There was a Lucy and Ricky moment when I came back into the bedroom and told Marco "hey, my water broke" and then we were both up and trying to get things ready. I packed my bag to take to the birth center, we prepared lunch for Maya, Marco finished some last minute details on a project that was due to be complete by the end of the day...
I don't remember when the contractions started, but they were there - mildly - by the time Marco took Maya to school. We told her that the baby was coming and that someone else would be picking her up from afterschool and she was having a sleepover. I remember hugging her goodbye and thinking "there goes my baby."
At about 9am I started to get sleepy and Marco and I dozed for a bit. Contractions were between 6-8 minutes and mild. I was able to relax through them with minimal effort. I could talk through them but relaxing felt better than talking.
I have to say I enjoyed the day immensely. Marco finished his work by the time Maya was off to school and we spent the whole day together, lounging, talking, relaxing. I can't remember the last time we spent a day together with nothing more pressing to do than just be together.
I had a couple of bowls of delicious potato leek soup and just contracted a bit. Took a shower, contracted some more.
By about 4pm they were getting intense, but were still irregular - from 6-8 minutes apart. Marco wanted to go to the birth center - we were nearing rush hour - but I knew that with irregular contractions they would want to send me home. He was right, though, they were awfully intense. We took a walk (the second of the day) and as soon as i started walking they got regular at 4 minutes. I had to stop and hold onto things as they hit, and we decided to call a cab.
It took a while to get to the center - it was 6pm by the time we arrived. I was carsick from the cab ride and a cervical check had the midwife declaring me in early, early, early labor. Apparently my cervix was still very much posterior, and she couldn't even feel that far back to see how it was progressing.
She said I could go home or go walking. I was not interested in another cab ride at that point, so we went walking. With contractions coming every 4 minutes and impossible to walk through, I was miserable. I was discouraged that my cervix was not progressing, and I was in a significant amount of discomfort. We got what was probably the worst slice of pizza I'd ever had, and went back to the birth center. I wanted another check.
The second check offered no hope. Still posterior, out of reach. Contractions were 3 minutes apart and excruciating. I talked to Martha who told me that Asher was born an hour and a half after her cervical check resulted in disappointing news.
The midwife suggested that my labor was dysfunctional. She suggested that I take some narcotic to allow me to rest while the contractions did they job moving the cervix. Alternately, she suggested I could transfer to the hospital for some pitocin and an epidural, or go home to ride it out.
She left us alone to talk about it, and I kept saying to Marco - I think she's wrong. The pain I was in was very much like the very last minutes of my first labor. I was sure that the end was near. Martha's words were ringing in my ears and I was not going to take a narcotic if i was within an hour of birth. At this point the contractions were literally on top of each other. there was no pause between them. I felt I should give a test push but it was agony - it was not the "oh YES, that's what I need!" when I began to push Maya out. I was afraid of doing damage to myself or the baby by pushing against a closed cervix. But I was literally screaming through the contractions now. I felt myself utterly out of control, and I let the pain take over.
The midwife came back for our decision but I hadn't had a moment to think. Marco took control, got in front of me, caught my focus, and got me through an entire contraction without screaming. I remember thinking "He can do this. He can keep he here and focused. He can get me through." I got past another one and we decided to transfer to the hospital. I knew I couldn't take hours of this. I'd already had one drug-free birth, I knew that what I was experiencing was as bad as it ever got the first time. I knew myself, I knew my body, and I knew I could not possibly do another hour - much less foru, or eight, or twenty - of this.
I got up to shuffle across the floor, to gather my things, when suddenly I said "he's coming now."
I felt an explosion against my tailbone. I felt movement. The contractions stopped for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, and I felt very distinctly, something moving along my tailbone, into my vagina.
The midwife asked me to get on the bed so she could check me but I could not move. I asked her to check while I was standing. She immediately felt the head on the move and when I said again "he's coming now." she said "oh yes he *is* coming now!"
She tried to get me onto the bed and I knew I was absolutely unable to move. I just kept saying "I can't *possibly* move right now." I was standing, and my legs were too close together as the baby's head began to crown, so I forced myself to my knees. I was trying to get on all fours but I couldn't move past kneeling. WIth one hand on Marco's back and one on the midwife's back as they rushed to spread towels on the floor underneath me, I pushed the head out.
I was so acutely aware of each movement. I hadn't been pushing at all, just letting my body do the work. In two or maybe three enormous pushes I freed the head, and I remember feeling everything opening, stretching, burning, widening. When his head came out, the midwife said "stop pushing, there's a cord." and I stopped. She'd had no time to call a birth assistant, so she called to Marco "get the delivery kit!" Marco ran across the room and then stopped and said "what the F&%@ is a delivery kit?"
And by that time there was nothing I could do to hold the baby in. I had no time to say anything, so I just reached down and caught him myself. He was all tangled up in his cord - he was limp and white. In one motion I pulled him out, untangled the cord (It was wrapped two or maybe three times) and started talking to my baby. The cord was still tied around his legs and it was twisted and kinked and not pulsing. The midwife cut it and freed him of it.
I remember Marco asking "He's alright, right?" and the midwife saying "No, he's not alright" and I just said "he's fine, he's fine..." and rubbing and hugging him to me. He made a little sputter, and a little cough, and then he cried heartily.
I carried him over to the bed as if I'd done so a thousand times. I climbed up into bed and delivered the placenta easily while my little boy latched on and nursed beautifully.
About an hour later, the midwife came back in and offered me a shower. I handed the baby to Marco and had a glorious hot shower. I emerged feeling like everything was as it should be. We lazily did the prenatal checks - weight, length, etc. I was making jokes and I just remember a feeling of intense calm.
The midwife announced that she was going to bed, and Marco and I crawled into bed with the baby, and slept.
From the moment I felt him moving down, I experienced nothing but utter tranquility. I felt like I knew exactly what to do at every moment, and I just let myself do it. I must have said "i was right I was right I was right" a thousand times in those shivery moments just after birth.
He is going to be decked out in some awesome knits
Midwifery Student and Mama to 2 daughters and 3 sons.
I have given birth a variety of ways and I am thankful for what each one has taught me.
HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys: 03/02; 09/04; 09/07 - and Eliana, 11/13/10!
Founder of Houston Birth Alternatives: Be Informed, Encouraged, Supported birth support group and aspiring midwife.
SAHMlovin' to DD 10/00 & DS 10/04 If your son is intact, keep him safe, visit the Intact Care forum Circ, a personal choice, Your SONS 11/98 6/99 Thyroid cancer survivor. With 5 & 2 Boxers wishing for
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