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What A Year...

I was talking to my neighbor and heard my facebook messenger ding a bunch of times followed by a few texts. Then my phone rang and I saw Lisa's number come across the screen. I put her to voicemail, with the intention to call her back in just a minute and tucked my phone in my back pocket.

When I pulled my phone out 10 minutes later, and what she would then describe as an eternity, there was a small thumbnail preview next to her text:

"Of course this will be the first time ever you aren't answering me!!!!!"

positive pregnancy test

My jaw dropped open and I immediately called right back.

Me: "Holy shit! Is that yours?"

Lisa: "Oh my god"

Me: "This is so exciting"

Lisa: "Oh my god. I can't believe you didn't answer me!"

The shock turned to joy, and then we cried. 2018 was going to be one hell of a year for one of my dearest friends, and the ending certainly didn't disappoint.

In case you don't know her, she summed up her year, yesterday morning on facebook:

Lisa De Sousa 2018 Year In Review

At around noon I got a sneaking suspicion that Lisa was going to take castor oil. I don't talk about it very often, but my intuition for things, is usually on point. My first text was "How are you?" followed by, "Are you planning to take a float?". It was later confirmed by another mutual friend of ours, that she was goint to take it without telling me, but there's no sneaking anything by me.

We texted on an and off through out the day. At 4:40pm I called her. My family was planning to head to dinner, but I had this feeling that she was in labor. She dismissed me. She told me to go to dinner with my family and that she was hopeful that her mild, irregular contractions would turn into something. As I hung up the phone I turned to my husband and said, "I'm not going to dinner. Lisa is in labor." About 15 minutes later, her husband Dan texted me, "She's in labor".

I called her back at 5:10pm and she answered with, "I think I lied to you. I am in labor."

I quickly gathered up things, grabbed two small bottles of champagne I had in the cabinet, this was New Years Eve after all! And ran out of the door. I called our mutual friend, and birth photographer, Victoria Brown, while I was on my way and said, "Lisa is going to have a baby tonight!" Tori squealed and said, "I'm so excited for this!" Her and Lisa had discussed Tori coming to the house, but I told her to sit tight. She wasn't going to make it to Lisa's house, before we headed to the hospital. I told her I would let her know when we were on our way to the hospital.

I spoke with Dan and Lisa 3 times during the 30 minute drive and when I was 5 minutes away, they told me to turn around, that they were getting in the car. Lisa wanted me to be there and confirm that she was in labor, but I could certainly do that over the phone. Her moans were low and shaky. She sounded like she was in transition.

15 minutes on the return drive to the hospital, Dan called me. Hey, this is intense. I asked if he was ok and cold again hear Lisa in the background. He was doing just fine. She on the other hand was not. 10 minutes later and I was sitting in the hospital parking lot waiting for them, when Lisa called.

Her voice sounded a bit desperate, a bit afraid, and a lot in labor. "I just puked. My water broke. And I think I'm pushing. Please be right there at the front for me!" And then she yelled through a contraction. They were 12 minutes away. She asked me to get in touch with her midwife, Suzanne of With Women's Wellness, to tell her that she might be having a baby in the car.

A few minutes later, I called Lisa back and I would talk to her through every contraction until they arrived. I could hear she was pushing, but if I talked to her, the pushing would only happen at the end. I kept asking Dan how far away they were, and told Lisa how many more contractions she was away from the hospital.

Nurses Jess and April, came down to greet her at the car, and Suzanne arrived a minute later. They all heard her on the phone and giggled a bit, as we heard her say, "Dan, where are we?!?" and then their eyes got wide listening to her cope through a contraction.

"I see you!" I said excitedly as they pulled up. Everyone helped her get out of the car and rushed her inside.

It was 6:20pm.

I stood at the elevator with it ready and as she came around the corner, it was evident that she was fully dilated and Dan gave me a huge hug. He was so excited.

Woman in labor being wheeled into hospital

Within 5 minutes we were in room 7, Lisa was undressed, and pushing. Suzanne confirmed that she was mostly dilated with a little anterior lip of cervix, but to listen to her body. The baby was still pretty high up in the pelvis. Lisa felt a bit defeated, but we quickly moved past that.

During Lisa's pregnancy, we talked a lot about how this pregnancy, this labor, and this birth would not be the same as her last. Lisa has significant trauma from her last births, that include, cesarean, hemorrhage, pre-eclampsia, hospital stays, NICU's and never a chance for immediate skin to skin and breastfeeding. I wanted this time to be different for my friend. I knew if we talked about it we could get over the fear, and hopefully manifest something else for her. It wasn't until 35 weeks or so, that I think all of the chatter, really started to change her frame of mind.

However, I saw it creeping back in a little bit after the cervical check. She pushed for 5 hours with her last baby, which was a successful home birth after cesarean, that turned into an emergency transfer for both mom and baby. I knew she feared that same length of pushing.

I leaned down and whispered, "Lisa this isn't like the last time. This is and will be different." It was the first time she made eye contact with me since she arrived. When she looked away my eyes welled up. I was so hopeful that my words were true.

Lisa was a powerhouse, contractions coming every 2 minutes, and her pushing and then accepting the breaks in between. This was intense. She had been in labor for a total of 90 minutes so far. Precipitous birth, often feels like your body is way ahead of your mind, and your mental state is constantly chasing down your physical one.

Her husband Dan was doing exceptionally well and was a fantastic support, who only once got yelled at for telling her to breathe while she was pushing.

Lisa had hoped that one of her favorite nurses would be on for the birth. At 6:55pm that nurse arrived and took over. Lisa grabbed my hand. I remember all the information Lisa had told me about her pelvic outlet and so I started to adjust her positions just slightly. Each time Suzanne and I on the same page.

Lisa explained the way the position of her baby felt that ended with " is right on my sitz bones, feels like I want to grab an rip my ass cheeks apart" and the whole room erupted with laughter. Suzanne said, "That sounded so medicalized, until right at the end there!"