by Kara, USA
4am. I had gone to bed around 2am because baby girl(we knew she was a girl from the moment we found out we were pregnant) was already a night owl so I was up late…I had fallen asleep-finally-but I woke up suddenly with a cramp. I thought to myself, “I have to go to the bathroom, NOW!” I got up on my hands and knees because it hurt so bad and when I stood up, WOOSH! It literally made that sound and I said, “Um Chad, I think you need to wake up, I think my water just broke…” He leaned over and said, “I HEARD that!” So I waddled with my legs closed to the bathroom while I leaked…got into the bathtub and the rest of the water came out.
I asked Chad if he thought we should call Adrian, our midwife. He said definitely! So I took a quick shower and went downstairs to find her number. I felt SO bad calling her that early, but she assured me she was fine, used to it happening. She said babies seemed to have a way of knowing it was night and they liked to come then! She told me to monitor the contractions and that she had a few things to do before they got here, but to call her if the contractions started coming very close before she got there. At that point they had not even started, so she told me to try to go back to sleep and rest because I would need it. Of course, I was much too excited to sleep, so I got on the computer to update my Myspace account and to let everyone on the Mothering forum know that my water broke! I wanted to call everyone, but it was only 4:30 am by then, so I figured that no one would appreciate that! I posted on the forum and a few people replied that not everyone was asleep, in fact, someone on www.mothering.com wished me good baby vibes – Adrian had delivered her baby too! (She offered to cook for us during our babymoon too, wasn't that sweet?)
We got up and I showered (since I didn't know when I would be able to again) and got dressed. Then we got in the car and went to the pharmacy to pick up a couple of last minute things. I told the cashier I was having a baby and he asked me when. I told him I was in labor NOW and he just looked surprised and didn't know what to say. Something to talk about at break time, eh? HAH!
Then we went home and I sat down on the couch to relax. After I updated the internet friends, I ate a little bit because I wanted to be sure I would have energy for the work ahead. Chad and I finally tried to go back to bed and then my contractions started..of course! They were definitely not as bad as everyone had said they would be. So Chad started to fill up the birth tub and we called Adrian again and she told us that she would be by soon. She was stopping at the Birth Cottage to pick up some things and then they would be over. She said to call her if they got closer together. So I went upstairs and got in the regular bathtub while I waited for the birthing tub to fill. A few minutes later, Joy showed up. She was SO excited to be there, she kept going, “My baby is coming!” Chad brought me up some pineapples and some lunchmeat and some juice while I was in the bath tub. I labored in the tub for a while and Joy rubbed my back. Then the birthing tub was finally filled, so I jumped in there. It was so incredible being in the water, I was floating and I felt almost no pain at all.
After a little while Adrian and Anji came to the house. They checked my blood pressure and temperature, but didn't check dilation because I had tested positive for Group B Strep and they wanted to reduce risk of infection (since I was only using a hibiclens rinse and no antibiotics) and then they checked the baby's heartbeat, which was strong and quick! We chatted for a while and then more family came in. It was my mother and father, my father in law, mother in law and my sister in law who showed up next. Joy and Janet were upstairs with me while I was laboring and as the contractions got more intense, they were cheering me on, saying things like it wouldn't be long now and I could do it, it was the hardest work I would ever do, my baby was coming…To be honest, I love them to death, but it was wearing on my nerves at that point, I was tired and the contractions were getting stronger and did I mention I was tired? I told Chad to take them downstairs. So Chad asked them to make me something to eat. They ran down and made me a sandwich, which I had one bite of and thought to myself that I had better stop or it was coming back up! So I stopped eating and Chad just gave me sips of Recharge, a natural energy drink.
I was sooo tired at that point, I needed to rest. It was around 6pm and I had been laboring for 14 hours already. I started falling asleep in between contractions, which were about 4 minutes apart and man, did I need that break! Chad sat with me the whole time behind me and put cool washcloths on my head because it was so warm in the tub I was sweating. Adrian and Anji sat and let me rest, they were wonderful the whole time, I couldn't have asked for a better birth team than I had. I owe my sanity to all of them.
At about 7pm, I was starting to get antsy and wanted to have my baby out, so I asked Adrian if I could start pushing and Adrian said, “If you feel the need to push, then go ahead.” And so I did. I admit now that I just was rushing things and wanted to get it over with, so I pushed before I was ready. I regret that now, because after I pushed for about 45 minutes, I had made no progress and they made me stop so they could check me. I had reversed my labor by pushing too soon and closed my cervix back up to 4cm!!! I was so upset! So then I had to force myself to stop pushing, and that HURT LIKE HELL! I had to get up and stand in the shower by myself. I was crying and I just wanted to die, THIS was the pain everyone must have been talking about. This was worse than anything I had encountered before, not pushing when I wanted too was SO hard! So after an hour of crying in the shower with the water beating on me to try to relieve the pain, I begged Adrian to check me and see if I was ready. She did and I was! She suggested I not get back in the birthing tub because she thought the warm water would stall things, so I didn't. They got the bed set up with chuxs and then I hopped on (or more like waddled with difficulty!) The contractions were very strong at this time and I was READY to push!
