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About 4 days past Elsa’s due date, after dealing with bed rest for preterm labor from 24 weeks on, she finally decided to come! I had been about 2-3cm dilated, 75% effaced, for a couple of weeks. I had never dilated or progressed before labor in any way with the other two kids. We were sure Elsa would come quite early, at least as soon as I was off bed rest at 37 weeks. I began to get very discouraged about the time of her due date, believing that maybe I had so succeeded in stopping labor that it would never begin on its own. My midwife assured me that it would, but I don’t think I believed her! I was pleased though that at each appointment I had progressed just a little more than the week before. I told my husband Dennis several times that if I could just continue to progress without painful contractions, maybe I wouldn’t begin active labor until I was significantly dilated and cut my labor very short! I was really encouraged by that thought. The last couple of weeks, each time I would feel a contraction, even a non-painful one, I would move my hips and think downward thoughts and even squat, just to see how much progression I could get out of each contraction.<br><br>
The day before labor began, I emailed the midwife saying I was really discouraged, had had no signs of labor at all that day, and was just done. I felt just awful, as a doula, getting to this point. Dennis told me that it was just the calm before the storm. I went to bed resigned to the idea of never giving birth to this stubborn baby. I couldn’t sleep. About 1:30am I began getting sharp pains in my pubic symphosis area. I was moaning and squirming around trying to make it stop. I got onto all fours, did pelvic rocking, and eventually could only find relief in a knee-chest position. I couldn’t watch the clock to see if any of the pain could be timed because it was too intense and almost non-stop. I could feel the baby making huge movements in the pelvis which triggered the pain. Finally, at 2:45am, the movement and pain stopped and I fell asleep.<br><br>
I awoke at 4am to a painful contraction! This was something fairly new, and I knew I would be giving birth that day! It occurred to me then that the hour of movement I had experienced earlier was the baby moving herself into the perfect position for birth. (I had been working at dislodging her from an awkward position for the last week.) The ctx continued for a full hour, 5-10 minutes apart. I laid on my left side and relaxed and breathed deeply thru each one. I finally couldn’t tolerate them laying down and got up at 5am to pace thru them. I didn’t stop walking for almost an hour, even during contractions. They began to hurt worse and were consistently less than 7 minutes apart, so I emailed Erin the doula to tell her I would be calling later in the day, and woke up Dennis. I told him it was time to start filling the tub! They ctx got progressively longer, stronger and closer together, so Dennis called Erin about an hour later, at 7 and asked her to come. We called the midwife at 8am (at Dennis’ insistence). The birth assistant Susan said the midwife was occupied but could plan to be to us by 10:30. I said that might be too late. She said she’d have her call within the hour and we’d go from there. The kids woke up about 8am, around the time of the call to the midwife. Suddenly the ctx slowed to every 10-20 minutes apart. Erin was already on her way on the ferry from Lynnwood. The midwife called and I told her to disregard my labor pattern as it was somehow a false alarm. I was so disappointed. Just then, I had significant bloody show. Yay! So something was happening! I decided to not worry about the lapse in contractions and to take a nap. I slept in 20-30 minute segments in between average-strength contractions. I got up at 10:30ish, around the time that Erin arrived. I apologized about the stall of labor. We talked and I showed her all of my birth gear. She then asked when exactly labor had stalled. I mentioned that it was when the kids woke up. She suggested seeing what would happen if they left. My mom was at work though, and I really didn’t want to have her leave early just to test if labor would return if the kids were gone. Erin suggested I walk in the meantime, so Dennis took the kids to play at Burger King while she and I walked. After only 15 minutes and 2 light ctx, and told her it wasn’t working and I was done walking. New plan. She laughed but followed me inside. While we sat at the table and talked, I began to contract again. Slowly but surely the ctx returned and got more and more painful til they were lasting 60-90 seconds each and were 6-7 minutes apart. Erin asked what she could do to help me through them and I told her that I was coping well at that point, knowing they would get much worse.<br><br>
Dennis then returned with the kids and Erin offered to take them upstairs to play in the playroom until my mom arrived 45 minutes later (we had decided to call). I finished eating a huge sandwich, coffee, fruit and cheese while contracting.<br>
My mom arrived to pick up the kids and I met her at the door smiling. She was surprised to see me up and around, in active labor! I introduced Erin who reminded me that I only had 4 minutes til my next ctx. When I felt it coming, I excused myself to my room, dealt with it, then came back to help the kids as they left. I had one more ctx before they left, then said goodbye. It was 1:30pm. 5 minutes after they left, the pain dramatically increased and we called the midwife. She asked to speak to me and I told her things were moving fast. She said they would leave after preparing for the birth. Immediately after hanging up with her, I moved to lean over my birth ball and the ctx became 2-3 minutes apart, lasting almost as long. I still didn’t want anyone talking or touching me during them. I remember saying then that I was scared it would never end and I couldn’t take much more of this. I tried to stand up but was shaking. I recognized transition. So did Erin and Dennis. They immediately called the midwife back and said to hurry. They were just leaving the birth center and would be there in 30-40 minutes. No one knew if I’d make it that long.<br><br>
I had told everyone to not let me get in the tub too soon so as not to slow my labor. I told midwife Amy I wanted to be checked first and wouldn’t get in unless I was 6cm or more. I had figured that I was at least 4-5cm after the morning’s ctx. As the ctx came back to back though, I knew this was my chance to get in the tub. I went into my room, chose the candle scent I wanted, picked out a cd to play, and crawled into the tub. It was 104 degrees, too hot. So I asked for ice to be dumped in. I stumbled out of the tub 3 times as my body cleared itself out. I so desperately wanted to stay in the tub, but had to be at the potty. As each incredibly painful contraction came, I cried out and Erin would come to push on my back and encourage me. I was so demanding, crying “Harder! No! Stop! Again! Push!” It occurred to me several times that Erin was really pregnant and I was expecting an awful lot out of her… but I couldn’t seem to cope without her help. As I stood over the toilet, not able to decide if I should attempt to go back to the tub, Erin announced with relief “They’re here!” The midwife’s later told Dennis that they had arrived in only 29 minutes! I tried to walk the 10 steps to the tub but only made it 2 steps. I tried to whisper-communicate that I couldn’t get in the tub, cause I’d just have to get back out again, but I couldn’t tell if anyone could understand me. Susan ushered me to the tub as I clung to her, hardly able to move. Eventually she was able to nearly lift me in to it. She gave me a stool to put my left foot on to relieve the intense pain in my left hip. I finally remember opening my eyes at this point since I had a little break in ctx. I watched as Susan prepared the oxygen and set out birth supplies. Amy got the Doppler and listened to Elsa’s strong heartbeat. Then I contracted again. The pain in my hip was nearly unbearable. I needed it to be pushed on, and hard. I was now semi-reclining in the tub and Erin was trying to push up on my back at an awkward angle. I was screaming for her to push harder. She said she couldn’t and Dennis took over for a while. I was finally able to move to my front so my back could be pushed on easier. Amy asked if I wanted to try pushing or get checked first. Definitely get checked. She said “Oh! The head is right there, only this far in.” And she showed me a couple of inches with her fingers. It still didn’t register with me that I was completely dilated, til Erin said “you were hoping for 6cm and you’re complete!” Amy asked when my water had broken. I had completely forgotten about it! It never had! I asked if I could push and they said of course. It didn’t feel like a relief at all to push this time, unlike my other births. It felt like hard, unnatural work and I hated it. But I hated being in labor more, so I pushed. I could feel nothing happening. I decided to see for myself if the baby was even near coming out. I reached in and could feel her head just a couple of inches inside! I announced that I felt her! Amy said “You felt her hard head in you?” Yes! I was pumped! I had really wanted to be aware and alert at this birth. I had always felt in the past that I was out of control, and that the birth “happened” to me instead of my making the birth happen. I was leaning over the side of the tub, biting the edge alternately with resting my face against it. I was ready to push her out. I gave a couple tiny pushes, then at once realized the baby was filling the vaginal canal. A totally new sensation- not painful at all, just different. I announced that she was coming! Just then, there was a pop as my water broke! I slowly, barely pushed and felt her crown. I figured she was at least 9lbs, so as she crowned and I waited, letting her stretch me, I repeated over and over to myself “I’m going to get huge”. As I simply waited with her at the opening, I didn’t feel burning or stretching pain, just her head, right there. Amy said to very slowly push so I just barely did. She supported the perineum and said that I was going very slowly, just right. I didn’t feel an urge to push, so it was easy to not go fast! I was told that part of her head was out and I needed to push the rest out. I didn’t want to. I didn’t understand why no one could just pull her out. I ignored them all and waited for (Dennis told me later) about 2 minutes to give another push. Then I felt the rest of her body slowly come out of me. I heard the midwife announce “tight cord” as I turned over to sit on a stool in the tub. She worked to unwrap the cord from around Elsa’s neck and then I was handed my baby! Beautiful, pink, tiny little Elsa! She cried and looked right into my eyes! I couldn’t stop crying! I had done it! I had given birth, in the water, to my perfect little girl! One of the most joyful moments of my life!
 

