I don't post much, but lurk all the time. This has been a wonderful board and I wanted to share my story. Warning...it is very long.
After having four children, I didn't think the experience of childbirth could still be life-altering. However, Angelina's birth was the most amazing wonderful experience of my life...
The short version.........I awoke on Thursday, January 18, at 2:00 am with a contraction. It was the start of a beautiful natural labor and delivery. After having mild contractions most of the night and afternoon, we went to my Midwife's office at 2:00 pm because she wanted to check me. I ended up being admitted and made it to L&D a little before 4:00 pm. Angelina Sophia was born at 5:32 pm. She was 8 lbs. 9 oz. and 22 in. She was one pound larger than my largest baby. She is the most beautiful, sweet baby and I couldn't imagine my life without her. She just "fit" in our family. My recovery so far has been awesome with little to no problems. Angelina is 2 weeks old today and growing like a weed already.
The long version.........Tuesday morning I had an appointment with my Midwife. I was exactly 41 weeks. I hadn't had any change in my cervix since my last visit, but I was still 80% and 1 cm, but stretchy. For my that was great, because I was induced with my other four children and had never gotten farther than softening and a fingertip. She swept my membranes again really good and I hoped that it would do something. I so wanted to have a natural birth, but with 42 weeks fast approaching, the prospect was beginning to look bleak. After my appointment, I had to go for an NST. The baby passed with flying colors. My last hurdle of the day was passing the Biophysical Profile with my Midwife's back-up doctor. He was actually pleasantly surprised at how good my fluid level was, so the baby passed that. I was scheduled for another NST on Thursday morning and we had discussed induction either Sunday night or Monday night. On top of that my midwife was going out of town on Saturday and wouldn't be back until Sunday evening. That evening, I was actually a little depressed. I felt like the clock was ticking and all my hopes for my birth were flying out the window. Everyone, but me, was on edge waiting and my DH was putting off stuff for work and was getting quite anxious. I personally was fine with still being pregnant and didn't want to rush my last few days. She had mentioned that I could try castor oil and nipple stimulation, but neither seemed too appealing at the moment. I awoke Tuesday night with some strong contractions that lasted for about an hour or so and I lost what I guess was my mucus plug. I didn't get too excited about this because I lost a lot of brown mucus the week before when my Midwife stripped my membranes. Wednesday morning, I awoke the next morning with nothing...no contractions or cramping. Oh well, after a good night's sleep (ha Ha ha) I felt more at peace with everything again. My DH had to go out of town that evening and I actually was hoping that I wouldn't go into labor. However, in the back of my mind I kept thinking...Murphy's Law. Wouldn't you know it, but at 2:00 am I awoke with a contraction. I went to the bathroom and had pink mucus. Since I never before had show until I was in labor, I though maybe this is the beginning of something. Of course than I was worried, how long should I go before I call DH, because he was about 2 1/2 hours away. My contractions were about 15 min apart and pretty mild, so I decided to try to sleep. I slept off and on until around 5:00 am when I just gave up. I was still having show and my contractions were still only about 8-12 minutes apart. At 6:00 am, I decided to call my DH. I had never gone into labor on my own and had no clue how long it would take. I knew that it was still early labor, but I would feel so much better when he was home. He later told me that it was a good thing I called when I did, because he had a meeting that morning that he was getting ready to leave for and there was no service for his cell phone where he was going. It would have been hours before I would have been able to get ahold of him. Had that happened I think I would have been quite distraught. Next I called my Mom and told her that I didn't need her to come watch Ellie, because I wasn't going to my NST that morning. She said she needed to come out this way anyway and would stop in a little while. I then went to take a nice long, warm bath and I wrote in the baby's journal. It was then time to get the kids up for school and my Mom showed up. I called my MIL and told her and she said she would be here in a little while. I got the kids ready for school and on the bus, then went to do some laundry and straighten up a little. The contractions were still mild and felt much better if I kept moving than they had when I was in bed and were still pretty spaced out. My MIL finally came and I called my Midwife's office to tell them what was going on and that I wouldn't be there fr my NST. My DH got home about 8:30 a.m. and my contractions were about 6-10 min apart, I was relieved that he was home. My Mom had some errands to run and my MIL took my DD with her to her house. I finished packing my bag and then sat down on my ball to read the boards. Around 10:30 am my contractions were a little stronger, but not unbearable by any means and about 4-8 min apart. The nurse at my Midwife's office called to check up on me and said that if they stopped I still needed the NST, but that if they kept up I could come in the office and see what was going on. I continued throughout the morning and early afternoon with contractions staying at about 4-8 minutes apart. When they were close together, they were really mild and fairly short lasting about 30-45 seconds. When they were farther apart they were longer about 45-60 seconds and much stronger. As the afternoon wore on, the contractions would make me stop and breathe through them, but they still weren't unbearable. I honestly kept waiting for them to stop. The funny thing was that in between them I didn't even feel like I was in labor. I finally called my Midwife's office and said that I wasn't sure what to do because I had never had a natural labor and had no clue what to expect. She wanted me to come in and get checked and then we would go from there. So at around 2;00 pm, we were off. When I would have a contraction, I would concentrate on it, but after it was over, I would chat with my DH like nothing was going on. We got to my Midwife's office