I had 3 whole days of practice labor (Sunday the 18th, Sunday the 25th, and Tuesday the 27th) which I think made labor go a lot differently than it would have otherwise for a first time mom. On Tuesday I was sure he would come because on the other days the contractions fizzled out in the afternoon, but that day they started getting stronger around 5 pm. I went to sleep that night thinking I would wake up to active labor in the middle of the night, but instead things just stopped. I went to yoga on Wednesday and went the whole day with no contractions or labor signs of any kind.
Thursday was the day before my due date. When I went in for my prenatal appt, my midwife offered to do a stretch and sweep and I agreed. She said I was 1 cm dilated (could stretch to a 2) and very effaced. I had a few mild contractions after that, but by the afternoon I was sure it hadn't done anything. Then at 5 pm (again) my water broke. Not just a trickle, but all of it. Shortly thereafter I also lost my mucous plug and had lots of bloody show. By 5:15 the contractions were about 2 mins apart and very intense. By 6 I felt that I couldn't cope anymore, so around 6:30 we headed to the birth center even though my midwife warned that we couldn't stay unless I was 3 cm.
The car ride to the birth center was helpful because it helped me realize something my midwife verbalized later, nothing I did would make it stop hurting. So I stopped trying to find a comfortable position and just focused on relaxing through the contractions.
We got to the birth center around 7 and I was allowed to stay because I was at 3 cm. My midwife suggested that we were probably in for at least 8 more hours of labor. She helped me get into a position that was manageable (on the birthing stool) and I stayed there about an hour. I realized that staying in that position was actually slowing things down, which I didn't mind because I didn't really feel like I could handle how frequent the contractions had been. However my midwife also noticed things were slowing down and got me to change positions.
I got on the bed leaning against the birthing ball and I hated it so much. I remember asking myself why anyone would ever want to have a baby. I found myself sort of chanting "I can't possibly do this" even though I was still cooperating. Finally I got to a contraction I just couldn't handle, and I started sobbing and I felt myself bearing down which scared me, so I suddenly just jumped off the bed and started yelling at everyone. I remember my midwife said to stop hyperventilating or I would pass out, and I told her that passing out sounded wonderful.
After that my midwife suggested trying to empty my bladder and she positioned me on the toilet with some blocks under my feet. It felt a lot better than the ball. After a contraction my midwife asked me if I had been bearing down and I admitted that I had. She said that was ok. I realized that when I jumped off the bed it was probably transition and that it might actually be time for pushing, but that didn't seem right. I stayed on the toilet for a little while longer and then I asked (as I had been since we got there) if I could get into the tub. My midwife said she thought so but she wanted to check me first.
When we walked out of the bathroom I noticed there were a ton of people in the room: my mom, my sister, my BFF, the photographer, and the birth assistants (my husband had been with me the whole time). My midwife had me lean over the footboard so she could check me. She asked me if I was planning to have the baby in the tub and I said I wasn't sure. She said if I got in the tub now I would be having him in there, and I realized it was time to push. I didn't really feel like moving so I just stayed there and squatted when I needed to push. Everyone was cheering me on.
After a while I moved to hands and knees on the floor with one foot up in a lunge. Pushing was really challenging and exhausting but felt so much better than just sitting through contractions. At times it was hard knowing when to push, but after a while I got into the swing of it. I was thinking it was taking a long time, and then I felt his head move down. I felt the "ring of fire" that everyone talks about, and it sure did burn. After that I was very motivated to deliver the head. I pushed really hard and got it out, and I said , "There's the head!" and everyone laughed. It didn't take long to get his body out after that but it was more than one push.
I couldn't believe it when I had him in my arms. Ambrose was born at 9:52, which means I was only in labor for 5 hours and only at the birth center for 3 before I had him. The labor had been so intense that I didn't really have time to think about the baby part. But he's totally perfect, and it didn't take anyone long to notice that
We left the birth center at 1:30 am and cuddled the rest of the morning. This afternoon we went out and got our Christmas tree, which we intend to be a tradition on Ambrose's birthday.
We are still trying to figure everything out, but we are excited about our perfect boy
Edited by katealicia - 11/30/12 at 6:59pm