October 4, 2009
In my second birth experience, I woke on a Sunday morning (39 weeks) to contractions that felt different from the Braxton Hicks I’d been having for the last six weeks. When my husband came home for lunch I told him he could go back to work but warned him that we’d probably be having a baby in the next day or so. I woke from a nap with my oldest daughter around 5 pm to much stronger contractions. Yet, while they felt different, they didn’t seem strong enough to be “it”.
While the contractions didn’t seem that strong, I couldn’t concentrate long enough to finish anything I started. I called my sister and asked her to come over and make dinner for my daughter. I had no concentration power to do it myself! She told me to call my midwife but I demurred, not sure these were the “real thing”. “They don’t hurt enough to be real labor!” I said. Then I hung up because I was having a contraction. DENIAL!
I realized my sister’s wisdom and called my midwife. She said based on the distance between contractions I should try to get some rest. When I hung up the phone, the doorbell rang and I opened it to find my sister and a friend standing there. They decided I was in labor (I was still unconvinced!) and moved quickly around my house picking up, fixing a dinner for my two year old and whisking her away for the night. They also convinced me to call my husband – so he could be home in time for the delivery.
I called both my husband and midwife to give them an update. When they each arrived around 9 pm, I was DEFINITELY in labor. By this time, I’d cleaned both bathrooms (except the tub) and needed help. My husband cleaned the tub while my midwife checked my cervix. It was still high and back but I could hardly sit still for her to check. Excruciating! I asked if being in the tub at this point would slow things down but she encouraged me to do what seemed comfortable.
I knew I wanted to birth in the tub so I hopped in and tried to relax. I didn’t worry about time. I breathed and moaned low and deep through the contractions, thinking of round, open objects. When my bag of waters finally broke with a POP, I felt a strong, insistent need to push. Afraid of the pain at first, I cringed through the contractions and remember thinking, “I am NEVER doing this again!” (How quickly we change our minds!)
My wise midwife knew what I was doing and encouraged me “When you get serious about pushing, she’ll come.” I stopped hiding from the pain and pushed. It was the turning point and within about twenty minutes, I felt a huge release. My baby’s head was out. The rest of the delivery was easy.
My little daughter arrived about 6 hours from the time I realized I was in labor. As soon as she was born, I held her to my chest and I wondered at how small she seemed – only 8 lbs! My midwife and her apprentice bustled about, checking the baby, bringing me a snack, checking me (I didn’t tear at all this time) and helping to deliver the placenta. Then, they let me take a minute long shower (no joke, my midwife ordered me out!) and helped me downstairs to bed.
The hours following the birth went quickly. My midwife and her apprentice stayed for several hours, keeping tabs on me, cleaning up their supplies and rinsing out my tub. When they finally left, my husband and I remembered that we hadn’t taken any pictures, so we snapped a shot of the three of us with my cell phone and then, happy and content, fell asleep with our new little charge.