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So, lets see....I started having "real" contractions on Saturday, February 2nd. I woke up with some small contractions that just didn't go away and thought...."Well, maybe this is it." We had a midwife appointment that morning so after breakfast we headed there. Contractions kept up steadily until we arrived at which point they tapered off until we were back in the car headed home again. The last contraction happened as I was trying to walk up the steps into the office. I remember being annoyed at the timing. Had a fairly uneventful appointment...things looked good...Baby was still healthy...I was still healthy. Blood pressure was a little high but not outrageous...swelling low to moderate and Baby still dropped extremely low. Met, Helen, one of our midwife's students we'd seen once again. She helped out at the appointment and were told that if we went soon she might end up attending our birth.
We left the appointment and contractions picked back up again in the car. I told Aaron by the we got home that it felt like things were picking up a little and this might be the real thing. He suggested we go to the mall to walk that night and have dinner in the food court. He decided to drop Reuben and I off at the house so that he could nap and I could eat some lunch and Aaron headed out to quickly buy a piano. He'd been shopping for one for several weeks and later told me that he felt suddenly urgent about making the purchase now because it looked like the baby was coming and he wanted the task done and finished for them. By the time he got home again I was still contracting and really starting to wonder if we were getting somewhere but, I still wasn't really feeling them pick up in intensity.
We all headed to the mall to walk the evening away and I called my parents to update them so that they would know our status. And we walked....and walked and walked...punctuated by stair climbing and stops for the bathroom. I kept losing pieces of my mucus plug all night long and when we finally left and got back home I went to the bathroom and lost the biggest piece so far and this time finally had some bloody show with it. We went to sleep a little nervously and I hoped so hard that things wouldn't die off in the night but that I would be able to get some sleep.
Woke up and found I was still contracting although lightly and DH was sleeping. Waited for him to wake up hoping we could DTD and then take a walk to get things to pick up again. He slept and he slept and he slept! When he finally woke up he wasn't in the mood and wanted breakfast instead and in the meantime my contractions had died off. I promptly burst into tears and fell apart on poor DH. He pulled me together again and convinced me that we should still go out for a walk. So, we ate and then headed to the local cemetery together. I know that sounds strange but its a pretty place near our house with no through traffic and nice broad paved walks...fits the bill for a family stroll.
Anyhow....walking did seem like it worked because we left and contractions were back! I was really pleased. We headed back home and contractions kept up. DH worked on setting up our t.v. to watch the Superbowl and I made pizza. While I was cooking dinner the contractions died off again and my dad called for an update. I told him depressedly that it looked like nothing was happening after all since the action kept petering out on me. Then the pizza finished and the game came on and as soon as I sat down to watch the contractions returned! Woohoo!!! And this time they actually started slowly ramping up. By about midway through the game I was too antsy to sit still anymore so I started walking around the house picking up and cleaning, posting here, calling my family, and timing the contractions online. By the time the game finished I was sure that this was really it.
Aaron tried to put our son to bed but he kept calling me and wouldn't go to sleep. By this time I was pacing the floor in our room working through contractions but I decided that I'd try putting Ru to sleep. I remember breathing through a few contractions next to my toddler's bed after he'd closed his eyes and hoping I wouldn't wake him up again.
Then we decided to go to bed and try to get all the rest we could. I woke up again at about 1:40 AM with contractions that were uncomfortable to try to lay in bed and snooze through so I got up and worked alone on breathing through a few and then eventually woke up my husband and told him that I needed him. He woke up and we started getting all the birthing stuff together. After a while of working through contractions I decided to call my family, around 3 AM or so and tell them that it was going to be a matter of hours now. Then we just spent the rest of the night working through contractions together. I did hypnobirthing/Lamaze style breathing...in for four counts and out for eight. I held Aaron's hands a lot and spent a lot of the time sitting on the toilet as it offered great support but wasn't uncomfortable. I also spent some time in a hot bath and some times walking or dancing with Aaron in our bedroom. He played our birth music cd that I burned and I ate and drank periodically to keep up my strength.
I remember in the morning, Aaron peeking out of the bathroom where were laboring at the time and telling me that the sun was rising! I was so relieved and excited to know that I'd made it through the whole night of contractions...hours and hours! Somewhere around that time Aaron decided to call the midwife and let her know that we were ready for her. I remember hearing her tell Aaron on the phone that she'd head over but from his description she wasn't sure if she'd beat the Baby to arriving.
About this time Aaron started filling our birthing tub too....full power hot water since it was so huge and he thought he might run out of hot by the end. Sure enough he did...not even halfway full. Blast. He filled it the rest of the way with cold and turned on the heater that was supposed to maintain warm water temperature in hopes that it might heat it up enough. No luck. The heater truly was meant to maintain temperature and not to raise it. When the midwife arrived she took all my big pots and pans and my tea kettle out of the cupboards and filled them and boiled water which she ran up and dumped in the pool until it was warm enough to be comfortable and so I got in it.
