You may post this in the roll call, fourlittlebirds. I am thankful for the guidance I got from reading those stories.
I was due by last menstrual period on 7/23/2007. I have always gone "late" and suspected that long cycles contributed to this, so I started charting my temps after my third baby. According to temps, I estimated my due date at 8/3/2007. On Friday, 8/10/2007, I called a midwife/friend of mine and she confirmed what I was feeling - that baby was fine and I should just relax and let him/her come when they are ready. So, I settled in expecting another week of pregnancy since 2 of my babies had been born at 42 weeks or LATE 41 weeks.
In the meantime, I really focused on the intuitions I was getting about the upcoming birth. I was a little concerned by the vibes that I was getting, even though I knew that everything was still okay. I had been drawn to websites/birth stories involving heavy bleeding. I saw this as a sign and educated myself. I also read everything that I could about cords around the neck and what color to expect from the baby at birth. I also read as much as I could about discerning when it was time to push, as planning a UC meant no midwife telling me when I was completely dilated or if I had an anterior lip (which I had in two of my three previous pregnancies). I had other feelings about the upcoming birth, too - it would happen over a thunderstorm, the baby would need stimulation to breathe and would need mucus sucked from his/her nose, etc.
I had been having contractions for WEEKS. But, on Saturday, August 11, 2007, I started having serious ones that required deep breathing. I was shocked by the fact that the contractions came on most when I was lying down trying to nap or rest. I wouldn't have a whole lot of activity while walking, squatting etc, but only when lying down. The contractions continued throughout the evening, through a thunderstorm, and they eased about 5am Sunday. Sunday, I contracted throughout the day, but nothing regular. The contractions were all over the place but VERY intense. Sunday night was the same as Saturday - even the thunderstorm. Monday was spent mostly in bed resting and contracting, resting and contracting... On Monday evening, things got really intense, and yes, there was a thunderstorm. Still, contractions were not regular. Around 2am, I couldn't take the intensity anymore and climbed into the tub. I hung out in there until about 5:30am when the water was no longer helping. Also, the lack of space in the tub was irritating me. I continued to labor in the living room until about 7:30am. At that time, I went into the bedroom and woke my husband to help me work through the contractions. We would sway, squat, he would rub my back, apply pressure to my hips, etc. He was a lifesaver.
Around 8:30am, our three children woke up and Aaron got them settled for a play bath right off of the master bedroom. At this point, he also checked me and determined that I was about 8cm. I had it in my mind that the baby would be born by noon. This transition was the hardest of any labor that I've had. It kept stalling. I would have NO contractions for 10-15 minutes and then get slammed with 2 or 3 right on top of each other. It was awful.
After some time, I was having a feeling an urgency to be done with the labor, but wasn't feeling an urge to push. I was feeling severe hip pain/burning though. (In my first pregnancy/labor, I didn't recognize this as the urge to push until I had transported to the hospital after 28 hours of labor). But something told me that this hip burning feeling this time was NOT the urge to push and I decided that I would work (scream) through some more contractions to allow the baby to move further down.
After some time, I got an irresistible urge to get down on hands and knees and push. I didn't even even mention it to my husband until I felt that the baby was about to crown - this happened FAST. The head crowned and then the head popped RIGHT out. I was on hands and knees and couldn't see, but my husband told me to keep pushing. In a matter of seconds, I believe, the shoulders and rest of the baby came out. (Later, on the video clip, I saw that at this point, I was yelling at my husband that the rest of the baby needed to come out NOW. I intuitively "knew" that there was an issue.) I looked at the face, as my husband unwound the cord from the neck TWICE. I said "it's a boy" because the baby looked a lot like our firstborn son, but my husband said "no, it's a girl!"
Immediately, we turned her over and started rubbing her back with towels and our hands and talking to her - she was purple. Her head & torso pinked up within a few minutes (like 3). It took her toes about a full half an hour to pink up. We also sucked her nose and mouth to clear mucus I started with my mouth and then my husband took over with his mouth. She was VERY congested and even after nursing a bit, she needed more mucus cleared. After about 10 minutes, she finally got some good crying in and I was content with her breathing. I confirmed with my husband that we would call her Naomi.
Finally, it was time to turn our attention to me. I had a sense of urgency to get up and birth the placenta NOW. I was also feeling numbness in my left foot, which I was kind of seated on. After I birthed the placenta into a bowl, my husband helped me move to the bed with Naomi, who was nursing very well. Bleeding was so heavy. We inspected the placenta and thought that it was fine. I started taking black and blue cohosh, shepherd's purse and doing manual massages. I was not feeling the uterus clamp down. I expected that this was due to the long labor that I had endured for three days straight and prelabor contractions for WEEKS. It has been a long time since I had a good night's sleep and life has been very busy for us lately, making me absolutely exhausted at this point. I was still losing a lot of blood and felt the need to urinate. So, my husband helped me to the bathroom and I was able to go with a lot more blood coming out, too. We estimated that I had lost well over a cup by this point and we were starting to get quite concerned, as it wasn't appearing to slow. After some more shepherd's purse and cinammon tinture and cayenne tincture, I still wasn't feeling good clamp down. So, while nursing the baby on one breast,and then I had my 3-year old nurse on the other one and used a hand to rub my uterus hard. I passed quite a few clots (8-10 total with at least 3 being the size of oranges and the rest about the size of a golf ball) but blood was still coming at an uncomfortable rate. We were not very confident with the clamping that I was getting, still. we continued the herbs & manual massage and bleeding went down to a very slow trickle, but it did not subside to "normal" after-bleed until I got a shower and passed one more orange-sized clot. The bleeding all but stopped and so has continued at a very slow rate - perhaps the best after-bleed of any pregnancy. We were so relieved.
For a few hours, I layed in bed and nursed Naomi who filled the sheets with meconium and needed to be cleaned. By this time, it was like 5 hours after she was born. We decided that since the cord was no longer pulsating and considering all we had endured that day, and how meconium stained she was from laying in it while we stabilized my bleeding, we would cut the cord to give her a sponge bath. My husband cleaned her while I snacked in bed.
Today, I am in a lot of pain. My hips, thighs, calves, lower back and arms (from being on hands & knees, presumably) are extremely sore. I have been drinking red raspberry leaf and nettle tea, taking sips of chlorophyll, using homeopathic arnica montana and soverign silver to help rebuild blood supply and limit bleeding. I was also counseled to drink plenty of fluid and LOTS of protein to help rebuild blood supply. I never did get white or show any signs of shock, thankfully. We estimate that I lost about 4 cups total. Later, we did determine that there was a hole in the placenta and that some of the larger clots were actually part of it. I assume that my urgent pushing was because of the cord being around her neck and that the placenta tore for this same reason.
I am thankful that she pinked up as quickly as she did, did not cry when we cut the cord after 5 hours, and that my bleeding is under control.