I’ve been wanting to write out our birth story but debating whether to put it here or not. I am fully aware that this may not be something everyone cares to read so feel free to skip this one. I won’t be offended.
Here it goes…
December 27: A Groupon appears in my inbox for a prenatal massage. It is serendipitous. I buy it and go that afternoon. Surely, this will induce labor.
December 28: I’m 40 weeks pregnant and my midwife says not much is going on. In fact, I’m in exactly the same place I have been for weeks. D asks her if there is anything we should do and she suggests acupuncture.
December 29, 30 & 31: Stick needles in my face? Sure. I’ll do anything. This baby needs to come out. I go three days in a row to a hippie community-acupuncture clinic. But, I’m a bad hippie because right after acupuncture, I go through the McDonald’s drive-thru for a Coke (and maybe some fries).
December 31: Our friends are so nice to come over for New Year’s Eve since our only plans are to wait for this baby. Late at night, I start feeling different but I blame it on the queso that we are all eating.
January 1 @ 1:00 am: Our friends leave and I tell D that I think I am having contractions but I’m not sure. I go to sleep for a few hours.
4:00 am: I’m definitely having contractions. Nothing crazy and totally manageable. I breathe through them and the come every seven minutes or so. I’m excited now…too excited to sleep, something I will regret later.
8:00 am: Contractions are the same. The boys wake up and we tell them that their sister is going to come today (what did we know?). AIB just stares at my belly, waiting for her to jump out. They proceed with the day as normal. We let our family know that I am in labor.
12:00 pm: My parents take the boys to lunch and we finish packing up our bags for the hospital. Contractions are still very manageable. I just move from the balance ball to the tub to walking around the house. We’ve let my midwife know that I am in labor.
3:00 pm: My contractions pick up and are now closer together, maybe three to five minutes apart (and they stay this way until she is born). We call the midwife again and she wants me to sleep (this was excellent advice). I try my best and maybe get a couple of hours of sleep, with contractions every five minutes. Our friend comes to pick up the boys and they are totally spoiled for the afternoon and evening.
7:00 pm: My contractions seem to be slightly stronger and are as close as three minutes apart. We decide to go to the birth center.
8:00 pm: As soon as we arrive at the hospital, my contractions slow down. I feel silly for being at the birth center and the midwife tells me, “You are not in active labor.” (If you really want to know, I’m only at 2 centimeters dilated). I’m really annoyed by this. They tell us to go home. I’m that lady – the one who went to the hospital too early. The midwife tells us, “Stop timing contractions and try to rest. First babies take three days to come.” I’m super, super annoyed with her. I tell D I don’t like her (about 12 hours after this, I am in love with her). As soon as we get back in the car, my contractions pick up again and the ride home is awful. We get home and I labor more.
January 2 @ 1:30 am: I’ve gotten a little bit of sleep but not much because, well, contractions are uncomfortable. While leaning over the balance ball, my water breaks. I tell D to call our friend back who is watching the boys and she kindly comes back to stay the night. He also calls the birth center to tell them we are coming back. I tell him, “Tell them to turn on the tub.” All I want is to be in the giant tub they have at the birth center – pretty much my whole reason for deciding to have a baby there.
2:00 am: We arrive and I’m now 5 centimeters dilated. I hang out in the tub. The awesome-ness of the tub cannot be overstated. I am there for a while.
5:00 am: I keep looking at the clock and thinking, “For sure this baby will be here by 6:00 am.” The nurse checks me and I’m six centimeters. Seriously. I labor on the bed for a while and get back in the tub but I am obsessed with sleeping. Sleep is the only thing I can think about. I start to think getting an epidural would be a fantastic idea so that I can sleep. All I want to do is sleep. I tell D that I want something so that I can GO TO SLEEP. Things get unpleasant. I keep asking D to get me some drugs and he keeps saying encouraging things (D states: “At this point, I had no idea what I was doing”).
6:00 am: After moving to a few more positions, the nurse and D put me on the bed because I can’t even keep my head up. I have never been so tired in my entire life. My contractions are still three to five minutes apart and I’m starting to think I’m going to be doing this for a lot longer. I really want an epidural so that I can sleep but I am able to lay in bed with my head down and belly propped up with a bunch of pillows, getting small portions of sleep between contractions.
7:00 am: I’m so over this. I’m so, so tired and I tell D I want some drugs. The nurse gets the midwife and tells her I want to discuss getting some help. The midwife arrives and she is really calm. She says she wants to check me before we even discuss any medication. I’m about 8 centimeters dilated and, turns out, my water didn’t really break all the way. She asks me if it is okay if she breaks my water. Yes, it is okay. It would have been okay like five hours ago. She tells me that anything she gives me for pain would just slow things down and I know that she is right. In some genius move, she totally changes the subject and I’m talking about something completely unrelated to labor between contractions. I don’t feel so stuck now. By breaking my water and distracting me, she has helped me get over my frustration about not progressing as fast as I would have liked.
9:00 am: I am ready to push. I move to a few positions but squatting seems to be the most effective for me. (Sorry if that is TMI but it is the truth). I never really envisioned things going this way. It is a bit primitive but I don’t care because if it means the baby is going to come out, I am down with that. The midwife asks me if I can drink a Coke because an Amish midwife she used to work with always gave women Coke when they were pushing to help. I love Coke and she goes off to find one but the baby is coming and the nurse has to go get her before she can find any. I’m pushing on the bed at this point but it isn’t that effective. I hear the midwife say, “If she squats again, she’ll have the baby.” I say, “I’ll squat” and that is exactly what I do and, sure enough, Baby Girl is here just minutes later (at 10:09 am). It is crazy and awesome. She is big (8 lbs. 6 oz.) and has lots of dark hair. I go from being obsessed with sleep to wide awake and in awe of our little girl.
A few things…
- My husband is a really awesome doula. He was encouraging and there the entire time. One of my books said to have people around who relax you. He truly is my “relaxing” person – in childbirth and in life, in general.
- I’d say I was about 80% committed to a low-intervention birth when we were planning. I’m not even totally sure why this was important to me because I really have no issues with pain medication or epidurals. I had a lot of fear about having to be induced and having a c-section. From what I researched, planning for a birth with low-interventions would help me avoid those things and it did (but it did not make it fast).
- The midwives and nurses at the birth center were so helpful before, during and after birth. I want to hug all of them…a lot.