Weeks Pregnant: 41w1d
Weight: 8lbs 13oz
Height: 20.5 in
I felt like I had been waiting forever for something (anything!) to happen, so I was really excited when I saw my mucus plug at 5pm on Sun. April 3rd. I ran and told Leif (DH) who said that we should call our doula, Holly. She advised that I eat a good meal and get lots of rest. We decided to go out and went to our favorite Italian restaurant for our “last supper.” I started experiencing a few cramps that were about 10 minutes apart but weren’t really noticeable. After stopping for some not-so-healthy ice cream we went home and DH went to bed. I stayed up all night because my body was still on night shift time. I watched movies, bounced on my birth ball, worked on a puzzle so that I could get some time on all fours, listened to some hypnobabies tracks, napped on the couch, and got really excited. As I timed my contractions they were anywhere from 12 to 6 minutes apart and lasted about 60 seconds. The whole time I kept telling my baby that she couldn’t come out until after 9am when her dad would be done with his scheduled job interview. (He had been laid off from his job on our due date. Drama!) I finally went to bed around 6am where I slept lightly until about 10am. I then called my mom to tell her that the baby was on the way but it would probably be a while.
Leif and I then just relaxed around the house and watched TV. My contractions at this point were 5 to 6 minutes apart and were becoming stronger. I tried using the hypnobabies finger-drop technique, but I found it more annoying than helpful. It wasn’t the painless experience I was expecting, so listening to the tracks just ticked me off. Instead I just tried to relax my body as much as possible. I focused on counting up to 10 with each contraction and that’s how I got through: breathing, relaxing, and counting. Around 2pm I decided to take a shower since a lot of the women in birth stories I had read liked the shower. My waves picked up to about 4 min apart and as I stepped out one came on really strong that made me bend over and stop. Leif saw this thought it was time. He looked at the sheet our midwives had given us to see what to do and it said that we should probably go to the hospital. I said to call Holly and she decided to come over. When she walked in I felt really weird. I didn’t want people making a big fuss over me and having Holly there made it seem a little too real. She watched me during a contraction and said that I wasn’t there yet. She was right and she went home for dinner. I ate some food and laid down with my deepening track (super relaxing) for a nap. When I woke up things were a little more difficult so we called Holly and she came over again. She suggested that we go for a walk so I put on my coat and headed outside. We walked SUPER slowly and with each contraction I would lean on a tree or light post or Holly to breathe, relax, and count through them. I even threw in some low moaning just to mix it up. At this point it had been about 26 hours and I was starting to feel like she was never going to come out.
When we got back from the walk I was still holding strong at about 3 min apart lasting a minute or so. Holly then suggested that Leif and I have a little romp in the bedroom. Oh my. We said we’d try it so we sent her off to Caribou Coffee and went to get busy. Needless to say, I wasn’t really in the mood, but having some snuggle time was really nice. This is also when I decided that I wanted to go to the hospital. I just wanted to be where I was going to be and I was sick of my apartment. So we all started on the 30min drive to our chosen hospital, passing by the one we live across the street from and 6 others that didn’t make the cut along the way. The car ride was actually really great, oddly. I started really focusing on the positive. During each contraction I would say out loud, “This is goooood. It’s a blesssssing.” I reminded myself that each wave was bringing my baby to me and that they were a gift from God. I started to be really thankful and that made it 1000times better. When we got to the hospital they brought me to my room and strapped me to some machines for 30 min. Then I found out that they were going to come monitor me during a contraction every 15 min, which really disappointed me that it had to be so often. Then I had a dance party. I danced around to Prince, Michael Jackson, and a bunch of random Christian pop artists. When my midwife checked me I told her not to tell me a number, just to say if I could go in the tub or not. (You had to be at least 5cm to get in the birth tub.) She said I couldn’t, so I got in the shower to see if that would speed things up again. It was AMAZING. I loved the shower. I moved my hips, basked in the warmth, and best of all everyone left me alone. I learned later that they wanted to come monitor(bug) me but had some equipment issues. When I got out I sat on a birth ball and leaned over the end of the bed which was really nice. Leif and Holly kept rubbing my back, bringing me juice and snacks and helping me relax. We also took a walk through the hospital at some point. My midwife then checked me again and said I was ready for the tub. It was warm, but didn’t do that much to make it easier or less painful. I also had issues getting comfortable in it. All I really wanted was to go home and pretend the whole thing had never happened. It hurt and I was tired. This is also where things get a little fuzzy. (Transition?) I know I was in the water for a while and very ready to be done. I was still talking and joking, but it was not easy. Once, my midwife bent down to my eye level to fill in when Holly had to step away and I looked right into her eyes and said “I can’t do this anymore!” I had been thinking that for hours but I waited to say it until Holly was gone. For some reason I didn’t want her to think I was a wimp! Haha.
