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I started waking up on and off to uncomfortable cramping between 12:00 Ė 12:30 am on September 30th and it didnít occur to me right away that this could mean I was in labor. Honestly it didnít seem that much more painful than what I had been experiencing for weeks now, but finally I wake Bobby up and tell him Iím uncomfortable and that I was thinking of calling the Birth Center just to be sure. Right away though I start feeling very anxious which is common place for me but tends to trigger IBS. I guess deep down I knew this was different. Itís probably a little after 12:30 am that I go ahead and leave a message to have Valerie, my midwife, to call me because I might be in labor. 5 Ė 10 minutes later she calls back and I tell her whatís up, but not sure Iím actually in labor or not. She thinks I might be but due to her own exhaustion she feels the need to have a different midwife contact me. Thankfully Iím familiar with all three midwives so itís not a problem. Another 10 minutes or so passes and I receive a phone call from Sunita (midwife) and we decide I should come in just to be safe because of my history of how quickly my labor progresses (Rayne was born in a little less than 5 Ĺ hours).
It is now 1:00 in the morning and I go upstairs to tell my parents that we are going to the Birth Center but Iím not sure if this is actual labor or not. We leave Rayneís car seat behind and Bobby & I get in the car to go to the Birth Center.
At this point contractions havenít seemed regular (maybe every 2-6 minutes apart) and just a tad more uncomfortable than what I have been getting for a couple weeks now. I start timing them and for the first 20 minutes they still seem a little irregular (3-5 minutes apart) until finally around 1:20 Ė 1:30 am they consistently level out at 4 minutes apart. Also I start noticing that the pain is a bit more intense and wrapping around my front into my lower back. We arrive at the birth center around 1:25 but Sunita doesnít get there until around 1:35-1:40. When she does we patiently sit outside in our car while she sets things up Its not for another five or ten minutes until we are able to come in and Sunita checks my vitals as we discuss whatís going on. BP is 102/60 and temp is 98.9 degrees F. Finally at about 2 am she has me sit on a birthing stool so we can find out how far Iíve progressed. First thing she says is that baby is very low but sheís having troubles getting to my cervix. Not sure exactly what she meant be she said she needed to move it forward, this was definitely uncomfortable! Finally the pain of that subsides and the pinching in front fades as well as the contractions are now felt more in front again instead of my sides and low back. Then she looks up at me and smiles. I ask if everything is ok and Sunita tells me Iím 6 cm dilated!
Since I was in denial about even being in labor in the first place, this came as quite a shock. Bobby contacts mom and dad while I call Alyssa and Ashley so the entire birthing team can get to Puget Sound Midwives & Birthing Center. The reality of it all starts to hit me and my anxiety about labor rears its ugly head but thankfully not too bad.
By about 2:30 the entire birthing team arrives and everyone just sort of settles in. Alyssa sets up candles, we chat, and the contractions are still very manageable. I was kind of surprised that I was able to laugh and joke and move around fairly easily. At about 3:00 because I was feeling kind of warm due anxiety I chose to take a walk outside and get some fresh air. It was a beautiful cold morning, lots of stars in the sky and has that crisp autumn smell in breeze. A bit too cold for everyone else but felt perfect to me. Bobby starts to shiver quite a bit so he goes inside but Alyssa stays to walk with me. At around 3:30 Sunitaís assistant comes outside and asks to listen to the babyís heart rate while Iím having a contraction so we stop and only seconds later I can feel the onset of one. While weíre smiling and chatting through the contraction I suddenly feel a jerk and a pop right above my pubic bone as if the baby moved suddenly or something. Then I noticed that fluid was leaking down my leg and it felt like I was constantly peeing and unable to control it. We hurry inside and I waddle to the bathroom, oddest sensation ever. Turns out that this was my water breaking and thankfully itís clear. This was the last thing I expected to happen for a couple reasons. 1: When I was in labor with Rayne they had to break my water. 2: With all of my Motherís pregnancyís they had to break her water and so far it seems like we have very similar pregnancies and labors.
