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12 days overdue, but who’s counting? the diary of my pregnancy and homebirth of baby number five March 20, 2007

Posted by guinever in : birth, birth stories, birth story, home birth, homebirth, labor, midwifery, pregnancy , 10comments

ballbirthSo do you want the short version or the long one? The story of my actual labor and birth is quick and to the point. Light contractions started at 5:30 p.m. Active labor kicked in about 8:30. The baby was born at 10:36. Keep reading if you want the long version. If you already got through the title, congratulations. That was quite an eyeful! Other possible headlines for this birth story might be:

the day after Christmas 2005 Today I was certain I was pregnant. I hadn’t told anyone, not even my husband. It’s been several weeks now where I’ve thought that I might be pregnant.

a few days later I had never waited so long to take a pregnancy test. I’m usually one who tries for a positive result before a missed period. This time, I just wanted to “treasure” in my heart the possibility of being pregnant.

January 2006 I had lunch with a friend and told her the wonderful news. I asked her if she wanted to come to my homebirth, and of course she did!

First trimester This pregnancy was the only one where I didn’t feel nauseous all the time. I was grateful, yet tired, and I had cervical pressure which could be partially relieved by getting in a hands and knees position. I met with my friend Kendra, a student midwife, and discussed my plans for birth.

Second trimester When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I prayed for a labor that I could handle; I didn’t want to get an epidural. For my second birth, I added something to my prayer: Lord, could you make my labor a little shorter this time, please? Nineteen hours was a long time. For my third birth, I prayed that I wouldn’t have the same struggles with medical caregivers for a natural birth so I switched to a different midwife and a hospital a lot further away from home. For my fourth birth and first homebirth, I prayed that my midwife would arrive in time and that we wouldn’t have any complications.

Now I was pregnant with my fifth child, and again I had new hopes and prayers for my labor and birth. I prayed that everyone who was supposed to be at my birth would be there. I also prayed that I wouldn’t need any stitches. With all four of my previous births, I had torn and needed more stitches than can be counted. My perineum had suffered enough trauma and I wanted to protect it.

August 12 36 weeks. The baby dropped. I was so hormonal. Feeling absolutely yucky. I had crossed the emotional threshold. I wanted to meet my baby. I gathered all the supplies needed for the birth. I was ready for labor to start.

August 21 I had contractions every night this week as I drifted off to sleep. I was curious to know what my cervix was doing, so I asked my midwife to check me. I was 3 cm dilated. In my previous pregnancies, I had always refused all but one exam at the very end of pregnancy because of the slight risk of breaking the water or introducing infection.

Tuesday, August 22 38 weeks. I was feeling yucky. Totally tired. I was having lots of Braxton hicks. I really had the feeling I was going to have the baby in the next day or two. This was my fifth baby, so I knew that feeling well. I threw up twice. I needed to get a lot of things at the store including my traditional after-the-birth bagels and orange juice, so I took my oldest son with me to help out while my sister stayed home with the other two kids. I had seven hours of light, yet persistent contractions that day. I was exhausted and went to lie down. I called my doula and midwife to tell them what was going on. Tonight could be the night, so be on the alert. My nap was refreshing, and my contractions stopped. No baby today.

Friday, August 25 Still 3 centimeters. I was thinking that it would be a perfect time to have a baby. I went to a friend’s house Friday night. Out of the blue she asked me how I would handle Beth’s declining health and eventual death. What? I told her I didn’t need to worry about that just yet; I just needed to get past having this baby first. Besides, Beth was doing OK, I had just talked to her yesterday about a birth she had attended. I went home that night, feeling relaxed, in the right frame of mind to start labor.

Contractions started soon after my head hit the pillow. More than ten minutes apart, but they were not painless. I moaned at the peak of one, and my husband asked me if I was having a contraction. I told him yes and to just go back to sleep. He didn’t remember asking me that the next morning. I was beginning to think that this might be the real thing. Then my phone rang which confused me. I was in labor; I would be the one making calls soon, not the other way around. I answered the phone. It was the news of Beth’s death. The cancer had finally won after a nine year battle. I was stunned.

