I began having regular, but mostly painless contractions on the 17th – 3 days after my EDD. I was ready, geared up, excited! I had contractions all day, but as soon as I laid down to go to bed for the evening, they stopped completely. I woke up to a several super painful ones in the middle of the night, but by morning, they had all but stopped. As the day progressed on the 18th, I began having more regular contractions and, once again, I was ready! I just wanted to hold my baby in my arms!
I was in communication with my midwives Rebecca and Faith, and told them that though they were pretty consistent, they weren’t painful. They reassured me that my body was preparing and that I should rest and go on a last date with my hubby, and hydrate! And eat PROTEIN! Once again, however, at bedtime, my contractions came to a halt, except for several very painful ones in the night.
Monday morning, the 19th, Michael asked me if he should go to work, or if I thought “Today is the day”. I was torn, but told him to go to work, and I’d just be in contact with him throughout the day. My parents took me on short walks in the neighborhood and to the park, and my contractions were the same as the previous days, consistent but not painful. I went for my scheduled chiropractor appointment and felt significantly weighted/lots of pelvic pressure, and I was very decidedly waddling. 😀 We then went to pick up my dad from Bass Pro Shops, which he’d never seen before, and we walked around there for quite a while. I had quite a few breath-catching contractions while I was there, which was an improvement, in my mind! A man at the counter had been talking to me and my mom and he told me he’d be praying for me and that my baby was coming today. I smiled, but no longer believed my baby was going to come out in the near future. Hahahaha.
Michael got home around 6:30 that night and my mom had dinner going. I finally wasn’t starving, and in fact, it was the first time food didn’t sound appealing. “Maybe this IS it” I thought to myself. I had a part of a tub of Greek yogurt and string cheese and went to rest, at Rebecca’s suggestion. I dozed for 15-30 minutes when contractions would wake me up. Mike came to check on me, and I could no longer doze, so I just tried to lie quietly in bed. (Later I would fully understand the importance of resting and sleeping as much as possible). Michael helped me out of bed so I could get into more comfortable positions: bending over the bed, swaying, him applying back pressure. I had my music going, and at some point I thought this was finally happening, so I texted Rebecca and Faith, and they just told me to do what I’d practiced: breathing, swaying, warm shower, focusing, resting as much as possible, etc. and to let them know when I was ready for them to come out. I texted my friend Bekah that she could come whenever she was ready, but that it would still be a long while.
I got into my birthing outfit #1, a strapless swimsuit cover. Mike was anxious for the midwives to arrive, and I was just as anxious for them to arrive TOO soon! So, I kept him at bay for a while, and cheerfully got through my “painful” contractions, still talking and joking in between. By 7:30 they were getting closer and stronger. Mike took over and texted Faith and Rebecca to come at 7:58. Rebecca arrived at 8:45, Faith and Annabelle some time later. She just monitored how long my contractions were lasting and how long in between, and rating my pain on a scale from one to ten (I rated it at a 6-7, feeling quite generous because I REALLY felt like it was an 8 at least!!) I was also fairly confident that I could have my baby before midnight. This is how optimistic I was at this time.
At 9:57, Rebecca asks if I would like her to check me to see how I’m dilating. I whined about how I didn’t want her to because I was afraid I wasn’t actually dilating and I was just being a wimp. I told her I’d be super discouraged if I was only at a two (because I was beginning active labor at this point and it was painful, but still doable). She smiled and said, “You’re not a wimp. What if you’re to a five or six? Let’s just check and see?” I agreed. I DID want to know if I was actually breaking some ground. Thankfully, she said I was about 6.5 cm dilated (70% effaced)! I was thrilled! But the good feeling was quickly replaced with these gut-wrenching pains in my lower abdomen. I longed to be able to get into the pool, but our hot water heater had given out and were waiting for it to replenish.
At about 10:15 they asked me if I wanted to get in, even though it wasn’t completely filled. I DID! Boy oh boy, that made a world of difference for me! It was so warm and relaxing, and relieved some of my swollen belly’s heaviness. I became overly hot during contractions though, and requested a fan to blow on me. Perfect. I tried to relax in between contractions, and at times even dozed a bit, and clung to Michael’s hand during them. (Even found myself digging my nails into his hand as hard as I could, simply because I wanted to inflict pain!) I had a couple bites of yogurt, and eventually puked them right back up. Several times, when I’d start to feel overwhelmed and become panicky, Rebecca would calmly, and firmly encourage me to be strong and not lose focus. To breathe through the pain. It was what I needed to hear. Michael also would tell me I could do it when I told him that I couldn’t, and was going to give up. I was getting tired, and my muscles were already feeling the intensity of this workout. The midwives would ask me if I had any urge to push, and I just didn’t. Although I desperately wanted to.
At 11:25, Rebecca asked to check me again, and I had progressed to an 8. A relief, but, I now knew that I was NOT going to be having an October 19th birth. I think I got out of the tub at this point so that another position could be tried to help speed me along.
