Posted in Birth Stories, Mother

Cara

At 4 a.m. on Monday June 1st (5 days before my due date) I woke up to pee, nothing unusual there. I got back in bed and couldn’t fall asleep right away because my mind was racing. Then I noticed I was having what I thought were Braxton-Hicks contractions. I didn’t have them at all during the pregnancy until about a week before. I had also felt fine the past 2 days but for about 3 days before that I was insanely exhausted. Eating tired me out, vacuuming tired me out…it was so frustrating! I kept thinking labor must be far away because I didn’t have my ‘nesting’ energy (although in hindsight I think that came at 36-37 wks. when I kept bothering Aran about getting everything ready). As I lay in bed I noticed these contractions were a lot more painful than any earlier Braxton-Hicks so when it was light enough out for me to see the clock (5:05 a.m.) I started timing them and they were about 7-8 min. apart and regular. I laid there feeling them until Dino woke Aran up with his meowing at 7:30. As soon as I saw his eyes open I said ‘I think I’m having contractions!‘. He didn’t believe me at all at first and kept saying I was messing with him. When I finally convinced him, he was SOOO excited! He got this big smile and kept staring at me and said ‘Sneaky, we might have a baby today!’

But I still wasn’t positive this was real labor. So we got out of bed and I went downstairs to make our morning green juice and feed the dogs. He was showering and shaving for work and school (he had a math test that day too so we were still thinking maybe he could go and do his stuff and I was just in early prelabor). But as I was downstairs making the juice and feeding the dogs the contractions kept coming faster and I had to stop what I was doing and deal with them until I couldn’t take it and I had to sit down. So at 9 a.m. I called the midwife and told her I had 6 min. apart contractions and asked if she thought it was labor because we were still trying to decide if it was worth it for Aran to stay home. She said if I wasn’t sure then it wasn’t labor but I somehow didn’t believe her each time a contraction came. I thought I’d be distractable and want to do things in early labor but all I could do was lay there and focus on coping. Every time I stood up the contractions became unbearable and started to come closer together so I kept trying different laying positions.

I called my mom and told her I thought I might be in labor and she came over to help us get ready. Basically we all sat around watching me have contractions for a little while. Aran and mom did stuff to get ready too but mostly we just waited. Aran kept encouraging me and telling me how well I was doing and that helped me a lot. I found it so strange that all I wanted to do between contractions was sleep. And that I could sleep! I thought that only happened when you’d been laboring all night and were so worn out but here I had just gotten out of bed! We timed my contractions but they kept being about 5 min. apart for 45 seconds and we were waiting for the usual 4-1-1 before calling the midwife. After I decided that Aran couldn’t go to school because I definitely needed him with me, mom left to go to PCC to get food to make at her house (I was so nauseous I didn’t want the smell of food in our house. Aran had made a sunshine burger and the smell of it bothered me so much) for our dinner and then was going to bring it back. In the meantime, I moved to the toilet for my contractions and it felt so much better there than the birth ball or laying on the futon had. I finally passed some bloody show and as I sat there more and more came out. We started timing contractions again and they weren’t regular. They were 1 and a half to 3 minutes apart but still for 45 seconds to a minute. Aran was a stickler that we wait for the 4-1-1 to call the midwife (every story seems to be of people thinking they’re farther along then they are and we really didn’t want to be those people) but I really felt like I needed them to come soon so I started really asking Aran to call and he did but even at the urgent number he was put through to voicemail. He left a message and I told him he had to call again! Now I was starting to panic because I could feel that this wasn’t early labor! Chris (the midwife) called and talked to Aran but was with someone and said she’d call back in 5 min. 30 min. later she finally called back and wanted to talk to me. Still on the toilet, I tried to tell her what was happening but had to keep stopping for contractions. It was the worst conversation of my life. She said she was on her way and when she heard we didn’t have the birthing tub set up yet said we better hurry and do it! So Aran started scrambling around trying to set it up. But every time I had a contraction he had to come be with me and hold my hand. Within only a couple contractions after hanging up the phone I felt something like my water breaking and suddenly felt an insanely strong urge to push. I told Aran and he told me not to and to squeeze his hand as hard as I could instead. It helped a lot but I have to say resisting that urge was the hardest part of the whole thing. Holding back when everything in your body wants you to push with all your strength does not feel good! In between contractions Aran set the tub up but realized it needed a hose! We don’t have a hose and no one had told us we needed one so he called my mom and told her the midwives were on the way and we needed a hose. She said ‘oh shit!’ and hurried over. I noticed how calm he was when he was on the phone with her. He really stayed so calm through it all. I think that helped a lot.

I had to get off the toilet or I knew I’d end up pushing the baby right into the toilet water (which was not the kind of water birth we envisioned) so I went back to laying on the futon to try to lessen the urge. I kept squeezing Aran’s hand and watching the clock for 40 min. thinking with each 10 min. interval that I had made it through 10 min. and they’d be here soon. I checked my phone and saw that we hung up at 3:37 and I knew it was rush hour and she had to come from Bellevue! At 4:20 Aran said they were here. I could have cried I was so relieved. I told him to meet her outside and tell her I had to push! She came in and didn’t even have to check my cervix. She told me if my body was telling me to push then it was time. I was so happy! Those were the kindest words I’d ever heard. I got on the birth stool and pushed and it was the most amazing feeling ever. Then she put in 2 fingers to check and felt his head!

About then mom rushed through the door with the hose! The midwife said to forget it because there was no time and she dropped it on the spot and started rushing around doing things like boiling water at the direction of the midwife. Chris and her student Char were fantastic. Their energy felt so comforting and authoritative and their instruction was kind and gentle yet firm and helpful. I was in good hands.

Every time I felt a contraction I pushed with everything I had. I kept asking her how many more pushes as he kept crowing. I didn’t expect the stinging and burning to hurt as much as it did. I really just wanted him out. I changed positions a few times, a one point instructing mom to hold one of my legs as I lay back against Aran and pushed but I ended up giving birth in a squat on the futon with Aran holding me up. That last push was the best feeling ever and when she asked if I had any more I knew it was to get the rest of him out and I knew I’d find more in me no matter what! After he was out the feeling was surreal. There’s no way to describe it.

Our son was born at 5:12 p.m. after 50 min. of pushing. He weighed 7 lb. 14 oz. and was 21 inches long. Labor was 13 hours from start to finish, smooth and perfect. Aran was an amazing partner and I couldn’t have done it without his help. I definitely would’ve pushed the baby out before anyone got there!! He couldn’t feel his legs because he was trapped under and behind me after the baby was born while the midwives collected the cord blood. That was his labor pain 🙂 And he handled it incredibly well. My mom hadn’t expected to be there but she was invaluable and even after the birth helped us clean up the mess that we didn’t realize would be leftover! The midwives had to head to another birth and forgot the placenta in its bowl under the futon (apparently Angelina found it and was trying to help herself when my mom and Aran took it from her!). It’s now Friday and he’s 4 days old and the best baby ever. I couldn’t be happier or love him more and I’m grateful that he’s healthy and that we had such a great birth. I still feel a certain ‘high’ from the whole experience and can’t believe it really happened. Then I look at him and know it’s for real and feel so insanely blessed.

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