Nick was sitting on the couch with all of his siblings and their spouses and apparently they were talking about when the baby would come. He had asked his sister who lives in Coronado if she would come up when I went into labor to help us with the girls. She was hesitant because did not know if she could leave work, and also has three girls of her own, and didn’t know if she would be able to get away. She kept worrying about “what if’s” when Nick told everyone that I was probably already 6 cm and that the baby was coming tonight.
All of a sudden, they got really quiet, and all looked up, staring at me. (I was Greek dancing with all of the kids in the kitchen). I figured the cat was out of the bag.
Everyone started packing up after our big announcement and left the house around 6:30pm. I told them that they didn’t have to go. I felt bad. But, I asked both of Nick’s sisters and his mom to stay behind and keep us company. My parents took the girls to spend the night at their house. So after all of our goodbyes and saying goodnight to our girls, we put on a movie, and I hung out on the big bouncy ball chugging water (for some reason, I was really thirsty – like 6 liters of water thirsty!). My contractions were still coming but were not very intense. About an hour into the movie, I started getting restless and wanted to see if I could get my contractions to be stronger. With the girls, when I was up and walking, my contractions felt much stronger then when I was sitting or lying down. So, I jogged up and down our stairs a few times, then asked Nick if he wanted to walk around the block with me. It was probably close to 9:00 by now and we walked around the bock a few times just enjoying the crisp air and glow of the christmas lights.
My contractions finally started to get stronger. I was excited, but I still think I hadn’t fully wrapped my head around the fact that we were going to have our third baby that night.
I refused to stop walking during my strong contractions. I would just keep walking and when Nick asked me, I’d tell him, “wow, that was a good one – is that all you got!!” After a handful of “good ones”, we decided to go inside so Nick could check me again. This time, I was about 9cm. He was thinking this would be a good time to head to the hospital (I wasn’t GBS positive this time… yay!), but I had other plans. I told them that I just wanted to pee before we left. So I ran upstairs into our master bath and when I sat down to pee, I had a really strong contraction and I told Nick that unless he wanted to deliver a baby in the car, that we were not going to the hospital. So, in his best pumped up voice, he said, “okay – let’s do this!”
He ran to his truck and got out his emergency medical kit. Then he told his sisters and his mom that the baby was coming now. Luckily, both of his sisters happen to be pediatricians and Nick’s mom is a retired RN. My plan was falling into place And, if there was ever a better team to have a baby at home, I couldn’t think of one.
I was still sitting on the toilet because I just didn’t want to move. Nick’s sisters got a strand of white christmas lights from downstairs and a candle and brought them up to our bedroom. Then they grabbed a new painters tarp and put it on the bed and put a clean sheet on top of it. Nick got a trash bag and a towel. I told them that I would probably be ready to push in about two more contractions. They were coming quickly and getting stronger. I felt really focused; nothing else mattered. It was awesome. I could feel baby dropping and getting ready. I knew that I was in good hands.
I told Nick that it was time. He helped me walk from the bathroom to our bed. That’s when I saw the Christmas lights and the candle and heard the Greek music we had playing when the girls were born. It made my heart happy. Nick stuck a towel and a trash bag under my butt (who said things needed to be fancy) :-). Then I really did just put all of my trust and faith into Nick and listened to him and my body.I asked him if it was okay to push when I felt the next contraction, and he told me to push whenever I felt ready. So, with the next contraction, I gave a good push. He said, okay, good job, just relax now and take a little break. Again, I felt pressure and stretching but did not have any pain. In between contractions, he was doing perineal massage with olive oil to help prevent any tearing. The second contraction came less than a minute later and it was time to push again. This time, he told me to stop pushing and give everything time to stretch. I could feel that his head was almost out and knew that with the next push, I’d get to meet my beautiful baby boy. But I didn’t want to get ahead of myself. I just tried to focus on the moment and relax and make myself stop pushing. Then the next contraction came, and I pushed again, Nick told me I needed to push hard this time, and I did. I could feel his head out, but needed to keep pushing to get the shoulders free. And then he was out and on my chest. It was amazing.
My legs were shaking and I was exhausted, but had never felt better. It was less than ten minutes from the time that I laid on the bed until Georgie was on my chest.
George was born at 10:00pm and was by far the best Christmas present I’ve ever been given. Our lucky Greek CD was playing in the background and he arrived into this world to the glow of Christmas lights in a room full of love. Nick clamped the cord and delivered the placenta a minute or two later and both of his sisters kept a close eye on George to make sure he was pink and perfectly healthy. I think until that moment, Nick’s sisters and his mom had always thought Nick was full of it when we told them that I really had easy, fast, and pain free deliveries. They still tell me that they think I’m ridiculous – and from three amazing women who have had nine kids between them, I take this as a huge compliment.Nick’s sisters listened to George’s heart and lungs and made sure that he was perfect. We didn’t bother calling the hospital or going in because both George and I were doing great. He nursed right away and after about an hour, I finally let the docs have at him for a full inspection while I jumped in the shower. There was no mess and almost nothing to clean up. They just took the top sheet and the tarp off the bed and threw everything into a big trash bag.
It was an unexpectedly perfect end to a very special day. I spent the night in my bed with my baby boy and my amazing husband who again guided me through another seamless delivery. I felt so blessed.