I benefitted greatly from all the posted birth stories, I believe hearing different experiences helped prepare me for whatever may have happened at my birth. So here is my story!
DC#1 was in hospital, mostly strapped to the monitor, 27 hours long w/3 hours pushing. It was a drug-free, midwife attended labor, but a very medical environment. After, I felt like I had just run a marathon.
DC#2 was at the hospital birth center with midwife, I used a TENS machine (effective),20 hours, 10 min pushing, and I remember very little, only that I felt very exhausted between contractions and glad it was over.
This time I made an effort to be aware of everything so I could remember.
Before sunrise on April 18, 2008, a few contractions woke me up. I thought they were regular, but when I got up for breakfast and watched the clock they were 5, 11, 20, 3, etc… minutes apart. I think DH knew because he didn’t bother getting ready for work. I baked cinnamon raisin bread and spent the day with my family.
The contractions stayed like that until 6pm when I suddenly had a feeling like I needed to be alone…it was a very strange feeling, like everything around me got fuzzy, and I just left and went upstairs. The next contraction was much, much stronger, I had to consciously breathe through it. I was on the birthing ball looking over our back garden which was lovely for thinking and resting between contractions. (by 7pm they were every 3/5 min apart and lasting >1.5 minutes). During the contractions, I would breath slowly/deliberately and count my breaths to know what number the contraction peaked at, I would bounce or rock on the birth ball, or sway my hips if standing - - that was perfect to get me though them.
When the counting/breathing stopped being effective, DH called the MW, I got in the tub, and started to use ‘visualizations’. The water felt amazing, I was able to sit perfectly still, and breathe normally through the contactions. I was visualizing my dd bringing me flowers (as she has been doing all spring) and then those flowers opening.
I let myself feel the pain for 2 or 3 contractions, and the best way to describe it was: as if from hip to hip across the front there were ropes threaded through my lower abdominal muscles that were being tightened down, stretching and pulling (and hurting!), and in my tail bone area, an uncomfortable pressure sensation of something there that shouldn’t be. I also would get overwhelmingly warm, like the feeling just before vomiting (but I didn’t vomit) at the peak of the contractions.
The MW showed up, asked me to rate the pain from 1-10. I wasn’t letting myself feel the pain at that point, so I gave her the number of centimeters I hoped I was dilated to already: 8. She looked dubious, and was surprised when she checked me and said I was 8 cm.
Until the midwife arrived, my dh would sit with me for a couple contractions, then go out for a while and come back. I had let him know that was fine with me. After the midwife arrived, he stayed with me continuously. It was tremendous support for me to have dh present during the contractions; to open my eyes and have his calm face and loving eyes watching me was perfect.
At this point the contractions were much stronger, the only thing I could visualize was my cervix/ birth canal relaxing, ‘opening’, in fact, in my head I would say ‘oooooooopeeeeeeen, ooooopppeeeeeennn’ while I remained completely still/released though the contractions. I felt a pop and a lot of pressure relieved as my water broke and flowed out, and at the same time a new kind of pressure, a lower more of a sharp, cutting pessure as the baby’s head began to crown.
There was a moment of complete pain relief and relaxation and quiet. This was the moment I needed to get out of the tub and sit on the birthing stool, but I could not fathom moving from the lovely water!! So I stayed. When I could feel the next contraction starting with an uncontrollable urge to push, I yelled for my dd to come to see the birth, I told the MW to let my husband ‘catch’ the baby, and I let my body take over…I could feel and hear a deep grunt/groan come from my chest while my lower abdominal and pelvic muscles bore down effectively pushing out my new child’s head. I was hanging on to the side of the tub in a side-lying position (my upper body out of the water in our small tub--– oh why did I not bother to rent a birthing pool?!!) and I looked down and saw a grey head about the size of an orange, and then as the next contraction started I felt resistance and a much stronger, sharper pain as the shoulders/abdomen were pushed out. She was crying heartily the minute she came out of the water. And she was completely quiet the next minute. My husband was cradling her tiny body in his two hands and he gave her to me. I just held her close in the warm water. My 4yo DD was fabulously excited and touching the baby’s head. (btw, the birth was at 9:10pm)
I stayed there for a few minutes, and then it was suggested to move to the bed. I stood up and noticed I was shaking all over and felt like my muscles were weak, but at the same time I felt light and elated and energetic, like I could just jump out of the tub and take a running leap into the bed…of course, that is not logistically possible with a baby attached to you with the umbilical cord. When I got into the bed, and the midwives attended to me and baby and my family was all around, I felt like a goddess ( silly, but true).
About 45 minutes later, the placenta had not come out, and while massaging my abdomen the midwife said,' I think it is sitting in your vagina!' and she pulled the cord and it came right out.
Before the midwives left, we all enjoyed some tea and cinnamon raisin toast. They said good-bye and we were all together with the new baby. It was wonderful...and still is!
- 7; - 5; - 2; --due 4/11