OK, here's the looong story and the photo link.
At exactly midnight on Friday, May 12, I had a "real" contraction that felt exactly like it had with James. Wanting to rest a bit, I timed about three of those about 10 minutes apart and then drifted off until Scott came upstairs at 2. I had just woken up from the discomfort of another contraction, so I decided we should stay up. He wanted me to call the midwife but I wanted to wait.
So we started tackling my extensive "When Smithie Goes Into Labor" list. I folded laundry, stripped the bed, etc. He disinfected the tub, set up the card table for the mw, dragged out the birth kit, set up the video camera, etc. I had taken some black and blue cohosh when I went downstairs for the laundry and called the midwife in the midst of folding. I told her I'd call her back in half an hour or so if I was sure.
I went and sat in my favorite chair (enormous recliner rocker) and after a couple more very well-defined contractions, I called the mw back and also called my birth doula, Nicole. I told Scott that I refused to give birth until the house was clean, and went upstairs to take a shower and put in my contacts. I was very excited at this point.
Nicole arrived while I was showering, she helped me unload all my maternity clothes from the closet and started hanging up my postpartum stuff. The midwife arrived and checked me - AND THERE WAS NO CHANGE FROM MY EXAM ON WEDNESDAY. Still 3 cm and mostly effaced.
We decided to sit downstairs for an hour so Scott, who hadn’t slept at all, could get some rest and I could try out my most effective position so far, sitting cross-legged in my big chair. We spent the hour chatting, timing contractions, dealing with the wild excitement of the dogs, and trying to help the Very Lost Assistant Midwife over the phone. She eventually got here and I had the midwife check me again. Still no change. They all left, after cheerfully assuring me that this could go on for days.
So I waddled up to bed and slept from about 5 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., waking up periodically with uncomfortable contractions. Now I’m up for the day, and so is James. I thought I’d wake up feeling normal and just have to wait another week or whatever, but I’m still putzing along with contractions. Some of them are no big deal, but some of them are quite ouchy. Sarah has been kicking and clawing and her head has moved down. She wants out.
My baby shower is today at 2 p.m. Something tells me I’ll be dragging a preggo outfit out of the bag and attending it. This sucks. This sucks. This sucks.
I labored ineffectively all day Saturday. I tried a couple more doses of blue cohosh plus some in an enema, took a walk, sat in my contraction-inducing position in the big chair – nothing seemed to have much effect. We had takeout Chinese for lunch and James obliged us by taking a nap.
I managed to get a couple hours sleep, then woke up when my mom called to check in. James woke up crying shortly afterwards – he had removed his diaper and peed on his bedroom floor. He certainly knows when to try a new trick for maximum effect ☺ I decided to plop him in front of the TV and let Scott keep sleeping in case I needed him fresh later.
I called my midwife around 6 p.m. to give her an update. She advised me to have a half glass of wine and a hot bath if the labor hadn’t “turned the corner” by bedtime tonight. At this point, I am seriously considering going to the hospital for the Pit/epi/sleeping pill overnight induction routine, if the OB on duty is even willing to treat my non-compliant crunchy-granola homebirth-planning self.
I called Evergreen Hospital a little before 7 p.m. and made it as far as the OB charge nurse. Man, was she not excited about inheriting me and my putzy labor, but she promised to consult with the doc and have somebody call me back. I fear she is secretly calling the midwife. Meanwhile James was climbing on the back of the couch, flirting with the possibility of falling through the living room window and killing himself. I’m sweating with effort sitting still in this chair. This is Not Good.
After I called the hospital, I had a good cry and felt a little better. My contractions became more regular and more painful. I woke up Scott and we watched some of our DVRed programming and talked. We both agreed that we didn’t like Ali (the on-call midwife) nearly as much as Val (the midwife who delivered James), but thought she was competent. Scott went out to get Subway for dinner. James is fussing at me, I have no idea why.
I never heard back from Evergreen and was seriously starting to lose it. I didn’t feel comfortable calling Ali again, so we took James over to the Tomkos for the night and went to Overlake to get me checked. I hadn’t dilated further, the EFM showed good vitals on both me and Sarah, and the OB/GYN on call was not interested in dragging herself out of bed to see me. At this point, I had not slept for 24 hours and was at the end of my rope. This was a serious low point, I knew that I was becoming too exhausted to cope with active labor. Fortunately, Scott thought to ask if Tylenol PM would be OK to take, and the nurses thought it would be fine (I never did speak to the doctor, she discharged me sight unseen, if my labor ultimately has a bad outcome I hope somebody reads this, looks up my records at Overlake, and sues her ass).
