I love birth stories too!
Here's mine from my son, in January 2009. It's a long post!
I worked four hours on the 21st, til 11 am. When my charge nurse asked me if I wanted to go home early because we had an empty unit, I jumped at the chance. I was on 8 hour shifts at that point, and was almost 37 weeks, but I felt really tired--I chalked it up to having worked out the day before, and cleaned my house in preparation for a home visit from one of our midwives that evening. Folks at work were joking with me that I was looking ready, but I was dead certain that I'd be that first time mom who went to 42+ weeks.
So, I took a long nap when I got home. Paul got home from work, and we just hung out for an hour or so, talking about our weekend plans (which included getting the rest of our birth supplies, doing some cooking to feed the freezer for postpartum meals, and making a belly cast).
Amanda, our midwife, and Amy, her apprentice came to our place at about 7pm. It was Paul's first time meeting Amanda (we had two midwives in our practice, and Paul hadn't been able to make it to any of the visits with Amanda, just the other midwife) and neither of us had met Amy before (our regular apprentice was out of town). They looked around and got familiarized with the layout and where we were stashing our birth kit and supplies, and we talked about the setup of the pool and what kind of hose to pick up to fill it for the labor and birth. Amanda and Amy did the normal prenatal visit assessments, and we were just chatting on the couch, wrapping up and deciding when to meet the next week. I felt a big gurgle in my belly and sudden wetness in my pants. My heart started racing and I announced that I thought my water had broken. Amanda and Amy looked at me like, "Ha ha! Very funny joke, birthworker." And Paul just looked at me like I was nuts. I stood up and it flooded down my legs, making things very obvious. Whoooo! We were so not ready for this to be happening!
I went upstairs, Amanda got her doppler and checked heart tones, felt my belly and did some Leopold's (to determine a size estimate and the baby's position). All was well, and we talked about what to do from then on. My grand plan, especially since I wasn't contracting at that point, was to eat dinner, drink a beer as a sleep aid (of course, Hopslam is a tasty way to ingest the sleep-inducing power of hops) and go to sleep. We called our doula, Kate, to let her know what had happened, and put her "on call" in case things happened in the night or the next day where we might want her to come check in. I was firmly convinced that I'd at least have the night to snooze before things got started. Amanda planned to come back early in the morning, to check on us, and bring over the supplies we needed for the tub along with some bath herbs for the postpartum period. She told me to call for any reason, but to try my very best to go to bed and sleep. As I was seeing her and Amy out the front door, I had my first crampy contraction. It was around 8pm.
Pizza arrived, but I couldn't eat much, and I wasn't really able to focus on getting that beer down...things were feeling more intense and required concentration to deal with. Paul was bustling about the house, taking out garbage, drying a load of laundry, inflating the pool and rearranging the living room. At 10, I really let myself start thinking I was actually in labor, but the nurse part of my brain wouldn't let me believe that it was "real" or "active." I kept telling myself to suck it up, and quit taking it so seriously, because, like a typical first timer, I'd have a long labor to deal with. Paul's dad came to pick up the dog, as we'd previously planned. During all this activity, I was just pacing, stomping, kneeling, squatting showering and dancing around trying to figure out how to get comfortable. Amanda was called somewhere in there, and we made a plan together for us to call Kate, who lived nearby and ask her to come over to help decide when Amanda should come back (Amanda lived almost an hour away). I couldn't talk to Amanda, except between contractions. Paul did the talking to Kate.
Kate arrived at 11 pm, talked to Paul for a sec and came to me. At that point, I was on hands and knees in the bathroom, working hard but doing really well. If you know me at all, you know I over-think everything, and over-analyze my thoughts and feelings to the n-th degree...I went over all the reasons why I shouldn't call Amanda back, namely because I couldn't possibly be in active labor yet since I was only a few hours into contracting. Kate shrugged and just said "call her, she can always go home if things are early, or sleep in your guest room. Plus then you'll have the stuff to fill the pool if you want water (which I really did)" I think she could read me pretty well, and knew the right thing to say. Paul called Amanda to come back over.