I started the real pushing by kneeling on the bed and pushing against Chad (and in the process I smooshed him~sorry!! He got a nasty bruise and it hurt like heck he said!) Then I started pushing. It seemed to go slow, almost like I was in slow motion, it was weird, but better than not pushing. I was really holding back with being vocal though because I didn't want my mom or his mom to be concerned that I was in pain(even though I was!). Adrian kept telling me, you need to get vocal so they know this baby is coming, give them a few good screams to let them know we are almost done..lol..and boy did I! It felt great to let it go and I started yelling like mad, but much too high, almost like screaming. They kept saying that I needed to be loud, not high pitched, more like grunting really loudly because I was screeching and in the process, not breathing! Adrian kept telling me to breathe and I was hyperventilating, so they got out the oxygen. It was to help me slow down and concentrate. She put it on slowly and I calmed down while I worked to suck the air down, then she turned it up and I started gulping, so she turned it back down again and that was the trick to keep me breathing slowly and regularly. It also gave me an energy boost!
I finally got on my back and Adrian checked me again and said there was a tiny lip of cervix left, so she was going to hold it back while I pushed to get the head by and then we would be golden. I kept asking, “Am I close to the ‘ring of fire?'” This was something I had heard about on many forums and from many people that it was horrible, horrible pain and burning right before the baby was born and then the baby was out, so I think I had psyched myself out for it! She kept telling me that it wasn't that bad, that I wouldn't even think about it, wouldn't even feel it, once it happens it is over so quick you won't remember and she was so right! When I got to getting her out, I didn't feel anything bad. It was such a rush to have her out!
It was almost 9:18 and I had been pushing for about 45 minutes. I was very anxious about the time and here's why. About 2 weeks before, I had a dream about Nanny, my deceased grandmother. She is who I was naming my daughter after and I knew she was sending my baby to me. I dreamed I was in a car with her and we were at a shopping plaza. All of the stores were closed and I looked at the clock and it read 9:18pm. I commented about how it was weird all the stores were already closed because it wasn't 9:30pm(which is the normal time most stores close) and Nanny told me that was because the clock was wrong and it was actually 10:18pm. So I knew that Lea would be born at one of those times. I was hoping for the earlier time..lol..but I guess I always knew it would be the later time. So as 9:18 came and went, I knew it was crunch time. I started really paying attention to my pushing, breathing and getting this baby out.
Finally, Adrian said she could see the baby's head and she put a mirror up so Chad could see it. He said it was huge and he told me he thought “how can she get something that big out” and then I pushed again and it got bigger. He said he almost passed out! So I kept pushing and asking what time it was and when the ring of fire was coming. I was pretty single-minded about the ring of fire..lol…so her head was crowning and I was pushing and Adrian told me this was it. A big contraction came and I bore down HARD because I was not letting her go back again, she was coming out this time! I never felt the ring of fire at all after all that worrying, all I felt was the completely awesome feeling of her sliding out of me, knowing I was meeting my baby finally! And guess what? It was 10:18pm!
She was a beautiful, healthy, alert little girl. They handed her over to me immediately and we looked at her, they put a hat on her and she started nursing. Then they told me I had to deliver the placenta and I gave a little push and it came right out. It splashed out of the bowl onto Adrian's new pants(sorry Adrian!) and then they took it downstairs to freeze it so we could plant it in the spring with a tree in memory of both of my Leas.
Here I was holding my baby and loving it. So they asked me if I needed anything. I was STARVING and said I wanted two things: some Advil(which I couldn't have during the pregnancy..) and something to eat! So they got me stitched up because Lea had her hand in her face when she came out and it tore me a little. That didn't take long, even though I was nervous about the needle to numb me, but at that point, I couldn't feel anything anymore and I was done, so I was good. I stared at my lovely little girl and then the family started coming upstairs to see her. Then they took her to weigh her and measure her, so I got up and went downstairs so I could eat. They made me a sandwich and I had birthday cake for Chad, since by then it was HIS birthday(but Lea came on her own birthday! Now we can celebrate for 2 whole days!).
Everyone was amazed at how good I was doing with no drugs and how alert Lea was. My mom hugged me and told me that I was a stronger woman than her and she never would have been able to do it. My dad told me how proud of me he was. Chad's mom and dad couldn't stop saying how amazing it was and how perfect Lea was, especially without being drugged out. Joy was so ecstatic about her little girl and Janet was just in awe. No one thought I could do it, much less at home and without any drugs but I did! I was very proud of myself and of Lea, she worked very hard too and she was a little trooper!
Everyone asks me how it was and I am honest, except for the hour I had to not push, it was a cakewalk. Yes, it hurt, but it was a good hurt and not a constant hurt and besides, it was worth every minute of it! My beautiful baby was worth a hundred hours of labor(but thank goodness it wasn't! ). I would and will do it again, life willing, birth is the most amazing, wonderful, fulfilling thing I have ever done in my life.