Our little son was due to be born on October 3rd, although all throughout my pregnancy I thought I was going to meet him early (ha ha). October 3rd came and went with my usual Braxton hick’s contractions but not much else. I went into Cindi’s office on the 4th for an appointment thinking that I would get my membranes stretched and swept to get things rolling, but they decided that it would be better to wait since another mom had it done earlier that day; they wanted to avoid 2 moms in labor at the same time. I went home sort of disappointed but trusting that everything would happen when it was supposed to.
Two days later I went in again, this time with Paul. Cindi checked me and I was already dilated to a solid three. She said that everything was nice and ready, so she went ahead and did the stretch and sweep. I started having some contractions right away. That night I expected to go into labor, so Paul and I took a nap so that we could be ready for whatever happened… which turned out to be nothingJ. Cindi called me Friday morning a bit surprised that we hadn’t needed her during the night, and invited me to come into the office again for another stretch and sweep. I called Paul at work to tell him I was going to go in. I thought it was pretty funny every time I called him at work he tried to sound like he wasn’t beyond excited with the thought that things might be getting started, so I began every conversation with, “Hey, I’m not going into labor.”At Cindi’s office when she checked me again she said I was a solid five centimeters already, and she stretched me to six centimeters. I was tired of sitting around waiting for things to get started, so I called my friend Anna and asked her out to coffee. During our visit my contractions were pretty regular, and I was excited to see things moving along. It was Friday the 7th, and that seemed like the perfect day for our son to be born. I got an email from Paul telling me that people at work sent him home early, and he was waiting there for me.At home Paul helped me as my labor progressed. Cindi would call periodically to see how I was doing and if we wanted her to come over. Eventually I got some pretty intense shivers and started to vomit; we let Cindi know, and she and Jessica came on over.A lot of what happened on Friday is not very clear in my mind. I know that Jessica and Cindi came over; sometime after that the rest of the birth team arrived. Brittany and Chelsea were going to assist and Nicole was ready to take pictures. Someone filled the birth pool, and I got in for a while. All I really remember was the atmosphere. It felt like a bizarre slumber party. I tried to settle back into my labor, but sometime later (Cindi and Chelsea were asleep, and I think Paul laid down for a nap too) my contractions stopped. Jessica suggested a little walk to see if things would pick up again, so the four of us still awake headed out on a midnight stroll (it was actually closer to 2am). When we got back, with no new contractions, Jessica checked my progress. After around 13 hours I had dilated one centimeter.I was pretty discouraged, but we decided that if my body was going to give me a rest I might as well take advantage of it. The new plan was this: I would lie down and try to get some rest, and everyone else would go home and do the same. Paul lay down next to me and prayed with me and rubbed my back helping me to relax, and after a little cry I did eventually fall asleep.
I woke up around 10am to my contractions starting up again. I went into the living room to try and let Paul get some more sleep, and see if I could rest any more on the couch. That didn’t really work because the contractions were nice and strong. Paul woke up when I started to feel nauseated again, and I made good use of our vomit bowl all day. I knew that having my labor really rock right away was a good thing, because that’s what my body needed to move forward, but I started to get pretty discouraged. I had worked so hard the day before with so little progress that I was afraid I was going to go through the same thing again- for nothing. I know now that I wasn’t working for nothing. I was working to meet my son, and I was working to become a mother.
Cindi called to check on me, and see how everything was going. I let her know that the contractions were good and consistent. She said that the birth team would be out and about all day doing home visits and they would come by around six pm, unless I needed them sooner. I don’t know if having that time in my mind was helpful or not, but suddenly I couldn’t wait for it to be six. I was so tired of not being able to keep anything down, and I started worrying that I would run out of energy when it came time to push our baby out.
My contractions were pretty intense, and I stopped remembering how to take breaks in between. Paul was wonderful throughout all of this. He kept himself calm, and reminded me to work with the contractions. He would offer me sips of ice cold Gatorade, do counter pressure on my back, fan me when I was too hot, and make sure the barf bowl was nearby.
Between 4:30 and 5:00 I think I asked Paul what time it was 15 times. I felt like 6pm was never going to get there, and I needed my birth team. I asked Paul to call Cindi, and ask her when she was going to stop by. I don’t know why I didn’t just tell him to ask her to comeJ. She asked Paul if we needed them; I could hear her through the phone. I started crying a little bit and nodded to Paul to have them head over.
