Wednesday, the 2nd of August, I woke up in the middle of the night, having regular contractions. They weren't terribly painful so i just assumed it was the difference between last time (malpositoned baby) and this time. Nope, after getting NO SLEEP. They petered out around noon after hanging out in L&D triage for an hour or so. We went back to the midwife's office, they offered me a cervical check and I accepted. I was only at 2 1/5, so my midwife basically said "i think what happened honey is you are too exhausted to go into labor right now, you haven't slept at all in 3 days (was having a lot of rib pain). Go home, take 2 benadryl, hot bath and SLEEP. You will probably have this baby by the end of the weekend"
I did the "waddle of shame" home. Pissed off as all hell at my body. Went to bed. Woke up the next morning well rested for the first time in I don't know when and... CONTRACTIONS AGAIN. only this time they were definitely stronger. At this point, my husband calls me down to the basement. our sewer had backed up. Thank G_D my mother in law is a teacher and has summers off. She came out to hold down the fort and be there while the plumber fixed it.
I called my midwives, they said to come in and get checked again.... Things weren't like crazy intense so we called the chiropractor and got in for a quick adjustment to make sure everything was aligned properly. We got to the midwives and I was 3 1/2. Midwives said "this is PROBABLY the real thing, go get lunch, you're already ahead of the game than you were with your son's labor- you've had a full night's sleep, breakfast and if you get lunch, you'll be 100% more better off. "
So we ran over to my friends' house who was watching my 2 year old, and sat there for a bit. We decided on Panera for lunch. Went to Panera and all of a sudden things picked up, like big time. All the staff at Panera were CONVINCED i was gonna drop the kid on the floor of the restaurant. Yeah sorry to disappoint. We left our 2 year old son with her and her daughter at Panera, got our food to go and booked it to the hospital.
I was only at 4 when she checked me, however, it was the real deal, obviously. Thankfully one of my doulas showed up right as we got there. (I had 2- one covered the other as the hospital would not let her bring her 4 month baby into the room who is nursing so they switched back and forth).
The nurses in triage were hilarious. One of them was trying to coax me into a hospital gown, and the funny one said "no no no! she's doing ABC room, they don't do that in there. She'll wear her own clothes" :D I wolfed down my food in triage because all of a sudden i was starving.
Having a doula was wonderful. An extra set of hands- my husband was able to run and get water while Jean massaged my back and kept putting cold cloths on my forehead and arms.
The other doula, Rachel, showed up, and switched out. She explained to me how to vocalize 'right" - initially, i was just crying and making higher pitched, bawling, keening, whinging kind of noises. She explained to me that I needed to make lower noises so that I'd open up EVERYWHERE, and eventually I did. I like, hit this stride where, I was like, singing, literally SINGING really low. Otherwise I wasn't able to make the sound, but once I figured out that I could SING, I could do it. My husband at one point said that I sounded like bagpipes and for some reason it stuck, and every time a contraction hit, i'd visualize (don't laugh) an army of bagpipers coming into battle. Eventually, the singing turned into "ommmming"- my doula said afterwards I sounded like a laboring Tibetan monk!
Still, i had a LOT of moments where I said "i can't do this I can't do this" and both her and the midwife and my husband said "yes yes yes you can". I honest to G-d do NOT know what kept me going. I don't. Both her and the midwife took down the clock off the wall in the room because I kept looking at it. I also said at the beginning "DO NOT LET ME DO LABOR MATH! JUST DO NOT LET ME DO IT" because i think thats one thing that seriously held me back with my son's birth. Hell, I think I had 2 cervical checks TOTAL this time around. - It got to the point where I begged to get in the tub, BEGGED- my midwife was concerned that it would slow labor down and wanted to check to see where I was at before I got in. - My contractions NEVER got closer than 3-4 minutes together in my mind- they might have been, but it didn't feel like it. Unlike my last labor, i had breaks in between that I could actually rest during.
So that was the 2nd and last cervical check in labor. She asked if I wanted to know where I was at, and I said "no but I sure as hell don't know how I'm going to handle transition, because i'm seriously starting to doubt myself". She then said "well, I won't tell you WHERE you are at, but you are definitely in transition, you're 100% effaced, and so you're handling it BEAUTIFULLY, so climb on in the tub hon! "
The funniest thing about this labor was- that everyone SWEARS that transition is the worst part of it, the hardest part. For some reason, transition was the easiest once I knew I was IN it. I don't know why. I think the endorphins didn't kick in until transition, and I got basically a "runners high". Or maybe it was the fact that I KNEW that transition is the shortest period in labor and I knew that max, I had only a few hours left. I don't know. I had a few contractions that even though they were insanely painful, it felt GOOD.