What should I do? If I was going to have a baby soon, I didn’t want my midwife and doula grieving over Beth, unable to help me during labor. But if I didn’t tell them, then I would be the only one who knew. That would be worse. And Beth was planning on coming to my birth too. With her absence, they’ll be asking if I called her yet, offering to make the call for me. And when do I tell them–after my baby is born, drop the bomb that our favorite midwife died. That wouldn’t work either. So I picked up the phone and made the midnight calls. I didn’t let on that I could possibly be in labor. They were just as surprised at the timing of her death that I was.

When I got off the phone, I pulled all my birth stuff into the living room and set it out because I didn’t want to get caught off guard like I had the last time. I even added water and plugged in the crockpot full of neatly folded preemie diapers to get ready to use for hot compresses. I laid down on the couch. I was thinking I can have a baby tonight then go to a funeral in a couple days. I might not be able to make the visitation, but I can definitely go to the funeral. Yes, I can have a baby tonight. That became my mantra.

I can have a baby tonight and then go to a funeral.

But my contractions slowed and eventually stopped.

Labor day approaching 39 weeks. My mother-in-law had plane tickets to come for a visit. I was eagerly anticipating her arrival. Then I panicked. I realized I was still pregnant. I was supposed to have had the baby before she came, so I walked to the store and bought some castor oil to take before bed. I mixed it with OJ and managed to drink it down while pinching my nose shut. I went to sleep, confident I’d be waking up with contractions. After all, the castor oil had not failed me when I had taken it with three of my other four pregnancies. I woke up the next morning still pregnant. hmm. I guess the baby isn’t ready.

We had Chinese food for supper, another thing proven to jump start labor. The next day I decided to try castor oil again. Yuck. I took it before bed and set the timer for 2 o’clock. If I wasn’t in labor by then, I was going to take another dose. The alarm went off and I changed my mind. I didn’t want to drink the slippery liquid again and gag.

September 1 For four hours, I alternated taking black cohosh and blue cohosh every15 minutes before going to bed. I also did lots of walking. In the morning, I was still pregnant. My mother-in-law arrived.

September 4 I didn’t sleep well. I was restless in my bed. I got up at 3 am and did some deep knee bends and walked outside.

September 7, the night of the full-moon. 40 weeks, 2 days. Todd and his mom took the kids out so I had the house to myself for a couple hours. I put on some lively Elvis music and danced and bounced. I was determined to get this baby out of me. When I was tired, I got out my ball and bounced and swayed on it for awhile. When the kids came home, they thought it looked like a lot of fun so they joined me in dancing to Elvis. I laughed and laughed; they were so funny.

Yes, this must be what my baby and body were waiting for. The full moon. I walked in the darkness, back and forth under the light of the moon, swaying, thinking of the ocean. I closed my eyes and tried to smell the salt-air. I was at the ocean, the moon was pulling the tide forward. The moon was pulling my baby out. Back and forth I walked and swayed outside my house. No contractions. I went to bed and woke up again the next morning, refreshed and still pregnant.

September 14 41 weeks, 2 days and 5 centimeters dilated. I wasn’t surprised at this news. I had light contractions all the time. The baby is so low, Kendra told me I could just reach up and feel the baby’s head if I wanted to. I’ve decided that this is the longest labor in history. I’m just going to continue dilating about 1/2 centimeter a day without ever really going into labor. Then I’m going to stand up and the baby will come out. No pushing necessary.

September 15 –Ten days past my due date I’m not pregnant, I decided. It’s an illusion. There is no baby. There is no pregnancy, therefore, there will be no labor. I tried to convince myself of this. I e-mailed the ladies on the natural birth list I’m on, telling them of my predicament and seeking encouragement. They told me the words I needed to hear, the words I’ve told many women before: just be patient. Labor will start when you and the baby are ready. They told me how great it was going to be that I could now empathize with women who go over their due date.

Kendra came over and she rubbed clary sage on the uterine pressure points on my ankles. We watched birth videos, and I felt incredibly relaxed.

Sunday, September 17 I woke up and was extremely achy. I wondered if it was my birthday. How old am I now? Todd gave me a box of truffles. There was no way that I was going to sit through church. I was hot and tired and my back was sore, very sore. After church, Todd called me and wondered if I minded if he and the kids went to the pastor’s house after church. Mind? No, I don’t mind. Are you kidding me? Stay as long as you want! I was enjoying alone time in the quiet house and had gotten some much-needed rest and now I could rest some more in the afternoon. I called my midwife or maybe she called me and said she was going to drop off some Cimicifuga; I already had Caulophyllum. She explained that I should alternate taking them every 15 minutes. These were the homeopathic form of black cohosh and blue cohosh. I lit a candle and poured some lavender bubbles into my bath. And I listened to music from Enya.

