Birth StoryOk, started writing a ridiculously long version of the birth story, but it's, well, ridiculously long for no good reason. So let's try to do this shorter...
The day before, I was suddenly really tired. I fell asleep at about 11, and then took another nap in the afternoon, when usually I'd been able to take a brief nap at best. That evening DH and I went out on a date, wandered around for a while, and got Chinese food. My BP when I checked it at a pharmacy was 106/65, so I figured I couldn't be particularly close, as my BP spiked towards the end of my other two pregnancies.
That night was horrible. The Chinese food gave me worse heartburn than usual, so I was up from about midnight-2:00 due to that. DH was getting sick, and snoring like mad. Just as I was drifting off again, I heard DD crying, and brought her into our bedroom, where she proceeded to take up 3/4 of the king sized bed and babble and cry about various things for an hour.
At about 3:20, I attempted to roll over in my 1 square foot of bed space and felt a gurgle, then a gush. I cursed at the world for about 10 minutes for conspiring to make me not sleep the night before labor yet again, and because I'd really been hoping for a Scorpio at that point, and so on and so forth, then did a hibiclens wash for GBS and called the midwife. Since my other labors hadn't started for hours after my water broke, we agreed that I'd try to get some more sleep and call her when things picked up.
I didn't actually get anymore sleep, because plain old pads weren't handling my water well enough to go back to bed, and leaning forward on a pile of pillows from the birth ball was just making me have contractions. DH went to walmart and got some diapers (adult and baby) and various other semi-necessities, but by the time he got back, lying in bed wasn't particularly comfortable either.
At around 7:30, I called the midwife to tell her that the contractions were coming about 4-6 minutes apart. She asked if she should come. I said I wasn't sure - it seemed early for it, but she lives a distance away. She said she'd get everyone ready. An hour later I had DH call to say they were now more like 3 minutes apart, and she was already on the freeway at that point.
DH proceeded to nest for a good while, which annoyed me a little, but I was pretty content overall just listening to my playlist, which consisted mostly of UU hymns. I was standing and walking around for a while, but then decided just to sit cross-legged on the bed because I was tired and a bit shaky, and that worked ok. Eventually I got him in there to press on my back, and started asking when in the heck the midwife was going to get there. They got there around 9:30 (I think? It seemed like it took forever, but they were there for a while before the birth, too), and were a little surprised that I hadn't had the baby before they got there.
I decided once they got there that I may as well stand up again and get things going a bit more, so I did, and they did. It was still pretty copeable, especially with someone pressing on my back. Then I started getting whiny and complaining that it hurt, so I figured that was probably transition, which it was (in retrospect, that is. I didn't have any vaginal exams, so I don't actually know how far along I was at any given time). Then I started feeling like pushing. DH tried to get me into the bathtub (no water), which we'd discussed earlier in the morning as being easy to clean up, but that didn't seem appealing, so I was kneeling down leaning against the bed. That seemed like a good idea, but after a few contractions it was clear to me that it wasn't progressing as fast as I wanted, so I decided I was going to go sit on the toilet. DD1 was born on the toilet (by accident - I'd sat down with the intention of peeing), and I'd noticed that sitting on the toilet seemed to bring my cervix more anterior, which felt like it might be part of the issue I was having with the other position, so I decided to try it, even though I'd initially wanted pretty much anything but that again. Turned out I was right, and she basically fell right out with the next contraction, rather faster than anyone other than me was expecting. But she didn't get in the water. She felt huge, and it was very scary (unlike DD1's birth, where all fear pretty much just evaporated at that point), but at least it was over with fast.
Next birth (purely hypothetically) I think we're investing in a birth stool and sparing the poor kid the indignity.
We got off the toilet and into bed and so on and so forth. Pretty soon another contraction came along, and I remembered the placenta existed. It came out without problem, and was heart shaped. Wish I'd gotten a picture for all the birth geeks. Maybe when we unfreeze it to plant it. Eira wasn't particularly into nursing (unlike DD1, who latched on literally within 30 seconds of birth, before we managed to get off the toilet) but eventually got the hang of it.
Christof is a knifemaker, and cut the cord with one of the knives he made.
The midwife did the basic newborn checks, and found Eira weighed 6lbs 11oz. I was sure she was going to be bigger, as she stayed in longer and shirts that still fit at the end of last pregnancy didn't cover my belly this time, but I was wrong. My other two were 6lbs 11oz and 6lbs 10oz, and I was 6lbs 13oz myself. I can't help wondering if there's something about that weight that triggers labor for me.
After that, she checked for tears, and there were none, which really rather surprised me (unnecessary episiotomy with my first, and a small tear in the same spot with my second, and I felt like I was going to tear while she was being born), especially given the speed with which she fell out, but now (the next day) things seem pretty much back to normal down there except for one little stingy spot that I suspect is a bit of a skid mark.
She was born at 10:50, so I had about 7.5 hours of labor. I think that's actually a longer period of active labor than with my other two even with all the prodomal stuff, though the overall time from water breaking was much shorter, as contractions didn't really kick in with the others for hours after my water broke.
All in all, it was good. I think that if I hadn't had a good hospital experience in between my first birth and this one it would have been totally mind-blowing and life changing, but I already had a lot of that healing with the second birth. But I don't have any real complaints except that the birth tub didn't end up working out for multiple reasons.
I did Hypnobabies in a kind of half-assed way in preparation. It certainly didn't make it painless (not blaming HB for that, since I was definitely half-assed about the practice, and actively distrustful of it towards the end for various reasons). I tried the finger drop technique once, found it didn't do anything, and decided not to bother with it because the pain wasn't that big a deal anyways. But I think it may have changed my perception of the pain somewhat, given that it didn't feel like such a big deal. I don't know if it was actually *less* pain. or what part HB played in it vs. a difference in my attitude in general. But overall, it wasn't particularly unpleasant.