My water first started to leak on Sunday, March 8th at about 4:40 in the morning. I was very excited thinking it wouldn’t be long now. All three of my other kids were born within 1.5 hours of my water breaking. However, I didn’t take into account that Little Miss had been stubborn so far in that I had carried her longer already than her siblings and that with them I had a great big gush of water. This time around all I had were little trickles and only when I changed positions. I called my midwife around 9:30AM to let her know that my water had broken, but that I wasn’t having very strong contractions. She told me to call back if things started to get going.
By that night I was getting optimistic that real labor had begun. Unfortunately, I was proven wrong once again. As March 8th left and March 9th began, the 20 hour mark for my water leaking had come and gone. At this point I was seriously beginning to worry. I had heard and read that a baby needs to be delivered within 24 hours of the sack breaking. My midwife however, was not concerned. It was hard to trust her and not rush to the hospital. I have always had OB care before and with it a sense of urgency. Approximately 24 hours after my water began to leak, it really broke in two big gushes. So there I was in the wee hours of March 9th knowing it couldn’t be long now! Or so I thought….
I called my midwife again that morning, still with very few contractions. She wanted to see me at 3, but we didn’t make it until almost 4. When we got there, she checked me and said I was 4 cm dilated. She also said she could still feel a bag of waters! I couldn’t believe I had lost so much water and still had a bag full! I had weighed myself when I got to her office and I had already lost 7 lbs! A gallon of water weighs 8 lbs. We discussed a plan of action and I knew now I had until 3 or 4 AM to have this baby or I would need to go to the hospital. She started the “clock” from my second breakage because the first was a slow leak.
The plan was for me to take a liquid herbal supplement once an hour, for Mark to take me to eat and then to walk in the local park. We followed her instructions and headed to Ruby Tuesdays for an early supper. I had a Swiss and mushroom burger. I took my second dose of the herbs and we went walking until the park closed at 9PM. We took the van through a carwash, went to Baskin Robins and headed to the birth center about 9:45PM.
When we arrived I was having some contractions and they were regular, but certainly not strong enough to have a baby. At my last appointment, there was an apprentice midwife named Karen observing. I felt a connection to her so I had asked if she could be there and she was! Karen is also a doula and she acted as one throughout my labor and delivery. She was a great big help and allowed Mark to focus on me and not on getting the baby out.
I forget at what times things happened now, only the order. Mark, Karen and I went walking again in the halls. Then I used the squatting bar and the birthing ball to try and get things going. These things combined made my contractions more intense, which means they were definitely painful. For the most part I was able to deal with them fairly well. I know at one point I said something about not wanting to this anymore and that my body wanted to run away from the pain. Karen reminded me that I could do this. It was then that I made a comment about being Yoda and that the force was with me.
I knew I was getting very close to the end and I asked my midwife to check me. She was hesitant at first thinking I wasn’t in transition because I don’t get silent like most women do. She did check me though and I was 7cm! In about 2 hours I had dilated 3cm and was moving ahead fairly quickly. She hopped into fast gear at that point and I was getting excited. Mom showed up about this time and I asked her to wait in the front until it was time for delivery.
I went back to the birthing room to continue with the contractions from hell. My midwife filled the tub while I paced, contracted and tried to use the bathroom. Finally the tub was filled and I was allowed to get in. Mom came into the room and Karen and Mark gathered around the outside of the tub. The good thing about the tub and water was that it slowed my contractions. They were as intense as ever, but I had a short break in between them now.
(I'm looking at my great, big marshmallow feet here)
Sometime around 1:30AM I felt the first urges to push. The first push was a hurdle. To me it is a little unnatural to push in water. It’s like telling someone to pee in the pool. I got over it pretty quick though with Mark and Karen’s help. I should pause here for a minute and admit that at times during the pushing phase I wasn’t very nice. I distinctly remember alternately telling those with cameras to stop taking pictures and then changing my mind and telling them to take pics. My eyes were closed most of the time and the flashes were taking my focus away, but then I wanted the moments captured. I also remember telling everyone in the room to hush. I don’t think I did, but I may have also used the words, “shut up”.
They wrapped her in a blanket while she was still attached to me. The midwife was letting her cord finish pulsing before tying it off. My mom got to cut the cord. Then the midwife cleaned me up while I was still in the tub. This is important because it is the first time I didn’t immediately feel like I had to take a shower after a birth! My placenta came out with absolutely no problems, unlike last time when it had to be scraped out. I did have the shakes pretty bad at this point. Once I got out of the tub and into the bed though, they went away. The electric blanket may have been some help.
I only had one little tear and that was from an old scar from one of the boys. It only took a little glue to seal it again. Anna fed for just a bit and I already had milk! They weighed her after and she was 8 lbs even. She was 21.5 inches long. By 4:30 AM we were on our way home! This was so much better than being held hostage at the hospital. My midwife came over that night to check on us, so I still felt taken care of. Anna is doing well and other than a lack of sleep, so am I. The only pain I have is muscle pain in my back, legs and tummy. Of course I have the lovely after pains to deal with, but they should be disappearing pretty soon. She’s beautiful and she’s ours so a little pain is a small price to pay.