Sunday, October 16, 2011

She's Here! Our Birth Story

The last few weeks of my pregnancy I was absolutely miserable. I was suffering from intense and debilitating pelvic pain, my iron level was extremely low and nothing I ate managed to raise it, and I was working and functioning on about two hours of sleep a night. Suffice to say I was looking forward to hitting 40 weeks and getting that baby OUT. But like my son, my daughter had other plans. As the days ticked by, not only was I frustrated that I wasn't going into labor, I was getting nervous because my licensed midwife was only allowed to legally care for me until 42 weeks. At that point she would be required by law to take me to the hospital for an induction. Since Miles was born at 42 weeks 3 days, I was scared. The whole point of using a midwife was to avoid the hospital and I really didn't want to end up there. So we did all of the usual things to get the baby out: walking, sex, evening primrose oil, homeopathic black and blue cohosh, acupuncture and some root tea prepared by my mother-in-law. At the end of the day I knew the baby was going to come when she was ready and none of this was making a damn bit of difference, but it did help to feel like I was being proactive and not leaving everything up to chance.

I went to my final midwife appointment at 41 weeks, 5 days for yet another non-stress test and biophysical profile. The baby looked great so we made plans for me to come in at 42 weeks for a day of torture....castor oil, herbs, membrane stripping and god only knows what else. During my first pregnancy we had gone into the hospital for the same tests on a Monday and made plans to be induced that Wednesday, but I went into labor that night. So we decided to try and recreate that Monday by going out for spicy Indian food, having sex and going for a long walk. It worked to get the first baby out and it worked for the second!

I was having Braxton Hicks all that evening but by about 10 pm they were accompanied by some cramps that felt like the real thing. I called my midwife at 11 and told her I thought this was it. She asked me to time three more contractions and call her back and let her know their duration and how far apart they were. When I called back and said they were coming every 3 minutes and lasting a minute she told me she was heading out the door and for me to get my butt in gear.

When we met up at midnight she checked me and I was 7 centimeters! I had been walking around 3 cm dilated for the previous two weeks but never thought I would be so close so quickly. The contractions were regular but not bad at all for a couple hours. I tweeted and checked Facebook and talked and laughed with the midwife, her assistant and my mom. At about 3:30 AM I decided to get in the tub because I was getting kind of bored and wanted a change of scenery. I soaked for about an hour before deciding to get out because I felt like the warm water was slowing everything down. The contractions were still so manageable and easy and I thought if I started pacing around the room and hallway maybe I could get everything to speed up a bit.

The walking definitely worked and the contractions started to get really intense and close together, about every minute and a half. After about an hour of hard contractions my midwife decided to check me again and to my shock, I was complete. I hadn't felt the urge to push and I didn't feel the baby drop and my water hadn't broken so I was surprised that it was time. Looking back I wonder how long I had been complete at that point because my body wasn't giving me any clues that I could pick up on that the baby was ready to be born.

We all moved to the bed and I waited for the first contraction to push. That first push was pretty tentative but broke my water. I could feel myself start to tense up a bit because I was afraid of A) pooping and B) tearing. Now, the first was just stupid. Midwives don't care if you poop, they expect you to poop and most women poop during labor. I honestly don't know why the thought of it bothered me so much and to this day I have no idea if I pooped or not and I don't want to know! I was petrified of tearing because of how bad I tore (and was cut) during my first labor and how awful the recovery from it was. But I could feel my midwife's hands in me the entire time helping to stretch my skin so after a few more nonsense pushes, I really got down to the business of getting the baby out.

I pushed so hard and it hurt like hell and I just remember screaming because I was shocked at the pain. During my first labor I felt nothing even though I hadn't had any pain meds. I just pushed for a few minutes and voila! Miles arrived. This time it felt like I couldn't quite get the baby out and wherever she was stuck was extremely painful. I pushed and screamed for about 15 minutes and out she popped! She gave one little cry and was immediately placed on my chest where she stayed for an hour. All told my labor was about 8 hours long. My baby made her debut at 41 weeks, 6 days.

After her newborn assessment, I found out why this labor hurt so much. My baby was born with a nuchal arm. She had her little left fist pressed up against the side of her face, and her elbow poking out to the side.

October 5, 2011
8 pounds, 15 ounces
20.5 inches long

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