Oh Mylanta! I can’t believe my little baby is here in my arms!!!
It all started when my water broke Friday night. I had been eating labor-inducing foods like eggplant and basil, bouncing on the birthing ball, and swaying my hips all day.
I remember that I had been thinking all day about how random events would be funny if I went into labor that day: like the fact that my parents were out of town and we were house-sitting for them while watching my memory-impaired grandmother.
Later that night, I realized it was a full moon. And not just any full moon, a blue moon!! I got SUPER crazy excited, texting Michael at work and posting on FB that maybe it would be my night!
As the evening wore on, I started to get grandma ready for bed. While waiting for her to get out of the bathroom, I did a deep squat in the doorway for a moment. When she went into her room, I walked over to make sure she was getting dressed ok and suddenly felt like I had peed my pants.
GASP! Could this be it?! I texted Michael, “HOLY SHIT MY WATER JUST BROKE!” I put a pad on and told Michael that no, he didn’t need to come home from work. I still wasn’t having contractions. I stayed up waiting for him, hoping my contractions would start. I took a hot shower, hoping to relax my body into labor. I laid on the couch and watched tv.
At one point I stood up to go to the bathroom and had that classic water running down your legs moment. I could see the little white flecks of vernix in the fluid. No doubt in my mind now. But where were those darn contractions?!
I didn’t sleep well at all, anxious and excited about everything I suppose. The next morning we called my midwife, Rita, around 8:30am. It had been almost 12 hours post ROM without any sign of labor. She had me meet her at the hospital for a non-stress test to see how baby was doing and make sure my water really had broken.
It felt good to finally be doing something. I was glad to hear my water really had broken and baby was doing fine. But no contractions. Rita told me she would give me 12 more hours to see if labor would start, but if it hadn’t, we would need to take steps to get him out due to infection risks, even though I hadn’t been checked yet.
So we went back home. I bounced on the ball all day. Baby hadn’t really descended super low, so i was trying to get him to come down. I ate more eggplant and chocolate “labor cake.” I paced the house. Nothing. We returned to the hospital at 7:30pm, as Rita instructed.
I was either going to be induced with Cervadil, or end up with a C-section if my cervix was closed and baby was still high. It was still so surreal that we were having a baby this weekend, one way or another. Even though my mom had driven back into town and Michael’s parents had met us that day, we agreed it would probably be better if they waited at home for now.
I was admitted into the hospital right away, and Rita checked me. Baby had dropped lower, but my cervix was still thick and closed. Soft, but thick and closed. And, baby was Sunny-side up. Rita placed Cervadil up under my cervix to encourage it to soften and open up. And then we waited.
We tried to sleep a bit, but of course I couldn’t. My mom stopped by for a bit and brought us some snacks. I ate more of my labor cake. Mom left, and we tried to sleep again. But at that point the contractions started! It mostly just felt like uncomfortable cramps. But I couldn’t sleep. I’m hazy on the details now, but I think I just paced the room while Michael slept a bit.
Around 12:00am, I started timing them. They were about 5 minutes apart. At this point, I think I was still deep breathing through them. I told the nurse, and she put me on the monitor for a bit. The contractions barely registered at all. She suggested a shower, but I didn’t feel like it at the time.
Michael fell asleep again, and I continued to labor away. I eventually started to moan through the contractions, constantly reminding myself to keep my voice low and exhaling all the way with them. I started lying on top of a bunch of pillows in the bed, sleeping between the contractions and moaning and swaying my hips through them.
When that stopped working I moved to the counter. I held on and swayed my hips in circles. I didn’t consciously think about the fact that this would turn the baby, but it was exactly what I needed to be doing. Eventually I timed the contractions as 3ish minutes apart for about an hour.
The nurse came in to check on me again, and I could barely focus on what was going on through the contractions. She wanted me to go back on the monitor, but I refused. I also refused to be checked. I didn’t want to be disappointed if I was only at 2 cm.
Eventually the nurse did put me back on the monitor. Again, the contractions barely registered. I didn’t know it at the time, but both Rita and the nurse believed I wasn’t progressing. Even though I was obviously in active labor and could barely stand to be on the bed during contractions, because the monitor wasn’t showing them, my nurse seemed to think they didn’t exist.
(She wasn’t mean or anything. Rita just told me later she felt that she hadn’t been fully informed about my progress.) I continued to labor standing by the countertop, swaying my hips and moaning. I was constantly moaning by this point, just getting louder and more deliberate with each contraction.
I sat on the toilet for a while, falling asleep between contractions and trying to “hee-hee-hooo” my way through them. At some point I threw up several times, probably 4 or 5 times total. It was worse when I was on the monitors. The hee-hooing eventually stopped working and I went back to moaning.
My morning nurse came in and asked me to go back on the monitor. She was very technical and lacking in people skills. I felt like I was on the monitor forever, pushing my hips up so I could still sway them with each contraction. If someone came in the room in the middle of a contraction, I would lose focus and it was so hard to relax and breathe again.
