i hope not!
he'll be eight weeks old tomorrow, and our ddc could close any day now. if i don't post it now it may never happen, so here goes:
Merle’s Birth Story
Jan 2. lost some mucous plug, crampiness at night, mostly in back/hips, contractions that subside when I get up
Jan 3. midwife appointment; declined cervical check, an ob/gyn tried to talk me into it
12 am – painful-ish, steady contractions while lying down, got up and ate and they stopped
6 or 7 am – more painful-ish steady contractions while lying down – made myself stay in bed and sleep in between them
8 am – dd woke up/got me up, contractions had been steady for awhile so I gave her food and a tv show and called her granny to make the 5 hour drive to care for dd at the end of her daycare day. I ate some leftover peanut noodles with veggies and chicken. I dressed dd, but had to pause and not talk during contractions. Told dd that her granny would pick her up from daycare and that the next time she was going to see me I’d be in the hospital and there’d be a baby. Wasn’t sure she heard me. A few minutes later she tripped, didn’t really hurt herself, but cried big fat tears really hard and needed lots of cuddling. I guess she did hear me.
8:30 – dp took dd to daycare, I timed contractions. At first they were ten minutes apart, but quickly jumped to five minutes apart and remained that way for over an hour. I was sitting on the yoga ball and staring out the window at the gray, swirling sky with crows and barren tree branches. It was a good way to pass through the contractions.
9:30 called the midwives, found out C**** was on-call all day, through 8 am the next day. Bummed because she was the midwife who delivered dd and I was hoping for a different experience this time. Made some requests of dp and then got into the bath. Cried about C**** being the midwife, cried about dd no longer being my only child. I think I just needed to mourn those things and then let them go.
10 C**** called, I couldn’t talk on the phone, so dp was our go between. She supported my decision to stay home for longer, said she’d call back at noon. I felt calmer about her involvement. Continued to have increasingly intense contractions in the bath and probably stayed in another 15 – 30 minutes. I began to be vocal with the contractions, mostly low moans that seemed to help me deal. I Then moved out of the tub, to ensure I kept labor going. In between contractions I washed my hair, dried myself, put on moisturizer, brushed teeth, etc. During contractions I learned the value of biting on a towel to deal with the pain.
Nearly the whole time my contractions were further apart, yet more painful than the ones I experienced before going to the hospital with dd.
I dressed myself and got onto the bed, leaning into pillows and over the headboard during contractions. I asked dp for Vitamin water and a washcloth (for biting).
For most of the time I was in the bath and on the bed, dp was watching a video in the living room. Sometimes it felt loud and distracting, but most of the time it was good, because I knew he wasn’t just sitting around watching me like a pot of boiling water. At one point, on the bed, between contractions, I found myself following the plot of the show in the next room. It was kind of amusing to me.
Eventually he came in and laid down behind me. I squeezed his hand during some contractions and that felt good. I asked him to use the back massager on my hips/low back. That had been so helpful during the days leading up to labor, as I had mild contractions in my low back. This time, though, it intensified the contraction too much, so I couldn’t keep up with that.
At a couple of points I would close my eyes and see shifts and movement with my third eye, during really intense contractions. Reminding myself that “this is how babies happen, this is all for an amazing end result,” was helpful – knowing that there was a purpose to all of the pain.
I got up off of the bed and moved into the living room and sat on a yoga ball. C**** called and I was in between contractions so I talked with her. I hadn’t been timing, but dp had. He told me I was three minutes apart. C**** reminded me that second labors can go much faster, especially near the end, but overall sounded supportive of whatever I decided. After talking with her I talked with dp and he was also supportive of whatever I decided. I realized that if I waited any longer actually getting me to the hospital might be too hard/too painful for me, so we went.
dp had spent some time earlier packing up the car, all the while reassuring me that he was only doing it so we’d be ready, but that we didn’t have to go until I wanted to.
We got into the car and he started to pull out, just as I started having another contraction. The movement outside of the car window in conjunction with the contraction was too much, and I begged him to stop. He did, but we both knew he couldn’t stop during every contraction. He offered me a pillow and that helped. As he drove I buried my face in the pillow and bit it, and/or the washcloth, as needed. I writhed in my seat, moaned, cursed, pleaded with the universe most of the way to the hospital. The contractions were probably coming every one to two minutes, because it seemed like I had very little space between them. When I wasn’t contracting I had surreal moments of observing the world and the odd people who were out and about during a Friday afternoon. I seemed to keep spotting sad, elderly, obese and decrepit people. It was weird. After we’d been moving for a little while, stopping at lights and stop signs was awful.
dp pulled up to the hospital and offered me a wheelchair. I had to think about it for a little bit, but realized that was the best way to get to a room – if I walked we’d have to stop every minute. The lobby was FULL of people, and I felt very obvious and on display. I was in a lot of pain, but suddenly very quiet, not wanting to draw any attention to myself. We got up to the maternity floor and dp talked to the nurses at the desk. “Oh she’s having a contraction right now,” I Heard one of them say. He was trying to check us in, but the women at the desk were making jokes. That moment went on forever and dp said he didn't even get that they were joking at the time. In my head I was fuming at the nurse making jokes while I was literally exploding inside.
