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(The beginning of this I blogged while in early labor!) I woke up at 3:30am sleepless and crying. I was frustrated convinced my body might not work and that I would be pregnant forever. I just wanted to let myself feel my feelings to get them out of me. DH held me and we sat up for a bit. Then I pet Nino cat to sleep in my arms.
I woke up to cramps nearly thinking I imagined it. I got up to go to the bathroom and low and behold pink tinged "show". It was 8am. Now for the last 1.5 hours I have been getting these cramps like clockwork. They definitely are a new sensation, painful and I need to close my eyes and concentrate on every one. They have been 5 min apart an 49 seconds long. It's nice to know tht 49 seconds actually doesn't feel that long. My mantra so far has been "ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch". I'm not sure if that's the best one. Breathing deeply makes the pain more real.
So yeah... I think I'm in labor. I should call the midwife pretty soon.
Called the midwife around 9:50. She told me she will let the training midwife her assistant know what is going on. She told me to eat and drink, which I did. (bran muffin, decaf latte and banana) She also said to walk around so for about 45 min I've been high tailing it around the dining room table. The contractions immediately picked up to being 1.5 min. apart but only lasting about 30 seconds. I just got tired now though (10:30) so I'm bouncing on the birth ball. I think it's going to be still hours till things really are intense. It doesn't feel like baby is about to fall out but I do imagine he is lower than he was before. I woke up with the feeling he had moved his head low. It kind of startled me so I tossed in bed.
baby just woke up now too... I told him that it's going to be easy sailing once he is out.... warm boob feeding, cashmere and everyone cooing at him.
11ish - took shower to feel clean... contractions close, wishing I had something good to lean against in the shower.
11:30 - contractions about 2 min apart when I stand up but like 4 when I lay on my side. Definitely not feeling like doing a thing. Earlier I amuse the thought of knitting through the contractions. I don't think that will happen. , wanting to rest.... drinking water. the training midwife is on her way over. Just did Hibiclens.
I think the training midwife got here around noon. the midwife, the midwife sent her training assistant along ahead. I was so happy to have her here. She is about my age and she has a very soothing manner about her. She really helped distract me and maintain a sense of normalcy for early labor. I urged DH to go on about his day as normal on the computer to make me feel calm. My keeping him calm was as important as keeping me calm. We went for two walks around the block and talked. She was so accommodating to stop with me when there was contractions. It was great to get fresh air. The contractions came harder up slight inclines though. We got him and DH had fixed me a peanut butter and banana sandwich. I took only one bite. I came into the bedroom and used the birth ball for a bit. I was pinching the two sides of my back for relief. I had DH do it for few. He was good sometimes but I sent him away after a bit knowing I could help myself better. Sometimes the training midwife would hold my feet down which was soothing. It was nice to be treated like a baby and get all my needs met at all times. When she looked at my face she would rub my grumpy forehead to relax my face for a hard contraction.
I believe from around 2ish to maybe 4 I started needing total quiet and relaxation for each contraction. I lye in bed with the blinds and curtains drawn but some light coming though. I just stared at what light was left coming through both. I got pretty good rest between contractions. Everything was such intense pain in the front of my belly with some where the training midwife said was the sacrum, two spots on my hips towards my back. I definately had the deep Ohhhhh moans going on the whole time and wasn't one bit shy about it. the training midwife routed me on when they were a good min. long. When I told her some I get no rest from she also told me it was great. I think by the time the sun was going down I decided that I needed to have the baby today. the training midwife earlier had said "maybe late tonight, early tomorrow" he would be born. In my mind I was like "I dont think so!!" So from then on the contractions were harder. I kept making a hand motion downward to signal pushing as I saw the midwife and the training midwife do this when describing other womens birth. I dont think it meant anything to the training midwife though at the time. In that manner I had no way of knowing on my own I was in "transition". I did ask her to ready the birth tub though. I knew I needed something different. So DH and her readied it. When they were blowing it up my moans were rivaling the sound of the pump. Things like this really frustrated me.
