Kamuela's Birth Story!

Wednesday July 15th
It was a no moon night. I had been feeling kinda funny all day, just off enough to call and ask Mom to come up. To come back up actually. I had been psyching myself out for two weeks, trying to convince my body that it did indeed want to go into labor. Surely this was going to be another false alarm but I still asked Mom to come anyway. Just in case. I had already called her twice before, and twice before she had made the three and half hour car ride to be here. Twice I had been to the hospital already and twice I had been sent home, only 1cm. dilated, clearly NOT in labor. I was desperately trying to convince my Braxton Hicks contractions to turn into real contractions so that my son could be born. The first time was Thursday, July 2nd and the second time was Thursday, July 9th. Apparently I had a thing for Thursdays.

Thursday July 16th
I woke that night, sometime just after midnight, as Wednesday turned into Thursday. There was a screeching coming from outside, an animalistic noise that I didn't quite recognize. It's not uncommon to hear dogs barking from the apartment complex across the gully behind our house, or to hear coyotes howling in the distance, but this noise was entirely different. It wasn't a crow or a cat in heat... I strained to hear it through my sleepy haze, trying to decipher this strange noise. An owl? I had never heard an owl's cry around our house before. There's no way that it's an owl, I tried to convince myself. Josh woke up as well, reaching out to put his hand on my belly, asking sleepily "How's Kamu?" "Fine." I told him, "Moving. I can't sleep." I didn't want to tell him why I was awake.

In Hawaiian culture, each family has an 'aumakua, or an ancestral guardian spirit, (akin to a guardian angel if you will) that is an animal. I've heard stories of Josh's family 'aumakua over the past 6 years and my folklore loving soul has always appreciated the thought of a protective spirit watching over the family. When the animal of your family's 'amakua appears, it is said to be an omen of things to come, both good or bad. The Recaido's 'amakua is the pueo, which is why there are so many nicknacks in my house with its likeness on it... the owl.

Sometime around 5am, I found myself wide awake again and finally decided to go downstairs as to not keep my husband up with all my tossing and turning. I eventually fell asleep on the couch, where I was when Mom came downstairs and woke me up, asking if Josh needed to be woken up for work. I asked her what time it was. 7:20am. Yes, Josh needed to be woken up to go to work so I headed upstairs. I woke him up, telling him he was already late and better get moving, then I went to the restroom. I relieved my bladder and when I wiped, there was a definite *ahem* "something" there, that had never been there before. (i.e. mucous plug and/or bloody show.) I stared at it for a while before finishing up and going back into the bedroom. Josh was up and I told him, "Maybe you should stay home from work today."

My cervix had been thinning out for a couple of weeks now, this wasn't the first time that I had a mucous discharge but it was entirely different then before, but yet... I still didn't want to get my hopes up. I showered around 8:20am, started to feel pretty crampy/achey, peed again, and had more bloody show. Again, I just stared at it for a little while (TMI? Sorrynotsorry.) and wondered if this really was going to be the day I went into labor.

Mom made us breakfast around 9:30am, pancakes! My favorite. At 10am I had diarrhea pretty bad which made me real excited because it reminded me of Jo's labor experience, (which I had recently re-read in hopes of finding clues to look for as proof of my own labor starting). Josh decided that this would now be a good time to change some spark plugs on the truck?!!! What. The. Heck. I have no idea what was going through his head but there he went. Oh, and then he decided to wash the truck. Mind you, this is the vehicle that we planned on taking to the hospital! The car seat was installed in it and everything. I could only laugh. Maybe this was the male version of last minute nesting? Mom and I puttered around the house while Josh attended to his truck.

2:15pm- I went pee in the downstairs bathroom and as I started to pull my underwear back up I noticed a wet circle on them. Did I pee my pants and not notice? Yes, I have peed my pants plenty of times over the past 9 months, but usually I know when it happens! I really don't think I peed my pants. Maybe I was leaking? Maybe my water was breaking? I was super confused and desperately trying not to get too excited as I went upstairs to change my underwear. I impatiently waited 20 minutes and then checked my underwear for another wet spot, as was advised when one believed one to be leaking amniotic fluid. And there it was! I may or may not have done this three more times, just to be sure. I also left a message with the triage nurse, who called back promptly and said "If you're water broke, it's game over, head into the hospital!" So I went downstairs and almost yelled "I THINK I'M LEAKING!" when Josh's brother, Kale, walked in the door. Josh was on the phone with work and so I waited to tell him... but then he was on the phone for far too long and I blurted out to Mom and Kale, "I'm leaking!" (Kale is a nurse, so it's not weird.) As I was talking to Mom about it, Kale went outside and told Josh "I think you better go check on your wife."