I remember thinking, “I must be in transition, because I’m telling myself, ‘I can’t do this anymore.'” I also remember thinking, “Where the f*** is Rita!” as she was supposed to be coming in at 8:00am to check me. My mother eventually came.
She told me later she was very worried when she saw how hard I was laboring and how little the contractions were showing up. Then the baby’s heartbeat started to drop after contractions, a bad sign. My highly techincal nurse was very worried, and when she saw my blood pressure (I had been borderline pre-eclamptic for the past few weeks), she started an IV.
At this point, we were all sure that I was not progressing, and that I was going to end up with a C-section. I just remember thinking, “I wonder what it will be like to have the epidural for the c-section.” Rita finally came, and with a “That’s enough of THAT” she finally let me off the monitor.
I jumped to my feet and leaned over the bed, barely making it before the contraction hit. When it was over, I climbed back onto the bed so she could check me.
SURPRISE! I was 8 cm and 90% effaced!!! We were all so shocked. I don’t think I even registered what that meant. I barely had time to flip over onto my hands and knees before the next contraction hit. It felt like just a few moments later I told Rita I felt like I had to push.
She said “Go ahead! If your body is telling you to push, push!” I was soooo surprised and grateful that she didn’t make me wait till 10 cm. I gasped to her, “Am I having this baby right now?” I couldn’t believe I had made it and I was actually going to deliver him! I started pushing and noticed the contractions changed.
They no longer hurt like they did before. It was nice to do something different. But it felt like nothing was actually working. Michael and Rita and my mom kept rubbing my lower back and dabbing my face with a cold cloth. Apparently I was sweating a lot. I also remember that I was pressing my IV hand into my face and it hurt.
I kept asking if he was crowning yet. Rita told me I would know when I felt the burning. She encouraged me to wait for the impulse to push and to breathe with the urge. Her encouragement meant so much to me. I could hear her telling me and my family how in control I was, how I was so in tune with my body, how I knew exactly what I was doing.
It was SO encouraging to hear that and gave me the strength to go on. I finally realized he was crowning. I didn’t know it, but as I was waiting for the urges to breathe him out, I was keeping myself from tearing and allowing the skin to stretch. I finally reached down and was able to feel his warm squishy head!!!!
I waited for the next urge and pushed again. I remember feeling like Rita was shoving her fingers around the baby’s head and it hurt SOO BAD. It burned like nothing else!!! I remember yelling “OW OW OW OW” and wishing she would move her fingers!!
I don’t remember feeling the head come out, I just remember Rita saying, “There you go! Finish! Finish!” and she pulled him out as I gave a final push. Actually, I almost think he was out in one push…it all happened so fast. My mom accidentally filmed the birth because she didn’t know it was happening!
I had been kneeling over the raised head of the bed, and I didn’t even realize he was out until she passed the warm little slime-ball into my arms saying, “Take him take him!” I went up on my knees and just said, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god” over and over again.
He was a little blue, and Rita kept telling me to talk to him and rub him. I looked up at Michael like “look!” It was incredible. I also peeked to make sure they were right about the “boy” diagnosis. =) I remember thinking, “When did the bed get to be so high??”
I was scared to turn over and sit down, but kneeling hurt! They finally helped me to flip over and sit, and they put blankets over baby and me, and Michael just stood there next to me as we admired our little boy. I remember thinking, “Aren’t you supposed to forget the pain when they come out!?” as it still hurt pretty bad.
Thankfully though, I hadn’t torn at all!! We let the cord pulse, and then Michael got to cut it after John had gotten all the cord blood. Birthing the placenta was so warm and gross. Michael was absolutely disgusted that I wanted to make pills out of it.
We got to nurse and do skin-to-skin for almost 2 hours before they finally took him to weigh and measure. He was a tiny 6lbs 4oz, 18.5 inches long! He screamed at being taken away from me. It made me cry. He peed on the mean nurse though, which made me laugh. Michael went over and started talking to him and holding his hand and he instantly calmed down. So cute and precious.
They got me up to pee, and HOLY COW did that BURN! Hurt worse than labor in my opinion. I peed 3 drops and that was all I could manage. I remember the mesh panties with the thick pads just looked super comfy. I loved those mesh panties.
Then they wheeled us off to the Mother-Baby unit where grandpas and aunties got to come see us. As comfy as my own bed is, I almost wished we were back in the hospital our first night home. I didn’t mind not sleeping then. I didn’t mind anything. All that mattered was that I had done it, and my son was in my arms.
He was held virtually non-stop the entire first 24 hours of his life. I want him to feel and know he is loved beyond anything else.
I’m still in awe of my body and my mind and what I was able to accomplish as they worked together. I can’t imagine doing it again, but at the same time, I’m excited to go back into that special place of strength and power.
The fact that Rita told me later that I could have done it without her (though I doubt it; I needed her verbal support, if nothing else) and that I could “write the book and teach the class” still makes me swell up with pride. I almost feel bad about how proud I feel, but at the same time, I think it’s ok to be prideful about something like this. 😉 (Written by Breanna Jewell)