I woke up with bloody show Monday morning, June 8. After weeks of pre-labor and practice labor, this was the extra sign I needed to know the baby was coming soon. I had no pressure waves yet, but Marcos stayed home with me, and cooked me a huge breakfast. Then we took a nice walk and came home and I took a nap.
After my nap around 3-4 pm, I started to have pressure waves about 10 minutes apart. By 6 pm they were 6 minutes apart, so we called Katy Jo to come and help with the kids. When she arrived, I didn’t have another pressure wave for about a half hour. So, Marcos and I decided to go lay down and rest.
From 730-9:30p, while the waves slowed down, I rested and listened to my hypnosis CDs and slept a little bit. By 9:30 we got back up and the pressure waves were about 10 minutes apart again. Our doula had arrived in the meantime. For the next 2 hours, the pressure waves were …
inconsistent and I sat on the birth ball and listened to my hypnosis. At 11:30 we talked to Claudia (the midwife) and decided to get in bed and try to get some more rest. From 11:30-12:30 or so we stayed in bed, but I had Marcos press the hot rice sock into my back during each pressure wave. Eventually, it was uncomfortable to be laying, and I needed to sit up. From 12:30-2:00 I rested over the foot of the bed, leaning between pressure waves and then rocking backwards and lifting my belly during the waves. We decided around 2 am to ask the midwife to come and by 2:30 am she arrived. The pressure waves were about 4 minutes apart now and more consistent. (Well, Marcos told me they were consistent, but I find out later that they NEVER were during this labor).
At 2:30 Claudia arrived and set up and then she checked me. I was 5 cm dilated (and “stretchy” she said). She said since the waves were still kind of far apart (they spaced back to 5-6 min now) that I could stay out or get in the birth pool. I decided to stay out for a little while. Marcos and I were kind of dancing together then, and I was asking him to apply pressure into my low back/tailbone. We retreated to the bathroom since there were lights on and noise in the bedroom while they were setting up. I liked standing and I started to sway my hips a lot and then grab onto the door jamb and lean back into Marcos during pressure waves. Eventually, I had a very strong pressure wave and decided it might feel better to get in the birth pool.
Marc and I got in the birth pool at 4 am and it slowed the pressure waves down a bit, we took a rest there and he still pressed into my back with each pressure wave. I moved around a bit and changed positions a lot, liking being in a kneel as well as a sort of squat/lunge position. After a while of the pressure waves being so slow, I decided I better get out of the tub for a while until things were progressed farther. It was 5:30 am and Claudia checked me when I got out and I was 7 cm.
I tried sitting on the birthing stool and doing some standing squats. For each pressure wave, Marcos applied counterpressure on my tailbone (for my ENTIRE labor). If he wasn’t right there when the wave started, I would call to him. He could barely change his shorts or use the restroom for my whole labor! I danced and swayed my hips so much, instinctively allowing for the baby to move down and rotate. She was posterior, which was why I needed so much movement in my hips and counter-pressure on my low back.
I got back in the pool after I had a very strong pressure wave and it was getting harder and harder to focus outside of the pool. I thought this meant the baby would be coming soon. Marcos stayed behind me in the pool to apply pressure to my back and again the birthing pool slowed things down. But the intensity never let up and I began to really vocalize with each pressure wave. I questioned why things were going so slow for me and everyone reassured me that this is just how my baby needs my birth to be and to trust my body. After a rest and pressure waves still being spaced at 5 min apart, I got out again to try to keep things moving along. I was having a much harder time negotiating how to deal with what I was feeling, because I had so much pressure in my back. I continued to vocalize loudly during each pressure wave and I found out later that my 6 year old was downstairs mimicking my labor noises! I asked Claudia to check me and I was 8-9 cm dilated. I was feeling the urge to push only slightly during some of the stronger waves.
I began to wonder how I could deal with the intensity for much longer and again why things were not moving faster (although I know because she was posterior). I stood again in the doorway to the bathroom and Claudia offered to massage my cervix and help me to bring the baby down more. I decided to give that a try and she encouraged me to bear down to bring the baby down. After only 2 pressure waves, I could feel the baby getting lower and lower. We called the kids in then so they could be there for the birth. On the next pressure wave, I had the urge to bear down on my own and then my water broke. I remember thinking “Finally! It’s time for a baby!”
I decided then to get back in the birth pool, as I thought that would be the gentlest way to birth and we wanted Marcos to catch the baby. Immediately I started to push the baby out and Marcos said he could see her head while I was pushing. Aspen kept saying, “Mommy, mommy, mommy”, because she wanted me to look at her. Isis was calling out to me “Breathe mommy!!”. On the next pressure wave, her head came halfway out and I tried to slow the push down. Claudia provided perineal support and then I instinctively reached down to provide support as well and slowly push her head out. Then her shoulders followed and Marcos caught her and brought her up out of the water. That’s when we saw her long cord – 3 times around her neck and once around her shoulder/arm! As soon as they had her untangled, she was up on my chest. Her Apgar’s were 9 and 10.
We just talked to her and cuddled and there were tears flowing in the room! Isis immediately started to ask, “What is it? Is it a boy or girl? What is it?” So, we turned her over and let Isis announce her gender. Then Caitie got to cut the cord when it was time.
It was a really wonderful and beautiful experience, although my longest of all my labors and definitely the most challenging with her posterior positioning. I am so thankful that I had such an amazing and supportive birth team. Thank you to my loving and wonderful husband, who proved to be a super-man-doula, my doula Kirsten, the midwife Claudia and her assistant Natalie, and Katy Jo our amazing nanny (and so much more) and to our wonderful children who got to be a big part of this experience as well.