The night of Friday, 12-10, my due date, I got romantic with DP and asked him if he wanted to insert prostaglandins with me. He can never resist me when I talk like that...
About 4:30 Saturday morning, I woke up having contractions every 15 minutes or so. The baby (now I now it's Marcos, but I didn't at the time)knew when one was coming before I did, and began to wiggle a few seconds before each one. He felt like he was trying to move up into my ribs, away from my cervix. I stayed in bed until 6:30, when it seemed like they had stopped, so I thought I'd better go walk around downstairs and get them started again.
I paced around for a while, listening to my feelings and trying to understand why the contractions had stopped. I knew I wasn't feeling any fear of our planned UC or the labor itself- I was ready for this baby to be born. So I rubbed my belly and talked to him as I walked, saying that there was nothing to be afraid of, and we were waiting to hold and love him.
By 8:30 the contractions had started again, and they were a little stronger. I tried calling my mom in FL, as she was waiting for my call to drive the 8 hours up to my house, but I didn't get her. So I made 2 pans of gingerbread, vacuumed, draped pine garland on the chandelier, and made coffee so the smell would wake DP. When he did, he took one look at my nesting and said "You are so
having this baby today!
A couple of friends and my sister called, and I mentioned that I seemed to be in early labor. I reached my mom about 11, and then she was on her way! I was excited, but I was secretly wishing I hadn't told anyone. I felt like I was on stage, with everyone waiting for me to perform, but I had no way of knowing when it was really going to happen! My anxiety turned me into a b*tch, and I got really cranky with DP for not cleaning the house with me. After I apologized, he tried to talk me out of my "in the spotlight" feelings.
I wanted to take our 3 dogs for a hike in the park by the lake. It was part of the 'ideal labor' I'd concocted in my head. I even had a dream that the baby was born in the park, with me hanging from a tree branch. This park always makes me feel so relaxed and in tune with myself. We got there about 1:30 and walked for an hour, stopping every 8 minutes or so to let me breathe and sway through the contractions. Lula chose the path, which happened to wind along the shore- right where the strong wind came into the trees. It was 40 degrees and we were freezing! But it felt great to be outside in the woods, and I could have stayed there all day. Unfortunately, DP didn't feel the same way. The farther we walked, the crankier he got because our dog, Connor (aka Dangerhead) was really yanking on the leash. It was disappointing to me, because I had pictured us reveling in the labor together, and instead DP was at least 10 paces ahead of me, hauling butt back to the car. I decided not to get caught up in his mood and just "hike my own hike", as the saying goes.
In the hours after we got home, I had contractions every few minutes. I didn't want to officially time them, but of course we couldn't keep ourselves from guessing how close they were, either! Maybe 4 minutes at this point. I started wondering whether there was a positioning problem or something, though, because the contractions were short. They only lasted 30-45 seconds, I think. I still hadn't lost my mucus plug, in contrast to my first birth, when it came out 36 hours before. I thought, "Another day and a half of this? I'll be bored stiff! And everybody is waiting!" The contractions were still pretty moderate, and I'd just lean on the counter and sway my hips through them. Once or twice I hung my arms around DP's neck, and that felt so good! He seemed so strong and rooted to the ground, like a tree.
My need to know if the contractions were doing anything overwhelmed me, and I asked DP to check me. We'd only tried this once while I was pregnant, and were just as clueless afterward, so I didn't hold out much hope, but still... He was willing but a little nervous, because my mom was due at our house any time, and Lula was in the room with us. He said "I feel weird with her watching this!" I said "Oh, whatever. She knows the baby's coming out of there." As it turned out she just watched TV and ignored us. DP couldn't tell how dilated I was (or wasn't) but he said he could definitely feel the baby's head right there. That cheered me up so much!
