Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Somewhere short of crazy
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I'm still in awe of all that went on and how easy it was compared to my c/s almost three years ago. I'm also a little bit sad that I ever let the OB convince me to get the "elective" cesarean for "suspected fetal macrosomia". My mw agrees that there is no reason ds couldn't have been born vaginally!
My story starts on 12/23 around 11am with what we can best figure was bloody show. It certainly didn't look like I expected it would. We were taken a little off guard, but figured this could go on for awhile. We did get the birth pool (a stock tank) inside, though. My not quite 3 yr old ds had a blast walking around it in circles and wiping it down (it had been on the screened porch and had snow on it).
Of course, nothing happened for almost two weeks after that. It certainly wasn't for lack of wishing or hoping on our part (we did a lot of walking around the mall after that). It did feel a little bit disappointing everytime I had to walk around the huge birth tub in the middle of my kitchen. Then, On New Years Day I lost my mucous plug and began having more bloody show (this time much more like what I expected it would look like). The next day, I started feeling some contractions around 6:45pm. They were few and far apart so we went ahead with plans to go to dinner with my family and my grandmother to celebrate Christmas with her. I didn't actually let anyone know (not even dh) that I was having them, but on our way home (and after all the family had been dropped off) I let dh know what was going on. We went home, put ds to bed, and began our nightly ritual of watching "Friends" on TV. Since not much was going on we decided to go to bed as it was probably just a false alarm.
By 11pm the contractions were a bit more frequent and definitely had my attention, but I was more than able to handle them laying down in bed. They continued that way all through the night and on into the morning. I got very little sleep, but wanted to wait until a more "reasonable" hour to call the mw. Around 7am I decided to get up and make pancakes for breakfast. They were still coming, but very irregular being anywhere from 5-15 min apart. Dh decided to stay home and we let my family know what was going on. Of course, once we had done all that and called my mw it looked like the contractions were going to stop altogether (A big disappointment since any time dh took off of work was going to be unpaid).
We decided to keep my existing mw appt that afternoon - something I probably wouldn't have done if dh didn't have the day off. The mw did her usual and everything seemed to be just fine. I did actually have her do a VE (something I hadn't planned on doing since I was GBS+) just because I really needed to know if there was something going on. I was barely dilated, but 70% effaced so we knew something was happening. It was actually a little bit encouraging.
We went to lunch with my sister who was visiting from Colorado and then returned home so that I could take a nap. Then, after having my favorite pizza dinner we decided to go walking in the mall again (something ds loves to do because he gets to go up and down the escalator). We returned home to watch Friends again and go to bed. Like clock work the contractions started up at the same time they had the night before. Whereas the first night dh was able to sleep through much of what was going on (I didn't ask him to stay awake with me) this time he could tell things were much different. Around 1am he told me he thought this might be it and decided he would time the contractions to be sure.
I could tell they were different as well, but to be honest, from that point until just about the very end I was still convinced that they were going to stop just like they did the night before. Dh was right, though, and after timing them for an hour it confirmed that I was indeed in labor. They were 5 minutes apart and lasted for 1 minute.
The timing thing I was most oblivious to. The only thing I knew for sure was that this time I could not lie down in bed. I very much had to be upright and/or moving in order to work through them. I wouldn't say that they were painful, just intense. Dh wanted to call the midwife then (around 2am), but I wanted to hold off just in case. We decided to get up and get the birth tub ready, make the bed, and I paid the electric bill since it was due that day. I was hoping that if it wasn't "real" labor that it would stop once we got all that done. Once we had all that done it was closer to 4am. I agreed to let dh call the midwife. After talking with her we decided to wait a little longer before having her come out to our house.
We continued as we were for two more hours (going from the bed to the bathroom to the exercise ball) before I began wondering when it was that I could get in the birth tub. We called her again and after answering some questions for her it was decided that I was actually in labor and she'd head out to our house. We also called my parents to let them know to include our son in their plans that day since we had not planned on having him present for the birth.
