I woke at 11:30 pm on the 12th with enough contractions and an upset stomach to be unable to sleep. I threw up and went back to bed thinking, "Get some sleep...baby will probably come tomorrow." I woke again at 3:30 am on the 13th after *dreaming* of having contractions for hours and couldn't go back to sleep. The contractions were fairly regular and intense enough to *bother* me but I concentrated on feeling the expansion within them.
My mom and her husband were visiting from Montana and were sleeping upstairs in my guest room. I had planned to labor in our upstairs bathroom and den if I was laboring alone in the night, but with company present, I wanted to stay as far away from everyone as possible and preserve the intimacy of the moment. So, I put on my warm bathrobe and turned up the heat and went down to the basement (unfinished) playroom/workout room. I decided to try to watch a movie and distract myself. I watched "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" for about 45 minutes with contractions continuing and maybe intensifying somewhat. I did not choose to time the contractions at any point, so I wasn't aware of any real acceleration of activity. At around 4:15 during a decent contraction my water broke, or rather trickled out and I was so thrilled I almost started crying. I was so happy that this was really it and I would have my baby before the day was out! I decided to try running a bath to see if that would ease my stress and help me release myself to the process a little.
For those of you who have been chatting with me around here, as you know, I was most concerned/interested in being able to lose myself in *laborland* and not get too caught up *thinking* about what was happening and what I was "supposed" to do. I was feeling way too cerebral at that point and hoped to *let go* in the water a little. When I first got in the tub I noticed a real difference in the way the contractions felt...much more rhythmic and expanding than crampy, but after about ten minutes I was right back at crampy and feeling like I wanted someone to talk to/distract me. So, I got out of the tub and woke my husband at about 4:45.
He was funny and dopey..all "huh? whas happin?" Ds (who is 2 1/2) was still asleep in the bedroom so we shut the door between the bedroom and bathroom. I asked DH to adjust me (he is also a chiro) while I still could stand to lie down on the table in our basement. I told DH that my water had broken and this was definately the day but it wasn't too bad yet. I said "I'm about at the same *place* I was with DS's birth when I asked you to adjust me" which had been about 5 hours before his birth. So, we were both expecting at least a couple more hours of labor. He checked and adjusted my spine between contractions and while I was up again I had a very intense contraction that forced my to lean against our treadmill. Although I had no "back labor" DH instinctively put his hand on my sacrum and I said "wow, that really feels good" He was kind of amazed and said "Your sacrum just moved all over the place" I had experienced that before when supplying chiropractic doulas services to patients of mine in labor. I should have realized it, but every time I have felt that kind of motion, it was followed very very quickly by the actual birth.
From that moment on, my contractions never really stopped. The intensity level was pretty high, but we were suddenly busy just trying to get the birthing supplies together and set up. I was in my robe, from the bath and wanted to put on a t-shirt and call my best friend who was planning to drive from three hours away to be there as soon after the birth as possible. She knew I wanted privacy for the actual event but was planning to be present as a post natal midwife and to help with DS. I could barely talk to her thru the contractions. It was about 5 minutes to 5:00. I was trying to find a t-shirt when I was struck with the uncontrollable need to go to the bathroom (another sure sign I missed), so I waddled back into the bathroom where poor DH was just getting ready to sit down on the toilet himself. I said "MOVE!" and he did, fast!
I sat down and started uncontrollably grunting and pushing. I was totally not in charge at this point, my body had taken over. I totally freaked out. I said "I'm freaking out! I feel like I gotta push but it really really hurts and I know its too soon. Husband said, "do whatever you gotta do honey" and I kept saying (between horrible grunty screamy noises) "I gotta push but I shouldn't." Then suddenly I stood up and pushed really hard and I felt my pubic symphysis seperate (front of pelvis) and something drop in. I reached down, felt the head and said "the baby is coming right now...go find the towels"
DH ran back to the basement to get the towels (I had to set up the birth supplies down there) and by the time he was back, her head was out and I was about to push out the rest. I said "catch the baby, I can't move" because I was still standing over the toilet. He knelt down and literally caught her or she would have hit the toilet. I was just totally shocked. When DS had been born I was very emotional when he came out, but with this little bean I was just too suprised to even feel anything. I think I swore and said "I can't believe it! Thats it?" It was few minutes after 5. DH had been awake for about 15 minutes!
I had a feeling she was a girl throughout the whole preganacy and we were thrilled to discover I was accurate yet again. I was still shaking with the after pains and clutching her in a towel. DH was funny. He kept asking me where my birthing box of supplies was and I kept saying "what do you need it for?" I mean, she was here, why did we need a bunch of sheets and chux pads and a shower curtain, right? I guess he just needed something to do. Since I had birthed over the toilet, all the water and what blood there was had gone into the toilet so there was really no mess to clean up. We agreed on the name (Quinlan) and I started encouraging her to nurse. He just kind of ran around gathering string for the cord and a scissors and a bowl for the placenta.
At about 5:55, DS woke up a toddled out of the bedroom. He was pretty sleepy and confused. He seemed most freaked out by the cord coming out from between my legs (and the blood in the placenta bowl) since I hadn't expelled the placenta yet. He said he wanted to go watch Sesame Street and seemed a little scared so DH took him to the play room to watch his show. My mom came down from upstairs about then and was chatting to us from the kitchen, across the hall. We told her she better come into the bathroom and see something and she was shocked to see the baby was here already.
I guess that's pretty much the whole "birth" story. Quinlan weighs about 8 1/2 pounds on the bathroom scale and we still haven't got around to measuring her. She is doing great and we went to see my friend who does some very specific chiropractic pediatric work today and we cleared out a little trauma to her spine and shoulders from the fast fast delivery. She has been much looser (not so tightly drawn together) today and nursing even better since getting adjusted by my friend.
I loved my unassisted birth (not that a midwife ever would have made it in time) and would recommend it to anyone considering it. I want to thank all you awesome mamas for your support and words of encouragement. Yaaay. Free birth is awesome! I felt very empowered and confident except the one minute when I freaked out because my body was pushing and I couldn't stop it!