So I went to the bathroom to pee, and when I wiped, I saw some of my mucus plug. I shouted "Hurray!" and ran out to show it to DP. I wouldn't say his level of excitement matched mine, but he was encouraged, too. Just then my mom arrived. I told them I wanted to get in the fishy pool, so DP started filling it. I was checking the temperature and noticed a lot of sediment and gunk swirling around in the water! From the bottom of the water heater, maybe? In any case, there was no way I could get in there. My mom, Lula and DP started a bucket brigade to empty the pool, clean, and refill it. I tried to help, but kept having to stop and breathe through contractions every couple of minutes. So I said "I think I'm going to go upstairs and get in the tub." That was about 9:30 p.m.
I was in the tub for about 20 minutes by myself while they tried to salvage the fishy-pool plan. I really didn't want to be alone. Lula and my mom came to check on me, and I knew DP was working hard to give me what he thought I wanted downstairs. But by this point, I was loving the spa jets in the tub, and I really didn't want to move either- so I let him know I was comfortable where I was.
After all the preparation we did to help Lula so she wouldn't be afraid to see me in labor, I'd say it worked almost too well! It was so normal to her, she acted almost uninterested. She played in a room down the hall with my mom, reading books and playing musical instruments. Every once in a while they'd pop in to the bathroom to check on me. "Nonnie's readin me books! We're going to go have a parade!" Lula announced. I think it helped that, between contractions, I felt completely myself, and could talk to everyone normally. I kept waiting to slip into a "Laborland" daze, but I was always very present.
The spa tub worked great, especially the jets. The only problem was how hard the bottom was! I was sitting on my heels through most contractions, and the tops of my feet started to hurt. DP gave me an inflatable pillow, and I stuck it under my butt to cushion me. Ahhhhhh.... Sometime around 11ish I had DP check me again. I was feeling nauseous, and I desperately wanted to know that I was nearing transition. He spread his fingers to show me how dilated he thought I was, and it was so funny. We looked at each other and said "Well, how far is THAT?" As we tried to measure the spread of his fingers against a four-inch bathroom tile, we laughed and realized the futility of checking me anymore.
At 12:05, while retching in a bowl, I felt something small shoot out of me. I told DP, and he said "I bet it was your water breaking!" I asked him what time it was- I was thinking about writing this birth story and I wanted to be accurate! We turned off the tub jets so we could look at the water for meconium. It was clear, but then I spotted something floating... vernix! I cupped it in my hand and felt as tender toward it as if it was the whole baby. DP decided he wanted to hear the baby's heartbeat, but he got nervous when he couldn't find it. I made a decision not
to be nervous. I knew that the baby was OK.
The contractions were intense, but I still got a break between them where I felt absolutely fine. That was so different from my first birth, where they came one on top of the other and panicked me. With these I needed to grip DP's hand and moan as low as possible, or flap my lips like a horse while blowing out (thanks for the suggestion, Ina May Gaskin!) The lip-flapping helped tremendously, and it had the added bonus of making Lula laugh when she heard me. She and my mom decided to go downstairs and eat something ("I want 3 pieces of pizza!" said my 31 pound 3-year-old, and that's exactly what she had.)
The last 4 or 5 contractions were difficult. They made me want to cry. I told DP that I just wished I knew it was almost over, because it was getting hard. I was happy when I threw up 4 times, because I felt sure that meant I was close. DP was so incredible. He kept telling me how strong I was, that he was so proud of me, that I was doing great. He said he thought I would be screaming and crying, and he was amazed that I seemed so in control. That made me laugh; he was right, I did feel as if I were in control. "You thought I'd be freaking out? Honey, we've been getting ready for this for months!" But in truth I was surprised how much of my mental preparation I was putting to use. I had thought it would probably go out the window.
