One year ago today, I was birthing baby Winter in my mom and dad's house. I so badly want to go to their house and sit on their couch and just remember every moment. Let's take a walk down memory lane.
I had been having irregular contractions that evening but I went to bed around 11pm anyway and was able to sleep for a couple of hours. At 1am I woke up, unable to sleep any longer. DP and DS2 stayed asleep in bed while I crept downstairs to see if they were going to get stronger. I lasted less than half an hour before I started having trouble coping and I went back upstairs to get DP.
I called my midwife and she said she would come and check me and if it was a false alarm we could all go back to bed. She arrived around 2:30 and I was dialated to a 4 so we knew it was definitely happening. I was given a tincture of cottonroot bark, my contractions were about 9 minutes apart. She went to go get some sleep, assuming I'd be in labor for a while. DP also went to go get some sleep.
At 4:08am my water broke. I remember thinking "Okay, this is *really* it and now I know for sure!" Up until then I was debating on whether or not it would piddle out. I hopped online to let everyone know it was not a false alarm. In hindsight, it's pretty hilarious that even then I wasn't sure I was in labor, considering how soon afterwards he was born. I had the midwife's apprentice wake DP and my midwife up and they started preparing the tub. I mostly stayed up, walking around, but squatting or going to hands and knees to take pressure off my tailbone. I had quite a bit of pain in my tailbone and it felt wonderful when DP applied counter pressure. He was pretty busy getting things ready but I kept hollering for him during contractions because I just wanted him there, I was so comforted by his presence.
About an hour later, one of my parents came down to use the bathroom and noticed the tub all set up in the kitchen, so of course they both decided to stay up. I retreated to the back bedroom because they were in my birth space. I labored on the spare bed for a while and around 6am the midwife checked me and I was dialated to 6cm. The entire time I was having normal conversations between contractions and was completely with it, but during contractions I went somewhere far, far away. It was perfect how I could just come back and return to what I was saying. Everyone was so amazed at how collected I was, and looking back, I am too. After my midwife checked me, I made a comment on how transition must not be too far away, and then I had 3 contractions one right after another that never really went all the way down. I suddenly became very non-verbal and primal. In my head, I was suddenly trapped in my body feeling the pain and I felt very tired. I wanted to be done and I said out loud "I want this to be over."
The midwife suggested I try the tub, which had been filling and alternately waiting for the water heater to warm back up. It was not terribly full at all or particularly warm but I got in anyway. During the next contraction my body pushed involuntarily. I felt immense pressure and when the midwife went to check me, instead of any cervix left she found a baby's head in the birth canal. At 6:09am I started to push on my hands and knees. At first it was really hard to push because his head was coming under my pubic bone and it was so intense I didn't want to push, especially right at my tailbone. After a few pushes, pushing felt better than not pushing so I gave it all my strength. DP got his arm a little too close and I bit him.
He backed up pretty quick, but stayed closed by, rubbing my back and reassuring me. I think my mom or someone was taking pictures but I was in laborland and was not paying attention to anyone. I reached down and felt his beautiful soft head shortly before it emerged and it was the most beautiful moment. He was so close, almost within reach and it gave me that last boost I needed to get through it. Finally, much to my relief, out popped his head and on the next contraction I pushed out his shoulders and the rest of his body. His official time of birth was 6:24am. The midwife passed him under my leg and I sat down holding my son. I just cried looking at his face, already completely and utterly overwhelmed by how much I loved him. I think I said "Look at how beautiful he is." As if no one else was looking. DP went and got the older two boys and it being 6am, they were understandably shocked. Winter and I sat in the pool together while I just stared at his face in awe. It was not terribly warm water so we got out after what seemed like hours and when I stood up the placenta just sort of fell out unceremoniously. I went and laid down on the bed in the spare room and my mom cut the cord after it had gone pale and limp. It was the only time he cried. My midwife massaged my uterus to help expel some clots, then I got this fabulous ice pack sanitary pad thing, oh it was heaven. I got dressed and went to the bathroom, which was incredibly weird considering the extreme lack of pressure on my bladder suddenly. I came back to bed and dressed Winter and swaddled him in a blanket. He was pretty alert and calm so I nursed him which prompted some insanely wicked afterpains. I asked for some ibuprofen, which I now find hilarious considering the labor I'd just gone through. I made a few calls and my sister started on her way down from Tacoma which is about 2 hours north. DP and my mom prepared everyone breakfast and we all sat down at the table, and I ate breakfast with my new son on my nursing pillow. I was pretty tired so I went to bed and the midwife, my mom and DP cleaned up. I don't remember much else for quite a few hours because I slept better during that nap than I had in months, snuggled in bed with my brand new baby and feeling quite on top of the world.
Happy birthday Winter.