O.k. So maybe that analogy doesn't really work since I really, really did care when labor actually started for real, and the rest of my family did too.
I guess a good place to start is this picture:
Here am I on Monday, February 11--exactly 40 weeks by ovulation date. (Little girl actually arrived at 40 weeks by LMP (last menstrual period) so....still punctual). This is right before we left for the birth center. I was convinced that the contractions I was experiencing were The Real Deal. They were much stronger and intense than all the previous contractions to date. However, look at my face. I am far to gleeful to be in actual labor. That should have tipped me off. That being said, we drove up to the birth center. On the hour and a half drive, my contractions started tapering off--another sign I wasn't in active labor. We got to the birth center and walked around a bit before meeting with the midwife. The contractions picked up again, and I was hopeful that we would have a baby. The midwife checked me and found that I was only dilated to a 3 (which was not enough to admit me to the birth center) but stated that I could be in early labor. We decided to stay close by in a hotel in case things picked up over night. However, things did not pick up. The contractions petered down to nothing, and we left for home in the morning. Mr. F. and I joked that we finally got our night away (after three years). What a date night!
On Wednesday, I started having bloody show. It seemed like it might be a good sign, but I was hesitant to be too hopeful. Wednesday night, the contractions started. They were strong and pretty intense, but for the longest time not regular. I called the midwife at 3 am to discuss. Could I be in active labor but not have consistent contractions? According to her--no. If I was in active labor, the contractions would be consistent. O.k. then. I mentally prepared myself to hunker down for a bit. By 4:15 am I was sure this was it. These contractions were not going to go away. I was having to really concentrate through them, and they were intensifying by the minute. I called the midwife to let her know. We planned on meeting at the birth center at 6 am.
With Finn's birth story, I mentioned that laboring in the car was "not fun." Ha ha ha. We will take that statement and magnify it by a factor of 10 or so. When the contractions did start being regular, they were rather fast and furious. My contractions in the car were two to three minutes apart and super intense. It was made more difficult by the fact that I was strapped to a seat in a rather uncomfortable position in which to labor. Mr. F. kept quizzing me on the drive there how I was doing and asking if we needed to make an emergency stop at the hospital on the way. I honestly didn't know, but I was praying that I would make it to the birth center. I did NOT want to have my baby anywhere else.
When we got to the birth center, I was dilated to an 8. Whoohoo! I remember having the thought, "hopefully that means I won't have much longer to go." I had a few rather painful contractions at the side of the bed. I then asked the midwife if I could labor in the tub. At first I wasn't going to make the request, thinking that they would have started filling it if laboring in the tub was a possibility. Luckily, my more proactive side won out, and I asked. They filled the tub, and I dropped in with a sigh of extreme relief. I said this once, and I will say it again. Laboring in the tub is the way to go. The ONLY way to go, in my opinion. It makes things so much more bearable. Last birth, I had to get out of the tub just in time for transition. (Yeah for me.) I think I might have been getting too hot; the baby was also not in an ideal position. This time, I tried to sit in the tub so as to remedy that. I asked the midwives if they needed to check me to see if I was in transition or if it was time to push. They said, "No. We can usually tell where you are in the process by the sounds you make." Ha ha ha. Yes. I imagine they are quite adept in reading the sounds of labor. I know that I definitely started to make different sounds as I reached transition and then when I was ready to push.
Last birth, transition was by far the hardest moment for me. Once I got past that and started pushing, I felt o.k.--a little more in control. (Even though I spent two hours actually pushing--so it wasn't like it was a walk in the park, if you know what I mean.) This time, I felt like I could manage transition pretty well in the tub but when it got time to push. Oh Lord. (And no, I don't use that lightly.) It was like she came barreling down the pipe. I just couldn't keep on top of the pain. I was absolutely screaming in agony. At one point the midwife said, "Slow down. Don't push. Breath through the next contraction. You need to stretch out." I was like, "Are you freakin' kidding me!? I am giving birth to a torpedo, and you want me to 'slow down!'" And of course I had thoughts like: "THIS is why people have epidurals. Why did I think an unmediated birth was a good idea? I remember this pain, and IT SUCKS!"
Baby Girl came out in relatively few pushes. (I wasn't in a position to count the exact number.) And then the sweet relief of it being over. I got to place her on my chest immediately while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing. Mr. F. did the honors of cutting. When I stood up to move to the bed, I noticed that the tub looked......rather gory. It was a bit shocking. I mean, I know that birth isn't exactly tidy, but last time, it was more......contained. The downside of a water birth, I guess. When I looked at the clock after I was situated on the bed, I noticed it was 7:20 am. The whole process took a little more than an hour.
Baby Girl latched on right away, and then wanted to nurse continually for the next hour. I guess she was hungry. I was hungry too. There is nothing so wonderful as cramming your face with food after having a baby. Everything just tastes so wonderful. In fact, I haven't been able to stop cramming my face full of food. I have been so hungry this time around--like I want to eat ALL THE FOOD, ALL THE TIME.
After I demonstrated that I could pee on my own, we got the discharge rundown from the midwife and were on our way home after a couple of hours. Finn was so excited to see her and had been practicing her name. He continues to be a devoted and affectionate brother.
Was it hard? Yes. Very. But Mr. F. was wonderful and supportive. The midwives were very encouraging, especially when I needed them to be. The environment was calm and relaxing, so unlike the stress and bustle of a hospital. Every time, though, I think that I am crazy, but then afterwards, I think that I am brilliant.
|On arriving home|