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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> warning--very long!!!<br><br>
I woke up at 3:30am, Saturday, January 27th [exactly 3 weeks before our “due date”] with a terrible backache and starving! I had been in a state of fitful sleep since about 12:30, tossing and turning and waking every few minutes. I decided to go downstairs and get something to eat since I was fiercely hungry. I made a slice of cheese toast and stood in front of the oven eating it because my back felt better standing [that should have been my first sign!].<br><br>
I was still so hungry after the first piece that I made a second piece and decided to write a few business letters while eating. While eating the second piece, I was constantly fidgeting and grumpily thinking that we should throw away the stool I was sitting on because it was too uncomfortable for anyone to sit on [that should have been my second sign!]. I finished the toast and the letters and then needed to go upstairs to use the bathroom [that should’ve been my third sign! But I can be pretty dense!]. I thought about getting back into bed with Damian but decided that I felt too fidgety and would just drive him crazy, so I decided to go downstairs and lay down on the guest bed. I got in bed looked at the clock and noted that it was 3:28am and fell asleep almost immediately, stirring around every few minutes thinking about my aching back and needing to get to the chiropractor soon.<br><br>
At 4:34am, I woke up to a distinct popping feeling inside my lower belly. I immediately remembered the feeling from when my son was born [a mere 24 years ago!] and stood up to grab a towel from the laundry basket at the end of the bed. When I bent over, about a half a cup of clear amniotic fluid [it was shimmering, like liquid crystal] flowed down my leg and I realized that I had grabbed a pair of yoga pants, not a towel! Oh well, I stuffed them between my legs and waddled over and got the Doppler and listened to the baby, the heart tones were in the 140’s.<br><br>
As I started up the staircase, I said a silent prayer that I would open to this experience with as much ease and grace as the universe would allow. Then I went up to the bathroom to get a cloth pad and when I urinated I had a small amount of bloody show. I decided to wake Damian up and tell him that this was the day we would finally meet our new baby girl and when I got into bed with him he immediately asked if I was ok and wondered where I had been. I told him that I had eaten a snack and slept on the guest bed for a while and that my water had just broken. He wanted to know if we needed to leave right away and I said no, that I would just call Louise, our midwife, and let her know. While I was waiting for the answering service to connect the call, Damian said, “You’re shaking, are you ok?” I said that I was excited and a little scared! Louise came on the phone line and asked what was going on. I told her that my water had broken and that it was clear and that I was not having any “real” contractions yet.<br><br>
Funny, just as with my labor with my son, that really bad, “intermittent backache” didn’t click with me as “labor.” Louise suggested that we stay in bed and get as much rest as possible and talk with her again later in the morning, unless things “picked up.” I hung up the phone and we lay and cuddled for a little while and then remembered that we didn’t have anything packed yet! So Damian decided that he would get up and pack and I would stay in bed and tell him what to get and where stuff was. That lasted for about 10 minutes! I decided that my back was much happier with me upright and that after we were done packing I would take a shower and then try to lie down again.<br><br>
Right around this time, I realized that my “backache” was actually regular contractions about five minutes apart and that I probably was not going to be doing any more sleeping! I helped Damian with gathering stuff and decided to go online and quickly post the news to my mothering.com due date club [February 2007]. While doing that I realized that I no longer wanted anything to do with sitting, I HAD to be upright and moving! It was about 5am now and I realized that the last “expansion” had caused me to make a lot of noise. When the next one came, it was very intense, and I said to Damian, “that one meant business!” He asked me to stop helping him gather up stuff and just lay down and I told him that it felt a lot better to be upright. I finished getting all of stuff we needed from upstairs and headed down to help him finish up and noticed that not only was I making a lot of noise [groaning and sighing] the pace had definitely picked up and they were only about 4 minutes apart now. Damian asked me again if we should leave and I said, “Yes, I just need to go to the bathroom and I’ll call Louise while I’m up there and let her know that we’re heading over.”<br><br>
While the answering service was connecting us a really strong contraction came and I got on my hands and knees on our bed. I was breathing really loud and groaning when Louise got on the line and she waited until it was over and asked me if I was ready to come in. I said yes [I absolutely could not imagine riding in the car after it got even more intense!] and she reminded me to breathe slow. I went back downstairs and Damian went outside and brought the car up really close to the house so I wouldn’t have to walk so far. When he came back in we ran around [me in short bursts between contractions] picking up last minute stuff and then were ready to go!<br><br>
