by Jennifer, USA
My entire second pregnancy (or just about) was a very different adventure than my first. I was much sicker, I craved protein instead of carbs, and I contracted every day from about 8 weeks on. As my due date got closer and closer my contractions got more and more powerful. I felt teased every single day not knowing if they were turning into the real thing or not.
On February 13, I started having much more intense contractions starting right when I got up, but they were very infrequent and didn't last long. Toward evening they picked up some speed, maybe every 5-7 minutes lasting about 50 seconds…not that I was counting. 🙂 I knew I wanted to get some rest, so I took some Bach's Rescue Remedy, a warm shower, and got into bed. It was hard to sleep, but I did rest between contractions, which had slowed to be about every 10-15 minutes. I was using my breathing techniques and relaxation techniques that I had worked so hard on the past 9 months. I felt great.
By morning, I wanted to get the show more on the road, and I felt like sitting around at home wasn't going to cut it. So we took T to preschool, E moved his work schedule around, and we hit the grocery stores. We walked every single aisle at two very large grocery stores and my contractions starting being pretty intense and coming every 4-5 minutes. I used my techniques I'd practiced and the walking made it bearable. Even when we got to the car, I'd have E pull over (when possible) so I could walk out each contraction. I even walked at the parking lot at one of E's dealerships where he needed to stop. When we reached home, they were about 1-2 minutes apart and lasting a pretty long time. I called the midwife to come.
I was going to try to make lasagna so that I could keep moving through my contractions – sitting still made them a million times worse. However I couldn't even get the ingredients out without having contractions I had to work through. So I decided to go ahead and get in my bathtub for some relaxation (I hoped). My contractions did slow (though they were just as intense) when I got in the tub, and E had to go pick up T from school, so I was alone until the midwife arrived.
I welcomed the time alone to center myself. I was really feeling like I couldn't do this much longer…I was trying to find a more comfortable position when I heard a knock on the door. I soon realized E had accidentally left the front door locked. I waited for the current contraction to pass and then I called the midwife. I had her check for another door and eventually got her in. She came in and I told her how discouraged I was feeling…how this was a dumb idea to think I could do this…and that I knew I was probably only 3 cm with days of labor left to go. E arrived home with T but I didn't want T coming in and making me close up, so the midwife asked E to keep T away from me and to get him down for his nap.
I started getting the shakes and feeling nauseated. I was just so down. I got out of the tub for a change and the contractions that ensued were back to back. This entire time I had been calm during my surges – counting, singing, breathing, visualizing, etc. When I got out of the tub I definitely started the traditional moaning you hear laboring women do. I was really getting disheartened and I was so tired. I told the midwife I just wanted to lie down and rest a while. So I got in my bed and peacefully slept for about 5 minutes. Then I woke up to a doozie of a contraction. It felt different than other ones. Then all of a sudden, mid-contraction, my belly pushed!!! I honestly had zero control and there burst my water!
The midwife was shocked. She didn't think it was very likely I was at this stage because of how lucid and calm I was. She started scrambling to get set up and called the assistant midwife to come stat! We got E from T's bedroom. After 37 minutes of pushing, K was born with her hand presenting with her head! 9 lbs 1 oz and a hand! And I did it!!! Before I could even pick her up I looked at the midwife and said – I did it.
I held her on my chest and she was pink and breathing easily. She promptly peed and pooped. After a few minutes we checked to see if she was a girl or boy. E made the discovery. We were delighted! It took us about 45 minutes to settle on a name.
I can't believe she was born after only 4.5 hours of active labor. The birth was so gentle she didn't really even cry. She started getting sleepy around 4 (she was born at 2:37), so E held her while T looked on, and I took a shower. T had amazingly slept through the whole thing and had just woken up to join us. What a surprise for him! Then I snuggled down in bed with my new little bundle. No IVs, no pushy doctors, no epidural, no unnecessary meds, not even one exam. K came in her own time and way (hand up!). Not to mention no NICU!
I really wanted to accomplish this and I did. I love how this all turned out. I don't necessarily feel like superwoman like some people do post partum…but I do feel so empowered to have accomplished a goal I'd worked so hard on for so very long. A goal I came very close to giving up on.