Around 3:30pm, after Mom made us sandwiches and packed a snack bag, and after Josh showered, we finally headed to the hospital. When we got there, I was pretty sure that the contractions were ACTUALLY getting stronger but I was still unsure if this was really labor for reals so Josh and I took a walk around the outside of the hospital and tried to time them. They indeed were getting consistent and by the time we were getting back to the hospital door I was having to pause during them. "Oooooooh," I moaned for the first time. "Ooooh???!" Josh asked. "I think it's time to go check in." I told him with a grin.

By 4:50pm we were in the labor triage room and I was hooked up to the monitor and my liquid was being tested to see if it was amniotic fluid or not... before the allotted time was even up for the test, the nurse said, "Oh yeah. It's positive. You're going to be staying and having your baby." I just stared at her in disbelief while Josh asks from behind me, "Wait, what. Excuse me? What did you say? Did you say she's having the baby?" His voice may or may not have cracked.

At this point, I'm still feeling really good, riding high on the knowledge that yes, THIS IS labor, and quite frankly, I was enjoying every contraction, knowing that my body was doing what it was supposed to be doing. (Obviously I was not in hard labor yet, but I didn't know that.) We got moved into our delivery room, hooked up to the monitors, introduced to our nurses, ordered some dinner before the cafeteria closed (chicken strips and fries) and Mom went to get me a DQ Blizzard because that's what really sounded good. The contractions continued to increase in frequency and intensity but not more than I could bear. I would eat a bite of chicken in between contractions and was mostly relaxed throughout this time. The two nurses who were working with us were fairly young and both really sweet. I wish I remembered their names. One of them would simply press her hand flat against my lower back during contractions, not rubbing or massaging, just pressing, and I truly felt her energy just wash over me, it was such a interesting experience, one that I couldn't fully acknowledge at the time, but I remember thinking she was magic as she helped each contraction along and I wish I could have told her thank you for that. At some point my doctor, who just happened to be on call, came in to check on me. She cautioned against eating too much, saying I might throw up, and then casually mentioned that if I don't have the baby before 5am that I'll have a different doctor for delivery because she had to go catch a flight! I was happy to see her but a bit bummed about that news, thinking that I probably wouldn't be ready to deliver before she left. I continued to deal with my contractions in bed, kind of curled up on my side, rubbing my feet together, holding onto the bedrail with one hand and holding on to Josh or my mom with my other. Their quiet, calm care of me was exactly what I needed and I am so grateful to them for being there with me!

At some point, before my contractions were too crazy, I felt a sudden gush of water and I shouted "I peed! I'm so sorry, I think I peed myself!" I was mortified but the nurses chuckled and said "Oh no, your water just broke!" Hahaha So they cleaned me up and all was well. Later, the nurses had a shift changed and my young, happy, sweet nurses were replaced with older, tougher, no nonsense nurses who didn't have the same gentle touch, but definitely got the job done. At one point, during a particularly strong set of contractions I remember my main delivery nurse saying "You just need to relax." If I hadn't been in so much all-consuming pain, I'm sure I would have laughed or punched her but I thought it was the most ridiculous thing you could ever say to a laboring woman. But then, for some strange reason, "Relax" became my focus word and every contraction I had, reminding myself "Relax. Relax. Relax." really helped with my breathing. As time passed, my contractions grew stronger, and soon enough it was one rolling right into the other. I was twisting and turning on the bed, begging Josh for back-rubs and frantically telling him to stop touching me all at the same time. I remember rubbing my feet together non-stop, somehow that movement helped me deal with my pain.