It was 9 degrees outside and Damian was worried that I would be really cold but when I stepped outside, it felt WONDERFUL! I had a really strong urge to just stay outside for a while and enjoy the crisp feel of the winter air. The drive was very interesting and surreal. It felt really peaceful even though Damian went fairly fast, even “rolling” through a few stops! Somewhere during this, I asked him to please not ask me after EVERY contraction if I was OK, feeling like I needed to form an answer each time was taking way too much effort. During contractions I was just moaning a lot and breathing loud and in between I felt like I had slipped into a really mind-altered state. We were driving through a rural area with lots of woods and cranberry bogs and everything was shimmering and sparkly and the sky was incredibly clear with lots of star visibility. The sun was just rising as we were pulling up to the hospital entry.<br><br>
I had one last contraction in the car and then made a run for the door, hoping to get there and inside before another one came. I did and made it to the desk where we would check in. The woman, who, in her defense, was trying to be helpful, kept offering me a wheelchair, and the last thing in the whole world I wanted to do was sit! So I kept saying no and she kept offering until we were processed and began our walk over to the maternity wing. I had two on the way over and while waiting for the buzzer to be answered at the ward. When we walked in, everyone was really nice and quiet and greeted us with a wave of calm. There was none of the frenetic bustling that I have seen at so many hospital births. We walked across the ward to our room and the nurse had already lowered all the lights and filled the tub for me, she just needed to listen to the baby for a few contractions before I could get in. They asked if I wanted anything and I asked for water, cranberry juice and a yogurt.<br><br>
Around this time, I stopped trying to pay attention to everything going on and just let myself drift down into a really low and quiet place but I must’ve been still listening on some level because I heard Louise arrive in the room and greet us and then I heard her and the nurse saying that heart tones sounded great. I immediately said if she sounds great I want to get in the tub now and Louise said sure! I stood up and stripped off clothes on the way across the room to the tub and when I lowered myself down into the water on my hands and knees, I instantly realized I had burned a huge blister on my hand when I made the toast earlier! OUCH! As soon as I settled into the tub Damian asked if he could go move our car. Louise said don’t worry about it, it can just stay put and he said, “but I left it running!” We all had a good laugh about that and I asked him to just go and hurry.<br><br>
While he was gone, I realized that I could feel that I was “holding back” and that it was because I was afraid of the unknowns for the baby. All the fears I had had regarding Down Syndrome were really surfacing. It was strange that I felt so “liquid” and yet I also could have these rational brain thoughts. Louise was sitting quietly by the tub watching me. I looked into her eyes and said, “I think I’m scared of the unknowns with the baby. Every possible bad outcome is haunting me. I keep asking myself if the echogenic bowel is from Down’s, if the tongue thrusting we could see at the last ultrasound was from Down’s…I think I just need to voice the fears or I’m going to be overcome by them.” She shared with me that she was my age when her last child was born and she had had the some of the same fears. As she told me this, the next contraction came and washed over me completely, it felt as if the act of speaking the fear had opened the door to the next level of intensity.<br><br>
I reached my hand out to her and looked into her eyes and she grabbed my hand and reminded me to go with the noises and just ride it out. When it was over I looked up and Damian was back. She checked me and said I was 6 centimeters and the baby’s head was really low. I sank into the really deep place again and every contraction was just get ready, stay as relaxed as possible, breathe, groan, listen to baby, drink juice or water, laugh and talk after it was over, repeat. After about five more really vocal contractions, I had some bloody show and she checked me again—8-9 centimeters this time and she asked if I could start getting ready to move to the other room—hospital rules did not allow the actual birth in the tub.<br><br>
I had one more contraction lying down and pushing and it was so intense that the only way I could relax my body was to flap my right hand back and forth really rapidly while the rest of me was totally relaxed. The thought crossed my mind that I had seen so many Latina women do that in El Paso and sometimes we would suggest that they should relax their hands more. Now I was realizing what s useful purpose it served to just let that small area hold the “tension” so the whole rest of the body could completely relax! When it was over I moved to my knees at the other end of the tub for the next two. Then I stood up and stepped over to the outside of the tub for the next one. Then before the next one, I made it across the room to the side of the bed. After that one, I made it onto my hands and knees facing the back of the bed, draped over the top of the bed.<br><br>