My midwife then checked me again and said that I was good to push whenever I wanted. I tried pushing a few times and it seemed to feel good so I kept going. I tried all sorts of positions in the tub but nothing much seemed to be happening. After a while Holly, my nurse, and my midwife started trying to coach me on how to push. They kept saying “Push DOWN!” “Push like you have to poop!” “Focus all your energy DOWN!” This made me really frustrated because I was trying, but really had no idea what the heck they were talking about. Poor Leif kept having this worried look on his face and telling me I was doing a great job, though I absolutely didn’t believe him. My midwife then checked to see if my water had broken and suggested that we break it manually to help things along. She then used this little hook thing to try and break it. We couldn’t really tell if it had worked though because I was already in water. After a few more pushes, Holly suggested I try sitting on the toilet. “Your body knows what to do on the toilet.” She said. I was open to anything so I hoisted my large body out of the tub and hobbled over to the porcelain throne. Here my pushes got a lot stronger. The bathroom was full of people with Holly behind me, Leif in front of me with water, and my nurse and midwife watching, all giving encouragement. I was pretty crabby and yelled at Leif a few times. The best part came when during one big hard push my water (that we thought had already broken) exploded in a 360 degree radius and got all over Leif’s pants, feet, everything. Part of me felt bad but most of me was laughing on the inside that I’d managed to nail him with amniotic fluid. After another while of pushing I decided to move to the bed so I could lie down between pushes. I laid on my side. Holly was on my left holding my leg up and Leif was on my right. With each push I would hold Leif’s hand and curl into him and push as hard as I could. I never felt that magical urge to push. Each push was a decision to keep going, to not give up. The whole time I never believed that she would actually come out. Everyone had been saying, “You’re so close!” for hours. A few times my midwife even said that she must be almost crowning, would check, and then look a little disappointed. I knew it would never happen and kept pushing anyway.
But then it did happen. Suddenly in the other-worldly haze of pushing I felt this burning down below. People started yelling “she’s crowning!” and I kept pushing. At one point Holly told me to reach down and feel my baby. I did and her head felt small and freakishly pointy. I thought that she must be a very small baby. I kept pushing and it kept burning. I heard a few people saying “There’s that arm!” I saw my midwife putting on a full protective suit and I was shocked to think that this could actually be happening. Holly reminded me to feel my baby again and this time I felt a whole big head! “Holy cow!” I said. With a push or two more my baby slid out and this flying purple creature landed on my tummy. She was really purple, slippery, wet, and huge. That first feel had made me imagine a little miniature baby and I could not believe that this whole big baby had just come out of me. I kept trying to pull her up closer but the cord was too short. Lol. I rubbed her back and just was in shock that she had actually come out. Her face was all swollen but she looked straight at me with her amazing dark blue eyes. It was such an amazing moment. She was MY baby. I did it!
Back in the real world, I had been bleeding a lot so the midwife asked if she could give me a shot of Pitocin (not routine) which I said was OK. My placenta came out really easily and the nurses pushed on my belly. I had a second degree tear because she was born with her whole arm in front of her face with her elbow leading the way by her nose. I got a shot for the pain of the stitches. That didn’t work so I felt all the stitches being sewn into me while everyone yelled at me to just focus on my baby. Honestly! I did focus on her though and she was perfect. She started breastfeeding right away and stayed latched to me for the next two hours. Both of us were covered in blood and guts and (yes) poo. She pooped on me first thing when she was born and no one noticed to wipe it off. After those 2 hours I said it was time for a bath and I gave my daughter her first bath with both of us in the tub. We finally got settled just in time for my family to burst down the door with worry since I had never updated them since the day before. Whoops.
Claire Elizabeth was born at 5:48am on Tues. April 5 weighing 8lbs 13oz and 20.5 in long. I was in labor for 36 hours and pushed for 3 hours. It was a wonderful birth experience. It was 10000x times harder than I had ever imagined and I really believed that she wasn’t going to come out, but she did. I never considered drugs, just wanted to go home and be in denial. It really hurt, but I’m glad I went without medications. I faced the impassable mountain and did it. Claire is so healthy and I brought her into the world with my own power. It was awesome.