wanted to add in my birth stories - I've loved reading all of yours!
Ds1 - born when I was 17. Labor started with my water breaking while I was just waking up, at 40 wks 6 days. I had to pee so bad, I didn't realized my water had broken - I got up, went to the bathroom, changed pants, and went back to bed. I was lying in bed looking at the clock when I had my first contraction a few minutes later - I'll never forget that it was exactly 7:52 am! I realized then that the trickling down my leg was not urine. Labor was fairly immediately fast and hard. After 45 min I called my doc, but I was embarrassed about bothering him and really downplayed what was going on. He had me come to the office to be checked - and I was 6 cms when I got there! I went across the street to the hospital, and was pushing within half hour or so of arriving. Labor was great, but I ended up pushing just under 2 hours. I never felt any urge, and didn't know enough to either wait it out, or change positions. Finally, ds was born (with an icky mediolateral episiotomy) at 2:02 pm, just 6 hours and 10 minutes after my first contraction. I felt the biggest endorphin rush ever with that birth - the first coherent thing I said after baby was born was "I could do that again 3 times." And eventually, I did. I'd been told that he was a very small baby, probably not even 5 lbs, so he seemed huge to me at 7 lbs 11 oz.
Dd1 - I was in med school, and seeing a group of nurse midwives, but was worried about getting whoever was on call for the actual birth, as I wasn't crazy about a couple of them. I had regular contractions for a few hours 3 days in a row, that woke me from sleep in the early morning, but would fade off eventually. The third day (the day after my birthday!) I also had some bloody show, but everything petered out again, so dh walked me to school in the late morning (I was a second year student at this point) In the late afternoon, mild contractions started again, but never painful. Dh picked me up at 5:30, I went home and made supper, ate it, played with ds, read to him and tucked him in to bed. I was sitting at the computer playing solitaire, and still having mild contractions, and my back was really starting to ache - although nothing felt like labor. Dh offered to rub my back in the shower, so I got in the hot water and he stood outside and rubbed my lower back a bit. In the shower, I couldn't feel anything, and my back felt much better, so I told dh I thought I'd just wash my hair. As I was rinsing out the conditioner, my water broke. I remember clearly thinking "Ah-ha! Now, labor will get started." A couple minutes later, as I was climbing out of the tub, I had a big contraction and wanted to push! The next 25 minutes was a jumble of trying to get out of the house, calling my friend who was coming to be with ds at the hospital, calling the midwives (who never called back even though I called the answering service twice.) Finally, we were walking out to the car waiting running in the street, and I could feel baby crowning. I convinced dh we weren't going to make it anywhere. He tossed the keys to my friend, who raced upstairs, pulled out our hide-a-bed which was right inside the door, and called 911. Dh picked me up and carried me up 2 flights of stairs. Once back in our apartment, I managed to get just one leg out of my pants, and my friend knelt on the floor in front of me and caught dd in one of my bath towels with the next contraction. It was a great, great birth - except for the ambulance ride and awful hospital treatment afterwards. Dd was tiny, just 6 lbs 15 oz, born at 39 weeks 4 days.
ds2 - my longest labor, a meandering affair that started at 41 weeks 2 days, and gave us time to drive dd (age 2 at the time) to a friend's, and then drive into the city, which all took around 2 hours. Although it was my longest labor, it was still pretty short overall. On arrival to hospital I'd been laboring about 5 hours, and was just 4 cms dilated. After dealing with a resident who did my admission (and insisted on an ultrasound in which he said he could tell the baby was at least 8 1/2 lbs and there was clearly meconium in the fluid) I was tucked in to the big "family birth center" room and left to do whatever I wanted. I walked in the halls, took a long shower, and then was rocking in the rocking chair. I was just starting to feel a lot of pressure and thinking I'd call the nurse after the next contraction, when my water broke. Immediately I wanted to push. My family doc was just arriving at this point, and he barely managed to get gloves on. My family doc was the first birth attendant I'd ever seen get in a non-standard position. I'd ended up propped in the queen sized bed on a big pile of bean bags, and he just knelt on the floor and caught ds. He also wouldn't cut the cord, which was really bugging the nurse who kept trying to take ds from me. The doc said it was the only way he'd figured out to keep babies with moms! Ds was 7 lbs 9 oz (right about what I'd thought) and no meconium in sight - stupid resident.
dd2 - Labor started in the late afternoon on my due date, May 31. I'd really wanted her born in May, since ds2 is in June and I wanted them to have their own months. I'd driven to a neighboring town with my 3 older kids for a graduation party, and I had 2 contractions on the 25 min drive, and then they started 4-5 min apart as soon as we got out of the car. We stayed just long enough to eat cake and say congrats, and headed back home. I remember a friend saying "Oh, you're not going to get your May baby!" and I said "Eh, I've still got 5 hours!" I managed the drive home fine, and hung out a bit with dh watching a movie. We left for the hospital around 9 pm, just when I thought I was getting active - and we stopped to return movies on the way. I was still smiling and excited when we hit the hospital - and when the nurse checked me I was shocked to hear I was 8 cms. My doc arrived shortly thereafter, and immediately wanted to break my water. An argument ensued, and then everything seemed to slow way down. Somehow, I got it in my head that I couldn't have the baby unless I let her break my water (why, I still don't know.) She sat with her hands folded and pouted until I finally told her she could break my water. She broke my water, turned to the nurse and said "Gee, that's a really big head."
Definitely on the list of things never to say in front of a mama in labor. Apparently, I was fully dilated at that point, but had no urge to push, just like in my first labor. My nurse, knowing I'd really wanted the baby in May, talked me in to pushing, as it was already just after 11:30. Fortunately, pushing was quick, and baby was born at 11:46 pm, on her due date. For this one birth, crowning was pretty awful pain, more so than any of the others. For one, I think pushing without an urge and not being ready made a difference. For two, the OB was yelling at me to "push, push, push!" and seemed so anxious, I was worried something was wrong and didn't listen to my natural inclination to back off a bit and wait. And for three, her head was really big! She was my biggest by far, 8 lbs 15 1/2 oz (after a pee, so I always claim a nine pound baby!)
Yikes, I'm long winded. I love talking about births, as you all know!