Tuesday, after trying the Pitocin shots and "laboring" all day, I was exhausted. I was also feeling a little upset that I used Pitocin, defeated that it didn't work, angry that it had come to this point, and pressured to have this baby because my mother in law was here. Not to mention that my stomach was now feeling upset and nauseous.
I went to bed that night feeling a slight sense of relief that I would get a full night's rest and could wake up in the morning feeling a little less pressure to "make" the baby come. HAH! Little did I know what I was in store for!
Shortly after falling asleep (maybe 11pm?), I started having contractions again. I figured they would end up like every other time. Just be annoying enough to not get great sleep and then taper off by morning. But these were persistent and getting stronger. By about 2am I just couldn't take it any longer. I had to focus and laying in bed trying to be quiet was just not an option anymore. I knew Gabe had to be up around 4 to take his mother to the airport so I wanted to let him sleep.
I went out into the living room where I started timing and laboring/moaning through each contraction. I was most comfortable standing bent over the arm of the couch and swaying back and forth during contractions. But I was so exhausted and tired after not having slept in over 36 hours at this point that I just couldn't keep standing. I sat on the couch and tried to sleep between contractions which were 5-7 minutes apart. I so badly wanted to wake Gabe up but he had about a 3 hour round trip drive coming up and I knew he needed the sleep. I was still in denial that this was actual labor!
Some time around 4am I went back to the bedroom to wake up Gabe. As I stood hunched over the edge of the bed during another contraction, I was secretly hating him for being able to sleep peacefully and pain-free. I woke him up and told him what was going on. His first suggestion was to call the midwife. I wanted to wait some more but I was in so much pain that I couldn't even put up a fight. Diane, the midwife, let us know that she would stay up now and to call if the contractions got any closer together. Gabe didn't want to leave me but it was too late to call a shuttle service so reluctantly, he left me to keep laboring and we prayed the baby would stay in long enough for him to make it back home.
The next 2 1/2 hours were a big blur of pain and contractions. I was still not sure if I was really in labor (if it was during the daytime, I think I would have said it was labor) because we had already had 3 false alarms during the night. I had to moan through each contraction and the closer together and more painful they got, the louder I was moaning. I prayed each time to just get through this one and make it to the next one.
I kept timing the contractions and labored some more in the living room hoping my moaning wouldn't wake up the kids. While out there, I texted just two words to our birth photographer hoping she would get the message and come. "In labor" was all it said. I got in the shower hoping that would help but after some time, my body was shaking so bad I had to get out. I didn't even get dressed and just threw on my robe. Gabe called and I was desperate to have him home. He still had an hour's drive left.
While on the phone, I got nauseous and threw up. That was the point where I knew it was serious and I had to call the midwife. The only thing I said was "My contractions are 3-5 minutes apart and I just threw up." All she said was "I'm on my way." and hung up. This was where I started to panic; praying someone would get here on time. Labor is no joke. But laboring on my own is something I wouldn't ever want to do again.
The pain was so intense it was hard to stay calm and breathe. I called Gabe again desperately hoping he was almost home. I didn't even want to talk to him, I just needed to not feel alone. I was in the bedroom not knowing what to do anymore when Gabe walked in. The poor guy also had no clue what to do. Thankfully, the midwife showed up right behind him. She checked me and let us know that I was a loose nine. "What?!" was all I could say. I was both relieved and shocked. I couldn't believe I was finally going to have the baby!
Diane, her assistant, and Gabe all went to work setting up the birth pool and getting supplies ready while I laid on the bed laboring. The kids woke up at this point, increasing the chaos that was happening. They were excited to hear the baby was coming and they would get to stay home from school.
I got in the birth pool and my contractions started spacing out a bit. Diane let me know that's normal for a fully dilated woman. She asked me to try pushing a little. I did and let me tell you... it was even more painful and definitely not a relief like some women describe it! I was trying to get through the contractions and let them bring the baby down for a while. But I was getting impatient so I started pushing. And pushing and pushing! I couldn't believe how much pushing I was doing and still no baby. I remember
With each push, the midwife, her assistant, and Gabe were offering words of support and encouragement about how good I was doing, how the baby was moving down, and I was almost done. The poor dears... I yelled back "No I'm not! Stop saying that!" Yes, I really did. Just keeping it real here.