Anyways, I got in the tub and since my last birth they had installed shower attachments inside of them. I basically leaned over the side of the tub while my doula held a washcloth with grapefruit oil for me to smell while she and the midwife rubbed my neck and shoulders and helped me vocalize, while my husband ran the shower attachment of water on my back.
All of a sudden, I started to feel just a little bit pushy. I told everyone this, and everyone cheered. :)
About 20 minutes later (by my estimate, no clock remember,? but it was about 5-6 contractions later ) , my body started bearing down hard on each contraction. My midwife called the delivery nurse and that's when it occurred to me. I was actually GOING TO DO THIS. And I said as much "I'm not gonna fucking wimp out this time! I think I can do this" . I kept reaching down to see if I could feel her head, but all i could feel was the bag of waters. My midwife said either I could let it break on its own as it probably would, or if I wanted to, I could try and break it myself if i wanted things to go faster. I told her i'd let her break on its own. And then, hilariously enough during my body bearing down on its own on the next contraction I felt a "POP" and all of a sudden there was vernix in the water. My waters broke!!!
Of course after that, things got more intense. The contractions doubled in length. I had three or four crazy crazy long ones, where it was like, a triple peak, like it just kept going up, and up and up. Thank G-d I only had a few of those!!! Soon I felt something new. I knew what it was, the infamous "ring of fire" just a little bit. I told everyone "RING OF FIRE RING OF FIRE OH HOLY CRAP". I really let my body for the most part push on its own- I only pushed once the ring of fire got REALLY bad because it was so bad.
At that point, my midwife asked me to get into a different position in the tub- like a modified squat while holding onto the edge to help the baby move down. I kept trying to make low noises, but as my body was bearing down, they turned into grunts. My husband through it all, every time a moan turned into a grunt started cheering. He kept saying "i should have bought you a viking helmet! you're a valkyrie!". Which was funny because i'm pretty sure valkyries don't repetitively projectile vomit ALL OVER THE PLACE. - Every contraction, every time my body was pushing- I was also ejecting not only my breakfast, but my lunch and the apple juice I had been drinking during labor. You know its crazy when the delivery nurse comments afterwards "i have NEVER in my 20 years seen someone puke like that... That was seriously impressive! wow!!!"
I felt her head start to come out of me, and it was the weirdest feeling because I don't remember that with my son because I had had had an epidural and could not feel it. This time, I felt EVERYTHING and it was terrifying and utterly fabulous at the same time. I actually felt her TURN after her head came out. At the time I shrieked "OMG THATS DISGUSTING" but in retrospect, it was really cool.
- my midwife walked me through what I was going to do when she came all the way out. Since i was closest, I was told that I could to bring her up to the surface of the water once she came out. A few more pushes and BOOM! there she was. My midwife grabbed her before I could because she had the cord around her neck. She unwrapped it and put her on my chest. Unlike Roland, she didn't scream like a banshee the second she came out. Just a little bit of crying!
Zeisel Miryam Ruth! 8 lbs 7 oz, 9:29 pm, 15 hours of labor! Born just shy of 2 hours before her due date! ha ha ! And hilariously, delivered by the same midwife and day of the week that I delivered my son on. But under extremely different circumstances. Last time, I had no sleep the night before and exhaustion basically made it so I needed the drugs in order to rest and simply make it through.
I seriously am sitting here, weeks later, STILL in denial that I actually did it. Everyone keeps saying "OMG BIG BABY!" but my SIL just had a 10 1/2 lber a few months ago so to ME that's a "big baby". There's been a serious difference between how i feel recovery wise between this birth and the previous one with the epidural. Which is funny, because you'd think pain meds would make things easier right? Not in my case! Last time I couldn't hardly stand for weeks afterwards, this time? My arms are a bit sore from pushing myself up in the tub during contractions, but IF I worked a desk job, I'd probably be able to go back to work today! I joke about my mom being one of those pioneer women that'd have the baby at lunch and go back to plowing the field after, and that's how I feel!
Now I have to say, thank G_D we did not do a home birth because of the drain situation- from what my mother in law says we had NO water until about 6pm at home! Holy cats.