Reposted from Mismikado Down the Sidewalk
Originally written 4 days after delivery
Based on my cycle charting and his conception, I knew I would hit the 40 week mark on March 26th. Based on the average cycle compared to mine, my official due date was slated between March 28 & 30. But of the 3 sonograms we had, he always measured ahead of schedule. So somehow I got it in my mind that he would come early or be really big.
As spring break (March 8-16) approached, I thought that would be the week. But no go. As the days stretched ever slowly, I got more and more discouraged.
On Wednesday, March 19, I started having false labor contractions around 9 pm. They got very close together but after 24 hrs of no progression, they stopped and I was disheartened yet again.
By this point everyone was recommending natural induction methods to me but I wanted to avoid anything like that until I was at least a week overdue. I believed forcing my labor to start before my body was ready would drag the labor out.
On March 25th, I woke up at 6 am to bloody show. Despite being tired I was so excited that things might finally develop that I woke up for the day. Throughout the day I lost my plug in pieces but still no contractions. At 6 pm the first contraction hit, but it wasn't super painful. Contractions continued about every 30 mins so at 12:30ish, I finally went to bed.
I was woken up for every contraction and at 3 am they jumped to every 10 mins and intensified in pain. By 3:45, I couldn't stay in bed any longer so I got up and decided to take a long soaking shower. Using Pandora to listen to music, I determined I was having 1 to 2 contractions per song, so about every 3 mins. Since our midwife said to use 411 (contractions every 4 mins, lasting for 1 min, for at least an hour), it felt like time to call. The on-call midwife said if I could wait until 8 am to come in that would probably be best timing wise.
Moving back to the bed, Luke talked me through each contraction while timing them. The pain was way worse than I anticipated and I just wanted to be at the birth center, so at 6:30 we called again to let them know we were heading over.
At this point I felt like I had to pee with every contraction and was paranoid I'd go on myself. Plus each one made me super nauseous. I was also concerned because I had only had a couple small bowel movements and thought I needed to go more before my labor progressed.
The car ride over was miserable. My contractions had spaced out to 5 mins apart, so I knew I would have about 5 during the drive. While I normally love the Jetta, it was so uncomfortable to be sitting so low and the seat belt hit all wrong. Plus with the car seat, I could not recline.
When we got to the birth center, I went to the bathroom first and then the midwife saw me. It turns out I was only dilated to 3cm and was 70% effaced. She said I was on the edge of early labor and active. So she gave me 3 options: go home and try to sleep and come back probably later in the evening; take Tylenol with codine and Vistaril, go home and sleep before coming back; or go to Wal-Mart and walk around for two hours.
I chose option number 2 even though I hated the idea of leaving. In fact my only regret from my whole birth experience was agreeing to leave at that point. I wish I would have insisted on staying in a birth house and spending the remaining hours there. But at this point we all were assuming I had a long road ahead of me. So I took the meds and was told to come back when my labor transitioned to minute and a half contractions every 2-3 mins and that I'd know the pain was different.
The drive home was better because I had started focusing on breathing more instead of moaning or yelling with the contractions. Plus the meds worked to knock me out between each one.
At home again a little after 8:00 am, I initially tried to sleep in my bed but then I started dry heaving and the position of our bed made it difficult to get up. So I moved to the couch so that if I did throw up it would go on the floor and be easier to clean. I was truly able to completely fall asleep between each contraction. Because Luke was also so tired, he wasn't timing them and I had no perspective of how much time was passing or how many I was having.
I quickly discovered that I could cope with the pain best with my knees on the ground and leaned over my elbows. So between them, I would kneel on the floor with my head asleep on a pillow on the couch. Then I would throw my upper body down to the ground with each contraction. At some point the pain intensified and breathing became harder to focus on. So I was yelling pretty loudly from the pain and Luke was getting irritated with me. Poor him (*note my sarcasm*)!
Apparently around 10:45, my mom texted him asking if she could come over and he said yes because he needed to sleep. When she came over, he ended up walking out the door to sleep next door at their house. After the fact, mom said this panicked her being left alone with me. Plus we never briefed her on when we were suppose to go back. So there she is not sure what she's suppose to do and I'm just wanting her to sit there and be quiet because that is what Luke was doing. But she's freaking out because my contractions are long and only 3 minutes apart. She's trying to tell this to me, but I didn't want to listen because I was just terrified of making the drive over there again just to be sent home again.
Somehow I ended up completely on the floor at one point and the pain was so bad. So I decided I wanted to strip down and just sit in our shower with the water running. I couldn't even make it to our bathroom without a contraction (a super short distance mind you), and that's when I agreed we should probably go. I guess that's when my mom got the birth center number from Luke. I'm not really sure because I made it to the bathroom and was horrified to see a lot of bright red blood in my underwear. I called for my mom asking if that was normal, and she was talking to the midwife and asked her and they are trained to stay super calm so they said yes. I honestly still don't know if this is true or not, because I was not anticipating that but fortunately it wasn't a sign of any scary complication.
