I should put some pictures in this post, but I don’t have time right now and I really want to post this tonight, so I’m going to make you follow a link to our photo album.
Oh yeah, and here’s some stats: He was born at 5:17pm on November 10th (I know, we missed 11/11/11 by one day, I’m sure Miles will hear about missing it his whole life). He weighed 7 lb 10 oz (our biggest yet), and was 20 in long.
Every time I should be sleeping, I can’t stop replaying parts of Miles’ birth in my head. Specifically, I keep replaying the time spent in the jacuzzi tub, and all I can think is “holy crap.”
As a prelude to this story, let me just mention my birth plan. I have always wanted to have an unmedicated birth, but I could only boil down my plans to I don’t want it to hurt, I want to try out the birthing tubs, and I want to run out time to get an epidural. Not that I haven’t been practicing relaxation techniques for months now, but asking for an epidural when it was too late to get one was what I was banking on. Anyway, moving on.
I woke up Thursday morning at 3 am with contractions basically every 15 minutes. They were easy to deal with, so I would have let Scott sleep, but Zana and Ellie were having a bad night for some reason and they were waking up every half hour or so, until I gave them some tylenol. So Scott was up helping them and I couldn’t get back to sleep because the contractions were coming just frequently enough to be annoying and wake me up. Since I’d had a few contractions Monday night for about an hour, I thought maybe these ones would fizzle out and go away again.
They didn’t fizzle, but they didn’t get more intense or closer together either. With Zana and Elira, I woke up with contractions 7-8 minutes apart and within 2 hours they were at 5 minutes apart, pretty intense and we were on our way to the hospital. Not so with Miles. My contractions continued at 15 minutes apart and the same low intensity for 10 whole hours. I managed to get a little nap that time too. The rest of the time I just wandered around the house trying to keep occupied. The kids wondered why a few times an hour mommy would hold onto the nearest object, close her eyes, and not be able to talk. I kept telling them that the baby was trying to come out of my tummy. Really, I still kept wondering if things would just fizzle out.
So, I decided to call my friend Stephanie, since she has a history of contractions not really getting closer and regular, but being really close to completely dilated when she gets to the hospital. After talking with her, I decided to just go to the clinic and get checked, even though I was still laughing and talking and completely fine in between contractions.
So we dropped off the kids off at our friends’ house and headed there. On the drive over, my contractions started speeding up a bit to 7-10 minutes apart and getting more uncomfortable. I got checked and was at 4cm. Here, another departure from labor with the girls. After just two hours of labor with them I was already at 6 cm, here I was at just a 4. I couldn’t really bring myself to go home though, so we decided to stay. By this time it was about 3pm.
Scott walked and I rode over to the hospital, and started getting checked in to labor and delivery. They always ask a ton of questions, while they get the IV in place (this time I only needed the Helplock, and no fluids running or anything, so that was happy). The whole check in procedure took a little over an hour, so it was 4:30pm.
I was kinda getting uncomfortable and was considering an epidural (I’m just wimpy like that when it comes to being at the hospital in pain with people poking me and strapping monitors to me) (it was about 5pm), but still wanted to try out being in water, so we decided to stick with that plan. The nurses were willing to try putting me in the jacuzzi tub, even though the wireless baby monitors sometimes do not transmit all the way from the jacuzzi rooms back to the receiver in the room.
We got the wireless monitors on and walked (very slowly) to the tubs. The setup there was really nice. The tile in the rooms is heated and the tubs fill up with this really fast, really quiet, non-aerated water stream. Getting into the tub I had another contraction, so I sat on the step in the water and breathed through that one. The nurse said she would go check how the monitors were doing, but she was concerned that I was not very comfortable. I told her I would be in a minute. Which I figured was true, since I had only heard wonderful things about getting into the tubs and being really able to deal with contractions comfortably.