Kate suggested that I make a change, and shooed me to the living room to be in the (empty) pool for a
while, because it had a padded bottom and padded tall sides to lean on. She also helped Paul to do some hands-on help for me, which was really lovely. So, off I trundled to the pool and had a few contractions in there...and then, all of a sudden, I felt super scared for like, 3 minutes--and I said as much to Kate and Paul. Kate talked me through a few contractions, and then I felt like pushing. Wha? This clearly was crazy (in my mind) because, of course, I couldn't have been more than like, 4 centimeters dilated. I mean, seriously? I am having my first baby here people! Pushing after four hours of labor is just not how it usually goes. So, I spent a little time thinking about that, and a little time worrying about if Amanda didn't get there in time (I knew Kate could catch my baby, and our other midwife just lived a mile away if needed, even though she was off call). But mostly, I just pushed if the urge was too strong to breathe/moan/growl/howl/hoot through. Paul called Amanda (who was en route) to let her know what was happening.
Amanda and Amy zoomed in around midnight, and checked the heart tones and began setting things up rapidly. They sent me to the bathroom with Kate and Paul while they started filling the pool (after asking me if that still seemed good to me; um, YES!). I pushed on the toilet for a while, which worked quite well. Amanda encouraged me to check myself and I felt my baby's head like, rightthere. Okay...so I wasn't 4 centimeters after all. Why I didn't think to check myself before is beyond me...all I can say is that I was in laborland.
The pool had about 6 inches of blessedly warm water in it, and I lumbered down there to sit in it while it finished filling. Oh! Blessed pool! That felt so good, I can't even describe it with words. As the water rose, I continued to push and push and push and push. My worries about having the baby before my midwife arrived were needless; I pushed for a little more than 2 hours. I got pretty tired toward the end, and kept wanting to just get a snorkel and sink down under that warm, lovely water for a nap. Everyone was really loving and supportive, and gave me what I needed emotionally to keep going. I complained a lot about pushing, and then apologized for complaining. Paul was up by my shoulder where I could meet his eyes, and Kate was up behind my head helping me out when I needed some talking to. Amanda was at my side, and Amy was keeping notes and getting things here and there. The cats were sitting on the steps with big eyes, very curious about what was happening. Everything was fine with the heart tones, and I was moving the baby down. I do admit, though, that I really didn't like pushing. At all. It wasn't that I felt weak or too tired, but that it just felt...yucky and uncomfortable. So I definitely can reflect and say that I didn't give pushing my all. I could have been done much sooner, I think, had I really given everything to pushing instead of complaining about it.
Paul started talking about how he wanted some coffee, and he and Kate were whispering about that, and it made me sort of wake up a little and just finish pushing the baby out. As he began to emerge, I really could understand that "ring of fire" feeling that people talk about. Okay, finally, we're almost done with this pushing stuff, I thought. I felt the baby's shoulders rotate within my pelvis, and SPLOOSH! Out came the rest of the baby, and Amanda passed him onto my belly at 2:14am. I held that slippery little dark-haired being and looked into those wise, wide-open newborn eyes for a few seconds that will always be eternal for me. Ecstasy!
Paul pronounced our baby a boy, and we took him in...curly black hair, long slender fingers, round belly, long legs and a squooshed-up nose. Our Henry, so perfect. He never gave loud cries or screams, but got really pink and just looked around and was breathing clear and quiet. I kept him low on my body, as his cord was rather short, and kept him warm in the water and covered with a blanket. We spent some time in the pool, but then got out for a while to get the placenta, which took a while. I got cleaned up and got into bed. I ate a banana and drank some tea while Amanda and Amy did Henry's weight and full assessment. They snuggled him in with me and Paul got into bed with us both. The ladies cleaned everything up, and threw in a load of laundry. We talked about what to watch for, and when to call. They'd come back to check on us after lunch. Everyone was gone and everything put back to normal by 5:30am. We went to sleep, sort of. It was hard to sleep when there was lots of staring to be done in order to properly appreciate and admire this new person in our lives! While I never expected such a short labor, I loved being pregnant and giving birth. I'm really excited to do it again. :)