OK, so Grandma is watching dd1, dd2 is now sleeping soundly and I am awake enough to write. I need to write all of this down before I forget. It's amazing how quickly the memories of birth are erased! Bear with me on the length of this, I just want to get it all out before it's too late.
Thursday, the 24th, was my daughter's second birthday. We went out for Tea and had a wonderful day. When I got home, I had lost quite a bit more of my mucous plug. I wasn't going to get my hopes up, but that was a really positive sign with my first daughter that labor was on the way. We relaxed and had birthday dinner and cake that night. I knitted and watched some TV before turning to my husband and telling him that I thought that we should have one last romp because tonight might be our last opportunity for many weeks to come. He did not object. After we DTD, I was feeling pretty positive and euphoric -- very different from the crabby beast I had been all week. I went to sleep pretty easily around 10:30 p.m.
I woke up with my first contraction at precisely 12:00 midnight. I knew immediately that this wasn't a braxton-hicks contraction because it had such a nice, upward-pulling feel to it. I got up to use the restroom just to make sure that changing positions wouldn't make it subside -- heck no! Standing up definitely intensified the pulling on my cervix. Whoo hoo! We made it past dd1's birthday and this baby was wasn't going to make me wait until weeks after the due date. All was wonderful. Now, I just needed to get some rest. I have dealt with middle-of-the-night labor that continues without sleep and I knew that I did not want to go that route again. I went back to bed, put my ipod on and listened to my birth hypnosis track, over and over and over. I would fall asleep between most contractions and listen to the cd while I was breathing through them. I called my mother at 2:00 a.m. to tell her to hit the road in the morning. She lives 4 hours away. I wanted to stay in bed to keep the contractions far apart and to try and get some rest. I told DH that he wouldn't be going to work in the morning, but to rest up and I would wake him when I needed him to get things ready.
At 6:00 a.m., I told DH to get up and gather the pool, supplies, et cetera. I slept for another hour while he cleaned up and prepped for the midwives and my mom. I got up and lit candles, realizing that standing contractions were very intense and MUCH closer together than 10 minutes. I immediately lay back down on the couch while dd1 ate her breakfast and watched the pool fill. I called my midwife at 9:00 a.m to tell her that we were still probably a long ways off from birth, but that my labor had definitely started. I told her that I would call back when contractions were coming more closely together. My mom arrived at 10:00 just as I was getting into the pool. I had accepted that it was time to get serious and immediately went to contracting every 3-5 minutes. A half our later, we were at every two minutes regularly. DH had called the midwives back, but her phone didn't seem to be working. He paged her several times and when she called back, there was nothing but dead air on the line. We didn't know what was going on with her or with her phone. It was the first time I had been unable to reach her! Not good timing. She finally called back about a half hour later and said that she was on her way. It was very stormy and wet, so cell phones seemed to be having problems in our area.
When the midwives arrived at 11:30 a.m., I was on the toilet, feeling like I was going to throw up. My midwife took one look at me and knew that I was already in transition. I knew it, too. The second time around is so much better because you know how to read the signs. I felt so much more present and able to ride the waves rather than be washed away by them. I went back to bed to labor and my contractions became much more enveloping of my body. They tightened at the base of my uterus, up to the fundus, then radiated to the small of my back. I could distinctly feel my cervix pulling open. With dd1, I can't even remember feeling contractions in my uterus -- it was ALL in my back. It was nice to have the intensity shared with different muscle groups this time. During each contraction, I remembered the mantras of my hypnosis cd; "The more I breathe, the more I surrender" I would inhale through my nose and breathe out through my mouth moaning lowly the words "relax" and "open." My midwives told me that "it is ok to let it be intense. These feelings are all safe. Let the energy wash through you." All of these words worked wonders for me. I am highly suggestible, so I just kept asking them to give me more affirmations. I clung to them and they carried me through the tough spots.
About 20 minutes after the midwives arrived, they checked my cervix and found me to be at 6 cm. My MW said that it could be 30 minutes or 2 hours, so they were going to go ahead and set up their supplies for the birth. I was excited, as I had only been laboring hard for an hour or so. I immediately had what seemed like a long break between contractions -- about 4 or 5 minutes. I actually said out loud to myself -- "that was a nice break." I knew that that was the "rest and be thankful" phase that Sheila Kitzinger speaks of in her books that occurs just before the second phase of labor. Pushing must be coming soon. The next contraction brought the first spontaneous push. My uterus just clamped down from the fundus down, pushing the baby hard toward the birth canal. It was surreal. With dd1, I had pushed for two hours before they applied a vacuum extractor to assist in getting her down the birth canal. This felt SOOOOO much better! The MW's assistant asked if I wanted to get back into the laboring pool, but then realized that it needed warming first. I went back to the toilet for a couple of more contractions. My mw said that sometimes the pool can slow down the pushing stage, so it might be better if I labor on the toilet until I was sure that each contraction was bringing progress.
