Last Wednesday evening was like most evenings the last few weeks - I had had contractions off and on - but nothing to sit and time - maybe 3 an hour at most - although most of the time, however, there was nothing.
My husband and I were beat, so we laid down in our bed with all three of our kids around 7:30 p.m., turned off the lights, and let our oldest read Frog and Toad stories to us all with his nifty head lamp he got for Christmas. Around 8:00 p.m., it was time to go to sleep, and I decided to stay in bed with them and go to sleep myself while my husband went downstairs. Around 8:45, I noticed I still wasn't asleep, which was very odd for me. You see, usually I lay down, and pretty much instantly fall asleep. At 9:15 or so, I realized I was having what seemed like regular contractions - but they were about 10-15 minutes apart.
I went downstairs, and told my husband I thought labor may be starting and we should try to time them - they were so erratic, that it was difficult to time anything. So around 9:30-9:45, I decided to take a bath, thinking the in-between cramps wouldn't be felt, and I would only feel the real stuff. Worked like a charm. Within 20 minutes to half an hour, we knew it was it, as my contractions were 5 minutes apart! My husband called my mom and asked her to come just in case. Within another few minutes, I knew I had to get to the hospital. I called my midwife who said to listen and trust my body, and come if I needed to - I told her I needed to. Also, the tub felt so divine, and I had planned to have a water birth if the pool was available, so I wanted to give them time to fill the pool.
We couldn't wait for my mom to arrive (she only lives 1/2 hour from us, but it was progressing so quickly I couldn't wait), so we called our neighbor to come over and stay with the kids until my mom arrived. Good thing we did.
I remember being on the road around 10:40 p.m. or so. We thank the Lord for His protection, as the roads were icy (of course - I had a feeling labor would happen on a stormy night!), and I could not stay seated during contractions. The only way I could get relief was by rocking on my hands and knees, and I did so on the drive there. Being the chicken I am though, after the contraction was done, I would sit back down and put my seatbelt on! LOL!
Once we arrived (around 11:10 p.m.), they started the antibiotic drip (I had Group B Strep), and monitored my contractions and baby for a few minutes. My midwife only planned on checking me if I wanted. I went back and forth - what if I was only 1 cm? I decided, I was what I was, and I wouldn't let any number discourage me. I had her check me (this was the only time I let her - honestly, this was the most painful part of the whole labor!!!), I was 4 cm. I was encouraged as I saw it as being almost half way there :)
Finally after what seemed too long, the pool was finished filling and I entered it. Oh, what sweet, heavenly relief! It was perfect! I have no idea of the time, but would guess I was in the pool by 11:45-12:00 a.m.? Anyway, I was most comfortable leaning my arm on the stool, and being on my right side - I tried my back, I tried my left side, but my right side was relaxing to me. I groaned and moaned through the contractions. I had read in preparation that to make an "oohhhh" sound rather than an "ahhhh" sound or screaming, and to envision letting my cervix open. That is what I concentrated on (and TMI here, sorry folks, but I also was obsessed in a ridiculous way over the fact that I was certain I had to go #2 - my midwife kept trying to nicely and lovingly convince me it was the baby - I didn't believe her!) Finally, because of said obsession, I decided to just push the poo out so it wouldn't bug me anymore. Also, even though I didn't trust my body would tell me when to push, my body did just that, and started a reverse "dry heaving", or so it felt to me. My midwife was right - it wasn't the poo - it was the baby, and so I started pushing my baby.
My midwife and husband kept trying to get me to float over on my back, but it felt impossible. Although my eyes were closed for most of the labor, I remember opening them wide, staring at my midwife (by the way, my husband was in the pool with me, holding me), and saying - "I wish I got the epidural!" She looked at me back and just said, "push." And push is what I did, after the Lord, I believe, floated me over on my back. At that point, the pain was gone as long as I was pushing. And in a few minutes, our little K was born!
I was truly amazed that after she was born, the pain was completely gone! I didn't say this yet, but I had epidurals with my other three children. I asked my husband if the time frame in my mind was correct, and he agreed it was, but the amount of real intolerable pain was as long as the real intolerable pain of the epidural (to me - I HATE that needle, etc. going in my back - I always have, it makes me cringe, like nails on a chalkboard.....)
All in all, from the time we arrived at the hospital (when the harder pain began), to when our daughter was born, was 1.5 hours.
My husband also seemed to really enjoy this labor experience more than the others, as did I. Another special part of this birth was shortly after our daughter was born, he played two very special songs to me/us - the first was Third Day's "Blessed Assurance" and our wedding song "Have a Little Faith in Me" by John Hyatt. He also prayed and thanked the Lord for our daughter. That forever will mean the world and be the most special part of the whole birth. I love my husband with a deep, deep love - he is a wonderful, magnificent man!
I still have more pictures to upload to my computer, and will post them over the next few days.
Have a wonderful, hopefully warm (its freezing in our part of the world!) day!