Sunday morning, March 22, I woke up to irregular contractions, which was nothing new. Going about my day I started glancing at the clock whenever one started. By 1 pm, they were consistently 7 – 10 minutes apart and hurt MUCH worse than they had before.
Well, of course we had been planning a big family get-together at OUR home in honor of St. Patrick’s Day so I was trying to accomplish getting the house prepared for guests and making two large shepherd’s pies. By the time Michael got back from work around 2, I had to stop during every contraction and breathe through it.
Family started showing up around 3 and helping me finish the pies I was not having a ton of success with – by 4 pm my contractions were 2 minutes apart and hurting… was this really it?!
After some debate between Michael and I and talking to our midwife, we decided we’d go into the birth center just to check and see where we were at, and where I was at in labor. We left as our family all waved and wished us luck from the door of our home! We got there about 5:30 pm, and after a very uncomfortable exam we found out, much to our surprise, I was still only dilated 2 cm! We were so disappointed, but we made the decision to stay and see if labor would progress. We needed to do several hip-opening positions and try to turn the baby around to the left side, as she was hanging out on the right side and trying to go the long way around back… causing mom some painful back labor. After a couple of hours of good contractions and good positions, she was turned..
Our midwife helped a lot by massaging my cervix for a bit to attempt to get me more dilated… it worked! By 8 pm, I was dilated 5 cm. Unfortunately, after several checks of my blood pressure, we found out that my blood pressure was higher than was comfortable for our midwife, and I earned myself a dunk in the tub before active labor (I had wanted to get in the tub since I was at home, but Michael had a feeling he wouldn’t be able to get me out…). After sitting in the tub, labor did not slow down, but my blood pressure did not go down either – the words “we should probably consider going to the hospital if this doesn’t change very soon” were uttered by my midwife. I was crushed. My entire pregnancy I had looked forward to the experience of giving birth naturally, without hospital lights, personnel, or invasive doctors. At that moment we looked at each other (between a contraction, of course) and we both knew we had to do this, and soon.
After drinking homeopathic liquids to help my blood pressure, sure enough, they started working. Labor still hadn’t slowed down even though I was in the tub and by 11 or so, I was dilated to 7.5. At this time, I was fighting with everything in my being NOT to push. My cervix wasn’t ready for it, but my body kept trying HARD. Michael was amazing, and kept reminding me to breathe out hard through the pushing and breathe in deeply to get more oxygen. Twenty minutes later I couldn’t do it anymore. My midwife was open minded and allowed me to try pushing, with the help of her hand over my cervix to help baby’s head through.
I started pushing, and it was the best and worst feeling ever, all wrapped into one. The pleasure of pushing when I had the urge and the pain of skin stretching over our precious baby’s head was the most intense, crazy thing I’ve ever felt. Michael was right there, holding my hand and cheering me on as I pushed with EVERYTHING in me for twenty or so minutes – and just when I thought I couldn’t do it, I pushed my hardest and her head came out. I reached down and felt it, and as soon as I did that, with my next urge I pushed and at 11:46 pm out she came, all 8 lbs 3.5 oz of her.
It only took about 30 seconds of sputtering on her own for her to cry, sitting on my belly, and turn to a beautiful shade of pink.
We are so happy she is finally here with us! Many thanks to our midwife who did such a fantastic job, and helped us in ways no doctors would ever dare – it means more to us than you know to have the birth experience we always dreamed of.
Now we can just enjoy life with our gorgeous first born daughter!