By midnight my contractions were becoming even more powerful, and the breaks were shorter in between. I was in the throes of transitional labor, and several times, a contraction would just begin to ease up when another would start. That was probably the toughest part for me. I became bitter. And cynical. And pessimistic. I lost sight of the goal, and just felt the pain. I was getting discouraged.
About 1:20, Rebecca checked me again, and I had only dilated .5 cm or a little better. I was really struggling at this point. I had several contractions that I was completely overwhelmed by pain and started getting panicky because I just wanted to be done. At some point I may have said, “Just cut her out of me!” though, Rebecca swears I must’ve just thought it because she never heard me, haha. I was in a side-lying position meant to encourage some kind of progress, and it was by far the most uncomfortable/intense contractions I had to deal with, which is probably why I needed to do it! While Michael laid beside me and held my hand, Faith came and sat behind me on the bed, and did some kind of calming, swirling, scratching strokes on my low back and hips. It was just the distraction I needed to snap me out of panic mode. I breathed deeply and used every fiber of my being to muster up the strength to focus on the contraction.
Around 2:45, Rebecca checked me again, and said that there was still some of the cervix that she wanted to try to help along, if I was interested. It would require her hand to help push the lip back during contractions. I was terrified that this would increase the level of pain, and told her as much. She said that sometimes, it does, but most women don’t even notice it. Mike encouraged me to go for it, if it would help speed things along. I finally agreed, because I would rather deal with more pain for less time than to continue on, with no end in sight at the current level of pain! This also meant I got to change positions (hurray!). So I got on the birth stool (a horseshoe shaped stool, that deceivingly sounds like a place to sit, but really, is only about 3 inches wide. Not comfy, lol.) Rebecca also told me I could start pushing on my next contraction. I was ALL ABOUT pushing! It took a couple contractions to get the pushing-correctly thing down with timing, and not breathing, and just baring down. And then I LIVED for the contractions. She told me she wanted three good pushes for the duration of the contraction, with the last one being the strongest, and then I could stop. Music to my ears! I pushed with my whole heart. I gave it all I could with each and every push. It was such a relief to be able to DO something other than BREATHE to get through the pain. Rebecca would be very encouraging, saying things like “wow! That was great!” “You’re making so much progress!” “Awesome push!” “You’re doing so well!”. I ate it up. That was all I thought about during that time, haha. WORDS OF AFFIRMATION! Anyway, we did this for quite some time, and they were able to see baby’s head, about a quarter-sized amount with each contraction, but baby kept rocking back up in between contractions, even with the help of Rebecca’s hand with the cervical lip.
After about an hour of this, they put me back on the bed, on my back to encourage baby to fit under the pubic bone. This was another rough time of labor. Something about lying down during labor was really rough, but I was all about doing what they recommend because I was ready to be done! Rebecca once again was trying to help reduce the lip, and I was pushing during contractions that now came much longer and more frequently. The pushing that had once been such a relief, was now significantly less enthralling. And more challenging.
Thankfully, after about 30 minutes (which felt like a lifetime), they encouraged me to go back to the birth stool. My body was completely exhausted. I wondered if I would even be able to hold myself up on that skinny thing. They told me that I was getting close. That my baby would soon be coming to see me. I didn’t care. I didn’t believe them. I just wanted to be done so I could go to sleep. Hahaha. Looking back its funny how disillusioned I was.
Around 4:4o, they told me baby’s head was right there, if I wanted to touch it. Haha, nope, no desire. Like I said, I lost sight of what all this was all about…holding my baby girl in my arms! I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it, and didn’t believe she was almost there! Oh well. I’ll remember for next time. She crowned at 4:42, and my waters broke in an explosion, and out she came, with her hand up by her face, waving to the world at 4:43!! She cried immediately and they put her directly into my arms… I was in utter shock! She DID come! She WAS born! She was so beautiful. So plump and red. My heart was exploding with thankfulness, and after calling to Jesus several time to help me during labor, I happily thanked him for this sweet gift (and for FINALLY being done :P). 13 minutes later, the placenta was delivered. I tried to nurse her immediately and got her to latch for a short time. My rear-end was hurting quite a bit, and found out that I had torn quite a bit, because of her abrupt arrival, and into a muscle that the midwives felt more comfortable about and OB stitching. We left sweet baby Kinsley at home with my capable mother at 7 am to go to the hospital about 25 minutes away. Faith and Rebecca stayed with me the whole time, making sure I was checked in, comfortable, and answering questions from nurses and doctors.
I finally made it back home 4 hours later, exhausted beyond belief, but full of joy. I had done it! I had my baby safely at home, with my husband and midwives, and it was perfect. Kinsley weighed 8lbs., 1 oz., 20 inches long, and a 14-inch head circumference! I know for a fact that I couldn’t have finished such a feat without my awesome birthing team! (Jesus, Rebecca, Michael, and Faith!)