I had Braxton-Hicks contractions for several weeks, an unusual experience for me since I never had any with Kiri. One night I woke up with increasingly difficult contractions, getting closer and closer together. I knew they weren’t BH since they felt so different, but I wasn’t sure if it was “real” as I was having no other signs of labour. I called my MW and she wanted me to come down...(it is an hour drive to the birth center)...my contrax pretty much stopped on the way down. She checked me and I was 2 cm, not very effaced, same as I’d been at my previous app’t. She told us to go out for breakfast and get some rest - went to MILs and slept for 7 hrs. straight - no contrax. Went home extremely disappointed and not looking forward to peoples’ comments (I was very sensitive to people making such comments as, “When are you going to have that kid?”). Fortunately I had several friends tell me about their experiences with prodomal (sp?) labour and others told me of their “false alarms.”
A week later I had another app’t - this time I was 4 cm. dilated and much more effaced and it was still one day before my due date. At that time my fears about “over due” all but disappeared. The next night I woke up about 4 am with contrax...had them all night but was determined not to repeat the previous week’s trip, so I waited. I was exhausted, so my friend who has a home daycare took Kiri for the day. I rested, and there were no contrax for most of the day. That night I woke up again at about 4 am with some serious contrax - I thought, “This is it!” and laboured through the night. When the light came out - NOTHING! Jason took the day off to be with me, I really needed him b/c I was so tired. He and I played Mah Jongg all day on the computer while I had irregular contractions and breathed through them on my friend’s borrowed birthing ball. We determined it was the most boring day of our life, LOL!
That night I again woke up at 4 am and was having much stronger contractions. Some of them were getting more difficult to breathe through, so at just before 8 we called the MW. I got Kiri ready to go to my friend’s and checked my email one last time while Jason breathed down my neck - he wanted to get going. The roads were very icy and he was nervous about the trip. We saw a bad car accident right away and were very careful driving. I had about five contractions on the way down and buzzed my lips and breathed through them.
When I got there they had the birthing tub ready to go and my MW checked me - fully effaced and 6 cm! I was so happy that the days of irregular contractions had done something. She mentioned about breaking my waters - I was afraid of doing that for two reasons: 1) I had so many interventions with Kiri that I was afraid to do ANY sort of intervention and was hoping they’d break naturally, 2) I was afraid the contrax after that would be out of control, like the pit ones had been, and that I wouldn’t be able to handle it.
So we played cards. Went for a walk. Chatted. Had lunch. I had extremely irregular contractions and they never established a pattern. After three hrs. she checked me - I was almost 7 cm. She explained she thought I had so much water that the baby’s head was engaging and then coming up again, thus my irregular contrax. She said it was my birth but she would recommend breaking the waters. Jason and I talked, I said I was scared but we wanted to do it...I was already 7 cm. and knew I was going home with a baby, so we might as well get it going.
She broke my waters and I was not very fearful at all, which surprised me. We went immediately to the birthing tub, I had one contraction right before I stepped in. I wish the tub was deeper and hotter and unfortunately it was not big enough that Jason could get in, but he sat beside me and held me. The contractions were slightly more intense and frequent than what I had been experiencing, but I was able to moan through them.
I knew from reading and talking with friends that I didn’t need to be inhibited, so I wasn’t afraid to make noise or rock around as I needed to. Some contractions were worse than others, but there weren’t any yet that scared me. After awhile they started to get MUCH longer and more intense, I started to get nervous and scared and was glad Jason was there and the MW and her assistant were very encouraging. I had some very intense contractions and was fearful that if they were to go on much longer I couldn’t handle them...if I’d been at the hospital I probably would have asked for drugs as I thought, “If this isn’t transition, I don’t know what I’m going to do, I can’t handle more than this!” I only had about five contractions like that, though.
Around then the assistant asked if I had any rectal pressure, I said no. I noticed that every time she measured the heartbeat that it was lower on my body, but it didn’t really register that the baby had moved down that far. All of a sudden I DID feel like I had to poop! I was a little constipated so I was thinking, well, I guess it’s ok if I poop in the tub. I told myself I wasn’t going to be inhibited, LOL! As soon as I said that, though, the assistant yelled out the door for the MW and she came running.
The MW said, “You can see hair, come look Jason!” At that point I still didn’t know if I was going to poop or have a baby, but Jason looked all weepy and I figured he wasn’t getting emotional about my poop, so it hit me that I really was going to do it! It was incredible pressure and I screamed loud and low, with lots of “Dear God, Dear God.” They kept talking to me and encouraging me, which helped a lot. Three pushes and they said, “Her head’s out - give us another good push!” I told them I wanted to rest and they said that was fine. Jason said she was under water for about 40 seconds until my next contraction, when her body slithered out.
They put her on my chest and suctioned her and got her to breathe. After a few minutes they cut the cord and I birthed the placenta. They said I tore on my old scar and I lost it. I freaked out, fearing the stitches and recovery and everything to do with Kiri’s birth. I was shaking as they helped me wash off and was pretty incoherent. They gave me a ton of painkiller and reassured me that it wasn’t very bad at all and that it was ok to freak out. She stitched me up and I was quite calm by that time. Then they brought Aliah to me and she nursed and nursed. At one point she turned blue which was a little scary...she has had a lot of mucous to cough up.
B/c of the weather, Aliah’s mucousy-ness, and the fact that my bottom swelled up like a balloon, the MW didn’t want us to drive home, so we stayed at a hotel. MIL had Kiri, and brought her down to the birth center - it was a wonderful meeting and introduction. Kiri stayed with grandma overnight while we were at the hotel. The next morning the MW came to our hotel and checked us out. I felt great! Swollen, but nowhere near anything like with Kiri.
We came home that night. It is now the next day. My milk is coming in while I type and it is after midnight, I need to sleep since the baby’s sleeping, but I am having so much fun writing this. I am so thankful for the way this birth went...I can’t believe the difference I feel. I so happy and in love with my baby, something that I didn’t feel for literally years with Kiri. I know there will be tough times ahead, but already so many of the things that were a problem with Kiri’s birth post-partum (nursing, stitches, etc.) are not as much of an issue this time around.
Thank you for reading this, for letting me write it. Thank you to all my online friends - you are inspiration and encouragement to me!
Meghan, mom to 11yo, 8yo, and 3yo