My mom made the brilliant suggestion of us taking their van which sits up higher and I could recline the seat. Luke met me in the driveway and grabbed my backpack which was already in our car. Unfortunately he didn't have keys so we are sitting there for a minute before I have the clarity to remind him I had a set in my purse. So away we went.
Luke drove at least 20 mph over the speed limit the whole way (with his hazards on, of course) and I was screaming the entire time. About 5 miles before the birth center, I started feeling the need to push. So there I am still in yoga pants and bloody underwear telling Luke I have to push and he's like "Ok, then just go ahead" because we have no clue what to do because nothing is going as planned or expected.
We pull up to the center and I waddle in having constant contractions and screaming the whole time. I feel bad for any newly pregnant women who might have been there. The midwife quickly examined me and I was 100% effaced and fully dilated except for about a half centimeter in the back. They led me to the birth house and I was happy that we were getting to use my favorite, Cotton and Mary. The walk was hard but the nurse had filled the tub already so I just had to change and climb in. Luke grabbed my swim skirt and bikini top while I used the bathroom and I eagerly climbed into the water at about 12:15 pm.
I had 4 birth attendants: a new midwife to the center, the center director, a RN, and a nursing student who was on clinical for the day. I wanted to keep pushing but the midwife was concerned that he might be facing forward so she asked me to flip onto all fours and hopefully he'd turn. I tried and after just a couple minutes she said everything was good to go and I could start pushing as hard as I wanted. I pushed with every contraction as hard as I could in the moment despite worrying that I'd poop myself the entire time. I'm happy to report I did not!
Meanwhile, my parents were headed over in our car but they had to pick up my friend Ana who was acting photographer. Honestly, I barely noticed when they came in, I just heard extra voices. My head was solely focused on the pain and pushing. I didn't even let Luke put on the iPod playlists we spent hours creating. But it was comforting when my mom came over and grabbed my hand.
At one point, the midwife told me his head was less than a inch from crowning so I started pushing even harder. After a few of those contractions, she checked again and I asked her how much progress he made. It nearly broke my heart when she said he was "about the same." Apparently you could clearly see that on my face according to my mom and Ana. So for every contraction after that I bore my entire strength into pushing.
I wanted him out so bad. But that voice inside my head kept saying "Your water hasn't broke yet. He can't come out if your water didn't break." So I still had no clue how much longer it could be. After a few good hard pushes, she checked again and said he was starting to crown and I could feel his head if I wanted. Shortly thereafter I felt a pop and remember asking, "What was that?!" But she calmly told me it was my water breaking.
Right away I started to feel the burn of his head crowning and I pushed and pushed as hard as I could. They wanted me to push slowly to minimize tearing, but I just wanted to make the pressure/pain go away so I kept up with the strong pushes. The worst moment was when his head pushed out but it only took another big push for the rest of him to slide out and Luke handed him to me.
We were able to just sit there marveling at one another while they drained the tub and waited for me to deliver the placenta. That was definitely easier than I anticipated. Meanwhile Luke cut the cord when it stopped pulsing and apparently my first words to Minion were, "My baby!" followed by "We did it!"
The part I didn't anticipate was how much blood I'd lose after. Apparently that was a bit abnormal but the midwives and nurses remained calm so I didn't know until much later.
Eventually they refilled the tub and my mom steeped my healing herbs in it. So we got to soak in the warm soothing scented water and try a bit of nursing too.
After a while, I agreed to climb out so they could check me out and start on his check up too. I missed all that because I was spread out in the bed awaiting stitches. I didn't tear super badly but it was messy so it required A LOT of stitches. That seemed to take longer than the actual pushing part of labor.
Meanwhile, Luke and everyone marveled at Minion. He weighed 7 lbs 3 oz and was 19 in long. Luke's mom and step-sister and another friend of mine arrived about 45 mins after his birth. So he was getting the royal star treatment.
I eventually got to go to the bathroom and was helped by my mom and nurse to shower. I was very lightheaded so they were worried I'd pass out. I did start to black out several times but fortunately never did completely. There was so much blood loss and my uterus wasn't firming up the way they wanted it to. Every time they "massaged" it to try and clamp the bleeding, it hurt like another contraction. That was the worst part of recovery.
We normally would have been able to go home after 4 hours but they wanted to keep me until the hemorrhaging stopped. It never felt like an emergency because I was very lucid and even got to eat.
Because my labor progressed so fast I never drank the Laborade we had prepared so starting on that helped so much. Everyone said my color immediately got better and the nurse even asked for the recipe I used to recommend to other new moms.
After about 7 hrs with little blood loss improvement, they decided to give me a medication to harden my uterus. It was a suppository, so that was the last of my embarrassing moments. Mind you all sense of modesty was long gone by this point. Once that was administered I was free to go home, and I saw and felt the immediate effects of it. It was nice to finally get out of the adult diapers I had to rock earlier!
Recovery has been harder than I anticipated but I am so happy I was able to have a mostly natural child birth. We feel so blessed to have and hold our son.