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Okay…here it is. I realize that it came out pretty long for such an “uneventful” birth (aside from the beautiful baby, of course!), and parts of it feel all over the place, as I tried to remember everything in the right order, etc…but it is what it is, I guess.
Late Friday night/Saturday morning I woke up and made my way to the bathroom, thinking that I literally didn’t think that my body could handle getting any “more” pregnant. At a couple of days short of 39 weeks (also the time that I had my son), I felt like I was stretched to capacity. Hoping it wouldn’t be too much longer, I went back to bed.
A little later on (still during the night), I noticed pressure waves that finally felt like waves, cramps that would come on, increase slightly in intensity, and then fade away. Could this be it? I relaxed during each one, practicing a technique that I liked from my first birth – counting backward from 10 on each deep breath, exhaling to the word peace.
At about 4:00 am, after a little while of these PWs, I finally looked at the clock to try and “time” them…I also spent a little time in the bathroom, took a shower, and listened to easy first stage. At some point I mentioned to Brian that I thought this might be it, but we both went back to sleep.
We woke up “for real” around 6:00…the waves were still coming and I was pretty sure that I wasn’t having prodromal labor like I had been for weeks before…the “waves” were unmistakable. I called my parents…my Dad answered and I told him, “I think today is the day.” He said he’d wake up my mom and they’d come up from San Diego.
Since I knew it would be at least an hour before my parents were up to watch Nathan, I suggested we go to Starbucks to get a little something and kill some time. Brian seemed very pleasantly surprised at my suggestion, and off we went. I was amused at the fact that I was out for coffee, “secretly in labor.”
When we got back home, Brian wanted to wash the car (he mentioned to my mom when she arrived that he couldn’t take his daughter home in a dirty car!…so cute), and I figured it would be a good idea to go online to figure out the parking at the hospital, since they’re doing a bunch of construction near the main entrance.
When we were ready, we hopped into the car and drove to the hospital (it’s a nice, easy 10 or 15 minutes from my house). Riding up in the elevator, Brian asked me, “So what happens if L&D is full?” “Oh, they put a bed in a closet and you get stuck in there,” I answered, but I reassured him that this had *just* happened 2 weeks earlier during the full moon (I have a friend who’s an L&D nurse there), so we should be okay.
We got up to the L&D nurses station around 8:15 and I told them that I thought I was in labor and was there to have a baby. They asked if I was someone specific (who had obviously called before hand), but I said no and that I hadn’t called ahead or anything. Ironically, they were “out of beds.” Of course they were.
So they put us in the “surgical birthing suite,” a non-private room that had no bathroom, but luckily no one else in it…for the time being at least. No bathroom had me worried, though, since I spent so much time in the bathroom when I had Nathan. The closest one was down the hall.
I gave my birth preferences to them, and they checked me and I was 4-5 cm along. They did some external monitoring and started me on the IV antibiotics for my GBS (at about 9:00 am). Once I was hooked up, I took another trip to the bathroom, wheeling my IV pole along with me. The one weird thing was that something was making me cough – just a superficial, fake-sounding cough, but I couldn’t help it. I asked the nurse if the abx might be the cause, but she said she’d never heard of that happening. It didn’t last, though, which was good.
Luckily, it wasn’t long before they said that a room had opened up and was being cleaned for us. I was grateful to be going to my own “real” room, and the nurses were grateful that I had been so understanding despite the situation.
We moved into our new room, and the nurse asked me all the required questions and put me in the computer system. I ended up getting a different nurse than I had had at first, which was too bad, because I really liked the first one (and I think the second ended up never bothering to read my birth preferences…she always seemed a little out of the loop on everything). My doctor came by to see how I was doing, and commented that I didn’t seem like someone who was 5cm dilated and in active labor (I think she may have even said that I looked cute :p)…the PWs really didn’t phase me at all at this point. One of her sons had a soccer game nearby, so she left to go to that until I was further along.
Meanwhile, I continued having pressure waves, and in addition to my breathing/counting/peace technique, I found that I really enjoyed standing and swaying my hips side to side during each one, with my hands low on my belly. It was funny, but turning completely off just didn’t appeal to me at all…somehow “dancing” through them just felt so comfortable, and let me feel so close to my baby.
I laid down and listened to deepening for a while, and then turned on the TV for a bit, for Brian’s entertainment as much as mine. I didn’t mind the background noise at all; I really liked that everything felt so relaxed and low-key.