The nurse asked me if I wanted an epidural and even though I had already declined it a couple times, I finally asked Josh "Are you ok if I get an epidural? Can I?" We had discussed beforehand that I wanted to go as long as possible without any drugs but I never set it in stone that I wouldn't. My philosophy has always been that I will do whatever I need to do to delivery the healthiest baby possible. At this point, with my contractions being SO close together, I was getting no relief and the pain was beyond anything I have ever known. There simply are no words. My mind kept remembering different mamas that I knew who labored for hours upon hours, for days even, and I thought to myself "If I have to endure this for days, I will die. I will DIE." Josh, of course, had absolutely no problem with me getting an epidural so the anesthesiologist was called. He arrived in the middle of a contraction and had Josh help me to sit up on the edge of the bed. He said that once this contraction was over, he would insert the needle. Josh stood directly in front of me and I leaned forward, holding on to him, breathing through the contraction. "Ok, I'm going to insert the needle." Nope, another contraction already. And another. Finally, the anesthesiologist said, "I'm just going to have to insert it while you're contracting because otherwise you'll never get it. Now, HOLD STILL." (Again, one of the absolute dumbest things to tell a women who is having a contraction and having a giant needle inserted into her spine. I could have slapped him.) The pain of the epidural needle going in was the WORST. That searing pain added to my already full-body contraction pain? I thought this must be death. It was horrendous. But then, when the epidural kicked in... oh sweet relief. I could actually relax for the first time in hours! Until I realized that I couldn't move my right arm! My right arm was paralyzed. "My arm is numb! I can't move my right arm!" I tell them, dread creeping into my throat. "Josh, I'm not going to be able to hold the baby!" They reassures me that it's just the epidural and the anesthesiologist made a few adjustments and soon enough I had feeling and movement in my right arm back. My pain was pretty much eliminated, except for this one spot on my left hip where I could still feel the contractions happening. As annoying as it was to still have discomfort after going through all the trouble of getting an epidural, I was actually relieved to still be able to feel the contractions because it allowed me to still connect to what was happening in my body. The pain let me know that we were still progressing but it was a much MUCH more tolerable pain then before. In getting an epidural, I also received a catheter, and that is when they finally checked me to see how far dilated I was, because obviously they were already down there. 7cm! I was so relieved to hear I was at 7cm. Progress!

It was dark. My room had really large windows, we were in the corner suite, and I remember noticing it was dark out. My mom was sitting on the couch under the window, I'm not entirely sure where Josh was, but I when I told Mom that I was feeling a weird pressure, I remember her looking up from her book with a certain kind of look on her face and saying "You should probably tell the nurse about that."  And so I did. I told the nurse that I was starting to feel pressure and her response was "But are you obsessed with it?" What?! Um, no? But there's definitely pressure! I was so confused by that question. She was adamant that I would be OBSESSED with it if it was the baby and based on how far I was when they last checked me, I really wouldn't be ready for hours according to the typical timeline. Finally she goes ahead and checks me, mostly to placate me I think, and then she doesn't say anything to me. But she starts moving a bunch of stuff around the room and makes a phone call, saying "We're ready for delivery". I looked at Mom, confused and shocked by what the nurse said, again, not to me. There is a flurry of activity now as a few more nurses show up and start getting the room ready for delivery, without telling me anything... Finally Mom asks "It looks like you're setting up? Does this mean she's ready?" Yes! The nurse says that she has called the doctor and that we should go ahead and do a practice push. She adjusts my bed, places my legs, tells Josh where to stand and how to hold my left leg and instructs me on how to bear down to push. "OKAY STOP!" she shouts. Apparently that pressure that I wasn't obsessed enough with was very much my baby and he was RIGHT THERE. "I can see his hair!" Josh says in amazement! WHAT?! "You can see his hair?!" I asked Josh, who suddenly seemed unsure if he should tell me that yes, he could in fact see our son's hair already. The nurse rushed around getting things ready while Josh looked nervously between my face and Kamuela's hair.

Finally, just after midnight on Friday morning, Dr. Lo came in. It was go time. With my husband holding one leg, the nurse holding the other, my mom nearby (taking pictures- thanks Mom!), I bore down and began to push through each contraction. One, two, three, four, five times. Then at 12:24 am on Friday July 17th, Kamuela James Recaido was born. He was placed on my chest, umbilical cord still connecting us, as nurses wiped him off and I cried. Josh was laughing, his face shining with pride and amazement. I looked down at my son, only really seeing the top of his head and his nose, and I remember thinking "That's his daddy's nose for sure!" He had dark hair and was impossibly small, crying that sweet little newborn cry. With immeasurable joy in my heart as my world shrank to just my husband by my side and my son in my arms, I softly sang him Happy Birthday and thanked God for Kamuela's safe arrival.


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