Warning: very long
Madeline's Birth Story
At 5:00 am on April 7, our entire family woke with a jolt when the fire alarm started going off! The kids were freaked-out and wide-awake, so DH decided to replace all the smoke detectors at 7:00 am. I was restless and wanted to do some walking, but didn't want to leave the house in case he fell climbing ladders. I was 4 days late and wanted to meet the baby soon.
DH was finally done around 8:30 am, so I did two laps around the neighborhood park. I was feeling chipper, and discovered that "gutter walking" rocked her head against my cervix. As the morning progressed, I noticed that I was having some painful contractions, but they didn't have a pattern. Around 10:30, I had a few contractions that sent me upstairs away from the kids. DH asked if I was okay. I decided that if I was still having contractions by 11:30 or 12:00, I would call my parents to get the kids.
I wasn't timing the contractions, but I felt that this might be "real" labor. To keep it going, I did some more "gutter walking," up and down the street. I am sure the neighbors thought I was crazy! The contractions continued, but still didn't have a pattern. I would have two little ones close together, and then nothing for 7 minutes, and then a big one, etc. At one point, I said to DH that it might be best to labor at home as long as possible, and then the kids started screaming shrilly, "Mine!" "Mine!" "Mine!" I laughed, because the hospital had to be more relaxing than home. I started to have a couple of twinges of pressure on my cervix, so I left a message for my mom about 11:45. They came over around 12:30. I was very scattered, and wished I had organized things better in advance. Oops!
By 1 pm, we were on the road to the hospital. I timed contractions on the way there, and realized they were still not even 6 minutes apart, so I told DH to say they were 5 minutes apart if anyone asked. We started in the ER, where the paperwork took about 30 minutes. IThen we headed up to OB triage for monitoring. I could tell that the nurse thought I would not be admitted because she kept saying things like "And even if you're not really in labor, you could just walk for 30 minutes, or you could just go home...whatever you want." She kept emphasizing personal choice, which I thought was nice, but I was pretty sure this was it!
Probably because my contractions were irregular, the nurse left me on the monitor for longer than 20 minutes. By this point I was having to breathe through them. When the nurse grudgingly checked my cervix, still suggesting I might like to labor at home, her face was surprised. I was 5 cm dilated! Woot!!! So at 2:30, I was admitted and headed off to a L&D room. I introduced myself to the L&D nurse (Terri) and said that I planned a natural childbirth, and just wanted to walk as much as possible. She was really nice. So DH and I walked a lap around the unit. The walk wasn't long, but I had at least 2 contractions on the way. We did another lap, and the contractions were coming faster, so I felt like I wanted to be by myself in the labor room. Once there, I leaned over the windowsill and swayed. I kept buzzing my lips and singing low tones because I discovered with Liv that keeping your face relaxed helps the rest of you relax.
At some point, Kate the midwife joined us. She was the one midwife in the practice I hadn't met yet. She saw I was a Music Therapist and we chatted briefly about that between contractions. I thought I would labor for a while, and then get into the tub when it seemed like the labor was well established. Kate asked if I liked back rubs, and I said sure, so she applied counter-pressure to my back. That was really helpful. DH took over, and started applying back pressure. I don't think I was having "back labor," but the pressure helped to direct Madeline's descent. I noticed I was breaking a sweat during contractions, and hoped I was in transition.
At about 3:30, Terri, the nurse, asked if she could do some monitoring. This was the part I dreaded, because I did not want to get into bed. She offered to do the monitoring whfrom a standing position, so I leaned on the side of the bed. I was *very* happy about that! I got pretty tense and DH kept applying counter pressure and reminded me to buzz my lips. Kate reminded me to keep swaying, so I could stay loose.
Probably around 3:40, Kate asked me if I wanted to be checked. She said that if I was at 7 cm, I might as well get in the tub, but if I was at 9, there might not be time. That sounded like a good idea to me, so I got into the bed. Kate checked my cervix and I was 9.5 with a bulging bag of waters. She said that if she broke my water, I would probably dilate the rest of the way and be ready to push. I agreed. She broke my water on the next contraction, and I started feeling pushy. DH wanted to catch the baby, so I told him he better stop stroking my sweaty forehead and go wash his hands.
On the next contraction I pushed gently, and Madeline's head gushed out. Kate told me to push again whenever I was ready. I said, "Give me a minute," and took a breath before pushing her body out. DH caught her, and they put her on my belly right away. She was blue for a minute, but turned pink quickly. Since I pushed more gently, I didn't have any tearing--just an abrasion.
It was a really great birth. Both Kate and Terri let me move at my own pace, and DH was wonderful. He later said the amniotic fluid reminded him of the movie Alien (thanks, hon!). A couple of differences between this and my other births--I did not have my water broken until the end, which seemed to make the contractions less intense. Also because I went quickly from dilating to pushing, I think she was descending during that first push. I was quiet most of the time, but I got pretty vocal during that push!
Also, Kate gave me a really nice compliment. She said I was a beautiful birther, and we should consider videotaping future births so that people would know how it can be. I thought that was really nice coming from a midwife!
If you made it this far, thanks for reading! Her stats were 9#2, and 22" long, and she was born at 3:50 pm. I was shocked that she was so big!
She was just over 10 minutes old here.
Meeting brother and sister