You would think after having three children I would recognize labor. I realize now that medicated labor and natural labor are not really the same thing, for me.
Thursday at noon I started having my usual braxton hick contractions. Not painful and more or less just annoying. As the afternoon went along I realized it had been hours of them and they hadn’t let up. Luckily that was a stay at home kind of day because around 3pm I felt like I had a very painful hemorrhoid deciding to try and make an appearance… Lovely. 4pmtext husband at work…complain of the annoyance and gain some sympathy points for my random complaining. He says ‘Well let me know if anything happens so I have plenty of time to get home. I’m fueled up and ready when ever. Have you timed them? Do they hurt?” (He works out of state, 5+ hours away and comes home Fridays) This was of course NOT the response I was looking for. I wanted him to say he was leaving early and he’d take a long weekend. Boooo my plan did not work. So I get a little short and say, no they don’t hurt and no I can’t time them I have a toddler to chase around! Poor husband.
I finally find a moment to time a good set of contractions and texted him at 6:24pm ” 3min apart 20-30 sec”. I really didn’t think anything of it. Nothing hurt. A few minutes later I’m off to the bathroom for the 700th time that day and my 12 yr old barges in freaked that she has a lump on her neck…uhh can you see I’m on the toilet? Fine…come here. Yes, you have a bump and it is a lymph node from the virus we all have had. “What’s a lymph node!?!?” Oh good grief, “It’s not cancer.” Now get out doll!
As I stand up my water breaks everywhere. In all my genius I decide putting my hand down will surely catch it all…nope hahaha. Text husband at 6:36pm to come home.
Within a few minutes they went from hard tummy and no pain to…oh well now. This isn’t as fun!
I cleaned house, did more laundry, texted my sisters and mom in CO and told them what was happening. Basically tried to totally ignore any pains. I did not want to focus on them until necessary.
I nursed my 2 yr old down to bed around 8, ouch more contractions. This is getting a little painful!
With Joe flying home at breakneck speed no doubt, and my big kids off in their rooms for the evening playing computers, I wandered and kept busy. Laundry done, dishes done, dogs fed, swept the floors…nap time…this now officially hurts and sucks. As soon as I laid down to rest they became strong enough not to ignore. Back up and wandering, swaying and bent over at the waist during each wave. Timing them at every 2 ½ min, 30 seconds long. Yay.
Now in all honesty I had absolutely zero clue as to how long this could take or what I’m ‘supposed’ to be doing. All three of my previous labors were pitocin and monitors and vaginal exams, which led to antibiotics and epidurals. All things I was unwilling to experience ever again.
On the advice of my new found fb friends and groups like The Mommy Dialogues… let your body work and listen. So I listened. There will never be enough thanks for their support and encouragement. I love them for their words.
So at 11pm Joe comes flying down the driveway. The big kids are unaware of why he is home and greet him. He comes into our room where I’m bent over our bed breathing and rocking slowly. After a quick break to say hi and request a shower, he changes clothes and helps me into the shower. At this point really REALLY deep hard pressure on my low back is what feels good. He does a wonderful job and I linger there for 30 min. After that I’m becoming more vocal and need to get away from our sleeping toddler. Moving to the living room for 10 min does not help, kids bathroom for 5 min doesn’t feel right either. Back to my bathroom to ride it out. Sawyer wakes and is confused as to why I’m not available, daddy is home, and she starts to cry. Then mimics my breathing from her bed, in our room, while daddy lays next to her for support. He checks on me randomly in case I need help and couldn’t vocalize it. At 12:15am as he tries to rub my back through a few contractions I remember saying “it would be really nice to have an epidural right now…” And my husband through all his fear, worry, and ‘fix-it’ type nature, says…nothing. He smiles a small encouraging smile and let’s me keep working the next contraction. It was just what I needed.
I’m going from sitting on the toilet for 20 seconds during the breaks, to standing hands on knees blowing and grunting, saying Open, Open, Open. None of this is prepared, I’m just doing what I feel I need to do and say. I begin to wonder how long I can do this and WHAT IS GOING ON DOWN THERE!?
I realize my contraction break has lasted longer than 20 seconds…thank you second hand on the clock ticking away loudly this last hour…. yes a break! I feel the need to check myself and realize my cervix is swollen. I’m pushing a little during contractions and I can’t help it.
At 1am the contractions have definitely spaced out but are a bit harder. I’m unable to breathe through them and am either holding my breath or grunting while flip flopping a huge, cold, wet bath towel over my head to stay cool. Inside my head I’m thinking This must look ridiculous! When they’re over I’m breathing out against my chest to cool off. Naked has never felt so good!!!
1:05 I feel him coming. His head, which I’ve tenderly touched the last 30 minutes is visible. I think…why do my babies have no hair :-). I tell him I’m here, and he’s ok now, it is almost over. Doing every mommas song, shhhhhh shhhhhh I’m here, Momma is here. It helps me stay focused and in control. I need him and he needs me. Best call for dad now.
“Joe…” dad comes in from holding our youngest while she mimics me still. How is a 2 yr old still awake!? He walks in slowly…”oh my God Babe!” I don’t think he was ready to see a baby’s head crowning, cradled in my fingers. He sits on the edge of the tub…”What do I do?”…he stands up, then sits down and stays down as I’m pushing.
My last birth I was told by the Dr…you’re a terrible pusher. In my moment right there in my bathroom with my husband, it dawns on me…I’m not a terrible pusher, I’m kicking ass at this! And that hospital memory is forgiven and erased. I’m doing this.
With a few grunts to let him slide, and a good push from me, his head emerges and it is beautiful. I feel no pain, I feel empowered and grateful for no more pain. I can hear my husbands voice and it sounds scared. He needs my words now…”Let him turn on his own. He’s face down, he will turn to face you soon babe. He’s ok. Just wait.” Baby’s face turns towards dad after a few moments and daddy breathes deep and excited. An urge comes to get baby out and I stand a bit and deliver baby into daddy’s waiting hands.
For the first time in birth I’m handed my baby. He is against me and I feel his skin and warmth instantly. This is amazing.
The next 5 minutes involve dad making panicked smiling faces at us, me reassuring him baby is ok, and realizing neither of us had looked at the clock. Dad runs to wake the oldest two, the little comes in carrying her blankie. My big girl begins snapping pictures which I will treasure forever. The toddler runs to our master closet and retrieves the towels I specifically set aside for birth “Baby towels! Baby towels!”. She remembers that is her job, she has helped me prep everything for this moment. Baby boy is wrapped in his white towels against me. I feel blessed and whole.
We lingered in the bathroom for a good half hour smiling over him and talking about his tiny features, time sped by so quickly. I got into bed around 2am and the placenta came on its own shortly after. Joe did tremendous cutting the cord, seeing as he had never done so with our other three babies. Very proud of him. Very proud of me. It was a great birth.
3/28/14 1:22-ish AM
6 lb 15 oz
19 inches long