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I went to bed decently early the night of the 22nd, feeling pretty good. I had strange dreams all night - about being in pain and I'd wake up and go to the bathroom, head back to bed - more strange dreams - thinking back, it was probably pain waking me up lol. It kind of killed my "good night of sleep". About 3am I woke up with the absolutely WORST cramping I've felt this whole pregnancy. I got up and went to the bathroom and thought I was just going to scream if this was another episode of false labor!! But when I wiped there was bloody show then shortly after I had a contraction and immedately I knew this was IT. I had forgot how those real contractions felt, wowza! I tried to go to bed but was uncomfortable so I got up and started timing them. They were 7-8 minutes. I guess around 4am my husband woke up. I told him he best call in from class today because this was for-sure "it". So he did. Contractions continued, they were not as regular as they were with Hunter but running 6-8 minutes and getting closer together. I guess at this point it was like 5am and I decided to call my midwife because I knew traffic was going to get ugly fast. Called her cell and no answer, so I called her home and her husband answered and told me she was out at a birth. Figures!!! A bit later she returned my call and asked if I felt like I needed her and I really didn't so I said no. She continued to text me every so often to check in on how my contractions were going. Once I got to about 4-5 minutes apart she decided to call in her back up midwife to come to my house in case her mom didn't have the baby by the time I did. We started getting a little nervous as the contractions were very intense and getting closer together lasting longer and longer and my husband really didn't want to deliver his own child lol. We really thought we would have a baby here by 10-11am! The back up midwife (Mary) and my midwifes asst. (Michelle) got here about 9am and she offered to check me, I was having contractions 2- 3 minutes apart lasting a minute or more so I figured it was going to be soon - no point in an exam. An hour later I decided to let her check me, I was getting tired and worn out from the contractions and couldn't really "feel" that I was progressing - baby just wasn't dropping like Hunter did. She did and I was 6-7 cm (which sucked because I started at 4!) and "very stretchy" she said she could easily stretch me to 10 and if I wanted I could try to "push through the cervix" ----- BAAAAAAAAD idea. All it did was make the pain horrible. I had this desire to push (because I was tired and ready to be done) but my body just wasn't ready. I guess it was around 10: 30 ish she asked me if I wanted to try the tub, I didn't really want to but I thought it might help w/ the contractions so I got in. I couldn't get comfortable and it really just wasn't helping so I decided to get out. Probably about 11am now and I went from walking to sitting to sitting on my ball, tried hands and knees and just all over and I could not find "that spot" that offered any relief! She said that my cervix was mostly front and I needed to try to lean forward to encourage baby's head to put pressure down but I just couldn't handle those positions, they were miserable!! Standing was the most comfortable so that's what I did, my hubby supporting me because I was so tired I am surprised I didn't fall over asleep! We did that for another hour-hour and a half. Then I opt'd to let her check me again and no progress - still 6-7 and very stretchy. So she called my midwife and she thought my bag of water was probably holding up dilation and told her if she could to break it. It must have been around noon at this point. So she did, and I felt a lot of relief right off but then it got really intense, the contractions picked up big time! They were probably every 2 minutes or less and lasting at least a minute! I have to admit I did not handle it well, I was tired and I started to fight it, tense up, hold my breath, get angry and yell at people lol. Mentally I kept thinking, "omg this is why everyone gets epidurals" lol, I was really doubting myself and crying and just a mess. I was practically begging to go to the hospital! My husband deserves the husband-of-the-century award because he really pulled me together and was just exactly where I needed him to be! He kept reminding me how happy I would be I pushed through and that I'd regret the hospital. And in my mind I knew that if we went by the time we got there I'd be fully dilated and still have no drugs LOL! Plus, I knew it's not what I wanted and that I needed to refocus and stop fighting the contractions and try to sleep through it. I realized all the mistakes I was making because they were exactly what I tell other moms NOT to do!! Finally I decided to go ahead and get in the tub again, it was a lot of relief so then I knew it was a good time to get in. The first trip in the tub wasn't "time" so it didn't help. I couldn't do my hands and knees position still so I got into a really straight up position with my legs as close to my body as possible - trying to make his head right down where it should be. Once I quit fighting them and just let my body do it's thing the pain did calm down and I could handle it again and the room again went silent. I was kind of sleeping through them and just relaxing and letting everything go. I tried to visualize his head moving down and coming out. At that point (about 2pm) the midwife checked me again and I was fully dilated and she said - push when you want to. I didn't have the urge though. I decided to get on hands and knees again and finally after a few minutes I kind of forced myself to push and then pushing took over, I pushed even without contractions and he was out in maybe 8 pushes. WHAT A RELIEF!!!! It was so crazy, I could feel his head coming down every tiny bit of the way! It was really cool actually, just to feel him move down like he was and crown and come out! I quickly flopped over and she handed him to me and the way I took him - I had got a handful of boy goods and I laughed and said, "It's a boy" without even looking lol. It was quite special to be the first person to know the gender - and at birth instead of during an u/s! He looked incredibly small but was very heavy! I held him on me for maybe 10 minutes until the placenta came out then Michelle came over and did the cord clamp and my husband cut the cord and he took him while I got out. We went straight to the bed and I got comfy and changed my wet sports bra out for a nursing bra then held Carson for a bit then Mary and Michelle did his newborn exam and got him cleaned up a bit. That wonderful post-childbirth spurge of energy kicked in and I felt like a million bucks! I guess we sat there for about an hour and then my husband ran down to the bus stop and got the boys - they were so excited to come home to a new baby brother!! About that time Hunter woke up - he fell asleep about 20 minutes before Carson came out, figures! We ate a little then I got up and showered and got dressed. I guess it was like maybe 5pm when they both left and we moved to the living room and relaxed on the couch! My midwife was planning to stop by after her mom gave birth - she had been having contractions right in line with mine all day and didn't give birth till like 6 or something, I feel for her!!! Kelli made it over around 8 and we got to weigh Carson and talk a bit.
In the end it was probably the most intense labor experience of my life and I partially blame myself for it seeming so difficult - with Hunter I had it in my mind I'd have a long hard labor but ended with a fast practically painless labor. This time I went in expecting a baby in a few short hours and ended up with a more "typical" labor. Guess the lesson is never assume you'll have a super fast labor, even if you're almost 43 weeks and 4cm dilated lol!!! But honestly I wouldn't change a thing, it was an amazing experience and pretty incredible to know I gave birth to our 4th child naturally, at home! As much work as it might have been it was 100% worth it!