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What a beautiful birth and what great control!<br>
You did it momma! Congratulations!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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Such a sweet birth story! Congratulations!
 

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Such a beautiful story! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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What a beautiful story. You have inspired me as I am 37 weeks, and new at the Natural birth thing.<br>
I got all teared up... especially at the end.
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">She worked to unwrap the cord from around Elsa’s neck and then I was handed my baby! Beautiful, pink, tiny little Elsa! She cried and looked right into my eyes! I couldn’t stop crying! I had done it! I had given birth, in the water, to my perfect little girl! One of the most joyful moments of my life!</td>
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Amy is my midwife also. Don't you just love her?<br>
How is your baby?<br>
It was exciting to hear a story about my midwife,and the way I want to do things, you have inspired me so much! Thank you!<br>
I need a doula bad!!! know anyone who is available?
 

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What a wonderful, inspiring story! Congratulations and thank you for sharing!
 

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Wonderful story- thank you so much for sharing it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Awww... Thanks mamas! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br>
For the details of my other 2 births (1 hospital Bradley birth and 1 HARD homebirth) you can see them at <a href="http://www.agentlerbirth.com" target="_blank">www.agentlerbirth.com</a>.<br>
I have to be thankful for my horrible hospital birth, because without it I wouldn't be the crazy, crunchy, hippy, homebirthin' doula I am today <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 
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