Thanks to you all for your well wishes! Baby boy (STILL unnamed) is awesome in every possible way. (I'm his mother so of course I would say that. But really, he's great.) He has the most delectable fuzz on his head. And he loves to snuggle (DH is washing dishes while wearing him in the wrap as I type this ).
DH and I have been describing the birth experience as totally "Ina May-style Textbook." I still can't believe how perfectly everything went. Here's the whole story.
Saturday night I went to bed at around 11 and was feeling some cramps and twinges, but didn't let myself think anything about them. I hadn't had a bit of bloody show, mucous plug, or anything else to really signify the onset of labor. I woke at midnight, got up to pee, and this steady trickle of fluid ran down my legs onto the floor. I tried to "hold it in", which wasn't working at all. So I woke up DH and got him to grab me a towel. By 12:15 I (and the floor/carpet) was cleaned up and I was back in bed. I decided not to call the midwife until I began contracting in some timeable way.
Well, it didn't take long for that to happen. By 12:45 I'd timed enough contractions to see that they were strong and steady, and getting more so by the minute. Nothing crazy, but this was undeniably labor! I called the midwife, and I was surprised when she said she'd come on over. But hey, I'm always up for a party! She probably got to the house at around 1:30. By this time I was noticing a tinge of pink on my toilet paper when I wiped. Contractions were keeping steady, though I noticed that they slowed/weakened a little when she arrived. She had me eat a protein heavy snack, which I wasn't really in the mood for, but I did it anyway. I needed all the energy I could get!
The midwife in training arrived not long after. They laid low in the other room while I labored and got as much rest as possible in the bedroom with DH. I was able to nap a bit, but not much. The midwives only bothered me to check the baby's heartbeat, and to check my blood pressure, which were both great. My contractions were amazingly strong when I laid on my side in bed. They were much more manageable when I was on all fours over the birth ball. I was encouraged to stay in positions that brought on the most productive contractions possible. I grudgingly did this ;) I wasn't interested in being touched much at all during labor. At some point the midwife suggested that I try laboring in the bath/shower. But when I tried this I found that my contractions totally wimped out!!! It was too relaxing! As soon as I got out of the water, the contractions became more intense than ever -- even one on top of another with no break in between. We were getting close!!! I was noticing more bloody show as time went on (I had to pee about a million times during labor).
About my contractions, I have to mention how *productive* they felt with this labor. With my first baby, all the contractions were felt as rectal pressure through the entire labor. This time I was feeling the pressure on my cervix, and I only felt rectal pressure towards the very end of the labor as I began to think about pushing. I moved around a bit between the toilet, the bed, and the birth ball (laying over it), but I really labored mostly in bed, laying on my side. At around 7:15am* my contractions were consistently one on top of another, though at times they were not as intense. I got into this really good groove of rocking forward and backward on the birth ball through some of the rougher contractions.
I don't remember the midwives checking my dilation at any point in labor. At some point during an intense contraction, my body just started pushing! The pressure was SO intense! After about 5 or 10 minutes of pushing, I heard DD wake up. I think my body must have kicked into gear at that point, and I pushed him out really quickly! While I didn't mind DD coming in, I was afraid she'd want to come jump on the bed - eek! I moved from my side to my knees, leaning over the birth ball. I did the rocking forward and backward on the ball thing. Finally, his head was visible. His entire body came out with the next push. What a relief!
The placenta came about 20 minutes later, and with it a blood clot larger than my fist. I took a tincture of shepherd's purse to help stave off bleeding. I had a couple of skids and a first degree tear that I chose not to have stitched. The baby nursed within about 30 minutes of birth, but for the most part he just kind of hung out, quietly observing.
Postpartum has been a breeze so far. I think I bought about five times more postpartum pads than I should have ;)
*We lost an hour to daylight savings during my labor, so the whole thing really lasted 6.5 hours.