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It started on March 11th. I was 40 weeks and 2 days. (Just for the record, hubby and I did the deed the morning I went into labor. Not sure if it helped me along or not. At about noon on that day I was at work and noticed my usual Braxton Hicks were a bit stronger than usual and coming more often. They were still completely painless though. When I got home my sister, her b/f, hubby and I went for a walk and we started timing the painless contractions. They were ranging from 5-10 minutes apart. Didn't time how long they were lasting though. This continued till about 9pm when I was about to get in the shower and noticed some blood running down my leg! This got me all kinds of excited. =)
By 12 A.M. March 12th the contractions had become pretty intense and a bit painful. I had to get in a good position and breathe through them in order to even get through them. I had been laboring all around the house. On the bed, birth ball, standing... At 1:15, Michael ran a warm bath for me. I labored in there for about a half hour. The warm water felt really good and helped with the contractions a little. Michael massaged my lower back through all of this and helped me so much. At 3 o'clock we took a bathroom break and had more bloody show, then moved to the ball. Michael called our doula, Shawnelle, to tell her I needed her and she headed over. Then called my sister and mom; they, too, headed over. Then called Violet, our midwife, and she advised us to keep working through them and gave us a goal of 4 minutes between contractions and 90 seconds long each. Can't remember how long they were at this point. Shawnelle got here, then Mom, sister and her b/f arrived.
At 4:30, Shawnelle had me walk around the house to try and further my progress. She also showed Michael how to do the double hip squeeze to counter some of the pressure of the contractions. Later on, she also showed my sister how to do it for when Michael could not be there during a contraction, but that did not happen very often through the whole labor. He hated being away from me, and when he did have to leave, he literally ran to go take care of whatever it was, and would then run back to me. He was so amazing. Later on in the labor, he even had to be reminded by people to eat. Shawnelle would give me a sip of water after every contraction; that was great.
At 5 o'clock, they all filled the birth pool in the kitchen with warm water and I climbed in. Took a bathroom break at 6:20. Bathroom breaks sucked because, while laboring on the toilet was really helpful to bring Arrow down (BTW, we did not decide on a name for her until the day after she was born), it was extremely uncomfortable. At 6:25, we went back to the bed and labored on my right side for a while. Sherrie and Amanda (Michael's mom and sister, respectively) came over some time between 7 and 7:20. Bryant had left a while before this, but I did not notice when it was. It was really great having all the ladies here because they helped a lot by boiling water whenever I wanted the tub, making some tea with honey, and melting a frozen smoothie I had in the freezer. I ended up needing sugar to give me more energy because I labored so long that I hardly had enough energy to get through it all. Plus, it didn't help at all that I worked a full day at Petco before the labor really started, and had only really eaten a little candy that day, with yogurt and berries for dinner and little else.
Anyway, at 8:05, we went outside for one or two contractions and I leaned on Shawnelle while Michael did the double hip squeeze, then we went back to the toilet. Also at that time, someone called Violet to update her on our progress and she said she would be here in 30 minutes. Violet arrived alone at 9:15; Katie, my favorite Midwife-in-training wouldn't arrive until about noon -- directly from another birth! At 9:20, Violet took our (Arrow's and my) vitals. Her heart rate was 120-130. At 9:45, Violet checked me and I was 7 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. Arrow was at 0 station. I labored for a few more hours, and of course at this point I was in entering transition and pretty miserable. Haha. Labor sure is hard. And I was completely exhausted by then, too. Shawnelle was feeding me tea with honey and some leftover smoothie at that point to get some calories in me. At 12:08 P.M, Violet checked me again and I was now at 8 centimeters, still 90% effaced with Arrow at 0 station. That was where I got a bit stuck. At 2:35 she checked me a third time and it was all the same: 8 cm, 90%, 0 station. Since I was completely worn out, sleeping hard between contractions, and hardly able to progress, Violet decided it was time to help me along. She told me the benefits and risks to breaking my water (which was bulging) and then let me decide if I wanted it or not. I decided it was a good idea and she broke it at 2:58 P.M.
After that, I started getting the urge to push. She had me breathe through 7 or so contractions (which was SO hard!) and then checked me again after that. Let me say that even while trying to just breathe through the contractions, my body would push anyway at the peak of the contraction; I couldn't control it. Shawnelle did awesome, though, with helping me control my breathing during contractions. (That's what a doula is for!) At 3:43, I was cleared and started actively pushing! It was like 2 steps forward, one step back. I could feel her coming out and then slide back in a little after a contraction. I was on the bed during this, laying on my left side. My sister, bless her, was holding my right leg up for me while I was pushing. Shawnelle sat in front of me, encouraging me through each one. The midwives were encouraging me too, and every time I would push hard, and she would crown more, everyone in the room would gasp. Michael was behind me pressing on my lower back, but once her head was staying visible he moved down to my feet. Violet asked me if I wanted to feel her head. I was like, "Yes!" At least, that's how I felt; I might not have expressed it so much, being exhausted. Her head was all squishy because her skin was all bunched up from the bones compressing/overlapping to get through the birth canal. She had a full head of hair! I could feel it! I could also feel the "ring of fire". That was intense! It burned. It lasted pretty much the whole time her head was crowning, then again at her shoulders. Then she slid right out into Michael's arms! At 4:42 P.M, after an hour of pushing, Arrow Journey Storm was born at home into the arms of her father! My dream come true!
All in all, Arrow Journey Storm was born at home on March 12th, 2013!!! She came at 4:42 P.M. weighing 7 pounds 9 ounces and 22 inches long. A long baby! Oh my goodness she is so amazing. Her labor and birth were amazing too. Painful. SO painful, but so amazing.
They put her on my tummy right away. Everyone started crying the moment she came out. It was lovely to see everyone, especially Michael, so happy. I had her naked on my tummy for at least an hour! It took the cord a good while to stop pulsing, too. The placenta came out easily in a few pushes, and Michael cut the cord. I did need a couple of stitches, which Violet did. That was not bad at all.
So I did the math, and the morning of the 11th we woke up for work at 7 A.M, and went to bed the night of her birth (the 12th) at 11 P.M. That put us at about 40 hours straight of being awake. Pre-labor started at noon on the 11th, Active labor at about 10pm, transition at 9:45am (12th), pushing at 3:43pm, and she was born at 4:42pm. That puts me at 18 hours of active labor and 29 hours of total labor. Wheew!