My "Labor Day" due date came and went... five days later I was still pregnant, and having regular but weak contractions every day. Saturday evening I noticed they were 6 minutes apart, and starting to get more intense. We made arrangements for our children to spend the night at their grandparents' houses, and called our midwife. The contractions continued, but some were stronger, some were weaker, and I began to fear that this was yet again a false alarm. The midwife arrived around 10:30pm, and we told her the contractions seemed to be spacing out a bit.
She offered to try using some evening primrose oil on my cervix to help it soften and thin out. She said often it helps get things moving. I gladly agreed to try it, only to find when she looked through her box of equipment that she was out. My Husband offered to go to the grocery store and pick some up. She suggested I go with him and walk around a bit. I had some good strong contractions in the store, and on the way home. We got home, and applied the evening primrose oil, and our midwife checked dilation at the same time. I was very relieved to hear I was 70% effaced, and 4cm dilated. I went and laid down on the couch, and watched "Princess Bride" with hubby, while the midwife took a nap in our kids' room. My sister arrived about this time, and soon we were all chilling out in the living room together, just enjoying the excitement of the impending arrival.
After an hour or so, the contractions were getting harder and were about 3-4 minutes apart. I decided it was time to get into the pool. I let the midwife know my progress, and she came in after a while to check the baby's heart rate, which was fine. My husband, my sis and I chatted between contractions, and listened to our favorite techno music on the computer. The water felt so good, I was able to relax and breath through the contractions. After a while, I remembered I should probably get out and make a trip to the bathroom. I had one contraction while in the bathroom, and it made me all the more glad to get back into the pool!
Soon the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, and I began moaning with them, which I found odd because I had not done that with previous labors, but it felt right, so I laid my head back on the side of the pool, rocked my head from side to side, and let out a low moan. In between, I still felt fine, and reassured my sister (who was kind of nervous about what the "hard part" would be like) that I might not be looking like I was "fine" during contractions, but it was almost over.
I could feel transition creeping up on me, and we agreed we should wake the midwife, who was napping. This was around 2:30 am, and I remember my husband asking me right after a contraction how much longer I thought it would be, and I said "I don't want to talk about that."
She came in, and reminded me it would be good to use the bathroom again.
It was AWFUL getting out of the pool. I felt heavy and it was hard to step
over the side. I had 2 more contractions while out of the pool, and they were
definitely much harder to relax through. Thankfully my husband was right
there, and I leaned on his arms for support, and let my knees bend. I was
very glad to get back in the pool. As soon as I got back in, I began feeling
a LOT of pressure, and contractions were hard and fast, with barely any break
between them. My midwife brought me some of the liquid calcium I had in the
fridge to take which would help my muscles not cramp, but work efficiently.
It tasted horrible, and I felt nauseated for a few minutes, but a sip of
coke helped get the taste out of my mouth.
I was on my hands and knees at one point rocking back and forth on the side of the pool. We discussed having the midwife check my progress again, and decided it would be a good idea. She tried to check me while I was on hands and knees, but then asked to try a different position. I turned over, and as I looked up at the ceiling, there was a HUGE "palmetto bug" (American Cockroach) on the CEILING!!! I said "What is THAT!?"
I was 9 cm dilated, with a "bulging water bag" and as I was getting checked I began another HARD contraction. I closed my eyes and concentrated on opening up and relaxing, gripping my husband's hands hard. I later found out that my noises (which at this point were deep throaty growls) disturbed our 6-legged "visitor" and it flew across the room and landed on the back of his neck, and crawled down his arm, which I was holding tight! As soon as the contraction started to ease off, he FLUNG the bug off him, and before either my sister or the midwife could get to it, it was under a desk!
I was vaguely aware that they were trying to get the bug. At this point one part of my mind was very fuzzy as to what was going on around me, and the other part was very clearly observing that my arms and legs were trembling, and that the pressure was getting more intense, and that towards the end of my contractions I was starting to grunt and almost push a bit. It was almost like the two sides of my brain were working independently, one side completely "instinct" the other side cool intellectual observation. Then, the pushing urge took over. My husband was telling me to breathe, and I snapped out "I AM breathing!" and continued to push and growl. As I started pushing, I thought (and said) "It's supposed to feel GOOD to push!"... push and growl some more... breathless and relieved "Oh, it DOES feel good to push..." The midwife put her hand against my perineum to provide "counter-pressure" and I told her "Stop touching me!" She told me what she was doing, and I said "Just STOP IT. It hurts!" So, she stopped. I was very pleased that she listened to my wishes, and allowed me to go with what I asked for. About this point she broke the water bag because it was not helping the baby descend to have it around him. The fluid was very slightly greenish, so we knew he had passed a small amount of meconium, but not so much that it would indicate severe distress.
I pushed for just a minute or so, and felt that the head was coming down. I remember that I panted at this point for a bit, instinctively easing off on pushing to let my perineum stretch out. I pushed a bit more. I reached down, and felt the top of his head. I pushed a bit more and called out the head is almost out! It's out! The midwife came over quickly and checked for a cord. He had the cord around his neck once, but she gently eased it loose, and as soon as I felt the next pushing urge, he came out. We lifted him up onto me, and she suctioned his nose and mouth, while I rubbed him and talked to him. At this point, we had not even seen if we had a boy or a girl. I checked, and sure enough, my dream and intuitions had been right, definitely a boy! I got my wish of not having the sex of the baby announced to me, but looking for myself. For some reason this had been very important to me during my pregnancy. It felt almost symbolic, my reclaiming of birth as my own, not dictated to me by hospital staff... The official "time of birth" was 3:07 am, a mere 3 hours after we had used the Evening Primrose Oil, and helped my labor get into a more "active pattern."
I got out of the pool, the cord had stopped pulsing, and it was time to cut it and deliver the placenta. My husband cut the cord, and the placenta came easily. We then went back to the bedroom, and I laid on my own bed and nursed my son. He took to it like he was a born expert! My sister was in awe, and after he had nursed she was thrilled to be allowed to help dress him for the first time. We all took guesses as to what his weight would be. He was 7lbs, 8 oz, and his father guessed his length exactly, 21" long. His head was 14" around, and his chest was 13.5"
I did not tear at all. I only had 2 tiny "skin splits" at the top which required no stitches (kind of like what you might get if you had really dry skin, and it cracked. It does not hurt now at all...)It was perfect, I could not have asked for a better birth experience.
As for the palmetto bug, things did not end up well from his point of view!
I went to the bedroom to rest with my new baby, and talk with my sister.
Hubby went to get started cleaning out the pool. Suddenly we heard him start
yelling things like "Oh there you are! You are mine! Get back here you sorry..."
and after a couple minutes he triumphantly announced the successful removal
of the bug. Apparently he had sprayed down our outside trash can the day
before because it was overrun with ants. Since his usual hang-out was unhospitable,
the bug had decided to come see if there was anything fun going on in OUR
house. Thankfully we got him before he had a chance to invite any of his "friends"
to come along!
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