On Friday morning (4/6, 40+2) my kick count was frustrating. I didn't have enough time to finish before leaving for class because his hiccups (very obviously in my pelvis) prevented me from feeling other movements to count.
I went to class from 10AM to 12:30PM. I had a cramp (light) that almost sent me home instead of class, but I went anyway. I had a few mild contractions in class, but they stopped, so I went to lunch with a friend. Went home, watered garden, and drank some OJ to get Odin moving for another kick count. Then i I nbtook a nap.
At 4PM I woke up and had a very painful ctx. The next two were similarly intense; they had me writhing on the bed in search of a manageable position. After the first one I ran to the toilet to recover, pooped, and got a trash can because I felt like I was going to puke. I thought "I don't know if I can do this" and was a little shaky. Then I thought "Why am I having transition symptoms and thoughts? Oh no, Wow, if these are my thoughts for the first two contractions, I'm screwed." I called DH and told him I was having new and different ctx from the mild cramps I had had the last couple days. By the time I called him they changed drastically. They had become manageable and no longer painful, and I started using my Hypnobabies tools with ease.
Then ctx got lighter, MUCH lighter. Sometimes I wasn't sure if one was really a ctx. I used my Hypnobabies techniques through these anyway, since we were taught to use the tools from the beginning. I was convinced labor was not happening because the waves were so light, but intermittently there were more obvious ones. When I saw a bit of bloody show, I thought "well maybe this actually could be Odin's birth weekend."
At 5:30 DH came home. We called our midwife, Mairi, to give a heads up that we saw bloody show and waves were coming regularly. She told us to call back if any other signs of labor were seen, if the waves got closer together, or at 9pm, whichever came first.
Waves were coming regularly, but still easy and 8ish min apart. I had a bit more show and mucous. DH called our doula, Talia, even though I thought it was way too early. They decided she would come over since she doesn't live close and traffic can be bad. She arrived between 6:30 and 7.
When Talia arrived the waves became so light that I wasn't absolutely sure when one started. We stopped timing for a while so I would stop worrying if labor was really happening or not. Looking back, I am so so so happy Talia came when she did. We sat down together and crocheted for a bit, chatted, and basically kept me distracted while DH finished with the tub.
To make things move along I went outside and tossed their flying disc for the dogs, walking all over the yard. It was fun and I had a few waves while outside. After that the waves were a little more distinguishable, so I sat down to see if they would continue.
The waves became a little more intense and I started to breath through them. I went from chair to birth ball and this was great! Better intensity. When 9PM rolled around we called Mairi and said the waves were about five minutes apart (I think?). I asked Talia and DH to talk to Mairi, because I still didn't want to tell her I was ready for her to come. I really didn't want to waste her time coming to me if labor was going to stop. That was 9:00PM. I was an idiot. (I have said a couple times since then that the hardest part of labor was trying to figure out when my midwife and doula should come.)
Mairi said to try to sleep if I could and call again in an hour or if anything changed. About 15 min later I called and said the waves were more frequent and more intense, and sleeping was definitely out of the question. When I realized that there was no way I would be able to sleep through the waves it was the first time I was *sure* that this was not a false alarm, and that Odin would arrive, probably the next morning. I called Mairi back to tell her.
Between calling Mairi at 9 and her arrival at 10:30pm, the waves got stronger and more frequent. I needed more support, like Talia or Jared putting a firm hand on my shoulder (a Hypnobabies cue), or leaning against Jared while standing.
The pool was filled at around 9:30, and I debated whether to get in. I was worried that it might slow things down. Then my water broke (Pop! Splash!). I was three steps from a bathroom so I ran in there and sat down while I leaked the rest out and breathed through the next wave. The amniotic fluid was clear and Odin was moving. Someone called Mairi and she was already preparing to leave her house and come over. This is when I got in the birth pool. DH had diligently filled it despite my protests throughout the evening that it was too early...it took three drains of our water heater to fill. I'm SO HAPPY he ignored me.
After getting in the pool I reached down and felt my vaginal opening. I remember thinking my clittoris was super sensitive and that i understood orgasmic birth now. And I felt something really weird. Really weird, hard, and bumpy. I told Talia and DH that I felt something odd, and I thought my vagina was coming out. I felt around more and decided it wasn't a cord, so I didn't worry. I remember thinking that Mairi was almost there and I would ask her to check me first thing.
Then there was a wave where I ahhh-ed, then grunted 2/3 of the way trough the wave while my body kind of convulsed. I thought to myself, "Was that a push??? I couldn't be that far!"
(After the fact I asked what I was like when the MWs arrived. They said "blissed out" and "really calm and smiling.")
