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Wednesday night I started feeling some pain in my back, it would come and go, but without contractions. It made me think it could be my body preparing for labor and knowing she was posterior, I expected I could have back labor. I went to bed around 11-12 and grabbed the heating pad, because in certain positions, I could really feel the pain in my back. I slept until about 4, on and off, when I woke up with a good contraction and then another maybe 15 minutes later. I decided I wouldn't be able to sleep through this and decided to get up and take a shower. I knew it could be the start of labor, but didn't want to get my hopes up. I had another contraction in the shower, and DH peeked his head in to ask what I was doing. I still wasn't confident to say I was in labor, so I told him I was having some contractions, but it was probably nothing and to go back to bed.
I came downstairs and started brewing some tea, since I've heard it can help while in labor. I started timing contractions and came on here, and realized they were a steady 7-10 min apart lasting a minute. After 5-6 of them, I wasn't 100% sure still (I have no idea why) but decided to call my parents. It was about 5:30am at this point. The pain was definitely intense, I couldn't focus through the contractions, and my hips and back hurt like heck. I finally broke down in tears after one because of the pain. My labor with Abigail was not this intense from the start, and the pain I was feeling was much worse. I started to question my decision to do this naturally, but knew I wouldn't back out now. I decided at this point, if this wasn't it, my body had to be playing a very cruel joke on me. My parents arrived around 6:30 and Abby had woken up, so we started getting her ready for the day. DH asked if I wanted to call the birth center and I told him no, I wanted to wait until things got closer and more intense. My mom stepped in and told me no, she felt things were moving along and I needed to go. I gave in and DH called the birth center to let them know we would be coming in. I realized some of the contractions were at 4-5 minutes so I realized it was probably a good idea. Things went fast with Abby once I hit transition, so I didn't want to risk cutting it too close.
We arrived at the birth center at 7:45 at the same time as my midwife, Kip, and she started filling the tub. I went right to the bathroom and realized my body started the whole cleaning itself out process and also noticed some bloody show. I think I still questioned if this was the real deal, but decided those were good signs, lol I jumped right into the tub when it was filled and it felt so good. It didn't relieve the pain, but when I got out for the first time, I realized sitting in the tub actually took some of the intensity off the contractions. I got out a few times to pee and felt like things were slowing down in the tub. I think it was about 9am and I realized my contractions were about 7 min apart still in the tub, so I decided to get out. I paced the room, sat on the toilet and the birth ball...I really had no idea what I wanted, but I thought I would just try different things to see if anything really worked. The contractions really hurt at this point, the pain in my back and hips was very intense. Nothing seemed to work to help relieve it, and I finally decided I needed to get back in the tub, if only to get a little bit of relief. My sister had arrived and everyone was in and out of the room, including Abby to visit me and see how things were going. It was nice to just be in a peaceful setting and let things happen as they were going to. I enjoyed being alone for the most part though, so I could focus and feel free to labor how I was comfortable. I was definitely more vocal with this labor, moaning through each contractions, because that's just what felt good to get through the pain of the contractions.
Once I got back in the tub, I got my knees and leaned against the side of the tub, the only position that seemed to make an ounce of difference for my comfort. After about 2-3 contractions, I looked at whoever was in the room (I can't remember if it was my midwife or DH) and said "I think things are getting close" because I was starting to feel some pressure. Things are a bit of a blur from that point, but I stayed in that position and things intensified quickly. My contractions were definitely very close together and I was feeling pressure with each one. After a few more, I felt my body start to push. WOW! I couldn't believe the feeling, it's just indescribable. I kept my face buried in the towel I had laying on the side of the tub, but was aware that they had started letting my support people into the room, DH, my mom and sister, along with the 2 midwives and doula that were there. Feeling her come down was so painful, yet such a relief at the same time. I put my hand down and could feel the baby's head pushing up against everything, but she wasn't crowning yet. Clarice had stepped in to see how things were progressing, and told me that she was right there and she could feel the sac. Then I realized my water had never broken, and she was coming out in her sac. I kept feeling as she came out, and it was just amazing to feel the bulge of her sac instead of her head, which I had expected to feel all along. My body took over and I just pushed as I felt the urge. My midwives kept telling me what a great job I was doing and to go with it, which was so encouraging. I remember screaming at some point "Get her out!" as she was starting to crown. It was this overwhelming urge to push her out, that I just couldn't control. I screamed with every push because it felt like the only way to relieve the feeling. After she crowned, it was only 1 or 2 pushes and I felt her head slip out, then her body. What a huge relief! I reached down and picked her up out of the water and leaned back into the tub and put her to my chest. I remember saying "Wow, there really was a baby in there!" because the whole experience still seemed so unreal.
We sat in the tub until the placenta was delivered then they helped me out and into the bed. They let my dad and Abby come in at that point, so Abby could meet her new little sister. I started nursing her, and she pretty much didn't want to let go! She ended up nursing for an hour, then I stopped her so we could check her weight and length and they could check me to see how my bleeding was and if I tore. I was amazed to find out that I didnt' have even a small tear, and I honestly felt great! I was physically a little sore, but I didn't feel even half as bad as I did after having Abigail. I know she turned before she came out, because she came out the right way, but I never felt it or realized it when I did feel it. I know she was still posterior through most of the labor though, because I could still feel moving in the same places.
We decided on the name Annabelle (Anna) Grace and she weighed 8lbs 8oz and 21.5in long. She was born at 9:56am and I was amazed to see her head full of dark hair. She nursed for another 2 hours at the birth center and I realized I already had a marathon nurser on my hands! She passed a ton of meconium while we were there before we took the herbal bath, so I knew she was already getting something. We went home after 5 hours and have been relaxing here ever since. The entire expereince was just amazing overall. Giving birth completely natural was so empowering. It was so much tougher than I expected, with the back labor, but the overall experience of birthing in the birth center over the hospital, was better. I enjoyed being just free in my labor, and moving around helped a ton to get through the contractions. I know if I had been in a hospital, I would have never made it without asking for an epidural. My recovery has been extremely easy, and I feel great just 48 hours later. It's so nice to be home and relax instead of being stuck in the hospital for several days. I would do this all again in a heartbeat!
Andrea, mom to 3 beautiful girls - Abigail (8) Annabelle (6) and Alexis (3)