[This is the story of a great labor, very tense moments during the delivery, yet a very happy ending
On Sunday July 29 I went to the birth center for my weekly check-up. On the way we stopped at Mama Jennie's restaurant. I went to the bathroom and lost my mucous plug.
On Monday July 30 I was feeling all of my nine months of pregnant. I was in week 39 and tired. I was in no real hurry to have her, but I have been having a feeling that I was going to see her in week 39. For the past couple of days I wasn't doing anything but resting and lounging, and I wanted to swim or walk or both. Dh reminded me that I could probably only do one, given I was so tired.
So I spent the afternoon at my IL's house resting on the couch and reading while ds (3, will be 4 in September) splashed in the pool with his uncle. I was too tired to get up and put my bathing suit on. However, an hour or so later I said I wanted to go the park and take a long walk.
Dh and one of my BILs took ds on a nature trail while SIL and other BIL walked with me. I walked a bit faster so I could keep up with them, but I could tell they were slowing down for me too. I waddled my way right behind them while we were talking to each other. Altogether we did two laps around the park which was probably about 2 miles.
While we were walking I got a contraction or two. This was at about 7 PM. One of them made me stop and I breathed through it a little bit. That one was strong and I didn't expect it that strong as I've been having painless "abdomen tightening" ones once in a while.
When we got back to IL's house I had another contraction about 25-30 minutes later, then another in about the same interval, maybe 20 minutes. In the car on the way home, at 9:04 PM, I felt menstrual-like cramps, not really painful at all, just there.
At home I skipped an interval and then had another mild contraction about 20 minutes before I went to bed. At 11:30 I got on the bed to go to sleep. As soon as I got on the bed I had a contraction. This one was unmistakable and quite strong. In fact, dd in utero felt it too, and I could feel her flailing a bit. It caught her off guard. I reassured her, massaged my belly and sent good thoughts her way.
Having been on my left, I moved to my right. Still the same contraction. I got up. Still felt it. Some time went by (I don't know how long) and I had another one. The another. They wouldn't go away, no matter what position I tried.
I got a bit excited and wondered if this was it. My water broke with my first and I had back labor, so I never really experienced these escalating, comparatively mild contractions. I breathed through them and was tempted to wake up dh and tell him. I did inform him around 12:15 AM that I'd been having contractions that were not going away and that I was going to take a shower to see if they went away.
I took a nice, long, hot shower. During the shower I had about two-three contractions. It felt so good to be in the shower. I rested my hands on the shower wall and let the water pound my back. I wanted to stay in there.
In the shower I reassured dd again and told her while massaging my belly, “It’s OK. We can do this together.”
I woke up dh and told him the contractions were not going away. In fact, they got stronger when I walked around. I felt them in my lower abdomenI checked my books and decided to tell him to time them.
It was 1:00 AM. He got his stopwatch out and we started recording. The bell curve-like contractions were about every 10 minutes, 100 seconds each. 11 minutes, 60 seconds each. 5 minutes, 75 seconds. Nine minutes, 100 seconds. 10 minutes, 80 seconds. 10 minutes, 80 seconds. Nine minutes, 45 seconds. Four minutes, 45 seconds. 4 minutes, 45 seconds.
2:00 AM I called the birth center. I spoke to midwife Keisha who told me to come in as I live an hour and a half away. Around 2 AM the waves were sweeping over me, radiating onto my lower back towards front and even towards thighs. At 2:45 AM I felt enormous pressure when on the toilet, and more bloody show. Then a sort of pulling downward feeling.
At 2:55 AM the contractions were stronger and closer together, but not longer. At 3:00 AM I called my doula friend Mirine. She said she was going to be right behind me. At 3:05 AM dh, ds and I left for the birth center. We live in the Florida Keys and there’s an 18-mile stretch of highway between the islands and the mainland. It’s one two-lane road. Turns out that at 3:15 we got stuck on the road due to construction. We saw police car lights about 12 cars ahead.