Mairi and student MW Susannah got there maybe one wave later. Mairi asked if Susannah could check me first. I agreed and Susannah was perplexed by what she felt. She check FHTs while Mairi checked. Mairi looked at me, and said "Okay Shannon, this is what I'm feeling: two feet."
I immediately knew she was right, I had been feeling toes, and I would be getting a quick ride to the hospital. Oddly, I was very matter-of-fact about this. The EMTs were called and Mairi asked me to get out of the pool so she could do a thorough exam. She checked me while I tried not to push during waves. She found a butt, scrotum, and legs. He was posterior. She did not find a cord (thankfully), and baby's heartbeat was strong throughout. The EMTs arrived (11:10pm) and Jared had to head them off, letting Mairi finish the exam. Mairi went to talk to them and they agreed that delivering in the ambulance would be horrible, so the EMTs waited in the living room while Mairi and I talked. She asked me to get on my hands and knees for one contraction. I didn't exactly know it at the time, but Mairi wanted to see whether Odin would just come right out in that position. I breathed through the wave neither trying to push nor resisting. My body pushed a little. He didnt move too much, so she felt the ambulance was the right choice. I had already come to that conclusion, and I was definitely ready to take a ride.
The EMTs were a little bit dumbfounded. They were trying to figure out how to take me out of the house on the gurney. I told them to take it outside and I would get on it there. They did, we got in the ambulance, and I focused hard on breathing through my waves and resisting the urge to push. The EMTs continued to ask Mairi stupid questions, so I answered for her and they stopped being stupid.
We got to the ER (11:46PM) and a doc wanted to check me. He found feet and said "Indeed, those are two feet. Send her up."
I think they (hospital docs and nurses) didn't sense the urgency because they didn't really recognize that I was involuntarily pushing. I don't think they understood that I was having big contractions until they saw them on the monitor. At one point the doc said to tell her when I had my next ctx, I was silently breathing and concentrating, and the nurse said "right now!"
We spent what felt like a long time discussing the situation with the hospitalist OB. I had been expecting to go straight to the OR. Earlier in my pregnancy I asked about breech deliveries and my midwives told me they don't do them. They explained that they think breech can be safely vaginally delivered in the hands of an experienced MW/doc, but that since no one does them anymore, no one has experience with them, thus they are no longer safe in this geographical area and culture. With that conversation in the back of my head, I asked the hospitalist OB if she had ever delivered vaginal footling breech. She said no. This confirmed my resolve to get a c-section.
Finally the OB stopped deliberating and we agreed to the CS. She started telling me the risks of surgery. I interrupted and said "I am informed of the risks of cesarean section and abdominal surgery!" Apparently i am calm, desicive and bossy during labor. She laughed and said she needed to tell me herself. The anesthesiologist came in and did his speil. General anesthesia was the only option given, so that was that. He said I would have I pump and dump for 24 hours and I nodded while thinking "that's not right." (It wasn't, he was wrong.) I was wheeled in, no husband allowed. DH had to stand in the hallway to the OR, and no one else was allowed with him. I had two or three waves before they put me under. I was strapped to the table but remarkably still using my Hypnobabies techniques and managed to resist all but the tiniest push. I heard the anesthesiologist tell a nurse to hold my throat and not let go until he said no matter what, even if there's a fire behind her, and then I was out.
The next thing I remember is my baby being put on me and my midwife helping me latch him. He came out with APGARs of 9 & 9, full head of hair, and gorgeous. I was enamored of him immediately, but maybe also still a bit groggy. He nursed beautifully from the start.
I learned that they had a hard time getting him out. They pushed him back up through my cervix and delivered him feet first at 12:25AM I wasn't brought to recovery until well after 1:15 (not sure exactly when). Seeing pictures of my husband in scrubs leaning over Odin in the nursery caught my emotions off guard, as did coming home and seeing the birth tub in my bedroom. I have no regrets about the decisions I made pre and during labor except for not asking Mairi to come sooner. But I expect to grieve for the birth we had planned (and came so close to!). My time in the hospital was tough. The nurses were incredibly wonderful and caring, but one doctor (neonatologist) was really difficult and I was told several things that just aren't true (you have flat nipples, baby is tongue tied, he may be jaundiced and you'll have to supplement). Ugh.
I will probably write an update to this with stories of the recovery and hospital processes, but that's my (first) birth story. I feel I need to share it sooner rather than later, because I'm starting to feel some sadness around it that I'd like to work through.
Right now my beautiful, healthy boy is on my chest after drinking heartily from the breast. He is peeing, pooping, and gaining wonderfully. Our babymoon is wonderful so far, now that we are home!
Labor started 4pm, water broke at 10:18pm, ambulance ride around 11:30pm, baby out at 12:25am, mom awake nursing at 1:15am.