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Love and Learning
Experiencing pregnancy for the first time is something that I will always cherish. Every movement, every change, every new sensation makes you truly understand why it is called "expecting".
Part of the expectations from our midwives were for us to take a childbirth class. We chose one of the 12 week natural classes that we had heard so much about and jumped in. We almost decided not to because the only classes open we on Sunday evenings, which would cause us to miss our night time church services. I talked to my Pastor's wife about it and she told us that we BETTER take a class because it is very important and we needed to be prepared.
So we signed up!
I will be honest, I was worried about how Corey would be in labor. I truly thought he would brush it off and tell me to "suck it up". He joked though the classes and made fun of the instructor every time she said "breathe". (Because he knew it actually made me more tense when she said it!). I was glad that I trusted my midwives, because I was not sure how he would do, even though he had protected me through two previous miscarriages.
5am I 10/3. I woke up to cramping and bloody show.
Excited, I woke him up and told him that today may be the day and we went back to sleep. I had my 40 week appointment that day so we called ahead and the midwife told us to go ahead and see her. When I arrived, she palpated my stomach and said "yup, you are in early labor". She told us to go home and rest and call when the contractions were coming every 5 minutes and lasting 1 minute and were that way for an hour.
We walked around different stores to pass the time and get some last minute things. We were WAY too excited to sleep. We ate lunch and then went home. Once we got home and contractions started getting stronger, I decided to practice some of my relaxation so I laid on the bed on my left side and tried to rest (We kept our workbook open so we could look through it to check for signposts of labor).
Corey was setting up the pool and madly cleaning the house.
Around 5 or 6 we decided to try and go for a walk to get things going more, which it did! I don't know how long it took to walk around the block but it was dark by the time we got home. He would go and clean and set and alarm on his phone and every 5 minutes on the dot, come in to apply counter pressure to my back. We did this for a few hours as contractions started getting stronger.
Around 8pm I then started telling him to call the midwife because I was ready for her to come and contractions were coming every 5 minutes. I even remember asking him "Is Siobhan here yet?!" When she arrived to check me at 9:50pm, I thought for sure I was almost done and asked her "will she be born before midnight". She sweetly laughed and said that I had a while to go still. She checked me at 9:10 and I was 4cm dilated, 90% effaced and -1 station.
I started really focusing and swaying with Corey at this point. My midwife told me to find a rhythm.
We swayed for about 45 minutes...
And then I threw up.
For most moms, this is a point of transition. This was not the case for me however.
My midwife tried to get me to eat something but I did not feel like it. I asked about getting into the pool and she said that it may slow my labor down. She did say that a warm shower may help, so I got in and just leaned on the wall for 45 minutes until I could get in the pool.
I always said I would not be the naked yelling woman...but when I was told the pool was ready, I went right out and could care less about my nakedness! I was working hard and did not care about anything else.
I was in the water swaying with the contractions for awhile and in my mind, there were two christian rock songs both playing at the same time so when the midwife asked if I wanted music on, I told her "NO!". Between contractions, I would lay my head down and fall asleep for a second, even dreaming and then wake for another contraction. I was very exhausted and in the back of my mind knew my midwife had demerol, but I really did not feel like I needed it. The endorphins and oxytocin were roaring and I was vocalizing during the contraction, pulling myself back and forth, using my husband's arm as counter support. I could not bring myself to eat anything and I tried crackers again and threw up.
The pool really helped because I had very strong back labor. I don't know if Lily was posterior or if it was just from the muscles of the uterus pulling ligaments in my back but either way, I felt it in my back.
I was sucking down water between contractions so I was concerned that I had not had to urinate yet.
My midwife felt my bladder and said it was not full so I did not have to get a catheter. (A full bladder in labor can cause the contractions to be more painful but also can cause issues postpartum).
Around 2am, I felt a ton of pressure and thought I may be close to pushing. My midwife asked me to feel in the birth canal to see if I could feel a head. I felt nothing but open space.
I was starting to get frustrated with how tired I was and that the contractions kept coming right on top of each other, waking me up...so I said "I can't do this anymore" because I thought if I said it out loud, that meant I was in transition, which meant I was close to pushing.
I was in transition. But not for 15 minutes like "the book" said. I was in full transition for TWO HOURS. I recall looking at my clock (which probably should have been taken down) and thinking that my childbirth educator lied to me.
About 3am, my midwife had me get out of the pool to try some squats to see if we could coax Lily to come down or the water to break. She checked me to see where I was and I screamed because it really hurt.
I had a small cervical lip and was only 9cm and a +1 station.
My midwife wanted to get me to try a different position to try and dilate the last bit so I sat on the birthing ball and rocked back and forth and bounced for 30 minutes, which felt like forever and I hated the ball and when I bounces I actually think I said "stupid ball-stupid ball" . My water broke and I felt a strong urge to push just like my midwife said I would, so I got back into the water and pushed until I was crowing. At this point, the contractions were spaced out more so I had time to think between each one and the random music in my head had stopped. (I later told my husband that it was very strange and was almost like I was on drugs and hallucinating).
I got out and delivered my baby on hands and knees at the foot of our bed where my husband caught her, after she pooped all up his arm. Looking back on the pictures, there is such a happiness, partly that you are finished and then that you did that!
It was such a rush and then it is over.
I only pushed for 24 minutes and she as born at 4:24am after a total of 22 hours and 44 minutes. My early labor was 14.5 hours and my active labor was 8 hours.
When I delivered the placenta, my midwife was showing it to us and she showed us that it had a velamentous cord insertion which she said is a variation of normal and also why she never breaks the waters. I later did research on that and it shows up in placenta vasa sometimes and if the waters are broken artificially, it can cause fetal demise because the cord pulls away from the blood vessels in the placenta.
I truly feel that if I had been in a different setting where things are routine, I would not have had such a great labor. Had I been on my back, she may not have dropped and my pain would have been unbearable. Had I "stalled" they would have broken my water, which may have led to grave complications. But mostly, had I been on an epidural, I would not have been able to move freely and find the rhythm I needed or been able to listen to my body and feel what I needed to. I am truly thankful to God for sending me the right midwife and for showing me how strong He made women.
L was born 7lb 13oz & 20" long.
After she nursed and was napping and I was being examined and had one stitch for my "skid mark", Corey had fallen asleep on the floor of her bedroom. Unfortunately for him, I had oxytocin racing through my body and felt like a million bucks at that moment. All the exhaustion I felt before was long gone and replaced with this new interest and stamina, and hunger! I think that Corey slept for about an hour before my midwife went to wake him up.