I started having stronger and more intense birthing waves over two weeks before Anders was born. Since all of my previous five pregnancies involved days or weeks of prodromal labor, I was not surprised. The night before he was born I had a particularly intense session and thought that he would be joining us soon. After my birthing waves stopped at 2 a.m., I fell asleep. When I woke up my uterus was quiet, so the girls and I spent the morning tidying up the house.
My water released at 11:40 a.m. The girls were beside themselves when I told them that their little brother would be born that day. I texted Matt to come home and I called my mom to come be with the girls. They arrived at the same time. The midwife had asked me to go to the hospital since I was group B strep positive, but she reassured me that I would be in control over whether or when we chose to start Pitocin.
Matt and I arrived at the hospital around 12:30 p.m. Because of all the questions and such that happen when you are admitted, it was convenient that I wasn't having any birthing waves at the time. I consented to antibiotics and we talked to the midwife about what I wanted for this birth. Due to complications with this pregnancy and similar complications with a previous birth, my anxiety was unusually high. It was helpful to be able to discuss my thoughts and feelings and to receive supportive feedback.
I still wasn't having any birthing waves at 2 p.m., so I chose to start a low dose of Pitocin. I was 3 cm, 90% effaced, and -1 station at the time. Over the next few hours I started contracting while I rocked in the glider. I alternated between listening to my Hypnobabies scripts and playlists of music that I love. Once I reached 5 cm, we stopped the Pitocin and walked around the labor and delivery unit. My birthing waves were fairly spaced, but quite intense. After only a few laps I decided that I was done walking and I wanted to get in the tub.
Matt filled up the tub for me, but the water wasn't really deep enough or hot enough for my liking. It still helped, so I stayed in. My midwife came in to check on me and listen to the baby. She asked me to drink some juice since it was now around 6 p.m. and I hadn't eaten in awhile. When she listened to the baby half an hour later, his heart rate had dropped to 90 and I wasn't even having a birthing wave. This alarmed me and I had a mini freak out. I got out of the tub and into the bed. This change in position seemed to be enough because his heart rate jumped back into a normal range. It took me a bit longer to recover emotionally.
I was still having intense pressure waves, but they were not very close together. I listened to a Hypnobabies recording. We started the Pitocin again. Matt challenged me to a game of Scrabble, which calmed me down further. Whenever I had a birthing wave, I put down my iPad and used my Hypnobabies cues. I could feel the sensations getting more and more intense. I beat Matt with almost double his score and then got up to use the bathroom around 9 p.m. I was 6 cm and the baby was still at -1 station.
At this point my birthing waves got extremely intense and very close together. I managed to get back to the bed, but no position was comfortable. My midwife adjusted it with the head was raised and the foot lowered so that I was in a supported squat of sorts. Matt had one hand anchored on my shoulder and the other on my forehead. I was having a very difficult time staying on top of the pressure waves. I closed my eyes and squeezed the handle of the bed. Of the six times I've given birth, this was the second most difficult physically.
I started thinking that there was no way I could keep going. As the birthing waves continued to come with strong intensity, I started saying that there was no way I could keep going. Matt and my midwife reassured me that I was almost done, but I did not believe them. My body started shaking uncontrollably. Even though I was only 6 cm at my last exam, I started pushing. I couldn't help it and pushing was the only thing that made the birthing waves more bearable. After a few like that I was 8 cm and 0 station, which encouraged me, but I was still certain that I had hours to go and they were lying to me that I was close.
I said that I wanted an epidural and they weren't sure how to respond. I said that I meant it (I did) and I didn't stop asking until they called the anesthesiologist. I was still pushing with the pressure waves and still thinking that I would never be done with this birth. The midwife told me when the anesthesiologist arrived, and I almost believed her when she said that the baby would be out before the epidural could take effect. We sent the anesthesiologist away.
A few minutes later I felt a lot of pressure as my baby moved down. The pressure increased as he started to crown. My midwife asked me if I still wanted to catch him, but I was purely surviving at that point and said that I couldn't. I was still squeezing the handle of the bed while Matt held me. Matt told me to open my eyes when the baby was coming out, and I did.
With another push for his shoulders, Anders slid out at 9:30 p.m. My midwife put him on my chest. I was shocked at first. I really hadn't believed them that he was so close. His sweet, squeaky cries made me melt. I touched his wet hair and soft skin. He looked so small, but he was pink and perfect.
He stayed on my chest while we waited for the cord blood to transfer. About 20 minutes after the birth he was ready to nurse and he latched on right away. 45 minutes later we weighed and measured him: 7 lbs. 6 oz. and 19 inches long. Matt held him while I got a couple of stitches. After that the three of us got to be alone until we were ready to move to my postpartum room.
At three days old he is a very mellow, easy baby. He fusses when he needs a diaper change, but he is otherwise content. The girls are completely smitten. They love to touch his long, blonde hair and stroke his cheeks. So far he tolerates their affection very well. We are so very happy to have him in our family.