They showed us to a room and the nurse showed me the gown she wanted me to wear and the cup she wanted me to pee in and left us alone. I started feeiing defensive about the whole hospital thing – I didn’t want to take all my clothes off and wear their gown. I was already was starting to get my bossy Betsy on about what I wouldn’t and wouldn’t do while I was there. I did feel like I had to pee, so sure, I’d pee in a cup. Dp helped me out of the wheelchair and into the bathroom. I saw that we had no tub, just a shower, in our room, bummer. All of my movements were slow, because I had to stop for each contraction. I was standing in front of the sink, trying to get my head around pulling down my pants, getting to the toilet, aiming into a cup and peeing, when I heard the nurse’s voice in the room assessing that we weren’t ready for her yet and she’d be back soon. The outer door closed and I screamed the loudest, craziest scream of my life, while holding a death grip on the edge of the sink. I felt like it was directed towards her and the hospital, and, of course, towards my pain, but when I felt the POP between my legs and the gush of liquid seconds after the scream, I realized what was going on, and I felt a sense of relief. When I let go of the sink my sweaty handprints remained.
I pulled off my wet clothes and dp helped get them off of me. I moved toward the toilet, still feeling the urge to pee. I started to sit down, when a tremendous lightening bolt of pain tore through me, and I could not complete the sitting motion, nor could I fully stand. I braced myself somehow with one hand, certainly cried something out (starting with "f" and ending with "uck", and felt between my legs with my other hand. I could feel the baby’s head bulging at my crotch. I felt wild-eyed and like a pinball going crazy in a machine. I remember telling dp, “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!” mostly because there was no position I felt okay in. I got on my knees, and dp did too. I leaned against him, and then when to hands and knees. He offered to grab a footstool from the room and I agreed. I was in the doorway of the bathroom, facing the hospital room, and he put it in front of me, It was perfect, as I could lean into it, and it was cushioned on top, so I could bury my face.
The midwife popped in the room to say hi. When she saw me on the floor she leapt over me into the bathroom to look from behind and told dp to press the help button and tell them we were having a baby right now. Suddenly there were more and more voices in the room. The midwife kept having me scoot further into the room and got pads and a sheet underneath me. I would have a contraction and then scoot. I kept my face buried the whole time, but I could hear everything. The nurse wanted to get me on the bed and the midwife said there wasn’t time. Dp told me later that he put his hand up, ready to defend the idea of not moving me. I could feel the head coming, and was waiting to hear what my body wanted. The midwife was telling me to push, but I was between contractions and calmly shook my head and said, “No, it isn’t time yet” At the next contraction I did push, and pushed through a few more contractions. The midwife kept trying to give me pushing advice, and I mostly ignored her, just following my body. Although it hurt, the pain had stopped ruling me, and I had more focus.
With dd, getting her head out was a big deal that took forever. Once her head was out the rest of her came one push later. Merle’s head came out within two or three purposeful pushes, but his body did not come out one push later. It took a few more pushes (and some manual removal, I later learned - erg!), and there was a tremendous gush as Merle and lots of fluid all came out of me at once. He came out so fast he slipped through the midwife’s hands and onto a pillow on the floor. (I was kneeling just over the floor anyway, so he didn’t have far to go.) OH THE RELIEF. There is no feeling so amazing in the entire world, after carrying a person in your womb for months, going through labor and then having them exit your body. I went limp against the stool, face still buried, listening for the cry of a baby, but didn’t hear one. “Get your baby!!” I heard, encouragement from voices in the room, but it wasn’t until his cry kicked in that I pushed back from the stool and looked at him, quickly grabbing him and pulling him to me, chanting things like, “OH my baby, oh my baby…” He was wrinkly gray and blue and his cry quieted quickly by being held and spoken to. He did not look a thing like dd. The midwife to my right said something about that it was a girl. Someone behind me said they thought they saw something else. I pulled back from him and checked… a boy.
According to the records the whole episode on the floor, the second stage of labor, took 8 minutes. (3 hours with dd!)
A nurse wanted to cut the umbilical cord, C**** said we should wait. I was so relieved, because I wanted to wait until it stopped pulsing, but was too tired and tripped out to advocate for anything in that moment. So they helped me up to the hospital bed with Merle attached to me, as I held him and felt like a million exhausted dollars.
Then came the hard part, birthing the placenta, which doesn’t seem to be a big deal for other women, but C**** doesn’t seem to have much patience for that sort of thing, so every few minutes she was telling me to push and digging into my abdomen. (Paperwork said that stage lasted 18 minutes, not sure why she couldn’t wait…) Then the stitches (second degree tear into scar tissue from my 3rd degree tear with dd – no tearing from the head coming out, but instead from the shoulders - erg, again!), and lots more abdomen digging. All the while the nurse is off to my side trying to get me to do this or that with breastfeeding and other things. The whole afterbirth thing went faster than it did with dd, but was still so unpleasant, except for the part where I was holding Merle and falling in love with him.
He was born at 1:28 pm, and we probably got to the hospital between 12:30 and 1. We weren’t watching the clock so much this time. He was 8 lbs 10 oz.
All in all an amazing labor and birth story for me – so different from dd's in ways that I wanted it to be different. In the car and when we got to the hospital I was silently contemplating an epidural, but that was also the time that my cervix was really cranking open, and apparently that’s a common thought among birthing women at that time. I’m really grateful that it didn’t go on and on beyond my capacity to cope, although I definitely feel as though I went right to the edge of what I can handle.
It feels like it was a lifetime ago. Now he watches my every move, smiles at me and says, "Agoo!"
I've really appreciated this ddc! Thank you to everyone who has shared their stories, opinions, advice and support!