Joesph Alexander was born on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 at 5:15pm. He weighed 8lb 4oz and was 21 inches long.
I woke up at 1:30am or so to pee. There was some more mucusy bloody show at this point. I went back to bed but didn't sleep much. I was crampy and uncomfortable. At exactly 3:11am I had my first real labor contraction. Real labor feels so different from prelabor or strong Braxton Hicks contractions. I don't really know how to describe it. After three more contractions, I woke up Mike and told him what was going on. I was afraid to get up and walk around, that they would go away again. I waited until after 4 to get up and walk around the room. I put a few last minute things in my bag, then went downstairs. I sat on my birth ball and got onto the computer. Within 5 minutes, a contraction hit. The contraction was so strong that it brought me to my knees. This was most definitely IT!
We arrived at the hospital around 5:30am. I was still 2cm, but 70% effaced and -3 station. So progress was being made! Contractions were irregular still, a strong one followed by a mild one. Two contractions close together that were mild, then a gap and a very strong contractions that would again have me on my knees moaning.
At 7am the nurse I had, Monica, on Monday came on and I was so happy. She was all about natural birth and I knew she would support me. She was just awesome the entire birth.
I was very tired and lied down for a while. Contractions spaced out to 10 minutes apart, and I was able to doze between them. I was so tired! I hadn't slept well in weeks, and terribly for the past few days. So I really needed that rest.
It was about 9am and we got up and walked around for a bit. Emily came and brought the memory card for the camera because I had forgotten it. The contractions went back to 7 minutes apart once I was up and moving. They were intense, but I was still chatty and feeling fine. It was obviously still very early labor. Normally, I'd still have been home at this point, but the house was so chaotic, and I knew I needed the IV antibiotics at least 4 hours before birth, so I figured I may as well just settle in.
I was tired still, so we turned on the tv and watched ER. There was a scene where this little girl had been being molested by her father, and that set me into a crying jag. After ER, I ended up watching Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. He was doing a show about how they make toilets, of all things! As a small child, I absolutely loved Mr. Rogers. His soft, soothing demeanor triggered happy childhood memories. The hormones of labor were taking over and I was giving in to them.
At 1am I got into the tub. I had been examined shortly before that and I was 3 to 4 and 80 effaced. Slow progress, but progress nonetheless. Monica the nurse started my heplock and I had my first dose of antibiotics.
The tub had whirlpool jets which were nice, but the tub itself was not big enough for me to get into the positions I needed to. The contractions were still 6 or 7 minutes apart, but definitely getting more intense. I was able to chat still between them. Emily came in for a bit. I got out after a while. When I was checked next, I was 4 to 5 and 90%. Progress was slow and the pain was getting worse.
My memory is getting a bit blurry at this point. I remember putting the head of the bed up and leaning over the back of it while on my knees. I was starting to make some sounds that you don't normally hear coming out of human beings! I kept them as low as possible to avoid making the pain worse and to help things open up.
I really have to sing the praises of Monica the nurse at this point. She was helping Mike, doing the back rub when he had to use the bathroom or eat. She was almost as good as having a real doula. Sad to say, but it's rare to find a labor/delivery nurse that actually knows how to do labor support. Ironic I know, but I got lucky and she had just learned how to so a hip squeeze technique that helped immensely. She taught Mike how to do it and it literally was the difference between excrutiating and tolerable pain.
I was back in the tub for a bit, then back out and by this time the contractions were 2 to 3 minutes apart. I had at this point ceased to be a rational human being. I was begging Mike to make it go away. I wanted to go home and watch tv. I decided I didn't want to have a baby after all. It was 4:15 and both Mike and Monica kept telling me it wouldn't be much longer. I kept replying that I didn't believe them. Then I was checked and my worse fears came true. I was only 6 to 7, 100% effaced. I felt I couldn't stand it any longer. The noises I was making were beyond human at that point. I just wanted the pain to stop. I wanted to go home. I wanted to be knocked unconcious!
There was one thing I wanted that I could have. I wanted Dr. Skory! He was called and was there by 4:30 or so. As much as I loved that man before, I adore him so much more now.
Quick explanation of Dr. Skory. He received his childbirth training by traditional midwives while in the West Indies. This man knows how to be with a woman in labor. He trusts in a woman's body and knows how to make her feel safe and trust in herself.
He came in and put his well trained hand on my lower back. He told me to push back against his hand, that what I was feeling was my baby's head. I pushed back against him and held my breath and leaned into the contractions. What a relief! It was such a huge relief, that I have to say it again. What a relief! Bearing down a bit made the pain go from beyond unbearable to completely tolerable.
After a while I started raising my right leg during contractions and pushing harder. I was lying on my left side, and Dr Skory reached in to help direct my pushing. I had a rim of cervix and big bulging bag. Next contraction, my water exploded all over the bed. Next contraction, I felt my baby's head rapidly descend down my birth canal, a brief burning sensation, and then the doctor taking my hand and putting it on my baby's head, which was completely out. Next contraction, I pushed and felt the warm, slippery feeling of my baby's body being born. Dr. Skory put him immediately next to my chest and covered him with a blanket. We did it, my baby and I together, we got him born. And I was born as well. I was a new mother yet again.
Mike cut the cord after it stopped puslating, the placenta was delivered shortly thereafter, and from the depths of hellish pain I found myself in the most heavenly place of human existance possible. My brand new baby boy was looking into my eyes and latched onto my breasts. If there is a place in this mortal life that is closer to heaven than that, I have yet to find it.
And so my second son, Joseph Alexander was born, weighing 8lb 4oz and 21 inches long.
I have no more words right now, all I can say is that we are both healthy, happy and I am grateful to the powers that be for all I have been blessed with.