On Friday, November 18th, I had my membranes stripped. I was 39 weeks 4 days pregnant and very optimistic that it would do much for me. I wasn't necessarily tired of being pregnant, I was really excited for labor to start. After going for an off and on walk of 3.5 miles, I decided to give it a rest and not pursue contractions any further, so that I wouldn't be worn out the next day if anything happened. I started getting what seemed like Braxton Hicks that evening and they got to 7 minutes apart pretty consistently. They weren't strong at all, so I decided to get some sleep at midnight. I couldn't get to sleep in bed, so I came out to the couch and put some "sounds of nature" music channel on to help me sleep.
I woke up around 4:30AM, to what I thought was me just having a full bladder. I felt restless afterwards and couldn't sleep. I didn't know why, until I had a hard and very noticeable contraction. This happened again 10 minutes later and by 5AM, they were averaging 5minutes apart. Still the same intensity. I get more restless, wondering if this really is it and start pacing the living room and kitchen. I kept wanting to do something to keep me busy, but I couldn't figure out what, even though there were dishes in the sink and cookies I planned on baking. They jumped to 3 minutes apart and a minute long while I paced the rooms.
After an hour of pacing around, I started to feel a little worn and stayed sat down for the most part. They spaced out to 5-7 minues apart, but more intense and I had to let out low moans to cope. Even though the contractions got harder, the space in between them increasing discouraged me and I started to think that this was another labor tease. heh The denial phase seems to happen alot with women.
My husband couldn't be called away from work(believe me, I would explain but this situation would require another thread lol), because the management would be super busy that day. There was a big rivalry football game within the state and the restaurant would be crawling with fans of both teams. I was fine with it and completely prepared mentally to labor alone. Since I hadn't experienced a completely natural birth before, even though I had 2 children prior, I wasn't as prepared physically as I thought I'd be. I had no idea how much harder the contractions would be hitting me. I wouldn't even necessarily called it pain, as much as the contractions were intense. Like waves that kept climbing and I needed to match the height of them with the sound of my voice to stay on top.
So, the husband left for work at 6:30AM and I had him hold me through a contraction right before he left and he said he was sorry that he had to go. By 7, the contractions were still spaced out to 5-7 minutes but coming harder. I leaned on the couch and it felt good to be part way bent over, rather than squatting or hands and knees, which both hurt to do.
My 2 yr old daughter got up at 8 and I made her cereal and I surprisingly didn't feel irritated with her presence like many mothers describe during labor. I even switched my music to cartoons for her so she'd stay occupied after she ate. She checked on me regularly and was curious about the sounds I made and even mimicked me a couple times.
9AM rolls around and the contractions are picking up in intensity and a little bit in length but the time between them was still the same. I'm in and out of the bathtub at this point, not sure what would make me most comfortable. I was feeling the need for being on my hands and knees in the water, but it was far too crampy for me to do this. I was getting louder with each contraction. As the waves climbed higher, so did my voice. It was like a chant that was needed to keep me grounded and solid and whole through this entrance.
10:35 comes and as I'm stepping out of the tub for the 50th time, my water breaks. It's clean and not stained with meconium, so I go on. Then the monster contractions come. I update that my water has broken on a Facebook group and when the first tidal wave of a contraction hits, I'm on the birth ball, hitting enter on the post. "Hoooooooooooooo,motherf**king sh*t. Hoooooooooooo." Not being prepared for the contractions to come faster and 3 times as hard, it left me gasping afterwards, and I knew I had to get in hot water for relief. I retreated to the bathroom and added more warm water. I laid on my side and hung onto my inflatable pillow like a liferaft and kept my voice as high as the waves took me and I loosened my arms around the pillow as the wave died down. My jaw and eyes were relaxed as the waves washed over me and I clung on, drowning them out with my voice.
A contraction hadn't come when I thought it might and my eyes snapped open as I finished catching my breath. I had stood up to see if I could sneak out of the tub to pee before it came. And then, an invisible force pushed me down onto my hands and knees. This was the first time I felt half desperate to escape the waves. Almost like a whirlpool and I was afraid of drowning. I wanted to crawl away from the contraction, but all I could do was rock back and forth. I remember a contraction in this position that I had to growl to get through. I thought for a moment that bearing down slightly might feel good. I don't know what time it was, but I know it was less than 5 minutes of pushing. I sat 2 contractions in the tub, shaking and on the verge of throwing up. A person will NEVER understand what the uncontrollable urge to push feels like until it happens to them.
During the pushing, my daughter came in and watched for a second and asked "What are you doing mama?" grunt*Having a baby, honey* "Oh, okay. I'm gonna go watch cartoons now." Goofball.
Another tidal wave contraction washes over me and it's like someone taking a remote and hitting a button that says "push" over and over again. A neverending cascade of lost self-control. My BODY pushes once, his head is at my perineum, a 2nd push(by my body) his head is out. A third push, and I'm helping my body this time and he's out. He's sputtering for a minute and taking his time pinking up, but he finally wails once and settles down.
The placenta took 15 minutes to come out, but it seems to all be there. I had a placenta smoothie(for those that don't know, it's only a small piece of placenta blended in a fruit smoothie) after things calmed a bit. He came down so quickly that he didn't have a cone shape to his head. It's perfectly round. He's fast asleep after nursing and I couldn't be happier and feel more whole after this experience.
Levi Jaxson Wheeler
8lbs 4oz 20.5 inches
born after 5 1/2 hours of active labor