Tuesday, January 3, 2012
UC Birth Story
Wednesday night, the 28th, prodromal labor began. I had been having cramps during the day but in the evening I could tell there was a distinct "contraction" feeling, with peaking, etc. although I didn't feel anything in my back. When I went to bed, I noticed contractions about ten minutes apart so I couldn't sleep much - I was too nervous. Something was holding me back, not sure what. But I rested in between contractions and stayed up until 3 am, at which point I decided it wasn't going anywhere so I willed myself to give up the contractions and get some sleep. I slept 3 hours, til 6 am.
The next day was the same (Thursday the 29th). Contractions roughly 10 mins apart throughout the day while I went about my usual activities - I have a business at home and had a lot of work that day. The house was a mess with boxes, shipments, and merchandise! But I kept working, intent on getting everything done. I think contractions were picking up but I wasn't paying attention to them. Around 2:15 pm, I noticed they were stronger and started taking them seriously. We made arrangements for the kids to go to Grandma's at 3. While we waited, I had my 6 year old son time contractions. Suddenly we noticed they were coming at 3 minute intervals! I was getting nervous/shaky and once the kids were gone, I called my back-up midwife to let her know I was in labor. She was on her way to a prenatal visit out of town and asked if I wanted her to turn around. I said I would be more comfortable if she were in town. As we talked, my labor grew stronger and I asked her to go ahead and stop by.
As soon as we had that conversation (3pm ish?), I hit a lull! She came as were were walking up and down our street to see if we could get it going again - contractions had slowed down and I didn't feel the same anymore. I felt stupid, and we were trying to decide what to do. She was going to hang around the area to see if labor started more. So we went inside and rested, and I was pretty sure labor stopped. I was going to call my mother-in-law to bring the kids back. Midwife called at 4:20 and I said labor stopped, it was just false labor. Go home.
My sister then called to chat and I told her I was having "weird labor symptoms" and didn't know if I was in labor. She was not expecting that conversation (I was 10 days before my due date) and started getting excited. But then a contraction came on and I gave the phone to my husband (he ended up hanging up). That was my first contraction of serious labor - all of a sudden hard contractions were coming, 3 minutes apart!
What is interesting is how labor stopped when I asked my midwife to come, and as soon as I told her to go home, they picked back up! How is that for inhibitions?
So from 4:30-5:45 was intense labor and pushing. That is insane, considering at 4:15 I didn't even know whether or not I was really in labor at all!
I had some contractions in the bathtub, then got up and labored standing up with my husband for a while. It was just the two of us, no inhibitions, no distractions. Perfect! These contractions were more intense than my labor with my daughter (which was blissful, all positive and happy, etc). I was fighting the urge to cry out and complain about the pain. Labor is such a mental workout - you are putting forth all your effort to stay afloat (keep it together) while sinking. I was having pains but couldn't acknowledge them - I was saying all sorts of affirmations to keep it positive and productive. I wanted to be sure to welcome the birth instead of flighting it. So I prayed, talked to the baby, said I was ready and welcomed birth, etc.
While I was standing up, I lost my mucous plug. There was slimy wet mucous all over me. I could feel the baby's head high up. I had no way how to estimate how dilated my cervix was. Could feel about 2 inches of head so I didn't think I was very far along. But with each contraction I had lots of pressure, almost a pushing urge.
That last half hour was insane. I was back in the warm bath - It was very intense. I held my husband with every contraction and in between, caught my breath and prepared for the next. I drank many glasses of water - both cinnamon water and chlorophyll water. I felt pushy but was uncomfortable pushing during the hard contractions so I ignored it. After a while the hard contractions went away (the intense cramping sensation) and I just needed to push. I was in the bathtub pushing and it was just insane! There was pain in my hips - I really needed some hot water on my hips but the bathtub was too shallow (I was in a kneeling positions). Besides, I couldn't communicate that I needed that either. I was completely occupied, both during and after contractions. Growling away, and then in between I was just panting and panting. I did not have much left in me at all. I was praying, asking God where he was. I thought I was far from delivering because the head wasn't coming down the way it did in my previous UC. But my husband could tell from the sounds I was making that we were very close. He was telling me "Just a few more pushes and you will have your baby" which was very weird to me because I was still working on coming to terms with the fact that I was even in labor! This was all happening so fast.
I felt the big bulge like it was coming through my butt and the ring of fire. But I wasn't opening wide for the head, so I was confused. Just a couple contractions like that and then all of a sudden the entire baby popped right out! (5:45) Sunny side up! I grabbed the baby and instinctively turned it over to drain, although he was crying and pink so he was just fine. It took me a moment to remember to check the gender. I coudn't believe it - we were expecting a girl but got a boy! I wasn't disappointed at all. Once I knew, it just felt right. Also he was completely covered in vernix! He was crying (which was new to me, both my older children were silent) and didn't want to nurse.
At that point, the midwife walked in (my husband had been texting her and asked her to come, which I didn't know about). I was still shaking and just felt like I needed to take a minute to gather myself. So we did nothing for about 30 minutes.. Just sat in the bloody, poopy water recovering. (look how bloody the was got! but I never felt light-headed at all, just shaky from the intense labor) I was just so relieved to have it over with. I was holding my baby in the yucky water so he wouldn't get cold. Midwife didn't do much, she just went into the other room to knit. We called my mother-in-law to bring the kids over. So they came in and saw me sitting in the yucky bath water just hangingout with baby. I can only imagine what my mother-in-law thought about this! It was very unfamiliar and strange to her, since hospital births are managed so much. But here I was just holding my baby waiting for placenta, nobody cleaning him up or cutting the cord. We chatted for a few minutes and then she took the kids back for dinner. Then I called the midwife in and I got on the toilet to deliver the placenta (I didn't feel any contractions or pushing urge, but just felt it was time to get up now). My husband fed me some mashed potatoes while I sat there (it suddenly occured to me why I was so shaky - I had hardly eaten that day!)
We went to the bedroom and got comfortable in bed to nurse. Midwife cleaned up the bathroom! We just visited for a while until we were ready to cut the cord, probably an hour after the birth. She cut it long so she wouldn't have to disturb him much. Then we weighed him (7 lb 6 oz) and her work was done so she left. Having her there was so great, I am glad we arranged that. I wouldn't birth any other way (alone with my husband) but it sure it nice to have womanly support and someone to chatter to, and help out in various ways. In my first UC we never had a midwife come but my mom was there to do these things.
In both my UC births, I had a midwife on call. But once active labor started I went inward and never even considered calling a midwife, or doubting myself at all. You get so totally tuned in to your experience, there are no more worries. Remember I was nervous during the prodromal labor, but once your body switches modes all of that goes out the window. It is very cool to surrender to your instinct and just let it unfold. My two UC births were very quick, which I feel is due to being unhindered but also in control of my thoughts so no fear is holding me back. My two UC babies are calm and secure (wish I could say that for the first one - I really regret not being able to offer him more but I wasn't at that point in personal development at that time in my life). Recovery was a breeze. We stayed in bed for 2 days, bled very little, milk came in quickly, easy breastfeeding and bonding, and no emotional recovery. Just at peace and very thankful! :)
His name is Taylor and he is priceless!
Posted by AJ at 9:39 AM