My pregnancy was beautifully uncomplicated, with hardly even a touch of morning sickness. The 40 weeks dragged by as we eagerly anticipated the arrival of our little one, and my estimated due date of March 23rd, 2009, passed uneventfully.
Two days later we went to see Carol, (our midwife,) again, and she told us that the baby had dropped! She told me to get lots of walking in, in order to help the baby further engage and to possibly get some contractions going! (I had never had any Braxton-Hicks or contractions of any kind up until this point!)
I think we took a walk every evening after that. By Saturday, (the 28th, 6 days after the “due” date,) the baby was so well “engaged” that I could barely walk or sit! I felt like my monstrous belly was between my knees!
My brothers- and sister-in-law came over to hang out that evening, and Beka swears it was her hilarious story that she read to me that got the contractions going!
Later after they went home, I started feeling crampy. I’d been pretty regularly afflicted with trapped air bubbles during the latter part of my pregnancy, and it took quite a while before I realized this was not air…for one, the pain was all in my back, and then, it wasn’t constant.
I was playing WordTwist on Facebook with my brother, Benjamin, (destroying him, of course. Or not.) I tried to get comfortable between rounds of the game. John was in his office on his computer, and the thought that these were contractions suddenly occurred to me, (yeah, a week past my due date, ya think I woulda figured it out a little quicker, huh?)
They weren’t at all what I expected contractions to feel like, though. Not a single twinge in my belly area, but completely in my back.
So I tried not to get too excited, but told John that I was pretty sure these were contractions! About a half hour later, I started to have some “show,” and I finally allowed myself to feel excited!
This might be it!
John decided he should get some rest before things got intense, so we both tried to sleep. John succeeded. I failed.
It was very uncomfortable to lie down, so I went to the living room and sat in the big armchair. The contractions were about every 5-7 minutes, lasting for about 45 seconds and kept that up through the rest of the night. I just sat and rocked in the armchair and got a hot-pack for my back.
By 7:30, John was awake again, and we agreed that it was definitely happening, so we called Carol.
She’d been asleep for an hour when we called her, just having finished up with another birth that night! (After Katie, she delivered another baby the next day, too! Busy week!)
Things obviously weren’t happening too fast yet, so she arrived about 9:30 with her assistant, Janean. Carol checked me and found that I was at 3cm. She predicted, judging by the progression so far, that I’d be at 6cm by 2pm. (I mentally took this to be an optimistic, best-case scenario, so I was very pleased when I actually was 6cm at 2pm!)
I hadn’t eaten anything since lunch on Saturday, so they encouraged me to eat something…I ate a banana and proceeded to throw it all up during the next few contractions. Ew.
Janean rubbed/put counter-pressure on my back during a contraction once and that helped a lot, so after that Janean, my mama-in-law, (who’d come about the same time as the midwife,) and John took turns helping my back during each contraction. Carol took a nap at our encouragement in the “nursery,” since she really hadn’t gotten any sleep to speak of over the past day or so.
I lay on the couch in between each contraction, and then would get down on my hands and knees during, as that position seemed to help with the intensity on my back.
By 2pm, when I was at 6cm, the contractions were really starting to come right on top of each other and I didn’t have enough time to really get a rest in between. It was taking all my focus to keep on top of them, and though I still felt in control, I knew now how women could “lose it” during labor! (I was only at 6cm still…who knew what it would be like in another 3cm!)
Carol said I could get into the tub if I wanted now, (we’d discussed laboring and possibly delivering in the tub before-hand.) After the next contraction, I knew that “I wanted.”
It seemed to take an eternity to get our big soak-tub filled up, but once I got in, I had almost instant relief, and everything was much more manageable again!
For the next 3 hours, John sat up on the edge of the tub to help my back during each contraction. In between, I would lean back and rest on him..
Eventually, my water broke with a *pop* and very shortly afterwards I started to feel the urge to push! Carol said to go ahead and try a couple pushes and if it felt good, we wouldn’t try to get me out of the tub to check the dilation! (Ya, no thanks. Ain’t nobody getting me out of that tub now!)
After a few pushes, Carol told me to see if I could feel the head. And I could! It was so amazing to already have my baby so close to being in my arms…and I knew now that my baby had hair. A lot of dark hair!
I was suddenly inspired anew, and about 15 minutes later, she was born in the water into my own hands, and I was the first to know that “Baby” was a girl, our beautiful Kathryn Elizabeth.
Besides John, Carol and Janean, both grandmas and three aunts were in the room when she was born and there were quite a few happy tears and lots of excitement. And about 3 bajillion photos.
The whole labor from the very first contraction to baby-in-my-arms was about 15 hours, not bad at all for a first-timer, and not a single hitch or complication, with only a tear so minuscule it didn’t even require a stitch.
I remember saying, shortly after I got out of the tub, “I could totally do that again!” And I could. And I have. Although, after #2 (which you’ll get
if when I ever get to “V” for Victoria’s birth story,) I felt considerably less…jovial.
I loved homebirth and the water labor and delivery, and can highly recommend it to everyone that has that option available!
Life would be so…boring.