I don't think I posted the full birth story so heeeeeere it is!
On Monday, June 15th, we went to the hospital for testing to make sure everything was OK with the Cricket. At 7 days late, they wanted to make sure that she was doing well. I had an ultrasound, which looked perfect. I had a non-stress test to monitor the baby’s heart-rate which also looked perfect. The midwife said we would just keep doing the non-stress tests until I delivered.
That night (Tuesday morning actually) around 2am I was sound asleep when I felt a little *pop* low down in my tummy, followed by a gush of fluid. I poked my husband and said “I think my water just broke!” and when I stood up, sure enough there was no mistaking it!
We called my mom, who came over right away and my friend Elizabeth who had agreed to be my labor support. And, of course, the midwife, to let her know. She encouraged me to go back to sleep and get as much rest as I could. This turned out to be impossible. Even though the contractions kicked in right away, and they were only 8 - 10 minutes apart at the beginning, they were strong enough in intensity that I couldn’t really sleep through them.
We spent the next five hours timing contractions which were picture perfect in the sense that they progressed in intensity and frequency just as they were supposed to. Elizabeth brought this awesome sock full of rice which felt amazing on my back once warmed up in the microwave. My husband and Elizabeth took turns applying pressure to my lower back during contractions. Back labor, again?? Yes, I was lucky enough to have another child with posterior presentation. This means that her spine was against mine and she was basically “sunny side up.”
So, by 7:00am or so, my 4-year-old was awake and very curious about the goings-on. My contractions were closing in on 4 minutes apart and I began to worry that if we waited any longer to go to the hospital that I would not be able to make it down three flights of stairs out the door! So we called the midwife to let her know we were leaving within the hour (I think I was in the bathtub at that point — the warm water felt great on my back!)
My husband, Elizabeth and I got in the car and arrived at the hospital around 8:00am (I think I described that trip as the most uncomfortable car ride of my entire life. Who knew that Foster Avenue had so many potholes??)
This is the point at which my memory becomes fuzzy. Up until now, I was able to chat and even joke around in between contractions. I was able to give my husband and Elizabeth pretty clear directions about what felt good and what didn’t with regard to pain management. We checked into a labor room and to my recollection, the first time the midwife checked me I think I was at 7cm. I’m not sure, however, how long that was after we got to the hospital. I don’t think she checked me right away, as these midwives try to keep the cervical checks to a minimum. Thank god because they are painful!
The next 4 hours or so, I continued on as before in the first stage of labor. More contractions, getting closer together, and more painful. I tried the jacuzzi tub, I tried counter-pressure and hip squeezes and lots of different positions. I’m not sure when I hit transition but I do know that I absolutely reached that point where I felt like I simply could NOT GO ON for one for one more minute. I don’t think I swore AT anyone but I’m sure there were -ahem- strong words. By the end of transition I was crying and begging for drugs. I even signed the papers for an epidural. However, the drugs never came. Before I knew it, I was in Stage Two: Pushing.
By the way, do you know what’s really annoying? A midwife saying “you’re only at 8cms, so don’t push when you have a contraction!” when the only thing that really feels good is pushing! “Good” being a relative term at this point…
From what I remember once I got to 10cm, there was still a bit of the cervix blocking the way. The midwife had to reach on in and push it back. Which really hurt! She kept suggesting all kinds of laboring positions, when all I wanted to do was curl up on my side — not really the most effective laboring position, by the way.
So when I finally got to push that last for 1 maybe 1.5 hours? From my perspective, I feel like everyone spent a lot of time yelling at me to push harder and longer. And all did was cry and say “I can’t!” and “I’m so tired!” But push I did and somehow I managed to push out an 8lb 5oz baby girl.
She has so much dark hair! And she cried. A LOT. All good signs. They weighed her and my husband cut the cord. They finally gave her to me and we had some skin to skin time. She was still too mad about the whole thing to nurse, but it was so magical to finally hold her.
As painful as it was, I wouldn’t change a thing! (I know, easy for me to say that now!)