BH= braxton hicks, which are practice contractions
cm= centimeters & 10cm= completely dilated
DD = dear daughter
Robyn is our midwife. Becky the student midwife. Both started Inspiration Family Birth Center
As I was lying in bed Sunday night I heard a loud pop... my water broke! I checked baby's heartbeat with my Doppler. Praise the Lord it was good! I wasn't having contractions so...
I went back to bed. I was nesting, packing & getting ready in my head so realized I'd sleep better if I just got some things out of the way; that would get my mind to stop thinking of all that needed done. Then I'd rest.
As I was up & around I began to have BH. I did some squats & Taylor siting while organizing. Was going to climb back in bed when Andrew woke up. I said you don't have to go to work - my water broke! As we lay there talking I had my 1st contraction. The pattern was 8-10min <1min as we packed.
Once we were in the car I called Robyn, asked her to check my progress at the birth center on our way to my parent's place. It took us 2 hrs to get to the birth center.
I had started throwing up at home & feeling increased pressure in the car. I had already mentally prepared myself to ignore this and not think of it as transition since it happens with every other monthly.
During the ctx I sang, praised God, prayed, repeated verses & vocalized. They weren't what I thought a contraction would feel like. Due to 2 childhood falls on my tailbone & chronic sciatic as an adult (I had been able to alleviate it naturally, but it can flare up in pregnancy) I thought the contractions would be more noticeable in my back. In theory, I was a good candidate for increased back pain. But I contribute the lack there of, to Chiropractic care & very little sugar (because it causes inflammation) in my diet. In between contractions I didn't even feel in labor.
We arrived at Inspiration Family Birth Center at 9:50am. I hoped that I'd be around half way dilated. The midwife in me thought that was wishful thinking, since by this point I'd only had regular contractions for three hours. I told Robyn 'feel free to stir things up' (stretch & sweep) since we're on the clock now due to my water rupturing. She agreed. In both our minds we thought she was going to have to.
When Robyn said I was 8cm/+2 the 1st words out of my mouth were Halleluiah!! Needless to say, we were all surprised! Robyn encouraged us to hurry to my parent's! And that she'd be heading that way too!
We arrived at my parent's at 10:40am. I asked Andrew to only unload the one main suitcase, even though we had a car full (we thought it was going to be a long labor) We were greeted by my mom's beaming face & beautiful, excited smile- That will be a treasured memory.
It was such a relief to be out of the car. I literally ran to the shower :-D I only stopped to greet & hug my mom on the way by. That hot water was heavenly! All woman in labor should at least try the shower or tub!
I have told woman that if they could reach 8cm it's pretty much the same amount of intensity to 10cm. In other words don't be afraid “If this is what 8cm feels like Yikes! what's 10cm going to feel like!” You may start feeling increased pressure, different sensations, but you're there! I can now confirm it really is true. Actually, for me, it felt even more manageable, probably because I wasn't laboring in the car anymore. With the endorphins & other God given hormones I felt I was able to relax in between ctx.
Robyn arrived soon after; yet before she got to the house I was feeling pushy. Stopping the shower, I filled up the bathroom tub; then I rested between ctx. We decided not to use the official birth tub/pool since as low as baby felt I didn't think we'd have it ready in time.
In between a ctx. Almost 10cm
I was trying to stay with low, deep vocalizing even though I was getting louder as the contractions got stronger. When I started practice pushing in the tub, it didn't feel right so I checked myself & said I think I have an anterior lip. Anterior lip means I was 10cm except for a piece of cervix caught between the pubic bone & baby's head. Closest analogy is imagine your finger being caught in a door. Ya, ouch!
I got out of the tub to work away the lip with different positions & walking. The contractions had spaced so I needed to get out anyway. I'd have to ask Robyn, but I wonder how long it took me to actually get out of the tub since I didn't want to. The water just felt so good! Eventually Robyn was able to reduce the lip. Once I was completely dilated I began pushing. Robyn said at 1st she could feel that Baby moved down very well. Then Baby seemed to get stuck.
