I started having sporadic contractions on Monday night, but they weren't that bad and didn't have a pattern, so I ignored them all night (as much as I could) and the next day at work (leaning over chairs uncomfortably while I spoke to people throughout the day) until Tuesday evening when they started to feel a little more real and we started timing them. By 3am contractions were 3 mins apart but still fairly short (about 30-45 seconds long) and were feeling pretty intense so we called the midwives who were a little skeptical that I was really in labour. I was skeptical too, and felt guilty waking them up in the middle of the night for what could just be false labour.
They arrived at 4am and sure enough I was 3-4cm dilated and almost fully effaced except for a cervical lip on one side. I continued labouring for the rest of the night, sipping lemonade and coconut water, breathing through contractions with DH and chatting. I mostly sat on the birthing ball in our bedroom with my head hanging over the side of the crib. When I got sick of that, I would do this crazy sway-walk from the bedroom to the kitchen and back a couple times. I was really, really exhausted and remember complaining more about being tired than the pain of contractions... My biggest fear at that point was that I would be too tired to push baby out.
They checked me for the second time at 8am and I was 5-6cm dilated with the cervical lip still there. My contractions were still quite short, 30-45 seconds. I was slightly discouraged but still felt like I could handle the contractions well, I just wished I could get a 30 minute nap in!! The midwives encouraged me to "nap" between contractions, so I sat in bed propped up with pillows and with my softest pillow around my arms and literally tried to sleep every 3 minutes for a couple of minutes at a time. It felt futile but I didn't know what else to do. I thought maybe a shower would help. It didn't... The water felt nice on my belly and back, but I was so tired and didn't really have anything to lean against during contractions, so I got out and had to dry off and get re-dressed in between contractions. Way too stressful for me at that point.
Time seemed to slow right down and I was getting grumpy. I don't remember looking at the clock at all, but I was really conscious of the time by how many contractions I was having, plus the midwives would check baby's heartbeat every 30 minutes or so.
My mom came in with bacon and eggs and toast for everyone and I felt miserable that I had absolutely no desire to eat. I forced myself to eat jelly energy shots every half hour or so. Then the diaper service delivery came to drop off our diapers (very timely), and then DH had to leave to move my midwife's car, which was double parked at the neighbours. It was all very annoying to me at the time but I just kept focusing on dealing with one contraction at a time, breathing and vocalizing through it, knowing that a break would come very soon.
By 11am, I told the midwives that I kinda, maybe felt like pushing. They checked me and said I was nearly 10cm so if I felt like pushing, I could try... My first attempt at pushing was so weak sauce, I think my student midwife chuckled a little. I waited a bit, and distinctly remember the contractions becoming longer and stronger and then a few contractions later, I felt like pushing again. People always described the "bearing down" sensation but I don't think I really had that until after I started to focus on pushing. My student midwife guided me through it and gave me so much positive re-inforcement that I felt every push I was getting closer and closer to popping this child out so that I could finally have a nap! At this point I was still on my bed, and was really uncomfortable, so they scooted me down to the birthing stool where I was really able to more comfortably get things going. DH sat behind me on the bed, with his arms around me while I pushed.
I was pushing 3-4 times with each contraction and I was so grateful for the rest in between contractions because after each one I felt like I'd just run a marathon. I pushed with every blasted ounce of energy I could muster, grunting, screaming and cursing as I went along, and Amalia came out 30 minutes later at 12:01pm. Her cord was draped across her body and around her neck, requiring a little somersault/pirouette manouver before she was put in my arms.
Next was all a bit of a blur.. I couldn't believe that I'd just delivered a baby. She was perfect. DH told me it was a girl and my midwife shoved my boob in her mouth and we were in nursing happy land while they examined me.
There was a lot of chatter amongst the now army of midwives in my bedroom (while pushing, 3 more midwives showed up out of nowhere). Both back-ups had been called because things were happening so fast, she was concerned that they wouldn't make it on time.
They gave me a shot of picotin so that I would quickly deliver the placenta. They were concerned about a possible hematoma and clamped the cord fairly quickly (2 mins). The next hour or so felt like an eternity while they stitched up a 1st and 2nd degree tear. This was the most painful part of the whole thing for me. Despite both topical and local anaesthetic, I felt the needle searing through my very, very tender lady bits.
Once that was all done, they cleaned me up, cleaned the bedroom up, and we all sat around for a bit and my parents and DH's parents came. We had some champagne and I finally was able to have a nap.
The days since then have been a total haze. I've been ordered to stay at home, in bed for a week so that my stitches and perineum can heal and to ensure maximum mommy, daddy, baby bonding time. We've had some very happy moments, and very miserable moments, but overall it's been all about extremes... I have no idea what tomorrow will bring but I'm so grateful to have had the homebirth I imagined.