My Birth Story - Baby #1
As I started getting ready for baby #2, I was reminiscing over Precious' birth and how it went, what I'd change if I had the opportunity, all that I was thankful for, and how I hope this next labor will go.
In many ways I feel I was more prepared for her birth than I am with this little guy's, and I can't exactly pinpoint why. Maybe because we technically did more to prepare - like attending a Childbirth Education Class - or maybe it's because we had to get EVERYTHING because it was our first, vs. with this one much is already in place. Or maybe it's because I have her to keep me busy now, whereas before I could devote a lot of time to researching and preparing.
Either way, he will be here soon enough, and she is most definitely a wonderful part of our lives!
I had prodromal labor (aka contractions that weren't the "real thing", though we later found out they were still doing something!) for a couple weeks before I actually went into labor. While at first we had some doubts, we eventually figured out how to tell that it wasn't real. They followed the same pattern: started around the same time every night, would get strong enough that I would use the coping mechanisms I learned in Childbirth Education Class (CBC) to get through them, but they would wane after a few hours and I'd go to bed & fall asleep. My husband still had work every morning, so I would wait the contractions out while he slept.
We laugh about it now: I was fully ready for her to come any day, but he was adamant that she couldn't come early, she had to be born on her due date or later. 38 and 39 weeks passed by, and the day before her due date finally arrived. As a last salute to our child-free life, Josh took me out to dinner at a local restaurant, one that normally would have been out of our budget and that didn't allow children, so we couldn't have gone after baby either.
It was a gorgeous evening - partly cloudy and warm, but not sticky. The perfect August night! We were seated at our table, and after oohing and ahh-ing over the beautiful interior, we ordered our food & enjoyed the atmosphere. I remember our waitress didn't believe that I was pregnant and that it was the day before my due date! I actually stood up and "puffed out" to prove it to her. We watched as a summer thunderstorm rolled in, little knowing what was to come that night & the next day.
When we could come up with no more excuses to stay out, we headed home, and right on track, I had contractions start up around 10pm. They did seem maybe a little more intense than usual, but I didn't really pay attention to that. Josh and I settled down to a movie while I bounced on the exercise ball, pausing it occasionally when I needed to breathe through a contraction. When the movie ended, I was still dealing with some contractions, so I shooed him off to bed while I waited for them to abate. I would lay down between surges to rest, and eventually I fell asleep.
Around 3am or 4am on her due date, I woke up to a strong contraction. After it went away, I went to use the bathroom and had bloody show. The surges were coming steadily, so I woke Josh up and had him call the midwife, Elizabeth. She counseled us to rest as much as possible and try a hot shower to see if the contractions would go away. They quickly picked up the pace though, and when the hot water ran out, I resorted to hands & knees on the bed, intensely moaning through every wave. Josh called and notified our doula later that morning, and called my mother as well, who was our birth photographer.
Josh did a great job reading me. When I wouldn't let him or our doula touch me (apparently I was very hands off when I was in labor, oops), he got everything ready to go, made me laborade, and prepped the car with towels and a bucket (I was feeling a little nauseous) for our journey. He realized sooner than I did that it was time to head to the hospital, even though everyone told us my labor would take longer than that, and helped me get into the car. Hands & knees was the only position that I could tolerate, so I climbed into the back seat and we were off.
I'm pretty sure every guy daydreams about the day he'll get to drive lights flashing, speeding down the highway as his wife screams in labor beside him, hoping they'll make it so he doesn't have to deliver a baby in his car. Well...it wasn't that bad, and I couldn't see exactly what speed he was going down the interstate, but I do know it was fast, and I do also know we arrived in shorter time than we normally do. Before we left, I asked Josh how many contractions I'd have to deal with in the car (they were very regular and could be timed), and he figured out the math & told me a number (I've forgotten it now...I think it was 10). So as I dealt with the contractions, I counted them down, and I still had two left go when we got to the hospital.
Our doula had followed us down in her car and quickly parked while we pulled up to the front door. While Josh helped me in, she parked our car for us and brought our bags in. I was hoping I could make it from the hospital door to the birth center without a contraction, but alas, it was not meant to be. I'm sure I got some strange looks from a few people as I stopped to have a contraction on the couch! The midwife was waiting for us at the door of the birth center, and gently herded me into our room. When we got into there, she asked me to lay down so she could check me and see how far along I was. And I was already at 6cm!
After that I stripped down and got into their glorious, warm tub. Due to my positive GBS result, I had to have an IV w/ antibiotics put in, but it was quickly done and didn't really affect me. I labored there for about an hour, when during one of the contractions I felt a "pop", which Elizabeth assured me was my water breaking. Sure enough, I reached down and could feel the top of her head. Not realizing what was going on, I had unconsciously started pushing with every contraction at that point. Elizabeth saw it and said that it was time to get out of the tub. Once I got out and dried off, we started working together on pushing. I tried many positions; the contractions, while still strong and present, I think I overruled with my excitement to see my little girl.
All in all, I pushed for about an hour. It would have gone faster I think, except (which I found out later when talking to Elizabeth) I was having trouble stretching down there to accept her head. Her heart rate kept dropping while I was pushing, and Elizabeth looked me into the eye and said, "We need to get her out." The Mama Bear in me kicked in, and I pushed with all my might.
Precious was finally born at around 11am on her due date, after 12 hours total of labor (only 6 of which I would consider "hard" labor). And Josh delivered her! She was born into his hands with Elizabeth guiding him. They laid her on my chest, but she was so floppy and blue. The nurse gave her some oxygen and they suctioned her out, and finally, to my great relief, she started crying. One of the most beautiful sounds ever.
It's already been a long story, so I'll spare you the details of what happened from there, but I had a small tear that Elizabeth quickly stitched up, and we (after our families met her) moved upstairs to a recovery room. I wasn't on antibiotics long enough before I had her, so it meant an automatic two night stay (which we didn't mind terribly). She was the most beautiful little girl we had ever seen, and so alert to her surroundings and to us. We were happily ever in love <3