I woke up and got my eldest off to school without so much an inclining of labor starting. When we came back home, I laid down and curled up next to Dan and fell back asleep watching Internet videos on the tv. I'm not sure how long I was able to sleep before being awoken by a contraction. I didn't think much of it even though it was quite uncomfortable. I dozed back off only to wake up to another contraction, but it wasn't as strong. I'm not sure how long this went on for before I finally woke up at about 10:00. I walked out of the bedroom and towards the kitchen/dining area and had another one (just had one prior to getting up). I went to the bathroom, poured a cup of coffee, tried making myself something to eat, all the while having contractions. They seemed to come every time I moved. I told my mom I don't think Dan's going into work today.
I tried to time them, but they were so irregular and so frequent I wasn't able to. So I called my midwife's office and told them I thought I was in labor, but the contractions were irregular. They told me to come in, so I tried waking my husband up. Poor guy had only had about two hours of sleep after working a 12 hour shift. I had tried to let him sleep as long as possible, but the way things were going, something told me we needed to leave now. When I tried waking him, I told him, "I don't think you're going into work today. We need to go to the hospital, I think I'm in labor."
I got a groggy, "You're faking it..." Obviously, he was still asleep. I couldn't wait for him to wake up, so I had my mom and sister do it; I had to finish getting ready. I texted Jason and Ruby and told them it was baby time.
Dan and Jessie packed up the car and I got in still wearing my pajamas and slippers. We stopped at the gas station and started heading out. We got a call back from Ruby and since we were still in town, we turned around and picked her up. On the way to the hospital/midwife's office, the contractions seemed to become somewhat more regular and were quite strong but manageable with deep breathing and zoning out to Big Business.
We got to the hospital (also where my midwife's office is), I started heading in and my contractions became erratic again. It was a good thing there was a wheelchair by the entrance because it took me about a minute just to get in through the door... I was seen immediately by the midwife, Sharon, and was checked for dilation. I was already at 6 cms and 100% effaced. They called down to the maternity ward and told them to prep the room and fill the tub. It was finally time.
When we got to the room, I was so thrilled to see that I would get to birth in the Holistic Birth Center with the permanent tub versus one of the regular rooms with a semi-permanent tub. They're still nice, but not quite the same, plus, it helped me mentally since it was my dream to have that room. Pretty tub, no chance at drugs. In fact, as we rounded the corner and I saw the sign, I inhaled deeply and thought, "This is it..."
They hooked my up to the monitor to see how the baby was doing and asked me several questions. There was one decel where the baby's heart rate dropped real low that concerned them, but it only happened one time. The contractions were still just as strong as before and I was able to talk through them for the most part (only times I didn't was so I could focus on breathing). I was checked again for dilation and was now at about 8 or 9 cm. I couldn't believe I had already dilated that much in the span of about a half hour. Sharon broke my water in an effort to try and speed things along. Originally, I was against it as I thought, based on my past deliveries (which were all inductions), that the contractions would become unbearable. This didn't seem to be the case, this time. I got in the tub very shortly after wearing just my nursing bra (I had bought a bathing suit top specifically for this. Never used it).
Laboring in the water was so nice. After months of heaving my massive belly around, it was nice to be able to move around almost weightlessly. The pain relief wasn't instantaneous but it soothed me mentally. When we discovered that I had left my camera's memory card back home in the laptop, Dan was ready to run down to the gift shop and buy a disposable camera. I was in the middle of a contraction and remember thinking, "Don't you dare leave me....". Thankfully, the nurse, Deb, was smart enough to suggest someone else go. He threw a 50 dollar bill at Ruby and said, "Here, it'll probably cost that much, too." My sister had brought her crappy point & shoot, thankfully. Another item I held the baby in for but never used...
After a very brief time from getting in the tub, i was able to relax almost completely and the pain from the contractions subsided. There were many occasions when I felt myself holding tension in my neck and shoulders, and a few when I tensed up quite a bit (the pain was worsened then), but for the most part I remained extremely relaxed. There were a few times when I remember Dan holding and rubbing my hand and it was completely limp. I overheard at one point the nurse ask if I was asleep. I think I may have been too relaxed at times as I had a hard time telling if I was having a contraction. I was experiencing lots of pressure, but felt no urge to push. I was even able to joke and apologize (for what, I don't quite remember) between contractions.
The midwife checked me and said I was at 9.5-10 cm and to try and push. I tried pushing in a semi-sitting position. This was when things got more painful and I started begging for an epidural. I remember everyone telling me to push and I eventually snapped, "Quit telling me what to do." It was more directed at everyone, but poor Dan got the reply. I changed positions because I kept arching my back in my current position and got into a lunging stance and began rocking her out and gently pushing. I ended up getting a leg cramp in the midst of a rather intense contraction, and brought that leg underneath me more. Ugh... I remember the leg cramp more than I do the contraction!
Finally, I felt the urge to truly push. I groaned loudly and in one long push she was born. I had my eyes closed for the most part (especially toward the end), but as I was pushing I opened my eyes and I saw my sister's face. The look on her face was priceless; she looked soo scared! But it didn't hurt and I didn't feel the "ring of fire" I so dreaded. I stood up and heard the midwife saying the cord was short and it was wrapped around her hand. I felt it tug when we tried maneuvering her around so I could sit down and hold her for the first time.
We sat there for a few minutes, but I started getting cold, so we got out and laid in the bed under some blankets. I fed her and she latched on really well (another first). The nurse gave us all the time in the world to let us bond and breast feed. Eventually they weighed, measured, and took her away for her bath. She was 7 lbs 13 oz and 20 1/2 inches.
It was quite possibly the most amazing experience of my life! I'm so happy I was able to stick it out. Not that I had a whole lot of time to change my mind, considering I was only in labor for four hours, but still...
Since this post is getting a bit long, I'll save my thoughts on the whole experience for another post. ^_~