This was a beautiful pregnancy. I felt better, wasn't riddled with hyperemisis, gained less weight, etc. But the end of the pregnancy was filled with the stressed of a long, long, stalled labor.
All morning yesterday (starting from the night before, actually, oh and the day before. Did I mention I have long and unpredictable pre-labors? ), I was having very painful contractions, but not close enough together. I texted my friend Lisa about to just give up because if they were that strong, that far apart, how in the world was I going to make it naturally?? I had spent my new years being released from the birth center, and had actually reversed in dilation because I was in such despair. I longed for a natural birth, and had even read books on pain-free birthing, but that night as I walked back to the car, I said, "Pain-free birth, my a__."
I spent the entire next day in a depressed state, as only a fully pregnant woman with raging hormones and a stalled labor could be. Some close friends, one a mother of eleven children, came over and brought peace and courage with them. As I rested, and took some time to pray and thank God for the greater scheme of things, my contractions came back.
They eventually got closer, and so painful all I could do was lay down for several hours and try to sleep through them. I was at home, at a 4 cm. We made some calls to our midwife friend, and she suggested laboring at home for as long as possible. When we went in at 12 pm, and I was zonked. Lethargic, tired, and done! Contractions finally got to 5 apart on the way down, and I was so relieved that they were progressing instead of waning.
It was my favorite least midwife on call again, but this time I didn't care. Kadence was coming out! I was 5-6 cm so I was in. I went in the tub, which was great, but a little awkward to be naked in front of so many people (just nurses, midwives, my husband, and mom) but I soon didn't care, because the thought of clothes clinging to my laboring body was deplorable. I spent an hour in the tub, actually able to relax my muscles and jaw like I'd been trying to all day. It was a lot easier without gravity to do so. I had worship music going on, and could literally feel liquid peace coming out of the speakers. I got out to use the restroom, and felt a million times better than when I came, so I stayed out and went to the birthing ball. The entire time, I was able to listen to the little nudgings my body told me, and when I listened, there was no pain. This was something I wasn't able to do in my hospital birth, and it was so liberating.
The midwife came in to check me and I had gone to 8 cm in an hour or so (3 pm). I was chatting away with Jeff and my mom, texting my long distant friends, laughing through contractions. At 4 pm, I was 8-9 cm and they broke my water. Every now and then, during a contraction, I felt a bit of an urge to push. It was hard to decipher, because I had an epidural with my first. I still had a tiny bit of cervix left so I needed to wait to avoid making it swell or tear.
I went to the water to see if it would help. The contractions were becoming more intense, and I was much more uncomfortable. I couldn’t find a right position, which frustrated me, especially with only a 30 second break to move to find one. I wanted out, but didn’t have the motivation or strength. Then I vomited all over myself in the tub. Lovely! But it was the unpleasant motivation I needed to get out.
I got out, and moved to the exercise ball. Wasn’t working. Moved to the bed, couldn’t sit up well enough. I was restless, and in another state of mind (In retrospect, I imagine I looked like a dog spinning and spinning in circles looking for the perfect position to lay down). Finally Jeff sat behind me on the bed and supported my back. I was able to rest between contractions on his chest. The midwife came in, and started blabbing about a baby in the room over while I was trying to concentrate on being in transition. With all my frustrations prior that I’d remained silent about, this was NOT the time to let it slide. So I said, “I can’t focus!” She looked at me in a funny way, and I said, I need quiet!!” Offended as she was, she shut her trap. (I found out later that the baby she was talking about was born downstairs, moments prior, and was 11 lbs. I suppose I would have been talking about it, too if I weren't working on my own baby.)
Things seemed to plateau. The nurses suggested moving to a different position, because I had been in the same one for too long, and that was probably slowing things down. The tub wasn’t working for me, and they apparently knew it was about time to push, but I was so frustrated by not being able to find a position to alleviate the pain, I couldn’t think, and tried their suggestions. I tried squatting on the edge of the bed. It was working, but my legs were so tired. Another midwife came in, and took charge.
She had them set up a birthing stool/ bench. I had never seen one before, but it was amazing. They set it up by the doorway, with Jeff supporting me from behind. They had me put one foot on each side of the doorway, and push that way. It was so different than my last birth. I could feel right when that stubborn cervix moved to let her out. I felt her slide down, and when she went around the corner, my mega pushing instincts kicked in, and felt progress with every push. It was encouraging. The midwife helped stretch my perineum through the whole process.
They were ready to have me move to the end of the bed, just as she was crowning, to reduce tearing. But I reached down and felt her head coming out and thought to myself that there was no way I was walking over there like that with her so close to being out! It was apparent that I wasn't moving anywhere, though I had nodded, "Ok" because with two more contractions and sets of pushing, and I pulled her out onto my chest!
I didn’t tear, and walked myself over to the bed to deliver the placenta (which was a bit stubborn, but after a bit came out without problems). And after a bit of paperwork and two quick family visits, we walked out the door baby in hand, 4 and a half hours after giving birth! We drove home and slept with our precious new baby in our own bed in a dreamy cloud, thinking, this is the way it was meant to be. I'm so blessed.
January 2nd, 2010
8 lbs 1 oz, 20.5”