It is now 3:45 and I get on the bed so Sunita can check meÖ stats say 8 cm dilated and at +1 station, 95% effaced, & leaking clear/blood tinged fluid. She comments that itís mostly just the anterior lip, and everything is looking great. Because my water has now broken Iím expecting things to pick up and I decide to get into the tub. The feeling of an increase in pain comes on pretty quickly, although the water does seem to help. Thankfully Ashley was making sure I constantly had a cold washcloth and a shoulder to lean on, it felt great to have the heat and cold combination. Still as I start to feel hot and exhausted as the contractions intensify Sunita suggests I get out of the tub and come to the bed. I had only been in the water maybe 25 minutes but was losing stamina quickly, things felt like they were taking forever to progress and I started feeling a tad discouraged.
According to Sunitaís notes it was at 4:42 that I was on the bed when I started feeling some rectal pressure, and I knew I would be pushing soon. Alyssa pipes up and suggests the tub again and Iím glad for that because at this point Iím not super clear headed about what I want as long as sheís born. That reminder was just what I needed and we move back to the tub. I mention on the way that Iím feeling a tad light headed/dizzyÖ itís not much and honestly I think it was just because of exhaustion. Iím a little concerned though because I had no sleep, no food, and Iíve been anxious from the beginning. The fear of losing too much blood or there being complications in general was in the back of my head, along with the understanding that I was about to be in a lot more pain. If it wasnít for my amazing team I probably would have had an anxiety attack Ė lol. They kept reminding me that I could do this. In my mind I went to a calm place and talked to God to help me through it, I really feel this gave me strength.
I pretty much had my eyes closed the entire time, holding onto my motherís hand while Bobby supported me from behind. I grunted, moaned, and breathed as best I could. I was frantically searching for the best pain management and although these methods were helping some it wasnít what I needed. I thought I was yelling out, but everyone says I only started to lose control once while experiencing the ďring of fireĒ. In that moment I screamed out a little and everyone helped me regain control. It is kind of funny where your personal perspective can be during labor, I must have been screaming in my head Ďcause I thought I was a lot louder. I then found that by breathing out through my teeth, making that ďFĒ sound I could handle the pain much better. I breathed real hard and then next thing you know head is out, marked down at 4:52 am. A sense of relief washes over me and I know the hardest part is over, Iím able to catch my breath before the next contraction. I can tell my mom is nervous about babyís head being under water and I can hear her voice telling me to push. Still I give it a moment and with the next contraction Saige Amara Ray is born at 4:53 am on September 30, 2009.
Instantly Sunita brought her up to my bare chest and I held her and kissed her. She was very calm, making little noises and slowly starting to cough out some of the fluid in her lungs. Took a moment but then she got out a good wet cry and pinked right up. After that Saige was very alert and calm, we just waited for the cord to stop pulsating before having my mother cut it. Of course, first we had Bobby get out of the tub to prevent him from fainting at the sight of blood. I was somewhat surprised that it was taking a bit to get the placenta out. Although I was having some mild cramping there was no contraction feeling that made me want to push it out, so Sunita had me get out of the tub, pass baby to Daddy, and sit on the birthing stool. Finally I could give a big sigh of relief as the entire birthing process was over. Sunita said the placenta was very healthy.
It felt so wonderful to lay in bed next to Bobby and hold our little girl. A big thank you goes out to Bobby, my mother, Alyssa, Ashley, Sunita, and the midwife assistant for being there to help me through this incredible experience! Also to my father for watching over Rayne. My anxiety instantly faded and I could rest, eat, and swim in the joy of finally having her here with usÖ and she is so perfect! Her head isnít the least bit coned because apparently she was born after only two or three pushes. Her full head of black hair is silky soft, I just love touching it Ďcause it reminds me of bunny fur. Very alert, calm, and she has great color. We were so shocked to find she was only 7lbs 2 oz, also she is 19 Ĺ inches long.
Thankfully since there were no complications and I was doing so well we didnít need to stay at the Birth Center very long. We were so surprised that after all my worrying about blood loss I actually bled very little. Saige started nursing like a pro right off and I was surprised that getting around wasnít too difficult. I had a couple small periurethral splits but nothing that would need stitching. All in all it felt like the perfect delivery. Papa (my father) showed up at the Birth Center with Rayne around 6 but we were out of there and heading home at 8:00. The whole experience still feels so surreal!