I'm still trying to process dd4's birth. It was all so strange, and, well...
For three evenings, I had a handful of contractions. They didn't do much of anything to effect dilation, so I ignored them. The next afternoon, I felt a few more, and let myself begin to hope it might be labor. We had a few errands to run, and I had a couple more contractions over the next 2 hours. They felt real, but yet, not. I almost told dh that we needed to skip dd1's soccer practice, but decided to just take my phone and try to pay attention.
Well, I started talking to another mom, and the contractions stopped. I was so thankful I hadn't called my mw, or made us all go home for a false alarm! Including the early afternoon, I'd probably only had 8 or so contractions. Certainly not enough to make a rational decision. We got home, and I was feeling grumpy and quiet, but not in labor. We put the kids to bed, and sat down to watch a movie. I felt a contraction, maybe two. After the movie, I decided to take a shower and try to relax before we went to bed. It was about midnight. I checked, and was still very high and posterior, 75% effaced, and maybe a touch dilated, but I couldn't reach well. We went to bed around 1a.
And then, I had 3 contractions, 8 minutes apart. These felt pretty real, though painless, so I decided to check again. I was now a 6 with the water bulging. I couldn't believe it. I suppose it was possible that I was more dilated than I thought, and just couldn't tell because it was so posterior? Anyway, I was still in serious denial, and went to get a ruler. I very carefully counted how many fingers across, and measured them. Yes, a solid 6. In the 20 minutes I was doing all that, I had a few more contractions, still painless, but now 4 minutes apart. Hmmm. I had 3 or 4 4 minutes apart, and then they stopped totally.
I checked again. 7cm, but hardly any contractions, and no pain. It's now 2:30a, and I decide to text my mw. She decides to come, and I busy myself getting things set up for the birth. It feels very, very soon. However, by the time she gets here an hour later, I'm feeling pretty foolish. I've only had a few contractions in the whole hour. We chat for a few minutes, and she settles on the couch. I decide to load the dishwasher, and dh comes to help. I feel a few more contractions, but can't time them because they aren't remotely consistent. I thought they were 3 minutes apart, but just when I thought I would feel one starting, it would stop. The irregularity kept messing up what dh was doing with his watch. We could have written it down, but we were still cleaning up the kitchen!
We finished, and I went back to the living room to talk with the mw a bit. I'm still feeling pretty awkward because I really don't seem to be in labor. I certainly don't seem to be on the cusp of transition, though I do keep saying how I would really rather not do this. I just want to go to bed. It's nearly 4a, and I've been up all night!
In frustration and exhaustion, I go in the other room and flop down on the futon. Dh and I start playing Words with Friends, and I doze for a few minutes. Suddenly, I am having a contraction that makes me leap of the futon. I've never been able to handle labor laying down. I must be on my feet. After it passes, I'm ready to lay back down, but have to go to the bathroom first. In the bathroom, I feel very shakey and sick to my stomach for about 10 seconds. I really want to get in the shower, but it feels way, way too soon. I lean on dh through two more contractions, and then I got in the shower. He got in with me, and pushed on my lower back for me. I've not had back labor since my first, and I'd rather not have it again. As I'm thinking this, I'm realizing that these contractions really aren't hurting much, and I probably have a long way to go. Then again, I'm about 9cm now. No way. I'm still practically talking through them!
I have a couple more contractions, and it's quite clear I'm pushing. The water breaks, and 3 contractions later, I'm holding a baby girl. I caught her myself (the first one I've caught), and it was the most amazing thing. I hope I never forget that moment.
Other than saying a few times that I didn't want to do it, I wanted to go to bed, the 10 seconds of feeling shakey and sick, and saying one more time halfway through pushing that I didn't want to...I had no signs of transition, and no timeable contractions. Dh said that the contraction that made me get off the futon was the first of no more than 15 contractions, and was about 40 minutes before she was born. Labor was never overwhelming, or difficult, and I was so not ready for her to actually be born. I didn't feel like I had gone through the right progression.
I know it sounds like a great thing, and something to envy, but while I am so thankful her birth was so gentle and peaceful, it is a little unsettling. I guess I just need to accept that I am not someone who can ever ignore contractions, of any type. If I want a mw here, I'm just going to have to call when I am dilating, contractions or not. If I had waited for contractions to be regular, or "real", or "unable to talk through them", I would have been pushing completely unexpectedly. It's a little surreal not to be pregnant still.
But, our sweet baby is here, and she is as gentle and peaceful as her birth. :)
8lb 3oz, 20" long...my smallest baby.