I am very grateful for my mw's ability to read a laboring woman. When she first got there she did the usual checks (blood pressure, pulse, FHT) and then was in the room by me for awhile before she let us know that she was going to let me be so that I didn't feel watched. I actually remember feeling that way and wanting to ask her to leave, but not feeling like I could. She made herself busy while dh continued filling the birth pool and getting ds breakfast.
This entire time, though, I was not convinced that I was in labor and fully expected that the mw would leave as it was all just another false alarm. I was very concerned that we had brought her out to our house for nothing. I was even more concerned when her assistant (another midwife) arrived because I knew she had an hours drive to get to our house.
When my parents and sister arrived to pick up our ds I had asked dh to keep them out of the room. I remember very distinctly wanting to be left alone. Somehow he forgot and my mom and sister ended up back in the room. I know they were excited, but I found their presence very distracting. I could have asked them to leave, but again didn't really feel like I could. My mom wanted to know how far apart the contractions were and was surprised that no one knew. She told dh that was "his job", but he said he didn't really see a need to do so. The mw was there and surely if she thought it were necessary she'd take care of it.
While in all reality they didn't stay long it really did feel like a long time to me. I felt badly, but I was relieved when they left and I was alone again. It was probably after 10am at that point (or after?). I continued for awhile longer and then decided that I wanted to get in the birth tub. It was coincidentally around the same time my mw came back and said something about her being surprised I wasn't already in there. I moved from our bedroom to the kitchen - a sunny green color and remember looking outside and thinking it was such a pretty day with the sun shining and reflecting off the snow outside.
I went to get in the tub, but it was a little bit too warm so stood in there until dh had added enough cold water to make it more comfortable. I remember sitting in there and thinking it felt so nice for all of maybe 5 minutes before I was hit by an incredibly strong contraction. I remember saying something about how I thought this was supposed to make things feel better, not worse. My mw said that for some women getting in the tub provides an oxytocin rush that produces stronger contractions. Seeing the mw and her assistant getting things ready after that point really did bring it home to me that I was actually in labor and this really was the day I had waited almost three years for.
It wasn't more than a couple of contractions later that I began to feel overwhelmed and like I couldn't take much more of it. I remember saying something like that and being reassured that it wouldn't be too much longer. Shortly after that I remember feeling an urge to push (although not as overwhelming as I would have though). I was encouraged to do what I felt my body was telling me and did start pushing. I remember being unsure if I was doing it "right", especially since it never felt better to me to push.
I remember at one point feeling a "pop" during a contraction and wondered what it was, but figured it wasn't anything. I also remember not too long after dh asking about when my water would break and my mw reassured him that I would know. I mentioned what had happened earlier and it was decided that was probably "it". I eventually switched over to my knees, leaning over the edge of the tub. Not more than 10 minutes after that our daughter was born.
Looking back I am incredibly grateful we were at home. I'm absolutely confident that if I had chosen to VBAC in the hospital it would have likely ended up a repeat or at the very least a highly medicated/interventive event. While I don't remember feeling "pain" I do know that if I had been tied down in bed w/monitoring and an IV I would have asked for some sort of pain relief and most likely an epidural.
There's no way I would have ever ended up in the water, without a single VE in labor, and been "allowed" to push the way that I was. I'm so glad no one ever stood there telling me to "hold my breath" and then chanting "push, push, push". I most definitely "roared" my daughter into this world and wouldn't have had it any other way.
She was 8lbs 12oz, 21" long. I had one odd tear (a labial tear all on one side) that no one can quite figure how it got there (hand? elbow?) that needed a few stitches.
1/4/08 was my triumphant day. It was the day I proved to myself that I CAN birth a baby - that my body will NOT grow a baby it is unable of birthing. I still can't believe I DID IT!!
ETA: Oh...and she was covered in vernix! We're pretty sure of our dates, but even my mw said she had never seen a baby covered in as much of it as dd was!