5:00 I took my first dose of the C & C. I had a light contraction with the third dose 30 minutes later. I continued taking the tablets and my contractions continued 5 minutes apart. Occasionally, they jumped around from 3 minutes or 7 minutes apart, something common during early labor. I quickly realized that finally I was having a baby so I had a few things to do. I sat at the computer, bouncing and rocking on my ball and did the lesson plans so Todd could teach the boys the next week if the baby did finally come.

7:15 I called Jan and left a message that I was probably in early labor and she should plan on coming tonight. Around this time, Todd called to let me know that he and the kids were on the way home. I didn’t tell him what was going on.

Lauren called to let me know I could go to the massage school the next day for a pregnancy demo. Ha! I told her I was in early labor and I had better still not be pregnant in the morning. I’d call her a little later when things picked up.

I called Shelly and she asked me if this was it. She hung up pretty quick and must’ve hopped in her car immediately because she was the first to arrive right after my midwife even though she was the furthest away.

I also called Amy, my sister-in-law, and my mom to let them know I was in labor. I had never done this before–had so many people at my birth nor called family members while I was in labor.

a little after 8 P.M. The family burst in the house to find me with some upbeat music on, bouncing on my ball. Contractions were starting to get a little edgy but I was coherent in between and kissed the boys goodnight. Twenty-two month old Mary stayed with me, but soon I didn’t like her around because she wouldn’t stop chattering or touching me during contractions.

I called Jan again to let her know I’d like her to come over. While on the phone, I had a contraction and fell silent. Then I had another one that was much lighter and that I could talk through. I decided I had better get off the phone and concentrate on being in labor or it might stop again like it had been doing all month!

8:40 Kendra, my midwife, arrived. My contractions were short and intense. I couldn’t talk during them, but I was still chatty in between them. She took my blood pressure. Great. She listened to the baby’s heart tones. I had a happy baby.

9:15 We called Lauren. Then Shelly arrived. Contractions continued. Then Linda, Jan and Marje arrived. The boys were already asleep, but Mary didn’t want to miss the party so she came out and went back and forth between Shelley and Jan.

I sat on the floor, leaning against Todd in between contractions. I asked him to rest his hand on my sacrum when I leaned forward for contractions.

I went to the bathroom and Todd followed a few minute later. My contractions were harder and my moans became louder and longer, matching the intensity of the labor waves that were overtaking me. I took my pajamas off and put on a nightgown so I wouldn’t have to do it later.

I went back to the living room, and had a flashback of my last birth where the end of my labor came upon me very quickly and there was a rush to get something under me. I didn’t want that to happen again, so I asked if someone could put the vinyl tablecloths on the floor. I mentioned there was duct tape. Marje jumped into action. Boy, she was really good with the duct tape. Maybe that’s why she was at the birth. Nearly everyday of this pregnancy, I had prayed that whoever was supposed to be at the birth, would be at the birth. Marje wasn’t even on the list of invited guests and here she was, my duct tape angel. She also brought me water and a washcloth when I needed them.

10:26 I went to the floor where I had been before and my labor intensified. Anne, my friend and doula arrived. I was glad that she was here. I chanted,

“Baby come out.”

Active labor slipped into transition. I glanced behind me at the clock. 10:30. I thought I had better have this baby today because there’s no way that I can be in labor for another hour and a half plus. While anticipating the next contraction, I decided I would push with the next one, just to see what would happen. I had not felt the physical urge to push yet, but all of a sudden, I was having an overwhelming mental urge to push. So I waited for the next wave. And I bore down.

I must have made some type of birth is imminent noise because my birth team–my midwife, the more experienced midwife and doula were all hanging out in the kitchen just a few steps away from me, but they came running when they heard my grunting. Kendra pulled on her gloves and asked me if I wanted her to check me.

Did I want her to check me? Uh no, I didn’t want her to check me. I was about to have a baby.There was no need to check me. She wondered if she needed to put her gloves on yet, if she was about to catch a baby. So I put my hands between my legs and I told her that I could feel the baby’s head. I withdrew my hand and it was all goopy so I asked for a wipe. I’m not sure why I was so obsessed with cleaning my hand at this point, but I was. Lauren walked in. I said,

“OK, everyone’s here. I can have the baby now.”

