I feel like my birth story should start weeks in advance due to the painful regular braxton hicks contractions for the last 3-4 weeks leading up to her arrival. I thought for sure her birth would go quickly due to all the action going on those last few weeks. My due date of 5/22 came and went. I was sad to see it go, I thought for sure she would have arrived by then. I left my 40 wk 2 day appointment feeling frustrated, was this kid ever coming out? Could my body really do it without interventions?
That night I started having contractions 10 minutes apart, all night. I even had a dream someone was punching me in the stomach, which I assume was probably really the contractions. When I woke up Wednesday morning, I wiped after peeing and was excited to see some pinky mucus on the toilet paper. Cautiously excited though as I had a supposed "bloody show" nearly a week earlier and I was still pregnant.
Contractions were still coming, so I called my midwife and let her know what was going on. She said this sounded like it was the "real thing" and asked if she should cancel her morning appointments. I told her I didn't think that was necessary.After talking to my midwife contractions slowed down to 20 minutes apart and I grew leery of whether or not this was "it." The contractions felt different than previous braxton hicks contractions, there was a seriousness about them I couldn't ignore.
I felt very inward all day. I spent a lot of the day in my bedroom, while Joe cared for the other two kids. My mind told me I should be out walking trying to induce more contractions, but my body said "REST." So I rested. I was very upset when 2:30 came around and it was time for my husband, Joe to go into work. I felt like I needed him, he was the only person I wanted to be near and there was just such a bond I felt to him at that time. He knew I needed him too and came home shortly after going in.
We dropped the girls off with my mom and went to get some spicy food and maybe do a little walking. While we were eating contractions picked back up to 10 minutes apart. They were getting pretty intense and a lot was focused in my back. After eating we planned on going to Woodman's Super Market and getting some last minute groceries and maybe walking around. We still went but decided to make it quick, because contractions started coming 8 - 10 minutes apart. Joe noted that a lot of people were staring at me, I am not sure if it was due to my pure hugeness or if they could tell I was in pain.
The car ride home was rough, but I was still worried this wasn't the "real thing." I called my midwife and gave her an update when we got home and she said to call with any changes. It didn't take long, by around 9:30 pm contractions picked up to 5 minutes apart and I gave her a call. She decided it was time to come on over as she lives about 40 minutes away. I called my mom and my friend Kristina, my two labor support people and gave them the heads up that they could come on over whenever they wanted.
When everyone arrived, my contractions spread out. I was so disappointed. I felt like I had performance anxiety and I was so worried this was a false alarm. Contractions were still coming around 5 minutes apart, but sometimes I would miss one and they were less intense. I agreed to a cervical check around midnight, it was very disappointing. My midwife couldn't even reach my cervix and suggested that meant that I was probably only 1-2 cm at the most. Talk about a bummer. I thought my body had surely "cried wolf."
My midwife told me to use this time to rest and everyone went to sleep for a while. Everyone but me. I couldn't sleep through my contractions; which picked back up in intensity as soon as everyone left the room. I tried sleeping between them and coping through them the best I could in bed. By 2 am I gave up on sleeping and started pacing the room, trying to find something to ease the pain. By 4 I had woken Joe and our midwife up, who suggested a shower for pain. The shower did not help and I was beginning to moan with my contractions. It helped me stay on top of them. My midwife checked me again and I was 5 cm. I was so relieved. I really was having a baby. My body was doing it. I started to cry.
Contractions were very painful and I moaned loudly with each one. This is where I stopped paying attention to frequency and the time. It went on for hours and I was sure I could not take it anymore. I tried every position I could think of, but nothing would ease the pain. I got in and out of the birth pool, which felt amazing in between contractions, but didn't do much for the pain of contractions. I told everyone "I was leaving, I couldn't do it, I wouldn't do it, I was getting a c-section, I was going to die, she was never coming out" over and over again. I was fighting, and the only thing I needed to do was surrender. Even if it meant surrendering to the pain. I moaned so loud with almost every contraction, it was so hard, so painful. I never thought I was going to make it, I "knew" I could not do it.
I got in the birth tub and I believe I started pushing around 11:45 am. I screamed and yelled "GET OUT OF ME" with my first few pushes, but my midwife helped by reminding me to channel that energy into my pushing and bear it down instead of releasing it on top which was not helping me at all and only exhausting me further. I tried to fight it, but I knew I had to push, It actually felt good to push, when I felt her head move deeper and deeper in my birth canal.
Finally I could feel we were getting somewhere. My water bag burst and clear fluid and vernix spilled out into the water. My husband said it smelled after that, I didn't notice. Soon I could feel her head when I reached down with every push. It helped me to feel her head and see how close she really was. I still screamed and yelled with my pushes, but I knew deep down I was getting there. I was so happy when her head came out, and then her shoulder, I reached down to grab her and almost forgot to finish pushing her out.
Bethany Adelle was born at 12:17 pm on May 26, 2011
weighing a whopping 10lbs 2 oz and 22 inches long
One thing I forgot to add that helped me deal with the pain of the contractions was I sang. I sang a lot. I think it was the best coping technique for me because it relaxed me and I could focus on the lyrics, it also created a very peaceful atmosphere.