By this time I was having contractions every 3-4 minutes. I was holding on to the car handle in the backseat of the car whenever I had one. Ds had a sleepy face and was telling me, “It’s OK Mama, it’s OK.” We were stopped for 10 minutes when I called my same friend, Mirine, who was on her way, and told her what happened. She happens to be an ex-cop and called the deputy’s office. Soon we were on our way again.
At 5:09 AM we got to the birth center. I was chatting and smiling and overall talking calmly with Keisha while a student midwife I’d never met took notes. Everyone was surprised that I was already 6 cm dilated and 90% effaced. Mirine arrived just then.
At around 5:30 AM Lindsey arrived. She was getting certified for childbirth education and needed two births to complete the process. She would watch ds for me and accompany him inside during this earlier part of the labor and to see dd being born. Ds was great. He had a ladybug-shaped massager which he put to my back. When I went in transition at 6:30 AM he went on to watch TV and play with Lindsey.
At 5:45 AM I went in the water (birthing tub). I was on all fours trying to relax in the tub. However, I felt something was not right and left the tub at 6:25.
?At 6:30 AM the contractions really started to pick up. They were very strong and every two minutes. I was standing, leaning against dh and doing a sort of of dance involving squatting and swaying. At 6:45 AM head midwife arrives. I started sweating and taking my clothes off until I was doing the dance completely naked. Mirine was patting me with a wet towel and putting her hands on my back right when I needed it. She was wonderful. Dh was my rock. He had to use a lot of his strength to keep me from falling over. I was holding on to him standing in front of him and almost falling asleep on him between contractions. The contractions were very powerful and dh was feeling them too.
At 7:32 AM MW broke my bag of waters. I was at 9+ centimeters. I stood and rocked some more, squatting between contractions. At 8:10 AM I wanted to be on the bed with the urge to push. At 8:15 AM I was pushing, but it didn’t feel right to me. I had to get off the bed and stand again.
This time I stood with my back to dh as he supported me with his arms as my arm rests and pushed while squatting. I tucked my butt in as I had a somewhat sway back and brought baby down from 0 to +3. I was doing great, and feeling empowered and amazing with feeling baby moving down my vaginal canal.
All of a sudden there was bright red bleeding gushing out. MW sprung to the rescue and had me on the bed in seconds. She told me, “Listen to me. You have to push when I tell you to to save her.” Turns out the cord was wrapped around her neck tight and as I was pushing my placenta detached from the uterine wall. I was given oxygen to help her out as I pushed. I pushed three times as fast and efficiently as I could with the contractions and she was born at 8:33 AM.
I knew at that moment that I already loved her as much as I loved my ds. That I had a connection with her with being inside me.. that I would do, and did do, anything to save her. I wanted to hold my breath, but I breathed in steadily and deeply to give her the air that she needed.
She had a tight cord and wasn’t breathing. She looked a bit ashen and I feared the worst. I thought to myself, “please let her be safe” with all of my mind and my heart. I was so worried as I saw the MW resuscitate her. She rubbed her and stuck a tube down her throat and I heard her gasp for air and then give a lusty cry. Ds was watching with big eyes and dh had a worried look on his face. It all happened so fast, but these seconds were the longest in my life thus far.
The whole time she was on me as she was being rubbed and all. I was hugging her and laughed and cried all at once I found out she was going to be OK. In fact, she was so OK she was described as “very alert girl”. My beautiful baby girl was looking around at me, nursing and I knew I loved her so much and was so grateful she was healthy.
My ds later said he was a little worried but that watching his sister being born was exciting. I have stitches, but they are worth it and more because she is going to be alright. In fact, she weighed 7 lbs. 13 oz. at birth and had regained her birth weight this past Sunday. She’s an insatiable nurser and is either sleeping or in quiet alert mode.
I feel very blessed to have two healthy, beautiful children and have much to be thankful for.