Here ya go all! It's super long, don't feel obligated to read it! I like to type out all the details right away so I don't forget them!
At exactly 3:00 am on Thursday, June 7 2012, I awoke to my first real contraction. I'd been having pre-labor activity for a couple weeks prior and was more than ready for these to make their arrival! These were strong, low, and much different than the braxton-hicks contractions that I had become accustomed to. I managed to rest between them for an hour as they were coming about 12 minutes apart, but I found that laying down was uncomfortable and decided to get up and start a bath both for relief and so I could see if they would stick around.
I stayed in the bath for 30-45 minutes and in that time the contractions increased in frequency from 12 minutes apart to 2:30. They were strong, regular, and I was pretty sure this was the real thing at this point! I woke DH and asked him to call his parents and have them come over. Although the contractions themselves were strong, I felt great between them and was able to talk, walk around, and get last minute things packed (meaning, telling DH what I needed packed!). I hung out in our bedroom and worked through the contractions while DH got everything around the house taken care of. Around 6:00, Grandma and Grandpa arrived so we were free to leave when ready. The contractions were varying beween 2-4 minutes apart at this point, so I figured we had some time yet. I wanted to labor at home as long as possible; since this was a VBAC, I was required to have a hep-lock and continuous monitoring when I got to the hospital, so I wanted to keep my freedom as long as I could. At 6:20 or so, I called DH in to help me with counter-pressure on my lower back. Amazing what a difference that makes! Between contractions, I noticed he kept checking traffic and I was getting a bit scared of having contractions in the car without the counter-pressure, so we decided to just head to the hospital.
I couldn't leave without kisses for the older kids so I attempted to stop in their room and smooch them while they were still sleeping, but Tia woke the minute I opened the door! Oops! I picked her up right away and gave her a big hug without really thinking and it triggered a killer contraction! I had to put her down to work though it and she started crying and was a general mess since she was barely awake. She wanted me to carry her downstairs but I couldn't so she started bawling when DH carried her for me. I ended up sitting with her through several contractions trying to calm her down so we could go. That was fun! She adores G&G though and I ended up just handing her off to Grandma to soothe her so we could get going. I did manage to sneak a quick peck on Pax's cheek in the middle of all that too, so I felt good that I got to give them some love.
The ride to the hospital was uneventful. It was a 20-25 minute drive so I did have several contractions, but they were bearable. I was able to turn the heated seat on and it helped a lot with the back tightening. I did discover that I have muscles in my ear that vibrate when I contract so my sunglasses would go crazy every time I got one, it was so weird! I still felt pretty good between and DH and I joked and chatted while we drove. In fact, we started talking names and I believe it's the first time we talked about the name Ty.
Once we got there, DH dropped me off at the front door and then went to park. I went into the registration area where it said we were to sign in and wait. There's no way I was going to sit at a desk and do paperwork, thankfully DH was really quick and showed up just as I was working through the next contraction. It's hard to get very far when you only have a minute or two between the end of one and the start of the next contraction! They told me I could head up to the labor floor while he took care of the paperwork. Once I got up there, I wasn't sure where to check in and ended up going to the wrong desk. I said I was there to have a baby and the nurse asked whether it was for a scheduled induction or c-section. I told her neither, I was in labor and needed to check in. She gave me this sweet little smile that said "Oh honey, you're not really in labor if you can walk and talk like this", but humored me and said she would walk me over to triage. For some reason this didn't bother me at all, but it did make me laugh because I knew this was the real thing. Apparently I wasn't showing enough distress!
Once in triage, I was asked to change in the restroom and then come to the triage bay. It took me forever...I had 3 or 4 contractions while I was in there, I was a little worried they'd come looking for me. Eventually, I made it out and into bay #3. I was still feeling really good between, it was a bit surreal. I was happy, joking, just so glad that I was finally in labor! The nurse said she had to check me, which I wasn't thrilled about because it meant I had to lay down (standing and swaying was the best thing for me and laying down sounded awful!), but this was the first time I'd been checked this whole pregnancy and WAS super-curious. She made a comment that we'd hope for a 6 and I joked about being at 8 which we all laughed about. It turns out I was an 8/9! Her eyes got all big and she walked to the other side of the curtain and called someone else over and said quietly: "She's at an 8/9, she needs a room ASAP!". I was super-excited, it was awesome to be that close and still feel so good! They offered to grab me a wheelchair, but I declined and waddled off down the hall to the labor room. We passed one nurse on the way who made a comment about me being CRAZY for walking around like normal when I was so far along. I was just loving the novelty of it all.
Once in the room, there were people buzzing all over the place. One placed the hep-lock, one hooked me up to the monitors, others were getting us to sign release forms, etc. They said they'd called our midwife who was on her way. It wasn't my ideal environment, but they did let me continue to stand to work through the contrax and basically let me do my own thing, so it was fine.