10:33 Anne asked me if I wanted to lie on my side. We had talked about it a few times during my pregnancy. I had told her to remind me to lie down, I told her to make me lie down. I had failed to lie down with my fourth birth even though I fully intended to…The reason for side lying in my case was so I would put pressure on a different area on my perineum to decrease the chance of tearing. Anne said “We’re going to lie down now,” and she grabbed my shoulder and pushed me down to the floor, guiding me to a side-lying position. I said,

“Pray I don’t tear. Pray I don’t need stitches.”

I am very grateful that Anne made me lie down and didn’t take my no for an answer! Thanks Anne!

I pushed. I was crowning. Anne held my leg back a little more. Todd was right beside me. Kendra used hot compresses to provide counter-pressure as I pushed. She told me to stop pushing. I breathed in and then blew out and blew out some more, waiting out the contraction. I pushed again for a couple seconds before Kendra and Linda told me to stop. Kendra supported my perineum, holding everything in. I took a deep breath and exhaled and exhaled. I lay on my side and felt my baby’s head. I wondered if this baby were Ruth or Jackson.

10:36 I waited for the physical urge to push and followed the cues from Kendra. The baby’s head emerged. I breathed and waited for the next urge to push a few seconds later. Then the body followed. Todd announced that it was a boy. It was Jackson. I took him to me and sat up holding him. I leaned back on Todd. Jackson was crying. He had pinked up immediately and he had perfect 10, 10 Apgar scores. Healthy lungs. I called my parents and told my dad it was a boy.

This had been my most peaceful, quiet birth. This was the first baby that I hadn’t roared out of me.

10:56 The placenta released and third stage was over. Jackson latched on and was nursing beautifully. The placenta was smaller than my other ones at only 6 1/2 inches diameter. And it was an unusual battledore, left spiral attachment (this last bit of info is for all those quirky midwives who keep placentas in their freezers and then take them to meetings to show off). For the rest of us, this means that the cord was attached to the side of the placenta instead of in the middle.

And I didn’t need stitches. Thanks, Kendra.

Everyone retreated to the dining room for chocolate and orange juice so Todd and I could be alone with Jackson. A few minutes later, I hugged everyone goodbye on my way to the shower. My two midwives stuck around.

11:49 I asked Todd if he minded if I cut the cord this time. Jackson weighed in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces. I was tired drifted to sleep in beside Todd with Jackson in the crook of my arm.

Read my other birth stories.
diary of a primipara
my second labor–a lot quicker than my first
the labor that kept on stopping–my third birth
born in our living room-the story of my fourth birth

born in our living room: the birth story of my fourth baby December 17, 2006

Posted by guinever in : babies, birth, birth stories, birth story, home birth, homebirth, midwifery, pregnancy , 4comments

born-in-the-living-roomMary Suzannah was born Thursday, November 18th at 3:04 a.m. in our living room. She weighed 9 pounds and was 21 inches long.

On Wednesday, I really wanted to have this baby so I did several things to help bring labor on! A few trips around the block throughout the day. Eggplant Parmesan for lunch. Todd massaged the acupressure points above my ankles. Hot salsa at dinner time. Braxton Hicks started about 7 P.M. while doing the hokey pokey with the kids.

I was feeling “yucky” between 10 and 11 and just laid on the couch. I don’t remember having any contractions–just an unsettled feeling. Did I mention I took a teaspoon of castor oil with OJ too? I went to bed at 11 P.M. Contractions immediately started hurting (finally!). I called Anne (my friend and doula) at 11:30 to have her head on over. After talking, I wondered if I had called her too soon. But it’d take her about an hour to get here, and I just had a feeling that harder active labor could kick in any time. I didn’t call Todd at work because I didn’t want him to be anxious or bike home before his shift was over if I didn’t really need him yet. I stayed in bed another 20 minutes.

Anne arrived at 12:40 am to find me pacing the living room, eating a frozen juice bar. We talked between contractions for awhile, but Abby (21 months old) was crying so Anne went to rock her. At 1:30, Todd came home and held Abby for a little while before putting a vinyl table cloth under the sheet to protect the mattress for the birth. Abby kept calling out my name.

Mommy. Baby. Mommy Baby.

