On Tuesday, March 3, 2009, I awoke with more energy than I had had in months. With a day off from work I took the opportunity to spend cleaning up the house and arranging the baby things.
I began feeling pain in my lower back that would come in waves; being mildly intense for a couple minutes and going away for 10 to 30 minutes before coming back again. During these moments I would feel warm and flushed and unable to concentrate on anything else but the pain. I rolled out my Pilates/birthing ball and would get on all fours leaning into the ball for the duration of the pain.
I began to get excited that labor was coming and called my out-of-state mom to tell her and ask if it was true. She said it sounded possible that it was starting and told me just to rest and relax, listen to some soothing music, pray, read the Bible, and sleep when possible. I turned on the music and tried to rest, but was so excited and full of energy that after some time in prayer, I kept cleaning, took a shower, and made sure everything was ready.
The pains continued like that all day, and when hubby came home I told him the happy news: “the baby is coming!” We tried to just rest and talk together, and made sure everything was ready for going to the birth center and packed near the door. Night came and we went to sleep, me waking every so often with continuing pains that were getting stronger and lasting longer. Morning came and hubby left for school with instructions for me to call him if things got more intense.
I rested all day, till evening, when I supposed to go to work, but called in to tell them labor was starting. I thought my water broke because a little liquid I kept leaking and hubby called the midwife who said to come in and get it checked. I did and learned it was probably the mucus plug and that I was at 3 c. We went home to wait.
Thursday went the same way till hubby came home from school, then I was tired of being cooped up so we went out to eat some spicy food and walked a whole department store beginning to end, with me pausing every so many feet for contractions that I was starting feel throughout my whole abdomen as well as my back. We went home certain it would be any minute, but once home everything stopped. No pains, nothing. We went to bed at 10 PM a little disappointed.
At 1:30 AM I woke for the first time that night with a pain near my cervix. While I wondered what it was, a huge gush of liquid gushed all over the bed and I calmly told hubby, “I think my water just broke”. He got up, looked and said “Yep”. We sat there and laughed and talked a few minutes, then he called the midwife and the birth center and my mom, and we took everything downstairs to the car.
Even though I was going into labor I was calm, but I still made sure hubby took the extra car seat and the bag of baby boy clothes for the “surprise twin boy” I knew was inside. (LOL no twin despite my firm believe all through the third trimester) Hubby did everything I asked without every saying I was crazy, but with his bum knee he just hurt falling on the ice and his crutches, I’m sure he hated every extra thing he had to pack.
We got to the birth center at 2 AM and I was dilated to 5 cm. I was worried we came too soon even though my water had broken, because I was not having any contractions. I did not like the nurse that was on call and she was making me nervous. She took my blood pressure and said it was too high, and ordered me to lie on my left side on the bed. As soon as I did, the contractions started coming, as well as heartburn. I was miserable and freaking out that I would end up having to labor in bed.
Lying on my side with all that heartburn was torture and I kept rolling to my back or my right side and she would come find me and tell me to get back on my left side. I started throwing up from the pains and the heartburn which made everything worse. No one ever mentioned throwing being a part of labor!
My Midwife showed up and asked how I was, and I told her miserable, and she asked why I wasn’t in the tub. She told me to get out of bed and get moving around. So I started rocking on the birth ball which helped my pains that were coming stronger by that point. The nurse told her the baby’s heart rate was high and my BP was up so I should really lie still, but she said I would be fine and kept getting me ready for the tub.
As soon as the tub was full and ready, somewhere around 3:30 or 4 AM, I was dilated to 7 and having much more pain. I was fully ready to get in the water and was relieved to find it helped my back pain immensely. My hubby put on some music and called his sister, my birth coach, to let her know we were progressing.
Laboring in the tub was far easier than the time I’d spent on the bed or the ball and I was relaxed and calm. My BP returned to a safe number and the baby’s heart rate relaxed, too. By 5 AM I was at 9+ cm, my sister-in-law was there, and the midwives were having a shift change. They encouraged me it would not be long now! I was feeling a lot of hot and cold flashes, and during pains, an agitated-ness. I got tired of the music and light and had the dimmer put on and the music turned off. My SIL kept putting cool rags on my forehead and fanning me, and I would make her stop when I got cold.
Finally I said I felt like I should push and the midwife said to try.
Between contractions I was happy and smiling, I still had minor back pains but the water helped. During contractions, my back hurt so much I couldn’t feel anything else, and I was having trouble pushing. I would start pushing when I felt the pain become greater (in my back) and be tired of pushing as the actual contraction started. My midwife encouraged me to push “during” contractions for better results.
Tired as I was, I was getting frustrated and I told her I didn’t know when to push and asked her to show me. She helped me breathe through the pain and with my hand on my stomach, showed me when my stomach was contracting. By waiting through the back pain and feeling each contraction that way, I was able to push more effectively, but the baby’s head was turned sideways and was having trouble coming out.
I was getting so tired and frustrated and the water was cold. At this point I was undecided on a water birth. I knew I wanted to labor in the tub, but was still unsure about how it would actually “be” to give birth under water. I wasn’t opposed, just unsure. The midwife had me get out for a bit while they changed the water and had me sit on all fours with my head and belly down, to try to turn the baby.
I tried this position for awhile with the midwife, med student and hubby each taking turns pressing into my back during the pains. Really, the midwife was the only one who could give any sort of relief. I couldn’t handle the back pain, the contractions were too difficult to feel in that position, and I still wasn’t pushing properly.
The midwife had me try the toilet to get the idea of how to push and this worked wonders! Suddenly, pushing was going better and even the pain was not as great as on all fours. I stayed there for a few contractions, which I was finally getting the hang of, and then she told me if I didn’t want a toilet baby, I better get into position. With the bed being so painful, I opted for the tub, knowing full well it would be a water birth.
I don’t know how much longer it took, I know I was getting hungry and everyone said if I hurried I could have breakfast. I was pushing better and the pain was nearly unnoticeable in the tub.I puked a few times which actually helped and was easier than pushing, so I was glad. When she came out at 10:19 AM, the midwife lifted her out of the water and into my arms. She was creamy and warm and was finally here! MY own baby. Hubby cut the cord, they lifted her from me to help me out of the tub, wrapped me up in a sheet and helped me to the bed.
I don’t remember a lot at that point. Hubby went with Isabelle, which was only on the other side of my bed, to rub in the vernix, weigh/measure and “grade” her. My uterus quit contracting causing me to bleed quite significantly. I delivered the placenta, was given pitocin to help control the bleeding, and once everything was okay, was stitched up for a small tear.
I was so tired, and after propping up with pillows, I took my sweet baby girl and nursed her for the first time. Hubby was on the phone with my mom, and soon had called everyone in his family, too. He left, and came back with a huge breakfast and once she finished nursing, I was finally able to eat. It’s one of the best meals I ever remember eating; a satisfying meal after a hard, long yet rewarding, job well done.
Jessica “Isabelle” weighed 8 lbs 7 oz, scored 9 on all her apgar tests, received no vacs or eye goop, and was home with us in two days. (She was released the same day; I was kept to keep an eye on my hemoglobin) It was a perfect birth, and was everything hubby and I prayed it would be.
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