Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Labor Story - Part 2

Unlike the first half of my labor story, this was not written in real time. I was too busy trying to finish up the hard part so that I could hold our new baby girl! (Plus, laptops and water tubs aren't very compatible.)

Warning: My biggest purpose in writing this is to have a record of what happened, even the not so pretty stuff. So, if you don't want to know details (I'm talking to you Dad and you Brother), then just skip ahead to the next post. :)

5:15 pm - Arrived at the birth center and continued laboring on a birthing ball and the floor. It turned out, for this phase of labor, kneeling at the coffee table during contractions was the most comfortable. In between contractions I remember resting my head on the table or falling back to sit on my feet with my head and arms completely relaxed. I did try sitting on the birth ball again, but it was too hard to relax the right muscles, so I used it in the same way as the coffee table.

7:00 pm - I asked Melissa to check my progress again because the contractions were just very painful and I needed some motivation. She confirmed that I was fully effaced and at 7-8 centimeters. My water was still in tact and Mary was floating above the opening of my cervix. While she didn't want to do it, she said we may want to consider breaking my waters if I hadn't made any progress in the next bit. Mary still had to push her way through the last bit of fluid before she could be ready to come out. After the check, I decided I was ready to get in the birthing tub.

I stayed in the tub pretty much all the way to the end, getting out to walk for a few minutes at one point and to use the toilet at another.

9:30 pm - I got out to use the toilet and finally found that I had lost my plug. I wasn't expecting it and actually said, "ew, gross." Charlie, the birth assistant came back to see what I was talking about and got excited because she knew we were getting closer to the end. Because the contractions were so painful, and I really wanted to know what was going on, I asked Melissa to check my progress again. We were happy to discover that Mary had moved down and was in a good position to come out. While Melissa was feeling Mary's head, Mary moved it and Melissa accidentally broke my water. It wasn't painful, just wet. :)

I had been thinking that Mary would be born 'in the caul.' I wasn't hoping for it, or counting on it. I just had a feeling it might happen that way. Melissa apologized for what happened, but I know it wasn't on purpose, and I was okay with it.

When I got back in the tub, the contractions were considerably more painful. The cushion of the bag of waters was gone and I knew it. I spent most of the rest of my time in the tub kneeling at the edge. It felt good to be on my knees and let whatever small amount of gravity I could use in the tub work to my advantage.

10:38 pm - All of a sudden, the pressure in my pelvis changed. I could tell it was time to push. This was a new feeling for me and it felt empowering to have observed the change in my own body and for my body to know how to respond to it. I pushed for 22 minutes though it felt like much longer.

When we were almost done, I reached down to feel Mary's head, because I wanted to make sure what I thought was happening was really happening. It made it so much more real to have tangible evidence after a VERY long day (remember, we started this story at 1 am!).

After her head was mostly out, she snuck back inside for a minute or so. That meant I had to push her head out again. I thought that would be the hardest part. I was wrong. Turns out, her head was 14 1/2" in circumference, but her torso was 15"! In all the birth videos I'd watched recently, once the head came out the rest was easier. That wasn't the case for me.

I had to push even harder to get the rest of her out. While I didn't say it, and didn't even really mean it, giving up seemed easier. But, as we all know, that isn't how delivering a baby works. Melissa had to yell at me sternly right at the very end to push even harder because Mary had to come out right away. There was no specific distress, but her head had already been out for a few minutes and she was still under water.

So I gave that last push, and out she came, with a little help from Melissa. I rolled over and leaned against the tub, exhausted and watched as they gave Mary a quick exam and rubbed on her back to get those first breaths out of her.

At first, I was very nervous because she was very purple. And it didn't look like she was breathing. But as Bruce later pointed out, neither Melissa or Charlie seemed worried. I just kept holding Mary's hand, repeating, "breathe baby breathe." Bruce told me he thought it was both sweet and sad to watch that.

Then, I got to hold her. I just looked at her and she kind of just laid there. It was a quiet moment. After a few minutes, it was time to push the placenta out. This was MUCH easier. Once they cut the cord, they dried Mary off and handed her to Bruce so I could get out of the tub. He seemed a little surprised at first to be holding her so quickly after she was born, but I think he enjoyed the responsibility.

When I got out of the tub, I had a horrible cramp in my right side. I realized the next day what had happened. On one my last pushes, I put my right foot on the floor of the tub and leaned into it for more leverage. Turns out I pulled that muscle a little bit. It is better now but it did bother me for the first 3 days.

The next 3 hours were spent cleaning me and Mary up, me eating a light meal, getting Mary to eat her first meal, and just enjoying looking at her.

2:00 am - Time to go home. After finishing the discharge paper, I secured Mary in her car seat, Bruce carried her out, and we left for our own beds. My mom had watched Charlotte for us, and was there when we got back.

And I think that is just about it. I have more to share, but it will probably take me a few more days. and I know - MORE PICTURES. I'm working on it, really.


  1. Thanks for sharing all the details - way to go mom!! I love labor stories...

  2. i have been checking your blog constantly to hear about the rest of your labor....

    You knew she was going to keep that water sac around her until the end!!!! I'm sorry it split on you before she came out.

    So happy for you and your birth Jennifer


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