So we let her join us in the living room. She was a little doula/midwife, lying down next to me with her baby doll, rocking on all fours like I did and moaning with me. Abby also mimicked Anne; when Anne pressed on my back, Abby pressed too.

Soon, I settled down on my knees leaning over the love-seat in the living room. I didn’t want to move. At 2:00, Anne called my midwife to alert her that I’d be having the baby that night. We didn’t necessarily need her to come right away. But when she asked me if my contractions were up front or down low, I said they were low and I could feel them down my legs. Maybe she should come, I thought. I asked her what she was doing and she said, it’s 2 am; I’m in bed sleeping. (Right, duh!). I said well you can sleep over here if you need to. At 2:30, we called two more of my friends that were planning on coming over. I didn’t dream birth was only a half hour away.

I started sitting more upright toward the end of my contractions moving my hips forward. I was feeling a little “pushy” but I didn’t tell Anne or Todd because I didn’t want to say I was pushy only to find out I wasn’t “very far along.”

But just a couple minutes later when my midwife walked in the door, I knew for sure this was it. Another contraction hit and I yelled,

I’m pushing — you’d better get something under me.”

Todd was already on his way to get a vinyl tablecloth and the basket full of chux. I really don’t know how they saved the carpet in time because I had everything gushing out of me! I heard my midwife say, “There’s a baby. There’s a baby.” I rubbed the top of my baby’s head until I felt the next urge to push. And out the head came. A few seconds later, I pushed hard again, and the baby slid right out of me. I heard someone say, “It’s a girl.” I scootched back and the midwife passed her to me under my legs and I picked her up. I took a deep breath and whispered, “It’s Mary.” Then I turned around so I could lean back against the couch. Abby was right beside me. I laid down on the floor so we wouldn’t have to cut the cord right away. When we put a hat on Mary’s head, Abby pointed at the hat and to her head, indicating she wanted a hat too.

Mary didn’t nurse right away like my other children had. About 45 minutes after birth, she was lying on my chest. She opened her eyes, lifted her head up, saw my nipple and dove for it. (Very cool!) Just like I had seen before in the video Delivery Self Attachment.

Alex came out of his room just in time to watch Mary being weighed and diapered. He said he had heard the baby crying. Later, Caleb came out too. About 3 hours after the birth, we all climbed into bed for a family picture.
Anne and the midwife went home, Todd put the kids to bed, and then he went outside to bury the placenta in the rhubarb patch (gotta love a man who doesn’t procrastinate on stuff like that!). Holding Mary, I rested a little while before calling my parents to tell them the happy news!

Read my other birth stories:

a birth story for Christmas December 16, 2006

Posted by guinever in : birth, birth stories, birth story, christianity, Christmas, midwifery , 1 comment so far

The woman prepared quickly and quietly in the grassy corner with the goat and four chickens on the dirt floor.
She closed her eyes and opened her mouth.
She and the man had walked for days.
A room? A bed? A blanket?
But the door at the inn closed.
The night was cold.
Warmth flooded over her, under and through her.
The hardness of the work surprised her.
One. Two. Three. Open.
She moaned and gasped for air.
The smell of hay permeated.
Four. Five. Harder. Longer. Closer.
Slipping down down down.
“My back,” she cried.
Seconds. Minutes. Hours.
Six. Seven. Quicker and harder.
Women everywhere, sisters commiserate.
Eight. Nine.
Slammed to earth. Ninety seconds.
Harder. Closer. Open.
She prayed it would be over.
The moon sprayed light through the hole in the roof.
The man eyed her tossing and moaning beside him.
He was not the baby’s father.
Her cries softened under his bearded neck.
She smelled the chickens and threw up.
Ninety-nine seconds.
Harder. Harder. Harder.
Winded and tired, she managed a smile.
The two walked and drank water.
Gently, the man wrapped her in his arms.
He talked of wooden chairs and tree shavings
And she laughed.
“Silence,” she said.
Back to work.
On her knees.
One two three push
Harder harder push
Take a breath and push some more
Seconds. Minutes. An hour.
One more. Push.
Arched her back and grunted.
Rim of fire. Wait.
The baby emerged.
Soft and sticky and warm.
Covered in white cream.
She tasted her child with kisses.
A son.
Her boy.
The Son of the Father.
She wrapped him in her clothes
and called him Immanuel
And silenced his cries with the gift of her milk.

the labor that kept on stopping–my third birth December 15, 2006

Posted by guinever in : birth, birth stories, birth story , 26comments

babyabbyIt is often said that a woman’s first labor is long, her second labor is easy, and her third labor is unpredictable. Whoever said this must’ve been at my births because it mirrors my experience.

