GIRL!!!! DS was right all along about having a baby sister!
Extended ROM without labour, short active labour, 8lbs1oz (after pooping all over me, haha), 20 1/2 inches (same length as her brother), born at 11:01AM and I caught her!
I'll give more details later. I'm absolutely exhausted!
Here's the short version for those too lazy to read the novel:
My water started breaking in the wee hours of Wednesday the 10th, though in retrospect it looks like I had a slow leak for at least a week prior to that, possibly as many as 3 1/2 weeks. Contractions were rare that day, inconsistent the next and when they really started to pick up in the early hours of Friday 11th February I didn't believe it. Looking back, active labour started around 8 AM. We got to the birth center at 9:15 and she was born at 11:01. I was very alert in between contractions and eventually started napping between them in the tub. During pushing I started screaming very loud, high pitched screams. The pushing became very emotionally and physically draining for me and I sobbed in between a few contractions. Fortunately it didn't last for very long. I caught her all on my own and pulled her out of the water. Ezra got to "announce" the gender as we planned. I was in active labour for about 3 hours. We left the birth center 3 hours after the birth and she's been doing great ever since. I won't lie, it hurt like hell and in many ways it was so much harder and more painful than with Ezra but it was still amazing and I wouldn't do it any other way. She's such an incredible little girl and while she's been giving me a hard time to an extent she's definitely causing less trouble than she did in the womb and making her entrance to the outside world. Or maybe I've just lowered my expectations a lot and therefore am taking it much easier. ;-) Make sure to scroll down to the last three paragraphs for her birth stats, name info, etc.
Here's the novel:
My pregnancy and birth with Allora have been literally night and day in comparison with Ezra. A little background on Ezra's pregnancy and birth for comparison: The pregnancy was pretty easy with overall few discomforts and concerns. I had 24 hours of early labour with Ezra, followed by active labour within 30 minutes of my water breaking. I was in active labour for about 5 1/2 hours. The entire labour was very hazy and I was off in my own little world and not alert at all in between contractions. It was very rough the entire way but it was very instinctual. When I started pushing I just knew it, no question about it. I also just knew that I had to birth in the water and I knew I needed to be on my hands and knees. Everything I did was done because I just knew it needed to be done. Pushing was the easiest part of the entire labour but I was so unaware of things that they had to tell me that his head was out and encourage me to touch it. I was literally off in another world the entire time.
On what would end up being my last prenatal appointment on Tuesday the 8th of February I told my midwife that I wasn't sure but thought I had possibly been leaking amniotic fluid for the past several days. We concluded that it was most likely not amniotic fluid for various reasons. I did still have an inkling feeling that it was amniotic fluid but I had no gut feeling that anything was wrong so I was okay with it. The next morning (Wednesday), however, I woke up to what was definitely a good amount of amniotic fluid. I talked to my midwife and she said it was probably a high leak. Throughout the day I leaked some amniotic fluid and lost a tiny bit of my mucous plug. In the wee hours of the next morning, Thursday, I awoke to contractions. They were pretty irregular and eventually fizzled out and I went back to sleep. When I woke up my midwife called me to check on things. I was still leaking more fluid but had only had a couple contractions the entire morning. I had a piratepractor appointment at 11:30 and within seconds of walking out the door from the appointment I started having contractions. They stayed consistent for a while and eventually fizzled out. However I started leaking more and more water throughout the day, very significant amounts at some points. There was no doubt that it was my water breaking. After the contractions fizzled out I started hoping that I would be able to get a good nights rest and wake up in the morning prepared to do a few things to help get labour going.
Baby, however, had other plans. I woke up at around 2 or 3am to contractions that had a bit of a "bite" to them. I grabbed my mp3 player and listened to music during them, swaying side to side. I was excited and really feeling like something would be happening that day. I fixed a sandwich and ate it to make sure I had fuel for the birth just in case it were to happen sooner than later. Then I decided to try and get some more sleep. I was able to sleep but had contractions consistently every 13 minutes. The second I would feel one coming on I would quickly get out of bed to sway side to side through it. As they went on I started occasionally holding onto the dresser. This continued for about another hour or so before I decided to just wake up for good. I was talking to my dad and we were discussing whether or not he would call off work to stick around just in case. The contractions stayed pretty consistent and I started leaving the room each time to go into the hallway to privately work through them. That's when we decided it would probably be a good idea if everyone called off work because it looked like a good chance that the birth would be happening soon. I was still somewhat in disbelief and doubting it, especially since I had no more fluid leaking the entire night, but I figured better safe than sorry.
I called my midwife a little before 8am. I let her know what was going on and that it looked like there would be a birth in not too long. Things continued to get more frequent and intense and my family started suggesting that we head to the birth center soon. I was still in disbelief because I was working through the contractions pretty well and, more importantly for me, I was completely alert in between nearly all of them. I honestly did not believe it to be possible for me to be alert in between contractions during active labour. The few contractions that I was not very alert afterward were those in which it seemed like baby was trying to punch her way out. There would be a strong punch (or headbutt or something) seemingly right on my cervix and immediately after a contraction would start. After a few of these I yelled at her to stop and there were none after that. But despite my disbelief I agreed it was time to go in just to be on the safe side. It was probably about 8:30 or so when we made the call. And that's when I started believing that it was really going to happen. While I was trying to get the last few things together I became unable to do very much and contractions became more and more frequent. I finally managed to get in the car and spent the entire drive working through my contractions listening to music but having conversations in between with no problem.
