ELLA'S BIRTH STORY
Wednesday, October 6, 2004
Steve didn't have to work until 4 pm, so we slept late, had some breakfast, and just relaxed around the house. About an hour after I got up I noticed I was having backache and cramps that felt just like my period. After about another hour I noticed contractions along with the achiness, but they were only coming about 2-3 per hour, and since I'd heard those are signs of prelabor I thought they could possibly last for weeks. And since this was our first baby and the due date was a week away, I was sure this was just prelabor. I had scheduled a prenatal massage the day before so I went to the appointment thinking the contractions would stop if it was not for real. Through the whole massage (1 hour) I had 4. But they didn't hurt at all, except for a mild ache in my back. Steve manages a restaurant nearby so I went to see him and get a bite to eat after the massage. This was at 4pm.
As I sat eating my tacos, the pain in my back started getting too strong to sit through. So I just got up and leaned over a little and it was over. But when the next one came 2 minutes later, we started timing them. At 4:30 they were 2-4 minutes apart and 30-45 seconds long. I think deep down I knew this was it, but I didn't want to declare I was in labor and then be wrong. So I told Steve to call his boss and tell him there was a chance I was in labor and he would need to leave. At 5:30 I went home and called our midwife, Debi, and told her what was going on. She said take a hot shower and try and rest because I would need my strength, but there was no way that would happen. As soon as I got home they started getting HARD. The pain was so intense in my back the only way I was comfortable was on the birth ball, and that only lasted about 20 minutes. I called my mom but had to leave a message, so I called Steve and told him to come home. I was starting to get overwhelmed because I was by myself and they were so close together and so painful in my back; the only way I could stay calm was in the shower on all fours, moaning low moans. I remember looking and seeing my mucus plug coming out whole. For some reason this was very reassuring. When Steve called and reminded me we needed all the hot water for the birth tub I almost cried! But I got out and tried a few on the floor and realized how much the water was helping. I threw up the tacos from earlier and luckily my mom got there because I was travelling quickly to the 'labor-land' I had heard so much about and I did not want to be alone. It was about 6:15. She convinced me I could leave the bathroom floor and use the arm of the couch for support (I could not leave my hands and knees). Steve got home about an hour after my mom came, and contractions got more intense with his arrival. My mom filled the birth tub while Steve applied counter-pressure to my back. When I got in the tub I got instant relief. I have never felt anything so wonderful! I was able to get through 3 contractions without counterpressure and with only light moaning. At 8:30 Debi and her assistant Janet arrived and the contractions got even more intense than before. Steve could not leave my side because he was the only one strong enough to put enough pressure on my back. I barely noticed the tightening of my uterus because the backpain was so consuming, which was a surprise to me since baby was in a great position. Anyway, Debi and Janet got set up and Debi checked my cervix-I was at 7! They helped me to the bathroom to pee and I had a contraction on my way back to the tub. How different they felt out of water! So much more intense than I can explain. Then Debi and Janet just sat around talking since we didn't need them yet. Around 10 pm Debi asked if I was pushing(she said I sounded really pushy). I was feeling tons of pressure but I didn't think I was pushing. Since she said I sounded like I was we did another internal- I was 9 1/2 with just a lip hanging on, so she held onto it through the next contraction. I was then at ten! I was asked if I felt like pushing, but since I didn't, we waited a few minutes until I did. Debi said to just listen to my body. No rushing, no one ordering me to push, no one in charge but me. Pushing was great! I made noises I didn't know I was capable of. I felt so powerful! I pushed only when I felt like it and got a short breather between pushes. Her head was born easily and there was no cord so I kept on pushing and out she came into her daddy's hands. It was 10:22. She was given right to me, covered in vernix but otherwise clean. Steve and I gazed in awe at our baby, and then checked the sex and announced it to the room. Hello Ella! She nursed immediately with an almost perfect latch the first try. Her cord was cut by her daddy after the placenta came out, and we were both helped to the bathroom to take an herb bath. Ella and I got acquainted by candle light in the tub while Steve and my mom made phone calls. After the herb bath I got settled in bed while Janet and Debi did the newborn exam (done on the bed, right where I could see) and then checked me. She was 7 pounds 8 ounces, 21 1/4 inches long, and I only had a 1/4 inch tear! Woohoo!!!
Janet was taking notes on everything, and according to her I only pushed for 12 minutes! This birth could not have been better. I never got the fear or worry that accompanies transition, just the nausea. Actually I was told I was verypolite, smiling between contractions and saying please and thankyou the whole time! (I was pretty focused inward and don't remember everything I said)While I have no other to compare this birth to, I contribute the short labor and easy pushing to the water and the fact that I was surrounded only by people that cared about me and were confident about my abilities to birth naturally. Ella was welcomed by the warm water of the birth tub, low lights, and the hands of people that loved her. She was peaceful and aware with her first breath, and has been so ever since. I cannot imagine birthing anywhere but in the warm support of water and the comfort and security of our own home. The whole experience has been magical; I regret that words cannot capture the power and miracle that Ella's birthday was.