I wrote this as a letter to a friend unfamiliar with HB & interested in VBAC, so excuse the obvious details.
At 41 wks, I'd gone to bed that night with a few light contractions, and decided to sleep through them. I'd had several bouts of pre-labor, and was at 4cm for almost 2wks! (As my midwife E- says, "If it *is* labor, you'll wake up!") At midnight, on the dot, I woke up when my water broke! I was relieved that *finally* things were starting, and then pretty pleased that my underpad was absorbing all of the fluid! I looked to see if the water was clear, and checked for a cord...everything was peachy. I woke DH up, and he called E-. We decided that we'd call back when I had a pattern of contractions. 10 minutes later, we called back...they were coming 2 minutes apart! It would take an hour for her to get here, so I had DH fill the tub. I was hoping to slow things down a bit, so I laid a blanket on the floor and did several contractions on my hands and knees, and did some pelvic rocks. The contractions were intense, but I was ready for them & wasn't afraid. When the tub was full, I labored in there until E- arrived.
As I worked through the contractions, I remembered to keeps my sounds low, and my jaw loose...tension and high screams aren't so productive. I mostly made 'ummmmm' sounds, and concentrated on breathing full, deep breaths. Being in the water felt good, though the contractions really needed a lot of my attention at that point. When E- arrived, I was pretty happy to see her! She took one look at me, and asked if I was pushing. I told her I was trying not to, so she asked if she could check me. I lumbered out of the tub, and she did an internal...I was at 10 and ready to push when I wanted! She took my bp, temp, pulse, and listened to the baby's heart tones...everything looked fine. DH warmed the baby's receiving blankets with a heating pad, and brought me fluids. Soon after, her assistant L- arrived. They asked me where I wanted to push. I thought I'd like to lean on my birth ball for a while, and we did that for several contractions. E- felt the baby, and we decided that I needed to expand my pelvis a bit more so that he could slip under the arch, and things would be easier. Sometimes, it's all about angles and posture...and as silly as it sounds, laboring on the toilet is a pretty tried and true midwife trick. With my feet on a low footstool, and a pillow behind me, I did several contractions. Whenever I seemed to tense, E- would stroke my leg to remind me to relax. E- listened to Nicholas, and felt that we were getting a good decent, so she had me get up to walk a bit and use gravity. Walking from the bathroom to the bed was pretty comical...I felt that he was going to fall out! I wanted to lie down, and after about 20 more minutes of pushing I felt him rotate and soon after felt him crowning. I kept reminding myself, "I'm going to get huge!" E- poured some olive oil on as he began to crown, and held warm herbal compresses on my perinium to prevent tearing. After a few more pushes, I felt the relief of his head delivering, and his shoulders and body slipped right out. He came out with a strong cry, and good color...his apgars were 10 and 10. L- settled me back against my pillows, and I held Nicholas as they covered him with the warmed blanket and hat. He was born at 3:10am.
DH and I sat back and admired Nicholas as L- waited for the placenta. When the cord stopped pulsing, it was clamped and DH cut it. I didn't need any stitches, thank goodness! A short while later, I thought I felt the placenta detatch, so I gave a good push sitting semi-upright, and out it slipped. L- put it in a bowl, and examined it to see if it was complete while E- finished up the paperwork. DH went downstairs and made tea and bagels for all of us, and called a few relatives. From first contraction to birth, labor lasted exactly 3 hours! After tea, we were ready to weigh and measure. Everyone took bets, but we were all surprised that he was as big as he was...9 lbs 7oz, 22 1/2 inches! E- and L- cleaned up the disposable underpads that we used, and tidied up in general. DH took out the trash, and everything was comfy. We all chatted and held the baby, as they took our vitals every 15 minutes. The bleeding was fine, and my uterus was clamping nicely. My BP was great, and the baby was perfect. At about 5am, they left...and we got 1 1/2 hrs of sleep before the kids woke up....and yes, they slept through it all! When they woke up and saw Nicholas in our bed, they were beyond excited! DH managed to get them off to school, and he, baby, and I spent the day in bed!