Having decided that 4/13 was the day that I wanted to have this 42+ week baby, I started the day by emailing the ladies from my shower to ask them to cut their yarn bracelets while firing up the breastpump that had been given to me. I pumped every couple of hours throughout the day, for varying lengths of time, depending mostly on how much I needed to use my hands at any given moment. While my son was in school, I ran to the store and bought a couple of bottles of pineapple juice and chugged one right in the parking lot. It didn’t occur to me until after I’d finished it that the juice had been pasteurized – not sure if that makes a difference or not. I also ate a pastrami sandwich – there was some logic to that that escapes me now. I picked my son up from school and we went to the gym, where I worked out on the elliptical, treadmill, and stair master for about 1.5 hours – twice as long as what I’d been doing in the last couple of months of pregnancy.
When we got home, I continued pumping in between playing with the boy and getting dinner ready. Even though I’d been looking forward to dinner, by the time it was done I ate little of it, and actually worried that I hadn’t eaten enough considering I might go into labor later on.
At 615 I started pumping again, and around 630 I heard a crunch in my belly and felt a sudden, but short gush in my crotchtal region. It felt like I’d passed an enormous blood clot. I ran to the bathroom, and the fluid was actually clear, and enough to go through my panties and pants. But when I wiped, there was bloody show and I knew the show was on. I went back out and started pumping for a few minutes (after updating facebook) but then decided that it was unnecessary and I worried that if I kept it up I’d make labor super intense – as I have heard that nip stim is prone to do. So, I put the pump away and went through a flurry of nesting and picked up the living room and kitchen, wiped off the counters, and swept the floors. Around 730pm I started having contractions.
When I told my son that I was going to have the baby soon, he said, "well, we should move the couch then!" and he proceeded to arrange the living room to make space for the birthing tub. I hadn't even thought to put the couch where he did, but he pushed it way out of the way so there was a lot of space, and he put the ottoman in front of the rocking chair, and pulled the tub out into the middle of the room, and arranged the baby toys for me. It was intensely sweet how much care he put into this. <tear> He also climbed up on the kitchen counter, grabbed the scissors, and was about to cut off a branch from one of the houseplants we have growing when I asked him what he was doing. He said he wanted to cut some flowers for the baby, so I told him he could go out to the front yard and get some from our flower boxes. He came back with 4 flowers and asked for a vase to put them in. We put the vase on my birth alter with the candles, stones, figures, and beads that had been given to me by some friends.
I texted my mid-wife (Heather) and told her about the bloody show and asked her to remind me when I was supposed to call her over. She said when the contractions were 5 minutes apart and about a minute long. It didn’t take long for them to get to this point, but soon my husband (Ryan) was home and I didn’t feel like calling her just yet. Ryan put our son to bed, and while he was doing that I played around on facebook and enjoyed some encouragement and amusing banter from my mama friends while riding out the steadily increasing contractions. I decided that I would text Heather again once Ryan was done.
I told Heather about the contractions at 930 and she came over around 10pm and listened to the baby and checked my vitals. She did her first cervical check of the pregnancy and I was at 5cm and 80% effaced and he was super low. She set up all her gear and asked what I wanted to do. I told her I wanted some more time on my own, but that she could call an assistant (Jess) over so long as the assistant was quiet and gave me space. Heather left, and Jess came about 1130. She did some listening and recording and the contractions really picked up around this time. I took a shower, maybe my second shower by this time, and alternated between sitting in the living room reading posts from my hilarious friends, sitting on a rocking chair, and rushing to the toilet. Around 1230 I started feeling nauseated, and within the next hour or so I puked twice. I told Jess that we should probably fill the tub, so they started that around 130 or so. In the meantime, I was too deep into labor to get on facebook any more (!!!) and alternated between the rocking chair and the toilet. The tub was filled just when I needed it. I got in and it was a bit too hot, but as the night wore on it cooled in just the right increments for me. It turns out that we didn’t put enough/any pillows on the bottom of the tub, just the outsides. It was really uncomfortable on my butt, so I spent most of my time in the tub holding myself up with my arms in various positions so that my butt was always hovering off the floor of the tub. Because it was so uncomfortable, I ended up getting in and out of the tub quite a few times – mostly to rush off to the toilet between contractions. Around 2:00 Jess offered to check me and she came back with 8cm and 100% effaced. I think her mucking around got things going because within 10 minutes I was feeling pushy and went ahead and let a couple of pushes go in the next few contractions. I asked her to call Heather shortly after, and Heather arrived at 230am. The second assistant (Lindsay) arrived a bit later.
Once the tiny pushes started, I stayed pretty much in the tub. The contractions started easing up a bit, while I simultaneously became more and more uncomfortable. Between 230 and 430 the pushing became incrementally stronger, with the later pushes resulting in discomfort in my upper ribs and odd burning pain in my upper, outer thighs. When I mentioned the rib pain to the midwives, they suggested that Geo was probably pushing himself.
Around 430 the pushes intensified and I started making “pushing noises” (the only noise made during the labor – does that mean it was a “silent birth”?). This is when the midwives considered me to be officially pushing, although I was definitely pushing long before this. Just more measured and gently. I could feel Geo moving around inside of my uterus during this time; I had never felt my first baby moving while I was in labor. Around 455 the midwives spotted a “lime sized head”. I continued to push at a rather leisurely pace, going with the contractions and trying not hold my breath for very long because this had really messed me up in my first (highly coached) birth.
Our son called out for me and Ryan at 530, to which I responded “Oh f***” and really started focusing on getting the baby out. There was officially “lots of head” out at 540. My son called out again, and while Ryan was checking on him I intensified my pushes because I was worried about him coming out with Ryan. However, Ryan came back on his own and at 547 Geo poked his little smurf-shaped head out. I took a nice long (relatively) break and at 550 the rest of him emerged from my womb. Jess caught the baby (her first catch), he let loose a flood of meconium (this would have landed him in the ICU at a hospital-as it did my first baby) and I took him to my chest. While I put him close to my nipple, he mostly just used it as a pillow. He made soft cooey cries and kicked his little legs and spat up fluid while Heather suctioned him. After cuddling for a bit, Heather took him and turned him upside down while Jess checked my placenta.
I decided to get out of the tub. Ryan helped me carry Geo to the bed, where I delivered the placenta about half an hour later.Of note, while he was in a great position for the last couple of months of pregnancy, the midwives were surprised when he came out posterior. They theorize that as he was coming out, the placenta got in his way, and he spun around so that he could come out more easily, and this was all the movement that i was feeling in the pushing phase, and why i wasn't suffering through back labor for the whole night.