It was a different team that arrived, and I think the atmosphere was a lot more down to business. Where Friday the house felt like a weird type of slumber party Saturday felt like someone was going to have a baby, and that someone was me! Cindi and Jessica were there again, Shay was assisting, and Nicole (our photographer) arrived a bit later. All the equipment got set up somehow, and someone worked on draining some of the cool water from the birth pool and adding fresh hot water in case I wanted to use it.
My contractions didn’t really waver even with everyone’s arrival, and Cindi was able to get me to take my breaks in between contractions again. During each contraction I had been leaning over and resting my upper body on the nearest surface while rocking my hips, and I tried to keep my voice calm and low. I kept saying, “oh” slowly. Cindi encouraged me to try saying, “yes” instead because my “oh’s” sounded like “no’s”. Saying yes over and over sounded like someone having a super long orgasm to me though, so I settled for variations on, “alright, ok, and umm-hmm”. Sometimes they came out almost like a question, which I thought was sort of funny.
At some point Jessica checked me and told me I was dilated to nine centimeters. She said that I was almost complete, and I could try bearing down with a few contractions to see how it felt. She said I would know when it was time to push. During pregnancy one of the things that I was apprehensive about concerning labor was pushing. I had read so many birth stories in preparation for Bret’s birth; some women LOVED pushing, but others DID NOT. What if I got to the second stage of labor and I was a part of that second group. It’s not like you can just stop having a baby; you have to push it out! I tried bearing down in a variety of places and positions. It didn’t feel awful, but it didn’t feel right either, probably because it wasn’t quite time yet.
At this point I was feeling much better. All the work that I had put in during the day had been effective! I was going to have this baby soon! I think the support of the team added to Paul’s really made a difference. I knew that those women had seen lots of labors before mine, and if they said I was doing everything right I believed them!
Cindi asked me if I could try bearing down with a few contractions on the toilet, so we moved into the master bathroom to give it a go. It was SO HOT in there to me! Cindi found a big plastic Sterilite lid and fanned me with it while Paul stepped out to get something to eat. That felt great. I gave a few trial pushes on my toilet, where I had spent so much time in the last few months with my nightly pee trips. My water broke right when Paul stepped back in the room. It gushed into my sweet toilet! (Toilet’s are perfect for holding water) I saw that the water wasn’t clear, and I asked if that was ok. Was Bret alright? Jessica told me that they expect to see that with women who have gone over 40 weeks, and she reassured me that they had all their special equipment ready if they needed it.
I asked if I could get into the tub, and Shay told me that it was ready for me if I wanted to. I did. I climbed into that gigantic cushy tub, and the water felt so good. I got to relax for a minute until suddenly the urge to push struck me. I was so happy! I was excited to push! I reached up to see if I could feel his head yet, and I felt something squishy. I asked Jessica to come feel and make sure that what I felt wasn’t his cord coming first. It wasn’tJ. So I pushed in the pool. I announced to everyone that he felt like a giant turd, and Nicole told me that later in his life he might act like a giant turd too.
I felt like I had some control over what was happening now, and I loved it. With each contraction I roared like… something that roars, and I felt Bret’s head move down with each push. Jessica kept listening to Bret’s heart to make sure he was handling everything ok. He was doing great. I don’t remember who brought up perennial support, but I decided to get out of the tub to finish pushing.
I climbed out and kneeled next to my birth ball while resting my head on it and holding on tight. I pushed like that until right before he was born when I lifted one leg into a squat position. I could feel his head stretching everything it was supposed to, and tearing some things it wasn’t.
Then at 8:53 pm he was born. Jessica handed my tiny boy to me through my legs, and I held him to my tummy. He was perfect. He looked around and at me with huge eyes, and whimpered a watery cry saying hello. Paul was crying in amazement, and I felt like my face was going to be pulled apart from the giant smile on it. Our sweet boy was perfect! God had worked everything for good, and we had been a part of a miracle.
Jessica warned me to be careful not to pull him too much because he had a super short chord (13 inches), so he stayed nuzzled to my stomach instead of my breast while we walked to the bedroom to get cozy in our bed. Our team got Paul, Bret and I all tucked in and retreated out to the living room to give us our fist family time together. I think that I will cherish those moments forever. Both of my men snuggled close to me, and I felt so loved and so powerful. If this is the reward for twenty plus hours of labor I would gladly do it again.