On June 23rd, I was feeling really crampy. I commented on the pelvic pressure both at dinner and while cleaning up. Natalie had been sitting really low so the pressure was not unexpected. At 7pm, while sitting on the couch, I felt the pressure again and it occurred to me that it was coming in waves rather than constant. I told Dave that I might be starting labor but that I wasn’t sure since it felt nothing like the first contractions with #1. We jumped into gear though and got everything ready to go, including calling my mom to come watch Andrea.
Around 9pm, we called the midwife and told her that I was having 45 second contractions every 8 minutes or so. She (and my doula) told me to take a shower and try and take a nap. Of course, neither Dave nor I could sleep so we lay in bed talking. Contractions continued but were irregular. At times they were only a few minutes apart, sometimes 10 minutes. After hours of laying still, we decided to get up and be productive. Unfortunately getting out of bed made me start shivering uncontrollably so we made a decision that we were ready to go. My doula, Lucy, was driving back as quick as possible from her family vacation and said she would hopefully get there in time. The midwife okayed us to come in. The drive up was painful, but we made it just fine. At the birth center, they seemed relieved that I was not further along in labor. Another woman was laboring in the 2nd room. After basic heartrate check, etc, we walked around the birth center. I climbed the stairs many times in hopes of quickening the pace of my labor. Unfortunately, my efforts seemed to have an opposite affect and my contractions started to become less intense and less often. The more frustrated I got and the harder I tried, the worse it became. When Lucy arrived, she tried to talk me into resting, it was another hour or so before I listened and my contractions had died off completely by then. I asked the midwife for a cervical check (the only one I ever had). I was a very soft and good 4cm. They left us alone in the beautiful birthing room and Dave and I took a nap. This was around 5am.
I woke up at 6:30 with some contractions and immediately jumped up and starting pacing again. They died off pretty quickly. I cried in frustration and cried even harder as I heard the baby next door being born. I went back to sleep, this time really feeling defeated and exhausted.
I woke up at 8:30am to a nice strong contraction and felt a pop. There was no liquid at this point so I stayed still for 2 more contractions. I didn’t want to move and make the contractions go away ago. Ha, that wasn’t going to happen! I stood up and experienced the liquid running down my legs. I went for the midwife and she kind of smiled and asked if my waters had broke. Someone went to find Lucy for me. Everything started very quickly at this point and I look forward to editing this info later after I’ve talked to Lucy about what she remembers. I was cleaned up a little and led back to the bed. The contractions were extremely intense and took all my concentration. They had to re-run the bath water to warm it up for me and it felt like it took forever. I was so thankful to climb in the tub. Unfortunately, I tried my hands and knees but my feet went to sleep in one or two contractions. I moved to sitting with DH behind me. I didn’t really like the position, but my contractions were building with so much intensity that I was never able to move again. I cherished the minute or two breaks that I did get between contractions and hated when one contractions would just run straight into the next. I started having trouble with breathing, was getting weak in limbs from too much oxygen. At some point (not really very long), they became so intense that I started to panic and said as much to Lucy and my midwife, Constance. I was practically pulling Dave into the tub with me as some really tough contractions hit. They were trying to help me refocus and calm a little, but it was already too late and I was pushing. 2-3 pushes and little Natalie was born! She was born facing to the right (instead of normal left, I believe). Constance put her directly onto my chest. Natalie cried. She was purple but crying with healthy lungs. She was coated in vernix and had a head full of dark hair. I commented on how small she was, they all commented on how big she was. Her birth time was 9:59am! (4cm to birth in 1.5 hours!)
They clamped the cord and cut after a while. They wanted to get us out of the water because I had too much bleeding and Natalie also pooped in the water. I delivered the placenta just outside the tub. We were taken to the bed and cleaned up. Natalie weighed in at 7lb 13oz (nice size for 37W3D) and her length was 18.75”. Short and round, she was born with plenty of meat on her bones. I breastfed Natalie without and trouble before we did anything else. I needed a decent amount of stitches. Some 1st and 2nd degree. We all stayed on the bed together tending to both my stitches and Natalie.
They showed me my placenta had Velamentous insertion (occurs in 1% of singleton pregnancies). The midwife says it was probably good that Natalie came early since the danger from this insertion increases as the baby gets bigger.
Overall, this birth was a lot harder than I expected. The fast intense labor at the end was much harder to deal with than I would have anticipated. Plus, I was emotionally exhausted from the earlier stalled labor.
We left the birth center just a little over 3 hours after birth. Natalie has been nursing well.