Ah! Relief! It was soooooo good. Let me tell you girls, I wasn't sure that waterbirth would be anything more than a fad that I tried for the fun of it but seriously...its the way to go for me. It at least halved my pain. So wonderful! I loved the sensation of floating and being so warm and relaxed. The birthing tub proved to be our most indispensable tool.
Right about then the midwife asked me if I'd like her to check me and see how far along I was and I hemmed and hawed for a bit and then decided that I did want to know. I was scared that I wouldn't be very far along and I'd be super demoralized and frustrated. I was hoping for 5 centimeters or higher. She checked and told me that I was 8! I was totally geeked!
Thanks so much for the lovely siggie Trish (mtdk454)!!!!
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I have never looked on this sticky forum until tonight, so happy to see your birth story Carlie!
I guess you will finish the rest later? I am on the EDGE OF MY SEAT!
I never got to get into the tub at the hospital (the nurse took 2 freakin hours to take my vitals and all that stuff, during that time I went from 3 cm to 9 so at that point it was too late to get into the tub. NJ law is you can labor in the tub but not push. Thanks nurse Linda!)
"It at least halved my pain. So wonderful!"
anyway, you may remember I had bad back labor. When things started here at home I got into our bathtub and stayed in there for almost 2 hours. I have been telling people that being in the tub cut the pain by more than half, so it's funny you said that too.
I was so happy when we were driving home from the hospital and John told me "next time we are having a home water birth" which is what I would have done this time if he would have been ok with that, but he thought that was crazy. Having a close relationship with our Doula and taking our birthing classes with her really opened his eyes to the fact that it's not a medical emergency.
1) please finish your story
2 do you have any pictures?
Aw Cheryl!!! You're the best! I'm totally finishing....no worries. I do have pictures but they're a little explicit....I don't mind sharing at all but I don't want to get in trouble on the boards for sharing something indecent. Maybe I could PM them to you? I'm totally up for letting you see them.
*picking back up*
So, I was an 8. Such a relief! The midwife told me after the exam was done..."Actually, I'm not even sure I'd call you a true 8. What's really going on is that you're basically fully dilated but you've got a big fat edge of cervical lip still there on one side. You don't feel pushy do you?"
I said I didn't feel the urge to push at all but it was super encouraging to know that I was that close to complete and that I'd made it so far already with such success. She told me not to push at all until I got the urge. Just keep laboring through the contractions as I had been using my breath. So we kept going for a while longer in the pool, maybe another couple of hours. That exam and measurement of 8 centimeters was at about 9:30 in the morning.
After a good while of working through contractions which had started to get quite intense and uncomfortable and watching me for pushing with no urge showing up...my midwife suggested that I get out of the pool. She said that maybe my position was not allowing you to get enough oomph up to push that cervical lip aside and descend and movement or a standing might be the ticket. I agreed to get out although I didn't want to and in my mind was thinking "Oh...do I have to??? I know its gonna hurt!!!" The next break between contractions that I got daddy helped me out of the pool while the midwife grabbed the birthing stool and set it up on the floor next to the tub. As soon as the first contraction hit I knew I was really in for it. Whew! The pain was really intense and I felt pretty panicky and scared. I remember my midwife trying to get me to stand up or walk and just crumpling up in a knot of writhing pain on the birthing stool instead. After that she tried to get me to sit straight upright on the stool through a contraction. Heh. No luck. It was just too painful and intense and for some reason I could keep my body at the angle she wanted. I remember sliding down mostly off the front edge of the stool and twisting my hips to the side through the contractions. I think this period was pretty hard on daddy. I'm afraid I wore his shoulders, hands, back and arms right out.
At this point it was quite clear that I was in transition and you were trying to descend into the vaginal passage but you weren't rotating your head to begin the descent. The midwife wasn't sure why, so she donned her gloves and reached up inside to see what was going on (massively painful!!!!). She told me afterwards that when she reached up she could feel you wiggling your head back and forth trying to get into the right position but just not quite finding the spot for some reason. Watching me labor through contractions, compulsively angling my hips and sliding off the front edge of the birthing stool she was pretty sure that my body was trying to help the baby move in the right direction.
This whole period was really scary for me. The contractions were super intense, and very painful and I was worried that you weren't coming down like you were supposed to and hours kept going by. I remember being worried about how much energy reserve I had. I didn't know how much longer I could keep going. I kept saying things like "I can't do this!!!" and "I'm so scared!!!!" through my sobs. I remember asking Daddy to pray for me and feeling so comforted as he prayed for me and you and the birth. So moving. Our midwife and her student assistant were murmuring silent prayers of their own on their knees in front of me.