Next I slid into the tub all the way, started to enjoy the water and to think that it would be nice to labor in there for a while, and Scott played with the jets to test some out and see how I liked different settings. Then I had a contraction that was a lot stronger than what they had been. I told Scott that it hurt a lot and that I wanted it to go away and I didn’t want to do this anymore and that I just wanted an epidural and that I couldn’t do it anymore. In the back of my head I thought “this sounds like a textbook case of being in transition,” so I said that I wanted the midwife to check how far I was dilated. Scott was really sweet and told me how strong I was being and how he thought I could do it. He started one of the hypnobirthing tracks that I had on my iPod that I hadn’t even started using yet. I tried to listen and relax, the nurses came to say I had to go back to the room and get in the less nice tub there. Then I was hit by a horribly painful contraction and a very strong urge to push. All I can think about it now is, um, holy crap! From here on out everything happened so fast, and was so intense and such a change from what we were dealing with before.
I told the nurses it felt like I needed to push, even though that was probably crazy. They ran to get the midwife, and suddenly everyone was getting my bathing suit over my head, getting me out of the tub wrapped up in towels and into a wheelchair. They wheeled me super fast back to the room, helped me get onto the bed.
Another contraction came and I started yelling at people. I wasn’t trying to be mean, I was just giving instructions on how to make me most comfortable, and also my brain stopped filtering out thoughts. So every thought that I had came out as instructions to people. The midwife checked my cervix and I thought I heard her say I was at 6 and a half centimeters, but I did hear something about the bag of waters just holding things up. So I yelled, “how far am I?” “You’re at a 12! You’re ready, ” she replied. If I had been at 6 and a half, I would definitely have been asking for an epidural, but since I was complete I (obviously) didn’t have time for that, and was elated that I would actually have accomplished my goal of an unmedicated birth!
Here the midwife broke my water, people were trying to get the wet monitors off me and get new monitors set up, and I kept yelling instructions: I want to lay on my side. Hold my foot up. Not like that. Hold it up, I can’t hold it up. What are you doing with that monitor? Owwwww. Hold my hand Scottie. With the other hand. Owwwww. Come out baby. It hurts right there. Ow, owwwww. (that was when I tore)
Despite the pain of it all, pushing felt really good. I felt like I could be aggressive and get something done, and just let my body take over and do what it wanted. It was kind of empowering or something just telling everyone what to do and saying whatever I wanted without reservations. I don’t think we get many opportunities to do that in our lives.
The midwife was also yelling instructions: Push and this baby will come out. What’s she saying about her foot? Just push and that will stop hurting. Don’t push, just breathe for a sec.
Scott, in tears, was giving me encouragement and updates: You’re doing it. You can see the baby. You’re doing it. The baby is coming. Just one more push and he’ll be out. You’re doing so good Cat.
And then he came out. Just about 20 minutes from the time I got into the tub. I said, “the stupid birth plan worked!” There was some meconium in the fluid, so they got him all cleaned out. Scott cut the cord, and we got to hold and visit with the little guy. He was so cute and not all smashy-faced like our other kids right after birth. I guess that’s what happens when you’re only actually in the birth canal for a few minutes. And he had some hair, also unlike any of our other kids.
So as for my future birthing plans? If I can have one contraction of transition and 10 minutes of pushing, I’ll definitely do an unmedicated birth again, but I do tend to get wimpy when in pain, so I’ll probably have to hope to run out of time for an epidural again. But natural childbirth is an amazingly intense thing. I really can’t believe how intense and how it just felt like my body was totally in control. I think I’ve been kind of on a high about it since.
My recovery has been tons easier this time around, but the first two births went a lot less smoothly. Andrew’s was just a really long labor and I tore a lot, so I was in pain and just plain exhausted for days; Zana and Ellie’s was a vaginal birth and a C-section rolled into one, plus being up double all night long. With Miles, I ordered dinner an hour after he was born and the nurses joked that I didn’t even miss any meals that day, and I was up and walking around my recovery room that night. Awesomeness.