We arrived at the center around 9:15. Dinah wanted to check me for dilation and effacement and I agreed but asked her not to tell me. Then there was a bit of conversation, a contraction and by the time she checked me she had forgotten not to tell me. I was about 5 1/2 centimeters. I laughed and told her she wasn't supposed to tell me to which she laughed and apologized profusely. I then got in the water which, unlike my labour with Ezra, didn't have the same near-to-total pain elimination effect. It did help significantly with the aching between contractions, though. After a bit I was so relaxed between contractions that I started to doze off and even dream in between them. I would occasionally keep from dozing off to talk to Ezra when he was in the room. I felt that it would be a good idea to change positions in the tub and after a few contractions did so. Then rather suddenly, but smoothly, the contractions started coming much more frequently but oddly enough were shorter in length.
All of a sudden I started pushing a little bit but I wasn't even sure it was pushing. My body was doing it all by itself and I had no decision of it, it was almost like being detached from it. I told my midwife and she said that she thought it seemed like I was pushing. After a couple more it became obvious I was pushing. It started to get really tough and I started screaming while pushing. I switched sides of the tub. There was very little rest but it didn't feel like normal contractions, it was just something my body was doing and I was helping it along, though to me it felt like I was doing a pretty poor job of helping it along. My midwife told me I had a bit of a cervical lip and suggested that I breathe through them some. I breathed through it as much as I could for one or two before I just couldn't anymore. I was screaming so loud through them (I didn't scream at all with Ezra) and would breathe through the end of them. I let out a few sobs in between a couple of them. I was in such an emotional place, it's hard to explain.
I reached down to feel her head and knew she was getting very close so I decided to breathe through the rest of that one so I could get her head out in one big push and avoid having the "ring of fire" through two separate pushes. On the next one I pushed as hard as I could, screaming away, with my hand on her head as I felt her come through and then pop out. My hand was still on her head and I was feeling her hair. It felt so incredibly soft under the water, I really can't describe how just soft and beautiful a baby's hair feels when they're born underwater before they reach the surface. Dinah and her apprentice, Christine, helped turn her a bit so her body would come out easier. I was determined to get her body out all in the next push and as I started pushing I reached down with my other hand and her body slid out into my hands.
I opened my eyes and saw her under the water just kind of squirming and floating there. I think I was in a bit of shock for a moment there and snapped to when my midwife started telling me to pull her up. I put my hands properly under her arms and pulled her up out of the water and onto my chest. I held her against my chest and started rubbing her back and they threw a towel over her and that's when she let out a cry. I think I might have said, "Hi baby," a few times but I specifically remember exclaiming, "You're beautiful!"
She was laying from my left to my right and I had my back to everyone. Then my big sister said, "Ezra I think you might be right." That's when I realized that we needed to see if she was a boy or a girl! Every part of me knew she was a girl so when she was born it didn't even occur to me that we still didn't technically know. I was already looking at my little girl, not my little "it." I told Ezra to look and tell me and I moved her body a little more to the right, opened her legs and turned my head to the left so I wouldn't see. I asked Ezra if it was a baby brother or baby sister and he said it was a baby sister!!! It wasn't even that thrilling to me because I just knew she was a girl. I was more thrilled for Ezra and ecstatic that he really did know what she was!
We got out of the tub with her still attached and cut the cord later after it stopped pulsating. We snuggled in the bed and stayed at the birth center until about 2 o'clock.
Her head was born at 11:00 and her body at 11:01, so the official time of birth is 11:01 AM. She weighed 8lb 1oz (after pooping all over me!). She was 20 1/2 inches long (same as Ezra), her head was 13 1/2 inches around and her chest was 14 inches around. By my dates, I was 40 weeks and 2 days (early for a SoRelle baby!), 39 weeks and 5 days by my EDD. Her name, Allora, means "the place of the swamp" and is an Australian Aboriginal name. Her full name is Allora Amorlen Thames SoRelle. Amorlen is pronounced "uh-more-lin" and Thames is pronounced "tame-z." Allora picked her name. It was just a name I tossed on a list but it kept popping up in my head. I figured that, if it was a girl, then that was her picking out her own name. Sure enough that was the case.
I later asked Ezra about the birth. He said that none of it frightened him, even when I was screaming during pushing, and he said that he saw her come out and that it was cool. To be honest, I'm not surprised at all by how well he did. From the first time I showed him a homebirth video he was very interested and not bothered in the least. I'm so proud of him.
The entire pregnancy and birth was rather insane but it was amazing nonetheless. The only things I was right about were the gender and my hope for 3 hours of active labour. In fact, if I had not had such an amazing midwife I most certainly would have ended up with an unnecessary pitocin induction in a hospital due to the prolonged rupture of membranes and quite possibly a cesarean as a result. It was so tough but I wouldn't change it for anything.
And a few pics, the rest are here: http://s24.photobucket.com/albums/c12/honeydoodle/Allora/
DS is excited!!!
I caught her!!!
My dad, my son and my midwife with Allora.
My dad, Ezra, Allora, my mom and up top my big sister and my niece.
My midwife's apprentice showing DS the placenta. He was very interested!
Edited by smeep - 2/21/11 at 4:00pm