I started having contractions 2 days before Adrian was due. They'd last up to 18 hours and then fizzle out. This happened 4 times between June 5 and June 14. On the evening of June 17 I had a bloody show. I woke up at 5 am on June 18 with contractions. They were the same as they had been the previous 4 times.
As the day went on the contractions never got into a good pattern. They'd be a certain number of minutes apart for a couple hours and then space out. They'd be really strong for several contractions and then they'd go back to being piddly for a few contractions. It was really emotionally exhausting, particularly since he was already 11 days late by then.
We tried several things. Walking, changing position, etc. Nothing did anything to change them from their weird unpredictableness. After 15 hours of this it was clear something more needed to be done. He had to come out. I asked my midwife to check me and I was 3 cm and 50% effaced so something was happening, just very, very, very slowly.
We tried the herb cottonroot. While it did bring on more predictable and stronger contractions, Adrian did not react well to it. His heartrate went down a bit and would only come up once they had worn off so after three doses we didn't use that anymore. So then we did castor oil. Usually that works within 2-3 hours.
After 3 hours nothing had happened so my midwives suggested giving up for the night and trying something else in the morning. To try to knock out the contractions completely they had me get in the tub. I still was having contractions, but not as bad and I did NOT like being in the tub AT ALL. I decided I was not going to use it for the birth itself. Before my midwives headed home I had them check me again and I was 4 cm and 70% effaced. In about 4 hours I had barely progressed.
My midwives left around midnight or so. We headed up to bed. I laid down and immediately had to get up. Just my luck the castor oil took 3 ½ hours to kick in for me... just after the midwives left! I was having diarrhea and major contractions that I had the need to moan through to cope with them. We called my midwife and she said to let her know if anything changed, but it was likely this would be a passing thing and wouldn't work into a good pattern.
Around 1 or so my friend came in the bathroom with me to talk to me and asked if I felt like I wanted to get in the tub. I said yes, I did! So we headed down to the basement and on the way I stripped off what I was wearing and hopped in the tub just before another contraction hit. They were coming every 3ish minutes and were very, very strong. The tub felt great this time. My friend called my midwife and told her I was naked and in the tub and after a little cursing (my midwife had barely gotten home by this point) she said she was on her way and if I needed to push to have me blow like through a straw and call her right away.
Very soon after I got in the tub transition started. I was a typical mom in transition. I couldn't do it, wanted them to take the baby out however they could, wanted drugs, and blamed it all on Eve. My friend was an incredible support at this point (I was at her home waterbirth in December). She was actually about the only person I'd believe at that point that I was doing a halfway decent job. The pain was very intense.
My one midwife got back to the house sometime after 1:30 and the other midwife got there a bit later since she lives further away. A little after 2 my body pushed in the middle of a contraction. It surprised me and I looked at my midwife wide-eyed and said it was too soon to push. She said if it hurt to push to not push, but if it felt okay to go ahead and push. It felt good so I let my body go with pushing.
I wanted to know where he was in there as far as how much further he had to go to get out so I reached in and touched his head the whole time I was pushing. It was pretty amazing to feel him get closer and closer to coming out. I could feel the bag of water just in front of his head. At some point prior to him emerging it popped. I have no idea when.
A contraction ended with his head on my perineum. Trying to push without a contraction hurt so I just withstood that pain for the few seconds between contractions. Probably that was good since it allowed everything to stretch slowly. The next contraction his head came out. That felt great. I reached down and guided his head out and then the next push got his shoulders out. Then I pulled him the rest of the way out and put him on my chest. I had pushed for 15 minutes. It was only later that I realized I had instinctually delivered my own baby!
He was covered in vernix (definitely not expected for a baby born 12 days late), but otherwise assessed as a 41 weeker. He pinked up really fast and had apgars of 9 and 10. For the first time I didn't have any sign of significant bleeding once the placenta detached. I took the herb Lady's Mantle anyway just in case due to my history. Once the placenta was out I got out of the tub and moved to Cameron's bed (we had brought it down just for that purpose).
Adrian Lloyd was born on June 19th at 2:24 am. He was 8 pounds 9 ounces and 20” long and had a 15” head. From the time the contractions got very bad until he was born was a little more than two hours. I don't even want to add up all the time of the four false alarms plus the day before he was born (that alone from the time I woke up in the morning until he arrived was 21 ½ hours).
Thanks for sharing Adrian's birth story, Heather - it's beautiful, except for all the false starts! Just look at that sweet little face in your siggie, though...so worth it. :wub:
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