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It's a girl! We named her Ada, she's perfect and she arrived just after midnight on Sun Nov 29th.
I didn't get my home birth, but I still had a fantastic birth experience. Early labor actually started on Sun Nov 22nd and for the next 6 days I had irregular contractions ranging anywhere from 2-18 times an hour with a few slow-down periods during the day, which thankfully let me get a little sleep. Emotionally, it was a pretty taxing time because I kept thinking that today would be the day or tonight would be the night. The good news is I managed to get to 5cm dilated during those 6 days, so at least we were doing something. During that week we tried acupuncture, herbs, castor oil, long walks and everything else to push me over the edge, but no dice.
Early Friday morning, day 5, my water finally broke, but still no progress on the contractions. So, finally, early Saturday afternoon, my midwife and I made the decision that it was time to go to the hospital for some Pitocin. I was scared, but also relieved.
And it turns out a little Pitocin was all I needed to get me going. They started the Pitocin at 4pm and Ada was born vaginally and without the assistance of any pain medications just after midnight, 8 hours later. I'm pretty proud of myself for doing it without pain meds. Of course once the pushing contractions came, I totally tried to ask for some, but it was too late by then ;-).
I didn't experience a 'transition' phase per se and overall the contractions leading up to 10cm were manageable. I hung out in the tub, we rocked from side to side, and we just took them as they came. And then, it was like a switch flipped and the contractions were all of a sudden incredibly intense and I had this primal urge to start pushing. It was two hours of pushing and my back hurt, my hips hurt and the contractions were wildly intense, but we did it! And when she finally came, it was worth it a million times over!
I was really scared to go into the hospital, but the attending OB was great and our L&D nurse was also fantastic (it was just the two of them in there, which was nice as I had asked that they keep the number of people in the room to a minimum). They both worked really hard, especially during the pushing. I don't remember much from the pushing stage, but I do remember they were there, along with my husband, helping, holding, coaching, assisting and doing everything they could to get me and Ada through it.
Other than being tethered to the Pitocin IV and the monitor straps (oh, yeah, I *really* hated the monitoring straps during the pushing stage, I think I tried to rip them off at one point, poor nurse :-), I was comfortable, able to move around and really, it wasn't that different than what I would have done at home. They had a tub (which I loved!!!), a ball and a rocking chair. Oh, and the 24-hr on-call care after the birth was actually a pretty sweet perk I wouldn't have received at home either, sort of a nice consolation prize after abandoning the home birth.
Anyway, she's here and she's perfect! The birth was absolutely amazing, surprisingly so. To be honest, I was really scared going into the hospital, I was convinced that I was going to end up in a C-section within hours of walking through the door, but it didn't turn out like that at all, not even close. I didn't expect to have such a great experience and I was really pleasantly surprised.