i finally get to answer my own poll!My dd's birth was a great one. Very different from my first birth of my son 8 yrs ago (this was harder) but still a good birth. It was my first homebirth/waterbirth, and was unassisted (that's why I posted this poll in the first place, to read about others' birth challenges).
The birth process was much longer than with my son. I had false labor a week before she was actually born for a full day. Then I started having contractions one Thursday morning, had them all day, and called friends (who were three hours away) at about midnight to start to my house, as contractions were at four minutes apart.
As soon as they got to my house, contractions just fizzled. We all went to bed, thinking they would wake me up as they got strong again and that i needed rest. Woke refreshed and without contractions at 8:30 the next morning (Friday) . Cntrx were off and on all day, at times hard and coming closer together. Everyone left during that day and while they were gone I had great, strong, steady cntrx. Which fizzled away when everyone returned (my best friend, another friend who has attended several births as an apprentice mw, her dh, and her two kids--ages 4 and 2). Had some more good contractions that night. Then I got a good sleep and woke up again without them Saturday morning. How frustrating!!!
Had I been in a hospital I bet I would have been pressured to have some interventions. After all, my first birth (natural, vaginal) was only 18 hours from first bloody show until son was born, with textbook cntrx and progression through stages--10 hours of easy cntrx, six hours of hard work, and two hours of pushing (in the hospital, mostly in bed, though I used the jacuzzi for transition...I was eighteen and ds was 11 days "late"...7 lbs 14 oz...had waters broken at 8 cm and had pressure episiotomy while pushing).
This baby was due on Oct 2 and was born on the 13th...wow 11 days over again; I hadn't noticed that!
Back to the story--I was way way frustrated Saturday. I had one internal check with the help of my friend that afternoon...baby had moved way down and I was FINALLY dilated somewhat (though only between three and four--after 2.5 days of off and on cntrx).
Everyone left again that afternoon and it finally hit me. I was having good cntrx when me and dh were together and touching each other (massage, sensual stuff) but not when others were around!!! Duh...of course I should have noticed that by then but just hadn't. So we really worked together during that afternoon, I had a couple of orgasms and lots of nipple stimulation and voila!
Things really started moving. My birth pool had been up for a week now and had been filled and emptied about ten times! Finally I got in it about 7 pm. I stayed there until the baby was born at 6 am the next morning.
Labor was very hard. felt like she was sweeping very sharp fingernails inside my cervix, back and forth. I had a distinct feeling of this sharp swishing as I felt her move. She was still moving a lot even as she descended. I'lll never know but I guess there was some difficulty there...maybe she had her hand up by her face for a long time, or was posterior. Anyway the last five hours were extremely hard. With my son I was zen mama...meditated through transition and never made a sound. Not one. Thought I'd be the same way this time! Not a chance--I was moaning and groaning, very loud. It just felt good. My two girlfriends went to sleep about ten and that's when things really cranked up! I didn't want dh to touch me anymore and I was counting the stars on this Indian tapestry I have, just to get through each cntrx.
I had dh wake them at about two, as i was starting to need more support and things were going very fast it seemed (not really). Finally about five am I was feeling very "pushy" and I reached inside (hadn't done that since getting in the pool) and I could feel the bag of waters bulging! As I had my hand there they POPPED like a cork out of a bottle. Everyone said my expression was priceless!
After that things got a bit overwhelming. I could feel her head and within half an hour she was crowning. I just didn't feel like I was stretching! I wasn't having the experience I had seen so often in squatting births (I was up on my knees in the pool) where the vagina sort of telescopes or tunnels out as the baby's head is emerging. Instead it felt like I was open about three inches across and I could feel her head pushing down everywhere, from my clitoris to my rectum. I just felt she was way too big and I wasn't opening enough down there! I was pushing my lips back and around her head or trying to but nothing was happening! My doctor with ds had given the pressure episotomy even tho my birth plan covered not wanting one...he even did perineal massage as son was crowning...he said "I know you don't want this but we have an opening the size of a plum and a head the size of a grapefruit!" LOL maybe those words influenced my feelings about my body or maybe I am a bit less elastic...I don't know...but I know I was scared for the first time during labor and it hurt like hell down there and I DID NOT WANT her head to come out! I just really believed I was going to tear from top to bottom. I was crying and saying I couldn't do it (to which my very wise friend said "you *are* doing it" in this awesome calm voice...) and that the baby was too big for me (to which the same friend said, "no, it's just the right size for your body"). There I was in the pool with my hands down there on the head and really making a lot of noise and arrayed in front of me were my two girlfriends and dh, who (poor thing) has never had a baby before (my second marriage) and has never seen me say I couldn't do anything!!! I just remember crying out, "OHHHH, KI-IM" to my apprentice friend, with this very beseeching look on my face--like take this cup from me! as I was trying to push. That was my most forlorn and desperate moment ever. Then I was feeling the head and those ridges on the top of it from being squeezed in the birth canal, and I actually thought I was feeling the cord! I knew it couldn't get pinched and restrict the baby's Oxygen, so I just thought to myself, dammit, just push it out and you can get sewn up afterwards--it doesn't matter if you tear, just get this baby here safe!
So I pushed like mad and the pain was TERRIFIC and MANY-HUED but there was the head, out at last! I looked up and said The Head Is Out!! like what do I do now? and Kim said, ok, just breathe, and push with the next cntrx...out came the little slippery body quite easily, as I remembered with ds, and I lifted her above the water. This was the only point at which I needed a little help and encouragement...so I glad I wasn't alone with dh, totally unassisted...i *was* unassisted, delivered her myself, with no one's hands on me, but not unsupported...you know?
I still didn't know it was a girl b/c the cord was a bit short and I was holding her so I could only see her back...afraid to turn her over or put her to breast for fear of tugging the cord.
The placenta came out with the next cntrx and then I saw that she was a she and put her to the breast and she was pink and so beautiful.
I had thought I would call ds (8.5 yrs) in to see the birth but i was so crazy during pushing that i didn't want to. His dad (my ex) was spending the night there at our house to be Jack's special person...so they came in at this point and everything was so happy and wonderful.
Rowan Ts'eh (pronounced "say") was 21 inches, 8lbs. Nursed right away. She's crazy with her hands all the time, and had very long fingernails, so I think my hunch about what she was doing (the scratching) was correct. I have to hold her hands still now at 9 weeks while we nurse.
I was sure I had torn but when Kim looked at me afterwards she said no...I had some mean lacerations though, up near my clitoris and at the top of my perineum...they healed within three weeks and I had sex then...slow and easy does it but no problems (though a few positions were offlimits for a bit longer, as they tended to pull downward on the sore spot).
Thanks to all of you who helped me through this pregnancy by sharing all these stories! I felt VERY well prepared by knowing so much!
It's my hope that this poll and thread can be a reassuring resource to others as well.