We altered positions seeing if we could shift baby into a better position & get some progress. Squatting, side lying, supine, hands & knees. I remember asking what more I could do. Feeling like I wasn't pushing long enough. Musing out loud that we should do something to make the ctx last longer. I could feel the midwife in me thinking of ideas and solutions. Robyn reminded me it was for a reason, maybe a short contraction is all baby could handle (it's normal for the baby's oxygen levels to drop during a ctx; the longer the ctx the less oxygen the baby gets).
Spacing off at times is normal. We like to call it labor land. God designed our bodies to release beneficial hormones to make us sleepy. It makes laboring women look like they're sleeping in between contractions, some really do sleep. During the pushing stage I mostly kept my eyes closed between ctx. I may have looked asleep, but I remember being very aware of my surroundings.
My mom came in 'cause Baby's head was visible & we thought Baby would be born soon. She took many great pictures that we will treasure forever! I'm so happy she was able to be a part of this special event in our lives.
Andrew was behind me, holding me up or helping me push the 1st part of the pushing stage. When I wasn't having a ctx I'd lay back & rest in his arms. Then as it got closer he moved to my side so he'd be ready to catch.
Becky was faithful to keep me hydrated with ice water. Becky also cooled me off with cold wash clothes. I was so blessed to be surrounded by my strong, encouraging husband & three wonderful, nurturing ladies. All supportive, helpful and excited!
When it was apparent to Robyn that the head had stopped moving with pushes. She explained that she would have to spread my bones. I remember saying something like “well I've done it to others, now I'm about to find out what it feels like!” With a ctx Robyn had to push up on my pubic bone & done on my tailbone as I pushed. Then alter it with pushing the side bones in the birth canal. I hope never to have to repeat this! As a midwife I remember feeling sorry for every woman I ever did that to, knowing it was painful. Now I know that feeling personally, yet I know they, as well as I am, are grateful I did it in order to help them get their baby out.
How thankful I am for midwives patience! If I had been in the hospital they would have used a vacuum or forceps to force-ably extract Baby. Or done an an Episiotomy (cut me) or all the above... because our baby was at a partial crown for 40 minutes! I believe something like 5 min. full crown! Also if we hadn't had a midwife I probably would have torn really bad & had major repair. I've also heard of Docs pushing babies back up inside to do a C-section, even though the baby was partially hanging out. I was able to avoid all this, thanks to the expertise & patience of Robyn.
Most laboring moms loose all sense of time (an other one of God's mercies) so I had no idea until we were discussing the birth at our 2 day visit with Robyn that Baby was crowning for 40 minutes! I did not feel the ring of fire. I think that was because Baby made such a gradual a.k.a long!! entrance.
At the moment Baby was emerging I was so concentrated on pushing I didn't know how much was out, so I appreciate that Becky helped me. She put my hands on Baby so I could help catch too!
Andrew & I caught with Robyn's help! Immediately she was lifted to my chest, we were skin to skin. I asked “what do we have?” The announcement was “It's a girl!!!!” It was surreal so I didn't react by crying as much as I thought I would. I was surprised she was out, because she had been so close for so long. My hands feeling the top of her head, praying & willing her to come out. I did eventually start crying. It's a rush of relief & emotion. How do you describe such a moment in time? How do you describe the beauty of the moment? I just started crying again as I got to this part in typing up the story.
I remember rubbing her up (tactile stimulation is the medical term), must have been the midwife in me coming out again 'cause I remember then saying she's fine. Reassuring me her color was good, no need to keep doing that.
I wanted the world to stand still and savor the moment a little while longer, but after this, things get a bit blurry. Andrew & I cut her cord.
Her cord was on the shorter side. I remember joking with Robyn saying “And here I thought short cord babies had quick pushing stages!” Robyn said can be one or the other - short labor or short pushing. Now I'll pay more attention to that 'cause I've mainly seen it be short pushing.
I found out afterward my Dad aka Grandpa arrived home from work to find the yard full of cars. Needless to say he did not go about his afternoon as planned. He sat in the living room until he heard from the bedroom “It's a girl!” Then the first cries of his granddaughter. He said he remembers hearing Andrew laugh, then the announcement.
Part 2 & 3 still to come as seperate posts. I have finished typing it, but since I'm long winded... I thought it was too much to put together as one post.