How it Started:
As I talked about in one of my previous posts, I started feeling slightly weird on Monday--a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions, more than I was used to. I joked with Bonnie when I was at her apartment that day that I *might* be in early labor. Well, it seems that I probably was. At about 2:30 am Tuesday morning, I felt something...shift. Which woke me up and made me have to go to the bathroom. As usual, I couldn't go back to sleep right away, so I hung out on the couch and messed around online. An hour later, I got up to go to bed and felt a gush of...something...soak my bathrobe (mercifully, a very thick one!) I walked into the bedroom and told Brian
"Thundercats are go!"
The Nitty Gritty:
We called our midwife, who told us to go back to bed. Right. Like I was going to sleep now! About an hour later, after soaking through two pj pant bottoms and a towel (when my water broke it was like a gush, then a trickle, then a gush and more trickling), we got up and started setting up the house for the birth. We covered the bed with plastic, wrapped the pillows in garbage bags, cleared off the dressers and Brian started setting up the birthing tub.
All the while, I really started feeling contractions. They didn't hurt, really, but they were uncomfortable. I labored through them on my birth ball until they seemed to be coming pretty quickly together--every 3 to 4 minutes. Then I started walking around. I don't think I stopped walking around for another two hours.
It's right around here that things start to get a little hazy for me. I know I labored in the shower until it ran cold. I labored in bed, napping between contractions. I labored in the shower again, when the contractions were getting a lot harder. I labored in the birth tub, where contractions got really hard, really serious, really REALLY fast. Then I transitioned to the bed to push. I pushed for 45 minutes, but my cervix, which had fully dilated, had closed a little, so I was told not to push, and just breathe through the contractions. Brian said I just passed out. Then I pushed for another 45 minutes. This, I remember, was the hardest part. It seemed to take forever to push her head out. Finally, with a super fun burning sensation, I pushed her head out. She started squawking before she was even all the way out!
It was 8:38 pm. It took almost exactly 18 hours from start to finish.
Once I pushed her out, they set her right on me. She was covered in white, Elmer's glue-looking vernix, with big blue eyes and a head full of light brown hair and was...well...dazzling. I know I pushed out the placenta, that they waited a good five to ten minutes before clamping and cutting the cord, that they gave me a shot of pitocin to help stop any bleeding, but none of it really registered. I had a baby. On me. She was mine and she was perfect from her teeny tiny fingers and toes, to her big eyes and her perfect little mouth with an upper lip that looked just like Brian's. She started nursing right away. When Rosanna told .me that I had torn my perineum while pushing, I was not surprised. It had hurt like nothing else when I pushed her head out! I was bummed though, when Rosanna told me I would have to go to the hospital to have a doctor give me a few stitches--the tear was deeper than she felt comfortable taking care of--because I would have to leave the baby. Fortunately, the hospital trip was pretty easy, we were in and out in under an hour. Meanwhile, Brian was able to bond with Lorelei while the midwife's assistant showed him how to change her diaper.
We did have one minor complication: the birthing tub. First, while we had turned the water heater way up, the water coming out of the water heater through a hose was cold! We realized that we were getting the water from the bottom of the heater, which was cold, while the hot water was rising to the top of the heater. After a call to my dad, we came up with the solution to attach the hose to the washing machine to get some nice, piping hot water out! It took a good 2 1/2 hours to fill that tub.
Unfortunately, it was all for naught, because it was then that we realized there was a funny haze on the bottom of the tub: rust from our super rusty pipes! We had to drain the tub, then fill it again which took several more hours!
There were a few things that really surprised me throughout the birth:
#1 How much it hurt. Yes, I know it's called labor for a reason, but still. It really REALLY hurt. And the contractions were so exhausting. And 18 hours is a LONG time! I won't lie, there came a point when I told Brian it hurt too much, that I didn't want to do this anymore. But Brian was a rock star, told me how amazing I was and helped me breathe through it! After giving birth naturally, I can totally understand why someone would opt for a medicated birth!
#2 The sounds I made. Seriously. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to let myself go during the birth. This was not a problem. I got to a point when I just didn't care. I didn't care that I was walking around my house completely naked. And I didn't care what about the sounds coming out of my mouth. I just needed to vocalize. I breathed, I moaned, I growled, I ROARED. Anything to get through the contractions.
#3 The birthing tub. When I saw videos of water births, the laboring mothers looked so...well...peaceful. When I was in the tub, not so much. When I hit the water, my contractions hit hard and fast. So hard that I completely dilated within a 30 minute time span. This is when the growling and roaring happened! This is when Rosanna asked me how important it was for me to give birth in the tub. I was so far gone at that point that all I wanted was to GET THAT BABY OUT! I told her "I don't give a shit."
#4 The Bounce Back. The recovery time was amazing. I was pushing and exhausted then five minutes later, after Lorelei had been born, I was awake and energized! Talking and laughing and completely obsessed with my new baby. I talked completely through the drive to the hospital, through the procedure and through the ride home. I felt great! In fact, at the hospital, I started to say "It wasn't that bad." Then I stopped and said "What am I talking about? It really SUCKED!" Those endorphins are amazing!
|Lorelei Anna Belle, just hours after being born!|
|The new mom, back from the hospital!|
|The new papa, enjoying some skin-to-skin baby bonding!|
|Our first family photo!|