... and I hope she sleeps long enough for me to post this. ;)
I had my 39 week midwife appointment on Monday the 18th, and my midwife, seeing I was sleeping poorly, miserable, hot and measuring ahead, offered to do a stretch & sweep to see if we could get things going. She didn't have to ask twice - I was DONE. So she did a little internal and found I was 2-3cm dilated and 60% effaced anyway, so sweep she did.
Other than a lot of mucus and bloody show, it seemed to me nothing much happened after that. But I woke up at 2am the next morning with LOTS more bloody mucus and then, to my surprise, real contractions! They were 15-20 minutes apart, but real-real, so I was excited. I got out of bed around 3:30am to wander around and see if I could speed things up, but actually sitting and standing slowed them down to almost nothing. At 4:30am I went back to bed, still contracting but too tired to care. I woke up with DD at 6am as usual.
I definitely felt weird all day. Contractions here and there but nothing regular. By noon I felt like things were progressing enough that I asked DH to come home and help me set up. At 3pm I was having strong, but not brutal (in hindsight) ctx 6-10 mins apart so I called my midwife to see what she thought. She came over.
Well it was like calling hit a switch: everything stopped. She did an internal and found I was only 2cm dilated but could "stretch to 4", and I didn't have a single ctx the whole time she was there. She packed up to leave, and I had a ctx just as she was going. She noticed how I was clenched and fighting it and said I needed to relax and let the pain pass over me, because I was probably pushing the baby back up with all my tenseness. She recommended a hot bath and a nap.
After she left I lay down for the nap and immediately ctxs started up again. Every 5-6 minutes, like clockwork, very strong and increasingly painful, but I tried to relax through them and let them do their work. By about 5pm they hurt enough, and were frequent enough (2-5 mins) that I didn't want to move, and got DH to call the midwife again. She was back by 7:15pm, and announced that I was 8cm dilated and completely effaced! So she called in her backup.
We decided the thing to do was to break my water and see if we couldn't speed things along. I was dreading this part because my memory of DD's birth was that the water breaking was the worst part - they did it at 5am in the hospital, and afterwards I got an epidural. Was, compared to the ctxs I was already having, the water breaking was actually nothing. I tried to walk around a bit after that to help the baby come down, but I was too shakey to stand through the ctxs. My midwife had me pee on a stick and my ketones were (high? low?) - not good. She felt I needed to eat/drink or I wasn't going to have the energy to push, but of course I felt nauseous and all the stuff they wanted me to eat/drink (Gatorade, hard candies) were disgusting to me. I just wanted water! But my mum was there too and kept forcing me to take tiny sips of that vile liquid. I don't know if it did anything in the end.
Anyway I wound up back on the bed and lying on my side labouring. All I can tell you if that it hurt like hell and I was shakey and sweating like crazy. When it finally came time to push, I was SHOCKED to find out it was going to take more than three pushes! DD in the hospital with an epidural just seemed so easy at the time. I pushed in various positions for probably 30mins (actually it was probably less, but it SEEMED like forever!) before the baby arrived - red, screaming, and perfect.
In the end, active labor was probably only 3-4h. I had no medical interventions (except having my water broken, if that counts) at all, so this was a real "go it alone" birth. :D I did tear in two places, but the stitches are already healing fine. And the baby was a girl (as we expected) named Una Elizabeth, and she was 8lbs 7oz (which seems HUGE to me). She and I are both in great shape!
Una the next morning!
Both of us...