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I'm not really sure where to start Quinn's official birth story because the beginning of labor wasn't very clear-cut. At 38 weeks, I had a day of contractions at 10 min apart in the morning, 6 apart in the afternoon, and 4 apart in the evening (though not growing in intensity)...just to have my appointment the next day show that nothing was really happening. At 39 weeks, the midwife told me that the baby was almost engaged in the pelvis and in great position, and that I should have the baby whenever I wanted (as though I could make it happen!) Well, when it didn't happen by 4/4 (39w3d), I figured that the baby being engaged could just be how he or she would be for another couple of weeks and gave up on thinking it might be soon.
The next day, 4/5, I started feeling sorta menstrual-crampy at work, along with some low back pain. Knowing that the baby had dropped so low, I didn't read anything into it other than late pregnancy aches. After work, my husband and I went on a walk like we had the past few days to enjoy the weather and encourage the baby not to be late in arriving. By the time we got back from the walk, I was definitely feeling more achy, but still was hesitant to attribute it to labor. I did have enough thoughts about it being real to call my short-term disability provider to get set up, though!
So for the rest of the night/overnight, I was having contractions but using hypnosis and sleeping through them. I woke up around 6am (an hour too early for my alarm) because of birds chirping loudly and thought that the contractions really were growing some. I chalked it up to wishful thinking but got on my hands and knees in bed and waved my butt around in the air and felt pretty good. When my husband woke up, I told him I wanted to go to work early, grab my laptop, and then work from home. We were lying in bed discussing this when I heard a POP! at about 6:45 or 7:00---my water had broken!
We called both our sets of parents and workplaces to let them know, and I called the on-call midwife from the birth center. She said I needed to labor at home until my contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart for several hours because they don't admit you there until you're at 4-5cm dilation. I told her that while lying in bed they were already 3 min apart, but that they weren't that close together when walking around. She said to have breakfast, take a shower, and call back when changing positions didn't change anything.
Well, that happened pretty quickly---I was at 3-4 min apart consistently and with growing intensity almost immediately. I laid in bed listening to my hypnosis tracks, tapping my finger on the bed when I had a contraction so that my husband could push the contraction timer button. He also squeezed my ankle hard while doing this to help distract me from the pelvic pressure. This worked for a little while and then I decided to get up and walk around a bit and lean into a desk while feeling a contraction. I put on some Eddie Izzard clips from Youtube to keep my mind and body relaxed.
My regular midwife called up at 9am and asked how my contractions were coming. I was shocked to look at the timer and see that they were exactly 3 min apart, 1 min in duration (sometimes coming in 2s) for the past hour minimum. She sounded surprised and said it didn't usually go this fast, but that I should probably plan to leave in about a half hour (because the trip to the birth center was ~45 min). So, that was our plan.
In the meantime, things continued to intensify very quickly. I couldn't sit down on anything---that position immediately put me into very painful contractions---and I started to feel nauseated and shivered all over. (Thankfully, considering I have emetophobia, I didn't throw up). I suspected that the shivering was a sign of being in transition (that's the part of labor where you go from dilating into the pushing stage) but I couldn't imagine it would have happened so fast. We got into the car and the pain continued to grow. I couldn't change positions, sitting in general hurt, and the thought of going 45 minutes was horrible. It's a 2 lane road up to the birth center and a big truck pulled out in front of us, going below the speed limit---I swore at him and every other driver on the road (instead of taking it out on my husband). I started screaming my head off, kicking the glove compartment and grabbing the handle thingie on the inside of the car door. I thought something had to be terribly, terribly wrong, but as I would later find out, I was already fully through the dilation stage and was ready to push but couldn't because I didn't know I was that far along and wasn't in any position to be pushing. Women who have gone through labor typically say that not pushing when you're supposed to be pushing is one of the most painful parts of the process.
We finally got to the birth center at about 10:30 am, where I told my midwife that I didn't think I could do this after all. I thought for sure she'd tell me I was only 3cm, and then I would have asked for a hospital transfer. At that point, I was willing to do ANYTHING---epidural, general, c-section. A quick check revealed that I was already completely ready to push the baby out and they got things in position for this. I didn't feel prepared at all for pushing. It's a weird thing to do if you haven't done it before, I didn't feel any instinct forcing my body to do it, and I also was just completely blinded with pain. I fought AGAINST pushing because it felt like I could fight against the contractions, but of course that didn't work. They moved me from the bed to a birthing stool a couple times to help the baby change positions and come down. I still kept fighting it. Finally, at some point, my body got the natural urge to push and things progressed better, though I still didn't go with the flow as I should have. I probably could have gotten the baby out much quicker than I did. I was giving the midwives a pitiful face and telling them I would NOT change positions and I would NOT push! Then FINALLY, after 2 hours of pushing, Quinn was born at 12:23 pm. We found out she was a little girl, they wrapped her up in a warm towel straight from the dryer, and put her on my chest to meet me. While they sewed me up and gave me a shot for the bleeding (I didn't have to be cut but did tear some) I fed her and sat kind of dazed in the bed with my husband and baby girl.
We stayed at the birth center until 6:30 or so, resting, feeding, being checked on, snacking, showering, and then decided we'd go home. I wasn't nervous at all about taking her home after seeing how well she was feeding and also how well my husband did at holding her and calming her down when she was fussy. I demanded a double hamburger from a local joint as my first meal, and we all watched baseball together and relaxed and kind of looked at each other for awhile. It's been amazing so far!
~Beth~ Wife to my Airman Chris, and mommy to: Anthony Nathaniel (8/31/04), Anastasia Fae (8/01/06), Baby C (lost on 10/12/07), David Cillian (7/31/08), Charles George (4/29/10), and Alan Christopher (2/22/12)