So this will likely be long winded, but here goes...
Two Mondays before his birth I literally felt my pelvis open, and my boy descend, and I though, it must happen soon, and further down and I'll be walking around with a head between my knees. Over the next two weeks I had inconsistent but apparently productive contractions, all of which began at night, and were just intense enough to keep me from getting any sort of rest. I called my midwife when I was a little over 39 weeks, completely distraught, telling her how uncomfortable I was and that if I didn't get some sleep I was going to loose it. She could hear the desperation in my voice, and said she'd check my cervix at my next visit and we could discuss whether or not stripping the membranes would likely be effective for me.
On Tuesday 4/3, I went in for my check up, again having not slept, and after having worked 5 hours that morning. When she checked my cervix I was 60% effaced, and 5cm. We both thought that stripping would probably be effective, so I told her to go ahead and do it. I was desperate. I used to judge women who said that, until I became one... I woke up in tears every morning for the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy, and I was JUST DONE...
My midwife is an hour away, so as I drove home, chatting with my best friend on the phone, I began to notice my contractions were getting a little stronger. I finished my conversation and told DH he should wrap things up at work, no rush, but today was not the day to pick up a criminal in another state or to start some random sting operation after hours (yes, these are actual topics of conversation in my home).
I got home and things picked up a bit. I finished packing our bags, kept in touch with Esther (our midwife) and spent some time with dd. I knew this would be her last night as an only child. Contractions were 5 minutes apart but not too intense. I told dh I didn't want to go to the hospital till I was sure, and I just wasn't sure yet. I called my friend, also a chiropractor, and asked if she'd meet me at my office to adjust me. This was about 5pm. After I got adjusted, we decided to find something light to eat for dinner. We headed to Outback, had a salad, and timed contractions. The were now regularly 6 minutes apart and intensifying. I knew he was coming, and thought we should probably get home and finish up our last minute preps.
We headed back home, accepted delivery on our new mattress, and waited about another half hour or so. We called Esther and told her we'd be at the hospital about 9pm. She said she'd meet us there.
We got to the hospital, and apparently for a woman in labor, i did not appear to be in enough discomfort for the nurses to believe we were actually in labor. After convincing them that yes, I was actually in labor, we were admitted to our room. They monitored me for 30 minutes and then unhooked me so I could walk, etc. Esther arrived soon thereafter and was a wonderful support. She told us to walk around awhile to get things moving along a little more. I was about 6-7cm at this point, and it was about 10:30pm. We walked and walked, did stairs, etc. Things still weren't intensifying, so Esther suggested we lay down for as long as I could to get some rest. I was so concerned that someone would say PITOCIN because it seemed labor was stalling. I asked Esther how long we had, she said not to worry, it would happen. Such a relief. We laid down for about an hour. When I woke up (about 1am I think) active labor kicked in, in full force. I was ready to get in the tub.
Laboring in the tub was fantastic. Esther and DH took turns applying pressure to my low back during contractions. It helped immensely. I labored until about 4am in the tub. It had been about 11 hours of labor at this point, and I was exhausted. I had the shakes for all of active labor, and was vomitting/dry heaving between contractions. At 4am, I begged for an epidural. I got out to use the bathroom, and Esther checked me. I was at 9. Again, exhausted and a bit panicky, I asked for the anesthesia. I just didn't think I could do it anymore. The anesthesiologist finally arrived, quickly put in the epi, but alas, it was too late (about 4:20am). No relief, but now I had a tube in my back. Ugh.
Esther thought breaking my water would bring him down, so we did it, and sure enough, 2 contractions later I was ready to push. I pushed for 4 minutes. 3 pushes total i think. As he was coming out, Esther told me to reach down and grab my son, and I did. It was amazing to reach down and bring my baby to my chest. I will always remember that moment. He came into the world at 4:35am.
Going into this birth I thought the most important thing for me was to have a completely natural birth. What I now know is that wasn't the case at all. What I wanted was to participate in my child's birth, to be aware. I wanted to learn to trust that my body knew how to labor, how to bring forth a child, without pitocin. I needed to know that I made every decision I could in his best interest, everything from choosing to use midwives that I trusted, to opting to stay with them when we learned it would be very expensive, and even traveling and hour each way for every visit. I have that confidence now, and I needed it.