I definitely knew that the contractions were bringing said progress. I felt the head like a great, stretching ball descending downwards toward my rectum. (As my mother says, the feeling of the most satisfying bm) My mind struggled momentarily between trying to deny the instinct to push through it out of fear and the longing to keep pushing through the pain. Thankfully, with the encouragement of my midwives and my inner mantras, I allowed the intensity to continue and knew that the baby was coming. We moved as quickly as we could between the contractions out to the living room where the pool was set up. As soon as I got in, I
hugged the side of the pool and started pushing with a contraction. After a couple of more, I leaned over the side of the pool and caught a glimpse through the clear plastic of the fishy pool of my baby's head! She was in the caul and I was almost done! I was ready to push the rest of her out with the next contraction when my MW suddenly said that we needed to get out of the pool right away. She saw that the baby had the cord wrapped around her head twice. She would need to cut the cord to unwrap it and didn't want the baby to try to breathe in oxygen herself while under water. We got out and lay down on the floor next to the pool while the MW broke the bag of waters and unwrapped the cord. I then pushed the rest of her out and looked down to see one wet, wiggly baby headed toward my belly! She was so fresh and so purpley-pink. No vernix to speak of except a little on her head, she was gorgeous!
I reveled in her presence before asking if she was a boy or a girl. The midwives told me to take a look and find out. Everyone thought this one was a boy, but I was never convinced one way or another. I ended up being surprised that she was a girl, though. I am excited about my second girl. Somehow I always saw myself having girls. Sisters are so special, too.
I didn't remember the placenta delivery being so difficult with dd1, but this time it was hard to get any energy behind my pushes to birth the placenta. I wondered why the midwives were so insistent that I do it right away, but I learned why later. I was bleeding really heavily and they wanted to make sure that I wasn't hemorrhaging. I finally got it out with a big gush of blood behind it. Turns out that I was bleeding much more than normal and had to have a shot of pitocin and regular doses of methegrin (sp?) in order to get my uterus to contract down to size and start the clotting process. I got really woozy and sleepy and had to be coerced into conversation in order to keep me conscious while they fed my glass after glass of sweet apple cider to get my blood sugar up. My vitals were all fine, but I was just acting kind of wierd, so they wanted to monitor me for a couple of hours before they felt comfortable leaving us. My midwives kept this all low-key to keep down my mother's worry. They knew that I was still in the safe zone and were doing every thing possible to keep me that way. They still encouraged me to hold the baby and nurse her, et cetera. She was never whisked away for "warming" or "bathing" the way dd1 was at the hospital. It was wonderful. My mom made me a big plate of scrambled eggs and toast while my new, beautiful babe nursed like a pro. We had to have a catheter drain my bladder to make room for my uterus to contract back into a safe range since after more than an hour of trying, I still couldn't empty my bladder myself. After my bladder was drained, the bleeding started to get under control and the midwives felt comfortalble leaving. We settled in bed and relaxed before my in-laws and dd returned to meet our new family member.
She was born during a major bay area rainstorm at 12:49 p.m. on January 25, 2008; 8 lbs., 2 ounces, 20.75 inches long and 13" head circumference.
DD1 is still adjusting to her new sister, but is happily sharing her "num nums." While she stopped nursing during my second trimester, she still likes to cuddle up next to my bare breasts. So, while Juliana nurses, dd1 lays her head on the opposite breasts and snuggles with us. I love snuggling with my two girls! We are working on sleep and are appreciating grandma's help every minute.
Christina, loving being a Mama to three and serving as a Co-Leader of the Holistic Moms Network, Tri-City Area, CA Chapter.
Keep the caul, if you've still got it. Seriously. It won't go all icky, it'll dry out beautifully. My mum still sleeps with mine in her bedside drawer (but I think keeping it in a locket is more traditional.)
enjoy your special time together,
HCM- gentle, all-natural, unconditional mama to three boys (8,6,4) and new baby girl!
So glad to hear you had a wonderful birth experience!
Enjoy your babymoon with your new little bundle of love !
river and mountain mama to two amazing girls, 8.25.05 and 1.13.08, and married to my soulmate of 18 yrs