Suddenly I wasnt OK with no one being in the room but I waited feeling always in the moment, never wanting to control anything that was happening, just letting things go as they will. I think once the training midwife reentered the room and she heard the new tone of my voice, I could really go to the next level. I guess I was pushing as all of the sudden I was gushing and something came out of me! I nearly thought it was the baby since it was a round bulge. She told me it was the amniotic sac though out an breaking. Water was going everywhere and there was a sudden panic and I didn't know why. I only figured starting pushing meant the end was so soon so I felt so happy! The water felt soothing between my legs. the training midwife was definately feeling unprepared and barked like 10 commands to DH. "call the midwife, get the chux, turn the water off". She comforted me that there was meuconium in the water but it's not too much and not to worry. I didn't even look down to know or care. I totally trusted her and didnt panic one bit. the training midwife had things cleaned up in moments which made me feel great. I think I had a few more contractions at the same level but didn't feel like things were that much different.
the midwife arrived shortly after and was SERIOUSLY down to business. Little to my knowledge the dopplar was used and Damiens heart rate went down to around 100 instead of the steady 120 it was at. the midwife shoved her cold unready fingers in me to confirm I was ready to get baby out and I was. I was in the bed and she had me put one leg up, told me to push into her fingers. I did and sometimes she would cheer me on, then the next moment say I was clenching, not opening. They tried me in the old fashion hospital lithothomy position and she said to feel myself down there to get the baby out. I didnt feel anything and wasn't satisfied anything was happening. I guess the midwife wasn't either. She had me move to the toilet and said I'd really know how to push if I was on there. I told her I had no idea I could move and she was firm with me. "yes you can". I got to the toilet and was told to push like its a big bowel movement. I did and well... I did start pooping which felt great. I think it took a little pressure off my back so I could only feel baby. After 2-3 pushes I could reach in and feel him. I hated the pushes. One felt pretty OK, especially if I knew I made progress. I did get some longer breaks between contractions which was good. I wanted it just to be over there so I think in my mind I was controlling when they came. I demanded relief. the midwife urged though, "Rhiannon, you wont get your baby unless you push him out yourself". I questioned, "really". I honestly though that your body took over pushing on it's own from some of the birth stories I read. She told me, "not for first time babies". I completely believed her an pushed with all my might, screaming like a banshee, seriously bloody murder screams. She decided things were moving along and had DH sit on the tub edge to support me into a squat. I continued howling and DH's breath was super fast. I felt totally come apart , no way to relate to this pain. the midwife said to go beyond the pain. There was no way other than to push with all my might. That would be going beyond the pain to the end of it. With each mighty push I heard things like "you're doing it". She scuttled to find a mirror so DH could see the crowning. I insisted "no he doesn't need to!" I had business to attend to, no time for anyone else to have a "moment"! I think it was the next push and he was ALL out all at once followed by a wave of fluid. I think in my mind I can still hear it. He was on a covered pillow in front of me more beautiful than I ever imagined. He was just the baby I ordered, dark hair, perfect small features, little pretty head, just completely the sudden love of my life! I picked him up right away and just told him I was his mommy and loved him. Everyone was more concerned about the flood we made in the bathroom. I asked to take my dress off and they helped me. I wanted him skin to skin with me. It was soaked! They had me move to the toilet to hold him as they made some room to work with. Nothing in the world mattered to me and I'd never been happier in my life!
(minutes old in the bathroom)
With time, DH was asked to cut the cord. "Im going to cut the bonds". That meant nothing for me. It was only the beginning! DH cut with his hands shaking with the scissors close to his body. Snip snip and he was loose! It was enough time that they thought the placenta was ready. They said push with the next contraction. "What contractions? Is it going to hurt. Isn't this over with yet?". I stood up and it just plopped out with a very gentle push out.
We moved to the bed and enjoyed ourselves. We came to weight him in the fish scale at 7 lbs. 3 oz. He was so little! I was so happy he could fit his precious newborn size clothes we bought him. the training midwife rushed to get his knit booties and put them on him. I loved that they appreciated that and amused me with seamingless frivolous things like making this handsome boy cuter than he already was! On the bed I did end up having to get three little stitches for tearing. the midwife said it's probably because I pushed all of him out at once. It's so silly, like the placenta I suddenly came to dread or worry about little pains! They didn't end up hurting though. The midwifes wrapped up with doing our dishes, starting out laundry and heating us up the lasagna my dad had frozen for us. I ate a little but was more entranced by baby.
At last they left us and I didn't sleep nearly more than a half our at night. I was high on endorphins and couldn't take in enough of this baby face. He never fussed the first night at all. He latched on really well and started suckling from the first hours.
In retrospect, I cant imagine doing birth it any other way than at home an naturally. I'm told that baby is so alert and amazing how quick he has taken to breastfeeding. Home was a complete comfort. Distractions were horrible and I know a hospital would have been hell for me with the machines and sterile ugly environment around. Drugs would make me loose focus and not do the hard work that I needed to do. I think in my first mom naivety I had no idea the pushing would be that hard. I'm glad I didn't know that going into it! I might have not choose an all natural birth. I'm told it might be better for a second time mom?! Honestly I think I would still fear it. My body had memories of the end over the next day. I had to keep reassuring myself he was already here and all the work was done! I convinced myself now though and somehow it's already hard to remember the pain, just the sounds of it.