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My water started leaking/gushing at noon on Tuesday (13 hours after eating Scaliniís eggplant parm interestingly enoughJ). We called the midwife who told me to drink a castor oil smoothie to get things going. By 4:00 I hadnít had a single contraction so the midwife arrived at 5:00 to start an herbal induction with blue/black cohosh and some other nasty tasting stuff. A previous ultrasound had shown low fluid so she didnít think it wise to wait around for labor to start. I sat down with the breast pump for a few minutes then Dave and I went for a walk. By the time we got back I was feeling really crampy. Almost immediately, contractions were coming regularly every 1.5-2 minutes and I was getting frustrated at not having a break. I had a little mini-breakdown with tears thinking that if this was early labor there was no way I could get through what was to come. When she checked me for the first time I was nearly 6cm! It seems the herbs worked a little too well and I had gone straight into active labor bypassing early labor completely.
The pain was still frustrating, but knowing this was actually more like the middle of labor rather than the first stages was comforting.
They decided to fill up the tub since I was dilating so quickly and I passed the time mostly on hands and knees trying to make it through. I threw up once before getting in the tub and the next hour passed in a painful blur with contractions right on top of each other. After throwing up again, the midwife wanted to check my progress. Iím not a huge fan of cervical checks anyway, but have one while contracting like crazy is pure torture. I got to that point of pain where you know nothing you do will get you out of pain and no one can take it from you so you just scream, beg, roll on the floor, and try to escape your own skin. It sounds over-dramatic, but I donít know how else to describe it.
The check revealed I was almost to 10cm but had an anterior lip (whatever that is) that the midwife needed to push away so I could be fully dilated. It took two doulas to hold me down for that! Afterward she suggested I sit backward on the toilet so the position would facilitate things. ďJust five contractions on the toilet and I think youíll be ready to push and you can get back in the tub.Ē Somehow I stayed on for that many and sure enough it was time to push.
Pushing contractions were slightly less intense though very tiring. At first I put my feet up against the side of the tub and pulled on a rope that one of the doulas was holding and providing resistance, and then I went back and forth between floating to push and standing up in the tub. Standing took all three of them to help because I was so weak and shaky. Still, it was nice to feel like I was doing something productive instead of just being in pain and encouraging feeling her head about 2 inches inside the birth canal.
After an hour of pushing, Dave went from caged animal about to sell his soul to the devil to excited Dad because he could see her blonde hair. That gave me the strength to continue and I wound up pushing her out while standing in the tub. Her head and shoulders came out in one shot and the relief was instant.
I collapsed back into the tub too relieved to be out of pain to pay much attention to Trudy! The cord was really short so she sat on my chest while they rubbed off what little vernix she still had on her. I remember being glad she was healthy and pysched that she wasnít bald. Dave had to lift me out of the tub since the cord was so short and I sat on the floor while they cut the cord and to deliver the placenta which came out with barely more than a cough. At this point Trudy decided to poo meconium all over my tummy so I handed her over to Dave and got in the shower. (I noticed my baby belly was completely gone! I always thought it took some time for even a little stomach to go down, but I was in a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans the next morning. Weird, but yay for that!) Shortly after I was tucked in my own bed, breastfeeding while the birth attendants cleaned everything up. After they left I ate a greasy cheeseburger and went to sleep! From the time contractions started until she was born was a total of 8 hours.
So all-in-all if I had it to do over Iíd definitely birth at home again. Why?
1.Instant relief when itís over and no drugs have been involved. Enjoy that cheeseburger!
2. Thereís nothing like hopping in the shower and sleeping in your own bed that night
3. No episiotomy, no tearing thanks to the tub and a midwife who knows what sheís doing.
4. Having positive attendants to get you through rather than overworked nurses.
5. Freedom to move about rather than being tied to a bed with monitors or an IV
6. Immediate skin-to-skin contact with baby. They didnít even weigh her until after the first feed.
7. Avoiding a million other annoyances that hospitals present.
Know what I wouldnít do again? Use those herbs to facilitate things. Yeah, they may be natural but Iím thinking they had pitocin-like effects. If thereís a next time, Iíll let nature slowly take its course and not worry so much about the lack of activity after my water breaks.