around 2:30 pm and I was still quite jovial and talkative. When she finally was able to check me, she said you are about 3 cm and she asked if I wanted to go home or stay. However, while she was checking me I had a contraction and she said that I was actually 4-6 cm and stretchy to almost 8 cm with a bulging bag of water. She said the baby's head was a little high, but bollotable, but with the contraction it actually came a little lower. She checked for several minutes because my cervix was so stretchy that she was trying to get a good measurement. She kept saying, she was trying not to break my water. So after talking for a few more minutes, off to L&D we went. I actually felt good enough that I stopped at admitting and admitted myself. It was somewhere between 3:30-4:00 pm when we got upstairs. I had to be put on the monitor for 20 minutes (hospital policy) and I needed antibiotics (GBS+), so I had to get a hep lock. After the antibiotics were almost done, my Midwife came in and told the nurse to get me off the monitor. It felt great to get back out of bed. By this time my Mom had gotten there and my MIL and FIL came with my children. The nurse asked them to wait outside, so she could ask all the lovely questions. It took forever for her to get through all that stuff. When she was done, I requested the birth ball again and she said she would bring it back. My family came back in and discussed what to do for the kids for dinner. They decided to take them to McDonald's which was just right up the road. They left about 4:50 pm. At this point, I was still quite comfortable. They contractions were still bearable, but a little stronger than they had been. I finally got my birth ball, but it was so low. I asked if they had a pump to fill it back up, but she came back and said that she couldn't find one. So she put a call into maintenance to see if they had one. They called back and didn't have one either. My DH offered to go buy a pump somewhere, but I told him no it would be OK. I sat down on the ball and immediately got back up. It was way too low and when I sat on it something changed. In retrospect, I think the baby finally descended down into my pelvis. After that my contractions got quite stronger and after about 3-4 contractions, my water broke spontaneously. It was the neatest feeling. I felt a pop and was soaked. Of course I had on Jammie Pants and a pair of clogs because I was walking around. I told my DH and my Mom that my water had broke and I needed to make sure it was clear. They helped me get my wet pants off and I used them to sop up some of the fluid on the floor. Someone went and told the nurse that my water broke and I had a contractions that was so much harder than they had been. I really had to breathe and concentrate through it. My DH called my MIL and told her they needed to hurry-up because my water had broken. I walked into the bathroom and had a contraction in there. When I came back out my Midwife wanted to check me and listen to the baby. I had another contraction before I got into bed. I was 8 1/2-9 cm and 0 station with a contraction. I sat up in bed and had two more contractions. At this time they were quite unbearable and I was moaning through them. My Midwife asked me if I wanted to get in the tub. I said that would be great, but I didn't think there was time. She went to get me some ice and I asked my DH to help me to the bathroom because I felt like I had to pee again. The next contraction hit me while I was sitting on the potty and I became quite vocal. I remember saying that I know I am almost done because I feel like I can't do this anymore. My midwife walked in on the next contraction and checked me while I was sitting there The baby was +1 and I was complete and had already started to push during that final contraction. She said that we need to go to the bed and I said that I couldn't. My DH said that I had to, so my Midwife held a towel in between my legs and they helped me walk to the bed. I couldn't lay back and she said to get on my side. My DH held my leg and I continued to push. After about three pushes my beautiful baby girl was born. I felt her head come out and pushed one last time for her shoulders and remembered that I wanted to help catch her, so I put my hands down there and brought her to my chest. I felt to see if she was a boy or a girl and announced "It's a Girl". Then I thought maybe I should look to confirm. I just kept saying over and over "That was wonderful". I was able to hold my new daughter for about 1 1/2 hours before I gave her up, because she needed blood drawn to check for infection since I only got one dose of antibiotics. She nursed really good during that time and has nursed well since. Unfortunately my MIL missed it all and I felt really bad about that, but I guess babies come when they come. And she came about 15 minutes and about 8 contractions after my water broke. It was quite intense, but the most wonderful experience of my life. I wish that I would have done it that way with all of them. I have felt great since she was born and have had almost no "Baby Blues". I had two small tears that have healed up great without stitches. I did have cracked nipples, but they have since healed and nursing is once again enjoyable. She is a great baby, she only cries when she is hungry. She went to the doctor at 1 week and had gained 8 oz. in 5 days to bring her to 8 lbs. 7 oz. I figure that she is about 9 lbs. now. The funny thing about the entire process was that since it happened so fast, I never had time to go into myself and I was s aware of hat was going on around me. It was kind of funny to look back on things and chuckle at how they unfolded. My only two regrets was that my MIL missed it and somehow our video camera got turned off and we had about 20 seconds of nothing. Honestly though everything else was like a dream, except I was a little embarrassed at how vocal I was during transition and pushing. I apologized over and over about that, but both my DH and my Midwife said it wasn't as bad as I perceived it. The entire experience though gave me faith that my body knows what to do and is capable of doing it and that is a great feeling. I can't express enough how amazing the experience was. It brought my DH and I even closer and gave us a new addition to our family. It kind of makes me sad that this chapter in my life is over, but at least I did the way I wanted.
Sorry for writing a novel, but if you have made it this far, thanks for sharing in my experience!!!