This is the story of the day in my life of which I am most proud -- the day my daughter Fionna Rylee was born. Fionna is my first child. It was two days before my due date and I was not expecting to go into labor. I had resigned myself to at least two more days of waiting, if not more.
At 1:30 am on the 22nd, a Saturday, I woke up feeling unusual sensations in my belly. I wasn't sure if they were contractions as they weren't exactly painful, just rather uncomfortable. However, as I lay there they continued rhythmically and I got up and began to time them. I went into the living room and sat in a rocking chair, reading between contractions and doing my breathing when they came. Thus far, they weren't painful enough that I really needed the breathing but I wanted to practice and prepare myself. I woke my husband up after a couple of hours and told him it might be happening. Typical man, he went back to sleep.
About 4:30 am, I woke him again and said something is definitely going on. The contractions were about 5-7 minutes apart then but not horribly painful. I continued with my breathing. He called to say he wouldn't be into work and we called my mom. Then I showered and we headed into the hospital, about 5:30 am. The contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and I couldn't speak normally during them. They were like intense, twisting cramps. The breathing was really helping me not to be scared though. I was amazingly calm and didn't really feel scared as I had expected.
At the hospital we learned that I was already dilated 5 cm. After briefly hooking me to a monitor to check on the baby and talking to my midwife, I began walking the halls. My cousin had arrived by then, and she and my husband walked with me.
I would stop during a contraction and lean my forehead on the wall while one of them massaged and applied pressure to the small of my back. That is what helped most for me. The contractions were intense and painful now, coming quite frequently, but I was surprised to find that I was still feeling completely in control and was actually quite excited and happy.
After maybe an hour of this, a nurse came and told me that they had prepared the tub and the water was ready for me to labor there, as I had requested. I got into the warm water and was able to really lay and relax. I hardly even had to do my breathing. My mom arrived and she, my husband and my cousin kept me company around the tub. I was able to joke and laugh.
Approximately an hour later, a nurse came and said my midwife would like to check my progress. I was almost worried that I had ceased making progress as I hadn't felt any real pain. However, as I stood up, I had a barrage of intense contractions that really took my breath away and forced me to concentrate on my breathing. As this happened, I felt something between my legs and realized I had lost my mucus plug.
I returned to my room and the midwife checked me. I had progressed to 10 cm! At 5:30 I had been 5 cm and it was now almost 8:30 and I was 10 cm. They prepared me to push. I pushed once laying down but it really was causing extreme pain in my back so the midwife had me move to a birthing stool, which is basically the frame of a stool but with no seat in it. I braced myself on this and my husband sat behind me and put his arms under my underarms for support. Sitting this way, I pushed for about 45 minutes. This was the most painful part for me. I wasn't really feeling the urge to push as most women do so with each contraction, I had to force myself to do it, even though it hurt a lot. However, I was still doing it without any drugs or anything!
After 45 minute or so, my midwife said we were almost there and they moved me back to the bed. By this point, it hurt awfully to move around. I was in a sort of painful fog and was very, very focused on what I was doing. Looking back, everything is sort of blurry from this point on.
I continued to push as my midwife did massage to try to prevent me from tearing. All of a sudden, everyone was saying the head was out and then suddenly, my baby was laying on my chest, after only an hour of pushing. She was born at 9:28 am.
I held her as they rubbed her and briefly put her to my breast. She was having some difficulties with her breathing so they took her to put her under the light and try to suction her out. Then they brought her back and we tried to breastfeed.