Around 11:30 or so, my doctor had called and wanted to see how I was doing. The nurse did an internal exam, which was actually pretty uncomfortable. As she was doing it, she asked, “Are you having a contraction right now?” I was, and answered yes. She stopped and told me to let her know when it was over, and then she re-checked me. 6 cm. Didn’t seem like a lot of progress, but it made sense since I wasn’t feeling that I had hit transformation yet, since everything was still quite comfortable.
Not much later, things started picking up. I was in the bathroom more, and even moaned or hummed through many of the PWs. Brian must have been getting very anxious, because he kept encouraging me to hook back up to the monitors, which I wasn’t particularly interested in doing. During a few waves, I would lean into him while standing, or while I was on the ball and he was sitting on the bed. The increased intensity told me I was getting closer and closer to meeting my baby!
At 1:00, it was time for my 2nd round of abx, and the nurse asked me to get onto the bed so she could put the IV back in. I didn’t really want to be on the bed, but she said she wanted to check me also, so I agreed, knowing that I probably wouldn’t be getting back up out of the bed again until after my baby had been born.
She checked me and said there was just a little bit of cervix on one side, so I was a 9. She went to call my doctor, and said she’d be there in 10 minutes.
Things really started getting intense during waves as my baby started to descend.
My doctor arrived, checked me and I was complete, and the baby was at about a +1/+2 station. She broke my water and told me that I could start pushing whenever I felt ready. I told her that I was getting there!
The final half-hour of my birthing – second stage – was very intense. I was listening to the birth guide, both the end of easy first stage and the beginning of push your baby out, but mostly just gave in to what my body was doing. I vocalized a lot, making deep moaning sounds and some screams, just letting them come naturally and not care. Between waves, though, I was quiet or talking and smiling. When a wave did come, Brian would often come to my side and touch my arm as in the “relax” cue, and it always felt so good – loving, reassuring, and relaxing.
I felt like I couldn’t get any leverage to push her out, so when my doctor asked if I’d like some help on what to do, again, I answered, “yes!” At this point she had Brian and the nurse help to support my legs, and suggested that I grab the backs of my thighs to shorten the birth canal and give me some better leverage to push. The doctor was using oil to help massage and stretch my perineum. Everyone assured me I was making progress; “she has a little hair, not a lot, though,” my doctor remarked and I got more excited to meet my baby.
At one point I got a leg cramp in my left hamstring. “Ack! Leg cramp!” I said, almost laughing at how ridiculous that must sound during childbirth. Brian had the leg with the cramp; he straightened it for me, I flexed my foot and it went away quickly.
As my baby started to crown, the doctor asked if I wanted to feel her head, and I did! I reached down and was surprised to feel all the fleshiness of it, like the skin was all coming out ahead of her skull. Very cool, and very encouraging, even if my hand was all slimy (which made it hard to hold onto my thigh as I pushed). It was “Oh, wow!” moment #1.
A few more intense pushes and her head was out. I then pushed her shoulders out one at a time, and felt the rest of her body slide right out. “Oh, wow!” moment #2. They announced the time at 1:43 pm (which I instantly thought was cute because of 143 being “I love you” in old-school pager code)!
Just enough time to hear that she was cute and pink, and she was up on my chest, covered in tons of vernix (seriously, it looked like she had been spread with cream cheese on her cute buns and in her ears!). Dad cut the cord, and we ended up bonding for about an hour, first feeding and all. Getting to bond for so long was thanks in part to my doctor, who pretty much told the baby nurse not to bother waiting around to do all the newborn stuff yet because I was busy breastfeeding! She ended up leaving and came back later when we were curious how big she was! Holly Paige weighed 7 lbs, 11 oz…over a pound bigger than her big brother! Her apgars were 9 and 9. My parents brought Nathan to meet her while she was being “cleaned up;” we’re all in love with the newest member of our family.
Everything went so smoothly, and really a lot like I visualized, particularly the timing, which I worried a bit about due to the need for abx. I decided that I just needed to get to the hospital, get the first dose, “birth” for 4 hours, get the second dose, and push baby out – and that’s exactly what happened!!! Pushing was fast and furious, and not really pain-free (certainly not comfortable), but the dilation was so comfortable/manageable, I find it hard to believe that anyone finds *that* part painful! Yay hypnobabies!!!