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Jackson was born January 30, 2005 (which was only a day off his due date) and it was easily the most amazing experience of my life.

First let me say that I had a wonderful pregnancy -- I have never felt healthier in my life than I did when I was pregnant. I laughed constantly. Really, all the time and at ANYTHING!

Anyway, it was Saturday night and my contractions started at about 11pm --our secondary midwife (our primary was on vacation) came to our place and stayed with us through the beginning stages when I tried to rest as much as I could through the pain. I can remember thinking to myself "God would never give me more pain than I could handle..." and that helped put the pain in perspective.

Leslie had to leave at 3am for another birth, but left us feeling confident as things were progressing. We decided to leave for the hospital at 7am as the contractions were getting incredibly painful. (We decided to have the baby at a hospital because this was our first and we not sure what to expect). The hospital was an hour away, and Jeff had to pull over at one point so I could throw up -- as he got out of the car, I thought "aww, he's going to rub my back as I'm barfing" when I realized he was peeing in the bushes from all the coffee he'd been drinking since midnight...
:

We arrived at the hospital at 8am and I needed to go to L&D in a wheelchair b/c it was TOOOO painful to walk. Leslie was supposed to meet us there, but was a few minutes late so the nurse there checked me to see how far along I was and I can tell you that was the worst experience of my entire labour (and there's some crazy stuff to come!). She was so rough, I felt like a cow being checked by a farmer....it was so ... sterile and mechanical...

Leslie got there a few minutes later and checked me again as I seemed to be in a lot of pain. Now, when she checked me she asked if what she was doing hurt, and I said NO and she seemed surprised by that (apparently she was helping dilate me somehow...) By 10:30 she broke my water and helped me dilate to 7cm. Compared to contractions, her 'checks' felt like nothing. At this point the Anesthesiologist was on the floor administering an Epidural to another woman in labour. Leslie asked me if I wanted one, explaining that it would probably prolong my labour and that it was progressing quickly at this point. So, I said no and figured my baby would be born any minute.

At that point my mom showed up as well as our tertiary midwife Kay. Kay had delivered hundreds of babies and I was sooo glad she was there. She saw how tired Leslie was (she'd been at 4 births in the past two days...) and sent her home.

Then everything changed.

Basically Jackson shifted to the posterior position and decided to sit and wait. The pain was excruciating. It's so hard to describe, I couldn't open my eyes and when the lunch cart came around I started dry-heaving. I would moan my way through each contraction while Kay would gently rub my let and tell me how great I was. ... all I could do was moan and/or scream. At about 2:00 Kay followed me into the bathroom and asked me if I wanted an epidural. I didn't know what to say, I thought she was against them (I knew nothing about Midwives or natural births at this point in my life). She said she thought I was in a lot of pain and that it might help if I had an epidural. I said OK, and she notified the on-call anesthesiologist who was out playing hockey with his son (it was, after all, Sunday).

She strapped me up to the baby monitor -- which hurt having anything on my body (at this point I was completely naked as ANYTHING that touched me hurt), I signed the papers and waited painfully for him.

Then the urge to push came. Kay checked me and sure enough I was fully dilated and ready to go (her words). They took off the monitor and I thought "OK, lets do this!" It was about 2:30pm. After an hour of pushing I felt exhausted and I remember at 3:40 saying to Kay "When the [email protected]#$ is this baby coming!!??" and she turned and looked at the clock and said "your baby will be here by 4:30"
"4:30!!!!!!!!!!! 4:30!!!!!!!!!!" I screamed at her "YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO SAY IN 5 MINUTES! AHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! GET THIS BABY OUT OF MEEEEEE!!! and all those wonderful things that are said under extreme duress.
I would push to the point where I thought my eyes would pop out and Kay would say, "good, now hold.....hold....the head is right there.....hoooollllld" and then he would slip back inside. I became so frustrated at one point that I yelled "Can't you just grab the [email protected]$ing head and pull it out!?" But, as Kay explained the baby need to come out in his own way.

And boy did he ever...

All I felt was pain....even to say that seems trivial and not able to capture the true meaning of the word *pain*...lights literally flashed inside my head and I screamed "I'M RIPPPPPPPPPINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! I had no idea I had even made a sound until opened my eyes and saw everyone looking at me, and Kay immediately informed me "that's called the burning ring of fire..." which I suppose was to make me feel better (didn't work), but the pain was gone. All those natural pain killers the body produces kicked in and started working overtime. I didn't feel any pain after this point.
What I found out later was that Jackson had decided to come out with his little hand balled up in a fist and placed firmly on his cheek. Soooo, when his head came out, so did his hand and then quickly his shoulder and at that point I put my hands down and pulled the rest of him on to my chest. I bawled hysterically as he was so perfectly beautiful. Within moments he was at my breast and I bawled again because it felt so ... right. Jeff asked me what it felt like to breastfeed and I told him that in my life my breasts have served a few different purposes (to fill out a dress, mark my entrance into womanhood, etc), but until that moment they had never served the RIGHT purpose. It just felt like that's what my body was meant to do

As for my rip....well, his "fisted head" caused my labia to rip up to my clitoris and my perineum ripped at the same time. Easily the worst pain I've ever had in my life, but the moment he was born I wanted to do it all again.

Really.
I am so glad that I did it without any drugs.

I found out later that when Leslie left she told Kay that she didn't think the baby would be born vaginally. When I went for my after care they both made a big deal telling me what a strong woman I was and what a great birth it was. (Kay also convinced Jeff and I NOT to circumcise Jackson and I will forever be grateful to her for that.)


Overall, it was the best experience of my life and incredibly empowering to know that you can endure that kind of pain, survive and want to do it again.
Baby #2 will (hopefully) be born naturally, and happily at home!
 

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Holy cow wow! That must have been...well beyond any imagination for me...to birth a child with their hand up to it's face. Congrats on getting through it!!
 

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Ouchy on the rip
: Thanks for sharing.
 

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Thanks for sharing your birth story!

My daughter was born with her hand near her head as well, she looked like she was raising her hand to ask a question

So I tore as well.. but like you said, I would do it all again in a heartbeat!
 
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