Before I knew it, the midwife showed up and everyone else pretty much disappeared. She lowered the lights, asked me how I was doing, and reassured me that she was going to make this work for me. She pulled off the monitors and told me to just do what I needed to do and that she would find the baby while I rested to keep the hospital happy. I didn't have them strapped on at all, she would just hold it up to me like a stethoscope between contractions and leave me to do my thing during. I go to a midwife practice, so I didn't know which would be on call while I was in labor, but I couldn't have been happier to see Lisa. I had been hoping for her all along, she's very zen, calm, mother-earthy, and we had always had a good connection in the office.
By this time it was around 9:00, she did a quick check and said that I was pretty much ready to go. There was a small lip of cervix left, but she was confident that it would be gone soon and then I could just go ahead and have my baby. She asked if I would prefer to just stand or squat while delivering and I was so excited. YES! I believe that laying down is a bad position for labor in most cases, but expected hospital policy to dictate that I'd have to be in bed. It was impossible to believe that it was so close and that I'd be able to deliver the way I wanted! She also asked DH if he'd like to catch and he sounded so excited too. By now, the contractions had become MUCH more intense, but I was still tolerating them well and was basically waiting to lose my mind as transition came along. I did get a bit nauseous during the contractions at this point, but that's as bad as transition got. I was still in disbelief, this was SO different than my experience delivering Tia, I was just waiting for it to become unbearable.
I worked through contrax for maybe 15 more minutes and the midwife did offer to break my water for me. She was very careful not to pressure me into it, but said that if I'd like her to, she would and that baby was basically going to fly out once it broke. I wasn't quite ready yet, mostly because I was scared of the pain, but was strongly considering it. I was still so clear-headed and felt completely in control. This was my baby to deliver and I was going to be able to do it on my terms. How empowering! Once I got up the courage, I asked her to break the water and she gave it a shot. His head was so close to the bag that she couldn't do it! I think I was relieved that I'd get a little more time so it was just fine with me.
I soon started to feel pushy and was encouraged to do whatever my body wanted me to do. I could feel him moving down and started pushing gently when we all heard a huge "POP" followed by a gush. My water finally broke! It was crazy to me how loud it was, I never expected it to be so audible. I felt a huge rush of relief when it broke, so much pressure was gone on my belly. I had a few very mild contractions after that and it was a great relief from the intensity and a great way to prep myself for the final act.
The time had come when I couldn't hold off the inevitable. I was, no question, scared to push. I knew it was gonna hurt and wasn't excited about that part. On the other hand, I knew that it would all be over once I started pushing so I battled that internally a bit. The midwife kept encouraging me to work with my body's force and to help it get him out, but it took me some time to be able to push with all my power. I alternated between squatting, kneeling and standing at this point depending on when my feet would fall asleep! Once he started crowing, I did lose my mind a bit. It was intense and incredibly painful and I screamed like crazy. Lisa kept reminding me to use the energy to push, not scream, and I wanted to punch her a little (lol), but she was right and when I was able to focus, clear progress was made. In 3 contractions he crowned, his head was delivered, then his shoulders and everything else. I was standing, holding onto the bed when he came out and DH stood beneath me to catch once his shoulders were out. The midwife guided out his head, but DH was right there through the whole thing and was the first person to hold him. Ty gave DH a little scream and then DH passed him up to me. Amazing! The only other person in the room was our RN, who just stood back and observed.
[LEFT][FONT=lucida grande]Ty Wayne S
7lbs 13.5 oz
Born 10:06 am[/LEFT]
I was finally willing to get into bed! I laid down with Ty and snuggled while Lisa helped me deliver the placenta and clean things up. She didn't clamp the cord until the placenta had been delivered and was finished doing it's job. I had a few 1st-degree tears that she stitched up, but they must be in a really good place because I barely feel them. Using the bathroom is not a problem and I haven't had much discomfort at all. We snuggled for about an hour in the labor room when they came back and offered to give him a bath and get us ready to move to our post-partum room. I got to take a shower while they bathed Ty (with DH's assistance, of course!) and we were in our post-partum room by 12:30.
The hardest thing was deciding on a name, but we eventually managed to do that as well. Grandma and Grandpa brought the big kids to see us at around 2:00 and they all got to meet him. Pax is AMAZING with him, he is enamored. He's constantly asking to hold him, loves to sing to him and is just thrilled to have a little brother. Tia thinks he's pretty neat and keeps repeating "He likes me Mom, look he likes me!". I'm sure we'll have some jealousy issues to come, but so far so good. We stayed the night in the hospital (mostly for insurance reasons, but the break was nice too!) and checked out 25 hours after he was born. Now we're home and figuring out how to be a family of 5!