Well, I thought baby would arrive before 40 weeks, but he didn't. I though labor would be quick and peaceful, but it wasn't. I thought it was a girl, but he's not! So much for my expectations!
First contractions were 2/14 about 9am. I was at my chiro's house and we let the kids play and walked to the park. By the time I went hom, they were 12 min apart and I didn't want to drive for fear of being too distracted to be safe on the road. DH works nights, so he was sleeping during the day and woke up about 5pm. Chiro took me walking at WalMart and cntx got closer. DH called work to start his 2 week leave and labored with me all night. DS1 went to bed and I took a nap with him for a few hours. When I got up, I turned the lights off and lit the candles and leaned on DH during cntxs (5min apart, 45-50 sec). It was nice to lean on his strength and just be the two of us. The sun came up, no baby. DS1 woke up so I called my friend who was going to care for him during labor. MW and assistant came over too, but I didn't really want them to stay. I knew it was early and I didn't want the audience or to play hostess. But she was pretty sure it wasn't worth the 45min drive back home just to come back because baby should be here soon. I was 4-5cm and pretty disapointed. She found baby's head was way up towards the front of my pelvis and cervix was way back, so I intentionally labored on my back for a bit to get them lined up better. Weird! I was doing a good job of welcoming the cntxs. I noticed the more I relaxed, it actually hurt more; but I knew it was more productive so that was a long-term investment if you will. They were getting stronger, and we filled up the birth tub. I labored in there for a while. It was getting late in the afternoon. Early evening, I was having a harder time relaxing through the cntxs. After a bit, I realized my uterus was pushing at the peak! I was so excited to enter 2nd stage! MW checked me and I was only 7cm. This is when it got ugly. I was devistated. My mucous plug finally came out and it was gigantic! Talk about slimy! No wonder it didn't fall out before, it could have stretched all 10cm! I got out of the tub to see if that would help things along, MW tried to manually dilate my cervix during a cntx. That was incredibly painful! And it didn't stick. Now I was mad. Another manual dilation attempt was made, but it didn't stick either. MW gave me some valarian root and had me go upstairs to bed to try to rest. Cntxs kept coming and now I was pissed, they were no longer welcome. I was exhausted and tired of hurting. I screamed and swore, it was not a moment you see in a Bradley film or read about in an Ina May book! I don't remember if I felt like pushing again or what, but there was a third attempt at manual dilation and it finally stuck. Again, I can't tell you how painful that was! I was kneeling on the floor, resting my head on the bed and pushing and screaming. I could feel the baby move down and the more it hurt, the more progress I made. Unlike most women, I didnt' like pushing! MW had me move to the birth stool and I felt baby slip up while I moved. I tried really hard to stay relaxed so I didn't lose much progress. The stool wasn't terribly comfortable, so she had DH sit on the edge of the bed with his knees apart and I sat on his legs - he was my human birth stool as I sat on his legs. I pushed for about 1 1/2 hours (not bad for a first time vaginal birth) and then crowning came. It was horrible! I hated it! I thought, "This just keeps getting worse and worse!!!" Baby's head was born and that felt better, body burned too, but not nearly as bad. I got to hold the baby immediately and felt how warm and soft he was. I rubbed in the vernix. Someone announced it was a boy, I'm not sure who; and he was ticked. Baby kept crying and I couldn't sooth him. He wouldn't nurse and after an hour, I handed him off so someone else could calm him down. I took a nap. Not normal, but I was so tired! I was bleeding and MW gave me some Pit (well, Shepherd's Purse =) ). Still didn't stop, so I got another dose. Still didn't stop. So someone called 911 to get the ambulance. They came, took me downstairs on a chair thingy and I fainted, but was alert by the time we were at the base of the stairs. They took me to a local hospital where the OB on call tried to give me Cytotec and Pit. I refused the Cytotec to their surprise. "Why not?!" "Because I'm a VBAC and don't want my uterus to rupture!" "Oh." I asked for pain relief drugs as they kept poking and prodding and I was *really* tired of hurting. And epi was out of the question as that makes BP drop and I had lost blood. So I could have general or a sedative. I opted for the latter... then woke up a few hours later. I was not expecting it to knock me out, but it did! While I was out, they found that I had tore a lot and stitched me up. MW says she woud classify it as a 3rd degree tear toward the anus. We have Kaiser, so once I was stable, I was transfered to their hospital. Surprisingly, everyone was very kind and caring to me, even being a HB transfer. There was no hostility, thankfully. I got to keep baby with me as long as there was another adult; baby was not admited so the hospital couldn't take responsibility for his care and I wasn't able to get out of bed. I tried to avoid the blood transfusion, but by the next morning levels were down to 15 (they're supposed to be high 30's I think). A determining factor was the worry that if I was so weak, I might not be able to make enough milk. So I took 2 units and felt better. I got to go home a few hours after the blood was administered. Ironically, I tried to become a donor to the Mother's Milk Bank, but can't because I took the transfusion. =(
The ambulance driver who took me from the local hospital to the Kaiser one was a guy we met with some adventures with DH. His name is Jacob, and he remembered us too. DH jokingly asked if I liked the name Jacob, and I do, but it's too common for a first name. Then I remembered the story of Esau and Jacob in the Old Testament - how Jacob came out grabbing his twin brother's ankle, so he had a compound presentation too. So I figured it was a perfect middle name. DS1 is Spencer and we liked how the two first names went together.
Nursing is going well, he sleeps great at night (4-5 hour stretch, so through the night for a newborn!) but has a harder time falling/staying asleep during the day. He hated the car originally, but we figured out it was the sun in his eyes, so that's been fixed and it's OK now. He's rather fussy, but we're finding things that help sooth him. It's a learning experience, and he's a persistant teacher! =)