I felt very slightly pushy at the end of the next contraction, but nothing like I remembered from Lula's birth- this was not an overwhelming urge. I told DP about it, and that I also had to poop. I have a real phobia of pooping in front of people, and I desperately didn't want to go in the bathtub. DP tried to convince me that it was fine, he would scoop it out, but I could not be discouraged from getting out. I told him "I'll just go real quick, and then get back in the tub!" He said "But isn't this how it's supposed to feel when you're ready to push?" "Yeah, but I really do have to go!" He looked doubtful as I waddled to the toilet, but he figured I knew what I was doing... :LOL
DP stood there looking at me on the toilet, but I had stage fright and couldn't go. So he closed the door and stood outside. I had put my hand over my vagina when I got out of the tub to prevent various bodily fluids from escaping onto the bathroom rugs, and I held it there as I tried to poop. One push. Yeah, I was definitely going to go! Two pushes. Holy Toledo, something moved in my vagina.
Me: "Oh my God!"
DP: "What? Can I come in?"
Me: (to the baby): "Nooo! Not yet!"
DP: (pausing because he thought I meant he couldn't come in) "I'm coming in!"
Me: "It's coming out and I can't stop it!"
Yes, truly, the baby was crowning before I had any idea. I could feel him on my perineum. I was afraid of tearing if I didn't have time to stretch, so I was trying to slow him down, but that baby was rushing out of me like a freight train! I looked longingly across the bathroom at the tub. I pictured myself running over there and getting in. No, I don't think so.
Me: "No! Don't push, don't come out, stop! I can't stop it! It's going to come out in the toilet!"
DP: "Can you stand up?"
Me: "Yes, OK! ACK, the head is out!"
The joy in his voice erased any anxiety I had about this sudden turn of events. I felt in control again. When DP asked "Should I rotate it?", I thought No, honey, you know that! We learned all about this. It will turn by itself, just give it time.
But all I could say was "No."
At that moment, the rest of the baby came sliding out. I had my eyes closed but I heard DP catch him, and I said "Do you have it?" He said yes, and I sat back down on the toilet. DP put the baby on my lap, and I caught a glimpse between his legs... "It's a boy! Ohhhh, look, he's so ugly!" I said as the baby started to cry. It was 12:50 a.m. on Sunday morning.
I told DP to run and call my mom and Lula. They came up right away, and Lula was disappointed to hear that it was a baby Marcos. "Maybe tomorrow, baby Cecilia will come out!" she said.
The placenta came out just a couple of minutes later. DP put it in a bowl, and we all went over to the bed. Lula and Marcos both nursed. About 45 minutes later, we cut the cord because it was gross and gooey on the sheets. I felt it and it was so cold and limp that I was sure it must be done with its blood transfer. When DP snipped it, a little blood oozed out, and I had a moment of regret that we hadn't waited even longer. Too late.
I worried about excessive bleeding like I had after Lula's birth, so I took some cinnamon tincture. DP asked if I wanted to eat some placenta and I said "Yeah, that is what I'm supposed to do, isn't it?" I had forgotten. DP said "I must really love you!" I asked him to just stick it under my tongue for me. I was surprised that it didn't taste bad or make me gag. It tasted like Marcos smelled.
After a couple of minutes, I swallowed it whole. Coincidence or not, my bleeding has been light.
I'm happy to report that Marcos is now very handsome, having lost the loser-in-a-boxing-match swelling in his face. He's a sweet little boy who loves to nurse and then stay up all night grunting, passing gas and pooping. He went to the doctor today for a newborn checkup and escaped without foreskin retraction, shots, or a blood draw.
We thought he was tiny, somewhere around 7 pounds, but he weighed in at 8 lbs, 14 oz. today! So either I have supermilk, or I've forgotten just how little a newborn baby is.
I just couldn't be happier with how this birth turned out! (Well, maybe if he hadn't been born on the toilet.) Mother nature did her part, just as I told everyone she would. I know I've read some UC'ers say they didn't feel strong, or special, just normal. Well, I feel strong and special, and I don't mind if I say so myself.
Not giving up mental and physical control to an OB or midwife was the best thing I've ever done. I held my baby's hairy head as it came out of my body.
It was beautiful, it was awesome, and I am on top of the world!Pictures