We stopped at Walgreen’s on the way home and Scott went in for the medicine and a bottle of water. I took it in the car and was already feeling better by the time we got home. We went to bed, slept in on Sunday morning (Happy Mother’s Day!), and went to pick up James. I had a few painful contractions in the course of the day, but nothing compared to the day before.
Scott and I discussed the whole prodromal saga some more and agreed that we did not want Ali at the birth. In fact, the entire birth team (Ali, the student midwife, and the doula) pretty much sucked. Since Val, the midwife who delivered James, is on call for a week starting Monday at noon, we are hoping that Sarah will decide to get things going for real sometime before the 22nd.
When I saw Val on Wednesday the 17th, she absolutely made my day by saying that it would be OK to “pick a birth date” and do an amniotomy at home. We decided on Saturday the 20th, and I spent the next couple of days doing important errands, going to James’ 2-year WCC, etc. I also had my nails done on Friday afternoon. Scott bought a new video camera. I washed and folded and organized like a maniac. It was great.
The morning of the induction, I woke up at 7, did some laundry, and cleaned the house. James got up a few minutes before 9 and had breakfast. At 9:30, I woke Scott up so I could strip the bed and he could shower before Val’s arrival. We clashed a bit over the issue of whether James would be going to a friend’s house or staying home during the birth. Eventually, he dropped the whole “he’ll be traumatized” approach and told me that he didn’t want to miss out on any key moments of the birth due to being distracted by James’ needs. This, I could relate to. I relented.
Val arrived a little after 10, dragged in her kit, and took my vitals. My cervix had moved forward and dilated another centimeter since Wednesday and the bag was still bulging, so we decided to go ahead! Scott filmed the amniotomy around 11 and then left to take James to Marion’s house (there had been some drama when Marion initially didn’t answer her cell phone, but it was resolved). I showered, walked up and down the stairs, tidied a bit, squatted etc. to get things moving. I lost a lot of fluid, working my way through six Depends undergarments.
Sarah kicked and wriggled and moved even lower down. Scott realized after dropping James off that he had forgotten his wallet and couldn’t buy tapes for the camera or lunch for all of us. He came home for it, and I told him to hurry up as I was starting to have contractions.
Scott came back with Subway, and after we ate Val took off to hang out at a local greenhouse until things got interesting. We prepped the bed and the tub, and I had my first really ouchy contraction during this process. I wanted to lie down for awhile, so Scott went downstairs to have a snack and watch TV. It was actually really nice to be alone.
At 1:11, I had a truly unpleasant contraction, and they kept coming at about 7-minute intervals. Val got back at 1:40 just as I was getting ready to get in the tub, she said I was very effaced and had dilated another centimeter and asked me to wait on the tub for a bit as it would slow things down. I decided to get up and move around.
OK, I’m a little blurry from this point on ☺ I know that I Iabored downstairs kneeling in front of my recliner, upstairs lying on my side in bed and in the tub, backwards on the toilet for a few contractions near the end… we have it all on video, but I haven’t watched that part yet. Basically, it hurt a lot, I yelled a lot, and we had to close the bedroom window and smother lest my neighbors call the cops.
In the end, Val pushed away a slight lip of cervix and Sarah decided to do us all a favor and rotate out of her posterior position. I pushed her out in just a few minutes on my hands and knees. Val tried really hard with compresses and almond oil to keep things together, but I tore a tiny bit on both labia as her head was born and got a funny crescent-shaped tear down below as her body came out. The latter tear followed the shape of my scar tissue from the tear with James.
Sarah was born around 4:30 p.m., although the birth record apparently says 4:42. She was nice and pink and cried right away. Her cord was short, so she had to wait for the afterbirth before she could nurse. I showered while the bedding was changed, then lay back down to be sutured. Sarah managed to latch on in the side-lying position, not too shabby for a baby less than one hour old!
Scott went to fetch James, who was minimally interested in his new sister but thrilled to finish the container of Ben and Jerry’s I’d been eating when he walked in.
We’ve had a great first 24 hours, including some actual sleep on the first night! I’ve been popping ibuprofen and using Soothies breast pads, and I’m much more comfortable than I was at this point after James’ birth. I’m really looking forward to my first postpartum chiropractic adjustment tomorrow. Scott is taking a week off, and then my mom will be here. We are so thrilled with how smoothly the birth went and how healthy and content Sarah seems to be.
A few photos (warning, there is boob): http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...h&x=0&y=-n8s8b