I also remember Martha, our midwife pouring oil on my feet and massaging them through the contractions. That was immensely comforting although I couldn't find the words to tell her so coherently.
I'm not sure how many contractions I labored through like this. It felt like forever but I'm sure it wasn't nearly as long as it seemed. After a while of watching me the midwife started putting on gloves again to do another exam. I remember watching her putting them on and getting really scared. Then I gasped out "Please don't put your hands up inside me again!!!! I can't!!!!" I felt like I was yelling but I must have been pretty hard to understand because she just paused midair with a puzzled look and said, "What???" Luckily for me Daddy had it all together. He repeated what I'd said and suggested that I was scared because it hurt so badly when she did an exam. Once she knew what I'd said she just quietly said "Okay." and peeled off her gloves and said..."How about if you get back in the water again? You were coping so beautifully together when you were there before. This doesn't seem like its helping a lot. Maybe you need to relax a bit to let your body do its work."
I was totally blown away. I seriously never thought she'd listen to me and not do the exam just because I asked her not to. What relief! I felt so listened to and cared for a respected. And I got to get back in the water! I could hardly wait!!!
Back in the tub things were certainly still at their most intense so far but so much more manageable and sane. I still wasn't feeling the urge to push but I was so relieved at the relief of being back in the water that I was less worried about not feeling pushy yet. I remember doing little experimental pushes from time to time to see if it felt right yet. I just kept laboring along through contractions, breathing and leaning on daddy and just trying to hold it together. At this point it seemed like the contractions got a little farther apart and I remember dozing in between them and being able to gather my strength a little this way. Also, as soon as I got back in the tub the midwives left the room and closed the door, even taking Reuben (who was now awake) with them to give us a little peaceful private time together.
After a while I suddenly was riveted by the urge to push...completely unearthly and not of my own volition. It scared me and excited and relieved me. I was so glad to know that you were actually coming down like you were supposed to but it hurt so much and it was pretty weird having something else controlling my body so completely. I was definitely not doing this.
Once I actually started pushing a little with contractions I started making this grunting noise and the midwives were back in the room in a flash. I remember reaching my hands down to support my perineum in the water and to see if I could feel you yet and being totally annoyed and panicked that I couldn't. Argh! It felt like pushing took forever. After the birth Martha told me that I only pushed about 6 times and it really went fairly quickly. It just seemed like it dragged though. I felt like I pushed and pushed and pushed! Sometimes I supported my perineum with my hands and sometimes I didn't and just held onto the sides of the tub while I pushed. I remember thinking "Oh! Now I'm to the ring of fire. I can tell. I wonder if I'll just split right open?" The midwives were telling me "We see hair! Lots of dark hair!!!" And then suddenly....with a burning pain, and one big push, your head was out!!!!! Hooray!
Your shoulders were just a small push and then you slid out into the water while I bent down and slipped you into my arms. I love that that first hands who ever touched you were mine. What an empowering thing to catch my own child! I gathered you into my arms and then sat back up on the birthing stool with you snuggled against me and partly in the water to stay warm. Daddy had his arms wrapped around us and your big brother Reuben was standing on a chair looking over Daddy's shoulder trying to get as close to the action as he could. He was so excited! Very cute.
You didn't cry at first. Just slowly pinked up as you blinked at us and took your first couple of breaths. Then you cried a bit and I kissed you and comforted you. And of course we looked to see if we had a son or a daughter. A boy! What a fabulous surprise...we really thought we were having a girl. I also remember being surprised because the umbilical cord was so wiry. I didn't know it was so rubbery and tough feeling, so interesting! And then it was time to birth the placenta. I remember being a little scared when my midwife asked for a little push to get it out...I didn't know if I could handle pushing again. But then when I did it I was so relieved....birthing the placenta feels good. Its really warm and so, so soft and silky. It felt like heated velvet. It actually felt really great. Kind of a nice soothing end to the birthing experience.
Once the placenta was out, daddy took you in his arms to snuggle and kiss while Martha helped me out of the tub and into my own warm bed. Once I was tucked in, Daddy gave you back to me, all wrapped in warm blankets with a little hat on. I nursed you for the first time and we had some family cuddle time while the midwives caught up on eating a little and paperwork. Then in a few minutes they came back to formally meet you and hear your name and do the inspection.
7lbs 13 oz
13 inch head
So wonderful!!!!! What a relief and empowerment to have a birth experience that was so ideal. I hoped and prayed that it would go this well but I honestly didn't think it would happen. What a blessing to have dreams come true.
Thanks so much for the lovely siggie Trish (mtdk454)!!!!
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