My whole pregnancy, I had imagined that I would give birth on my hands and knees, primarily because I wanted to avoid the intense sacral pain I had felt in my first labor, but as soon as I was in that position, I had to get out of it as soon as possible! It felt like my hip sockets had so much pressure that my legs were just going to “pop out” of socket as she moved down the birth canal! I quickly flipped over and then my sacrum felt like it was exploding and I started to get a cramp in my right leg socket! As I was trying to put this into words, I felt the baby move down significantly and then Louise was telling Damian on my left and the nurse on my right to let me lay slightly on my left side and hold the weight of my legs for me so they could just relax.<br><br>
Whew! It immediately felt better and with the next push I reached down and felt her head. I didn’t feel the “ring of fire,” I felt more of a numbed out from the pressure feeling and kept my had there while pushing, Louise was quietly saying, “push, push” and then, “blow, blow, blow, stop, stop, ok,” and then, excitedly, “Look at her spin!” I think I had an internal chuckle when I heard that, having myself seen how amazing it is to see babies “spin” their way out. Between the “blow” and the “stop,” I felt a sudden release of pressure and knew that her head was completely out and that I had torn, but there was so much pressure that it didn’t really hurt. I cupped her head in my hand and pushed two more times for her shoulders and then she was out!<br><br>
Louise scooped her over onto my belly and I heard myself say, “You’re finally here! We love you so much!” For about 30 seconds she had the funniest expression on her face that completely looked like a shocked, “what the heck just happened?” I pulled her higher up toward my chest and Damian leaned in and hugged us both. We were crying and petting her and everyone just respectfully melted into the background. I heard 8:20am announced as her birth time and APGARS of 8 and 9 announced and we just kept petting her and telling her that we loved her and how glad we were that she was finally here. The “mommy” nurse picked up our camera and took some pictures of us and asked me if I needed something to drink. Louise asked if the cord was still pulsing and when I felt of it, it wasn’t empty yet so we let it be, cutting it seemed like a good idea because it was very short and we couldn’t lift her up closer to us because of it.<br><br>
After about 10 minutes, Damian cut the cord and I put her to my breast. She licked me a few times and then latched right on, with her eyes open really wide, looking at us. I had a small gush of blood and we thought the placenta had separated but when I pushed, the cord came out, only NOT attached to the placenta! So I pushed and squatted and sat and still no placenta. So I got a shot Pitocin and we waited…and waited…finally, after almost an hour, Louise asked how I felt about her going after it. She thought she could grab the edge with a tissue forceps and when she tried, she was able and it came right out! I needed a few stitches but was having a lot of trouble holding still for them and the examination, so she offered me a tiny bit of Stadol for the pain, if I wanted it.<br><br>
I accepted it and Damian and Sophia sat together while I got 4 stitches. While Louise was putting them in, one of the nurses cleaned the tub and refilled it with fresh water and as soon as the stitches were finished the three of us went back to the bath. Sophia unfurled like a little mermaid, waving her arms through the water and quietly looking us with the most intense expression on her face. We spent almost an hour in there, just enjoying looking at her and talking to her. Then Damian held her again and I took a shower and washed my hair before we went to our room. By 11am, we were settled in an making phone calls to our friends and families. It was wonderful and exciting but yet at the same time it also felt very ordinary and just like a “day in the life of a family”! I never imagined that I would have a complication of pregnancy [pregnancy induced hypertension] that would require birthing in a hospital, but we had a wonderful midwife and a very magical and non-interventive birth in spite of the location.<br><br>
peace & blessings,<br>
Lisa
 

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beautiful story...thank you for sharing it.<br><br>
i loved your descriptions of the feelings and thoughts you were having throughout labor and the hand flapping detail was great.<br><br>
congratulations on your baby girl!
 

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Congratulations on your new baby girl! Great storytelling too.
 

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You know that was such an awsome and peaceful birth story. When I finished reading it I just exhaled and said wow. Congrats momma!
 

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your story was so wonderful you made me want to give birth again and dd is only 2 months old!!!!!!!
 
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