During all my pushing, Diane occasionally checked me. Twice, she found a small cervical lip that she helped to move out of the way. We thought my water had broken because she couldn't feel a bulging of my water bag but it turned out that it still had not broken.
I was getting increasingly upset and feeling more and more like a failure. I needed a break. So I stopped pushing and moaned through the contractions and actually managed to fall asleep between them. After about 30 minutes, I got a burst of energy/desperation and started pushing with all my might. It hurt like hell and I just wanted it all to be over. I'm pretty sure I also yelled at the baby "Where are you? Get out!"
Diane checked me and we found out at that point that my water still had not broken. She was surprised because she had never felt it before and thought it had broken by itself some time before that. We thought that was holding the baby back so the next time I pushed, she broke my water. She was also trying to help stretch my perineum to help me out but it felt weird and was more pain on top of what I was already feeling so I yelled at her to stop. Looking back, I'm embarrassed for yelling at them so much. They were cool about it though and I'm sure I'm not the only woman in labor who's yelled at them.
I pushed some more and again lost my energy so I said I was taking another break. A contraction came and I rolled to my left side and started moaning through it. That's when almost instantly I felt what is known as the "ring of fire" and a head between my legs. I reached both hands out and grabbed with all my might the closest things to me which happened to be the assistant's and Gabe's hands. My moan turned into a full out roar. I remember thinking/saying "Oh my God! It burns! It hurts!" Followed by more roaring. I'm talking about a roar so loud I'm surprised the neighbors didn't call the cops.
Diane told me to open my legs because the baby was coming. I rolled over and gave a big push, looked down and there it was... the head. I was FINALLY at the end! Alena was excitedly squealing "There's the baby!" over and over. Another push and I could see his face. In that moment, I forgot everything and could only focus on that sweet face. One more big push and the rest of the body was out. Immediately, a million and one emotions overtook me and I didn't know whether to cry or laugh. I'm almost sure I did an odd mixture of the two. I was quite the hot mess. Christian came back into the room after having walked out bored just five minutes before that.
I distinctly remember and will never forget the feeling of pushing the baby out. The pain of getting the head out, the very odd sensation of feeling every body part after that slide out, and joy of holding him for the first time.
I was holding him and he gave out one little cry and then just laid there on my chest quiet and alert while we let the cord stop pulsing. I never even thought to check if it was a boy or girl until Alena asked us. I looked and to my complete surprise it was a boy! Christian was happy to have a brother and Alena cried "I wanted a sister!"
With the next contraction my placenta came out (another weird feeling). We cut the cord and Gabe took him to dry off. The midwife helped me get up and climb into bed. I was still having contractions (which is normal) and was surprised at how painful they were! I felt lied to because everyone always said you forget the pain or it goes away as soon as the baby is out but that's not true. At this point with the older kids my epidural hadn't worn off yet so I never experienced the after pains.
Gabe brought Noah back so I could try and nurse him. He wasn't interested so the midwife weighed him. Gabe guessed 7lbs 4oz, I guessed 7lbs 2oz. He was 7lbs 3oz; right in the middle.
I was dead tired and on the verge of falling into a deep sleep. There was no happy birth high, no energy, nothing. I had been up for two days straight and wanted nothing more than to sleep and rest. Gabe brought me the baby and a sandwich of which I only managed a couple of bites. Our first nursing session was done lying down and with me falling asleep in the middle of it. Both the baby and I had been through quite an experience and we spent the rest of the day in bed asleep.
It's still a little unreal to look back on how it happened that day. I must have pictured the labor and birth a thousand different ways and nothing went how I thought it would! Still, I'm proud of myself for doing it the way we wanted. 100% natural, at home, and a perfect baby.