July 19, 2009 1:02 pm
8 lbs 3 oz, 20 inches
After my first hints that I might be in labor on Friday night, I had very mild occasional labor contractions all day Saturday, and went into labor in earnest around 11 pm Saturday night. I tried to sleep but never really managed to, and finally woke DH up around 2 am to tell him I was probably in labor. We called the doula at 4, she told us try to sleep (hah!). At 6 we called her back and said actually, she should probably come over now. She got here around 7:30 and I decided we should probably head straight to the hospital.
The ride to the hospital was unpleasant, but manageable. We checked in around 8:30 and they did the initial monitoring strip which was torturous. Eleanor was (as she was throughout the pregnancy) difficult to capture with the monitor and they eventually gave up without getting exactly what they were looking for. The midwife convinced me to do an internal exam because she wanted to assess position (I was having a lot of back labor) and get an idea of where we were. She was pretty sure it was still early labor and even told DH to go get some food, because we would likely be there until late that night (I did not learn that until after, though). I really didn't care who did what at this point, so I said fine and apparently I was 7 cm dilated. Yay!
After that I labored in the tub and on the toilet a bunch, it is mostly a blur. Every 30 minutes they wanted to check her heart rate through a contraction which I found to be the most difficult part, because the positions where they were able to do that were not good ones for me. My doula convinced me to try laboring on the bed, on my knees to get some help from gravity, and that finally broke my water. I think somewhere around then is when I started pushing. No one told me when to push or how to do it, so I sort of figured it out as I went along. She was born after an hour of pushing, with only a tiny amount of panic on the part of the midwives. She was having some heart decelerations and her head got stuck in one spot for a bit, so they urged me to push between contractions at the very end but they didn't need to do anything else.
She was born howling, with a crazy amount of hair and such a short cord that I could not breastfeed her until after the placenta was delivered (she didn't reach!).
My overall impression of birth- the labor part was painful but easier than I expected and I was shocked that I was so far along when I got to the hospital. Water is wonderful, and the doula was really valuable for keeping me focused and getting me through the pushing. The pushing, was way way more unpleasant than I expected for some reason. I think the birth stories I read did not really emphasize how exhausting and painful that part is. Once she was born I did not feel any sort rush of emotions or hormones that I noticed. I just felt glad to be done. I had a small superficial tear, probably related to pushing her out quicker than my body was telling me to. I think overall it was a very positive birth experience, and I never felt like I had to fight for what I wanted.
Oh! There was also a small miracle- when I went into labor my midwife, who I had been seeing since before I was pregnant was the midwife on duty (it is a large hospital based practice with 12 midwives). She was working her first shift back after a prolonged surgery recovery. I hadn't been able to see her in a couple of months. She was planning to stay with me past her shift or come back for the delivery if I did not deliver by 8pm, which did not end up being necessary. I felt so grateful to have her there, and I am sure that contributed to my ability to transition right into the hospital and do what I needed to do to bring my sweet girl into the world without trouble.