This is probably going to be lengthy, so settle in if you want all the details. If not, I’ll be back into more “normal” blogging soon. I’m also linking up with Katie today.
My due date was Friday, August 1st. On Monday, July 28th I went for a slow four mile jog to see if it would get things moving. I had cramps and mild contractions off and on for a week at that point, and was tired of all the false alarms!
Later that morning I had an appointment with my midwife and learned that I was 2 cm dilated and that the head was very, very low. She expected labor to begin soon. She also swept my membranes to see if that might help kickstart things (this is basically loosening some of the membranes between the uterus and the sac the baby is in and will only help labor start if your body is ready).
Around 1pm I picked up L from summer camp and felt what I thought might a contraction. Ten minutes later I felt another one on our way home. They were extremely mild so I ignored it but let my husband know that I felt something.
At 2pm, I texted my midwife a heads up and started tracking contractions on scrap paper while I finished packing our hospital bag in case this was the real thing. I still wasn’t convinced.
From 2-3:30 pm, contractions ranged from 4-8 minutes apart. I could walk and talk through them so I let the midwife know we’d likely be home for several more hours until things started to pick up.
At 4pm, my husband was nervous that things we’re happening faster than I let on and made us an early dinner to have energy for the night ahead. I was hungry and ate most of a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. As I got to the last few bites, a really strong contraction hit and I had to get down on all fours to relieve some of the back pressure.
After watching me, he began loading up the car but I didn’t want to rush it and have to labor for a long time at the hospital. I called my midwife to get her thoughts (she was already on her way, suspecting things would go fast) and another really strong contraction hit. I decided my husband was right- it was time to go!
I laid across the back seat with a pillow and groaned my way through the contractions in the car ride. There was NO way I was going to be able to sit upright at that point!
We got to the hospital and settled up in our room about 5:15 or so. I now needed my husband to use strong counterpressure on my lower back with each contraction. Thankfully, they were still about 4 minutes apart so I had a break between each. But they were becoming much more intense than with my first labor!
I was checked and about 5 cm dilated. This was actually discouraging for me, because with L it took 7 hours to go from 4 cm to 10 cm and ready to push. I couldn’t imagine lasting much longer as these were so much stronger!
It turns out they were stronger because things were happening fast. An hour later I was fully dilated. I had moved to the shower to have hot water sprayed on my back (hubs jumped behind me to spray it and continue the counterpressure- he was amazing, by the way!) I was on all fours with a waterproof pillow under my knees- but it seemed to help.
At 6:20pm, I felt my water pop and suddenly had an uncontrollable urge to push. My midwife asked me not to push yet- she needed access to the baby and wanted me up on the bed. I didn’t think I could walk but somehow she and my husband got me back over to the bed.
The back pressure was so strong I refused to be on my back but got on all fours again and continued to push with the urge to do so. She was out in five minutes, at 6:25 pm!
Pushing is by far my favorite part of labor. I love that I can do something with the contraction, rather than trying to relax with it and ride them out. And there is nothing like the feeling of that little being slithering from inside to outside- yes, there’s a bit of burning, but wow, what a miracle!
I couldn’t believe she was here. My first question was, “is she okay?” And then I kept repeating, “I can’t believe she’s really out! I can’t believe it’s over already!”
By the way – just a comment on birthing noises. As awful as it always sounds in a movie, those “birthing sounds” are so natural. It isn’t necessarily the “I’m dying in pain” sensation that it looks like (although I’m not saying it is easy or comfortable- and the last hour of contractions this time around were rough). But I found it really helped me to express myself vocally, especially through the pushing stage.
In any case, I felt so lucky that everything went smoothly and I was able to have another natural delivery. With my first, I passed out immediately after labor and lost too much blood so I missed out on some of the initial bonding.
This time, I was fine. Baby J was on my chest for the first hour and began to practice her sucking skills. They gave me some pitocin afterward to prevent over-bleeding and there were no complications.
Those of you who followed our journey know that it’s been a long one, from infertility to a failed adoption process to finally our little girl. We are so thankful that God has given us this precious gift!
Moms, did you find the contractions or pushing easier?