Saturday, June 4, 2011
11:00 Beginning of contractions, although I wasn't sure they were "real" ones and not Braxton Hicks. They felt like strong menstrual cramps. I was feeling very tired so I tried to nap, however every time I just about fell asleep, a contraction would wake me up. I started timing them, and they were about 20 minutes apart.
They jumped around in frequency and duration for about 2 hours. I stayed in bed during this time, which I didn't expect I would want to do. I just breathed through each contraction and Chad was there supporting me and rubbing my back. We called our birth center to give them the heads up that we were in early labor. Chad kept reminding me that early labor can take a long time and we may have hours more of this. I got grouchy and asked him, "Why aren't you more excited?!" Momma knows best ;)
1:00 Contractions upped to about 40-50 seconds long and about 2 to 3 minutes apart. At this point we called our families to let them know we were in labor, but not to get too excited just yet :) I could no longer lie down, so I started pacing around our house, then I would get cold and go pace out on our balcony. I used my breathing techniques, but I also cussed and grunted through my contractions as well, ha! These hurt quite a bit! We were concerned about how close together these contractions were - it is rare that early in labor - so the midwife suggested I take a warm bath. This slowed them down for a bit, but then they jumped back up.
2:30 ish Chad looks at me in the tub and says in his best I'm-trying-not-to-let-you-know-I'm-freaking- out-voice, "Umm, I think we need to go now." I agreed - this was painful! My sister called me at this point and all I said was, "This is not fun!!!!" I got dressed and Chad loaded the car.
2:45 The contractions during the car ride were AWFUL! I couldn't move, I just had to rock in the front seat. I think I yelled a lot - poor Chad was trying to drive us safely to the birth center. Thankfully it is only about 15 minutes away and it was a traffic-free Saturday, which is not always the case in Dallas!
3:00 Arrived at Birth and Women's Center where one of our midwives, Beverly was waiting for us. As Chad was unloading the car, she checked my progress and my water broke. I was about 6-7 cm dilated and nearing transition! This was all moving VERY VERY fast!!
From this point on its all a blur - I spent most of transition in the tub. Transition was the most physically and emotionally challenging thing I have ever been through. I was not sure I could do it, but I had a lot of support from Chad and our 2 midwives. After I got out of the tub, I did some squatting to let gravity move the baby come down.
4:00 Time to push! I started pushing in the squatting position next to the bed. I wasn't sure I was doing it right and got some instruction from the midwives. Soon though, they noticed that the baby's heart rate had dropped so they put me on the bed on my side. I went from side to side, pushing. Eventually I got the hang of it and I could feel my body pushing with me. This part was a lot of work!! I was so tired between contractions that I could only lay down and rest. The midwives were getting more and more concerned about his heart rate. Christine told me that I had 2 more tries to get the baby out or else she will have to perform an episiotomy. I knew that I had to give these next pushes all that I had - otherwise I feared I might stay like this forever!
4:38 pm After only 5 1/2 hours of labor and with a few hard pushes, Emmet was born!! It was such a relief when his whole body came out! Chad said he could just see a bit of his head and then his face popped out!! The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, but as soon as they unwrapped it he let out a big, healthy cry!! Then we got to cuddle together as a family as they cleaned Emmet up!
Regarding the birth center: I loved how personal the whole experience was! The midwives we had were wonderful and it was a calm atmosphere with just me, Chad and them. There was no rushing around or panic or pressure to do anything we didn't want to do. Chad got to cut the cord (we delayed it a few minutes to allow all of the blood to flow out of the placenta, hospitals often times cut it very quickly). Shortly after the birth, my Mom, Susan and Allison were able to come in and see the baby. And after they cleaned me up a bit, my Dad and Chad's aunts (who were in town) also got to come in. It was so great having all of us just stare at our little miracle. They had a postpartum caretaker come in and talk me through our first breast feeding experience and she and the midwives stayed with me until we were discharged, helping me and teaching me about my baby and my postpartum recovery. About an hour after delivery I was in the shower while they did all the measures and tests on Emmet with Chad there, just a few feet away in the same room we delivered in. Chad even got to weigh him!
An hour or so later I had postpartum hemorrhage - uncontrolled bleeding, which can be very scary. The midwives were on top of it and gave me pitocin to make my uterus contract to stop the bleeding. My heart rate was also accelerated and because I lost so much blood, I ended up needed 4 bags of IV fluid. My mom was on the phone with my labor and delivery nurse cousin, Amber, to be assured that this was what would happen if we were at a hospital. My bleeding was reigned in, but it was very scary for a while. My heart rate remained elevated and they considered sending me to the hospital. However, I was allowed to go home around 1 am with strict bed rest orders and based mostly on the fact that my mom is a nurse and was going with me. It was so so nice to go home that night and sleep in my own bed! Overall, I highly recommend the birth center experience!!
Regarding no epidural: In all honesty, I probably would not have been given the option of an epidural even if I had delivered in a hospital because I progressed so quickly. I am very glad that I had feeling in order to know how to push correctly. I have to say, I am very proud of myself and feel like I can do anything now because I gave birth naturally!
My summary of labor to my Dad afterward, "I said the F word a lot today." Haha! It was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done, but also came with the best reward!