Sorry about the funky font issues... Anyway, on with the story. I'll repost it later in the birth stories forum.
I was in a low mood with low energy over the weekend. Friends did a "mother blessing" celebration for me, which raised my spirits and made me feel supported. But I was still not the mostly happy, energetic person I had been just a week before. I felt like I had PMS. Sunday night, I had a big flash of anger and an hour's worth of energy that made me clean the bathroom.
I didn't sleep well, but I felt okay in the morning. My mood was better, the way it gets better right before I get my period. I was having some cramps and BH similar to what I'd been having for a couple of weeks, but the feeling that I was getting my period was stronger somehow. I had my husband stay home from work to watch our daughter while I hung out. I was happy and sad, and also had a little panic attack. For my first birth, I had a huge panic attack at the start of labor. I called my doula around 10:30am to say I thought today was the day but I wasn't sure. She told me to look for bloody show, which I never had with my first baby. I got off the phone, went to the bathroom, and there it was! Yay! Time to give birth!
My contractions/rushes/waves didn't feel all that strong and were not particularly painful to me. I was puttering around the house, took a walk, talking on the phone, listening to hypnobabies tracks and singing along to songs I liked. Sometimes during then I'd sit on the birth ball and roll my hips, or, from standing, put my hands on my thighs and bend over. I kept calling the doula to tell her not to come over yet. But finally she decided to come over at 4:30 to avoid rush hour driving from Fort Worth to here. When she got here, we chatted, ate the Middle Eastern mezza my husband prepared (with collard leaves instead of bread to dip into the hummos--yum!), and then I tried to hunker down and really get labor going by laying in bed and listening to hypnobabies. My mood was very happy and cheerful and the sensations of labor were strong in a way but not even uncomfortable, so I assumed I was early in early labor. But when the midwife got here around 7:00 or so, I was dilated to about 7.5cm. Everyone was shocked! The backup midwife was called and everything set up for birth. My husband told me at 8:15 that we would probably see the baby at 9. (I guess he forgot you're not supposed to talk in terms of hours to a birthing woman!)
At around 9, I was not having the baby. I was having much more intense contractions, but I was still in a pretty good mood, talking and joking and singing even during them. The position that was best for me was kneeling on my bed and resting my chest on the birth ball. By 10, I was definitely not in a good mood anymore. I tried to get in a better position for deeper hypnosis, but any position other than on my hands and knees was disagreeable to me. And my husband was not very good at helping me deepen my hypnosis. I would ask him to help me and then end up talking out loud to myself, telling myself what I needed to hear. One thing that I wanted to hear over and over again was, "I am safe and my baby is safe." I also made up a lot of encouraging words and sayings about life being beautiful and how I'll remember this experience for the rest of my life, and I love being in the flow of life.
I was entering transition and feeling out of control. I wanted my husband and my doula near me for every contraction, but I didn't want them to touch me too much. I remembered it can be good to moan low sounds but that didn't appeal to me very much. Suddenly I remembered the Heddie Ledbetter song, "Oh Lordy, Pick a bail of cotton" and started singing it in my lowest baritone during contractions, then also sang "Goodnight Irene" and "Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah." My midwife sang harmony for Goodnight Irene! That was amusing to me even in transition!
But I didn't feel close to giving birth. At this point, my doula said, "I'm going to do something really mean, and ask you to get up and walk around the house to try to move the baby down." Oh, and it was mean. It was hard! My husband and Sara helped me move. The power was so strong! It didn't feel like anything was really changing, though. And I saw on the clock in the kitchen that it was past 10pm. I felt that must mean there was something wrong, since my husband had said I'd been expected to have the baby by 9pm. If only he hadn't told me that to begin with--this kind of got me into a theme of self-doubt.
When we got back, my midwife wanted to check me to see what was holding things up because the baby's heartrate was accelerating a little bit. (This news thoroughly freaked me out at the time, but it was nothing to be really alarmed about, unless the exam showed a problem.) My bag of waters was bulging, I was fully dilated except for a little cervical lip, and the baby's head was "asynclitic," not in the straight ideal position. Before the check, during my birthing waves, I'd had a little notion that the baby had her hands by her head. But I didn't think about that now. I was relieved that nobody seemed too stressed about the course of events.
The midwife tried to pull back the lip and let me push, but it did no good and was outrageously painful. I couldn't feel any kind of urge to push and also couldn't imagine how to push. (This happened at my first birth, too, at first. I had to be told to push.) She said we'd have to let the baby work out whatever the issue was. My midwife asked me to push lightly during contractions to try to move the cervical lip without making it swell. (She also that if I wanted there were other interventions she could do, but she thought it was better to just let the birth work itself out.) The baby's heartrate was normal now and there was no problem. I asked if they were thinking I needed to transfer, and everyone said in unison, "No!" as if that was a kooky idea. So I knew it wasn't any kind of emergency.
Pushing without the urge was hard and uncomfortable. Unlike with my first birth, where pushing made the contraction seem to disappear or change form and be more satisfying, here it was just work and I still felt the contraction strongly in my lower belly. I felt I had nothing to hang on to and was having a hard time embracing the bitrth waves. No comfort measures were working and I felt I was flying off into the universe with every pressure wave.
Thankfully, in between that incredible intensity of contraction (which I felt in my lower belly for pretty much the whole labor, from early birthing time to the very end), I'd have a little break where there was no discomfort whatsoever. I tried to just enjoy the break and not think about the coming pressure. I turned on my hypnobabies pushing track in my mp3 player, though, and felt vaguely encouraged by it. I tried to really focus on hypnobabies and pushing even though the pushing didn't feel very satisfying or productive. Just a few minutes of the hypnobabies pushing track, and...
Suddenly, my water broke in a big whoosh! Now came more satisfying pushes, though I could feel and mentally visualize myself tearing, which was an odd experience. I pushed and the baby was crowning. I pushed again and popped her head out (and the midwife adjusted the babe's arms), and then one more time and her body slithered out of me. The time between my water breaking and my baby's birth at 11:24 was just 5 minutes!
It turns out she had had both of her hands up against her face, with her arms crossed in front of her like a mummy, clearly the cause of her delayed entrance and my four stitches. My midwife said, in over 1000 births attended, she'd never seen a baby with two nuchal hands like that!
My second daughter was pretty much the same size as the first, 7 lb 14 oz, perfectly healthy. I was so shocked by how fast I went from, "this is taking forever--I don't think I'm accomplishing anything" to having that burst of water and my new baby on my chest in my room. I didn't exactly get to catch her like I wanted, but I did help put her on my own chest. It was a fun and positive birth and I'm very thankful for the experience!
Looking forward to reading others' stories. Wishing you peace and joy, all of you!
Edited by sky_and_lavender - 6/5/13 at 4:28pm