At 34 weeks gestation, I had 2-3 contractions an hour all day long. A few days later at my prenatal visit, my midwife wanted to check me to confirm that the baby was head down since she was so low. I was 2 cm dilated. I continued to have occasional contractions for the next six weeks. I had not experienced pre-labor at all with my first two pregnancies except the occasional Braxton Hicks while walking. So this was something new for me.

On a Tuesday night, my contractions started at 11 P.M. and quickly fell into a 4 minutes apart pattern. After an hour and a half, I called my husband Todd at work and asked him to come home. Then I got in the tub and labored there for a couple hours. We left for the hospital at 3 A.M. During my first contraction in the car, I moaned a little and after it was over, my boys ages 4 and 2, imitated me and started to hum. Even in my laboring state, I couldn’t help laughing. They were so funny!

The labor nurse assigned to me was somewhat clueless. She was going to take me to my room when a contraction started so I just leaned on the counter and she wondered why I wasn’t following her. Anita, my doula, had to explain to her I was having a contraction. Then later after getting settled into bed, the nurse asked me how long I had been shaking. I ignored her. She asked again. I still ignored her. She asked again. My nerves were frayed. I snapped,

PLEASE don’t talk to me while I’m having a contraction. Just a sec!

When my certified nurse midwife arrived, she just sat next to me and started peeling the EFM (electronic fetal monitor) off me. How awesome is that?? I never saw the likes of that thing again. Hooray! Eventually, I stopped shaking and my midwife said I was shaking because I hadn’t been relaxed. She checked my cervix and I was 6 cm dilated. Then a little while later, my labor really slowed down.

Todd and I walked the halls. I took a shower. Todd and Katie rubbed my feet to stimulate labor. I was having a light contraction every 20-30 minutes or so. We walked some more. I was tired. It was 7 am so I went back to bed. Almost immediately, my labor picked up and my contractions were once again four minutes apart. I was deep into my Enya music
and my labor while Todd slept on the chair. I was glad I didn’t need him so he could get some sleep. Occasionally, my new and improved labor nurse came to listen to the baby’s heartbeat and to check my blood pressure.

Two hours passed. I got up at 9 am because my contractions stopped again, and then called my mom. By noon, I was beginning to wonder if we had done the wrong thing in coming to the hospital because it had been3 hours since I had had any contractions worth mentioning.

Maybe I was still just having a lot of pre-labor. (When I shared this with Todd, he said he didn’t think we were going to make it to the hospital in time for the birth so he thought we did the right thing in coming to the hospital when we did based on the circumstances at the time)

I was back to having 2-3 light contractions an hour. Ho hum. What to do??? I was thinking it, but Todd finally said it out loud.

Let’s go home.

We were considering at least leaving the hospital for awhile even if we didn’t drive the 45 minutes to go back home. I really needed a change of scenery. I didn’t want to be at the hospital if I wasn’t in active labor.

Meanwhile, my midwife kept busy. I kept hearing baby cries. When we arrived at 4 am, I was the only one there. Now the labor hall was full and babies were coming out in every room but mine! When would it be my turn?
I talked with my labor nurse about our plan to leave, and she said I’d need to go on the monitor for a half hour so they could document my stalled labor. My midwife came in and we asked her about leaving, and I asked her to check me. I was 9 cm dilated. I freaked out.

Here I was totally coherent, talking on the phone, eating turkey and gravy for lunch and 9 cm dilated. Which thing doesn’t go with the others?? I changed my mind. I didn’t want to leave the hospital when my cervix was so close to being completely dilated. Four more hours passed with no contractions.

I had been considering AROM (artificial rupture of membranes) for awhile and my midwife said she’d do whatever I wanted and listed a host of other possibilities (none of which I wanted.) So I had her break my water. My cervix had closed a little bit since the last check; I was now at 8 cm.

We waited and waited and waited. Nothing happened. Yikes. Did I do the wrong thing? Did I just put a needless time limit on the labor now that my water was broken? Approximately an hour and a half had passed since the AROM. I would have a strong contraction when the nurse checked Abby’s heartbeat with the doppler, so we did that a little more often.

Then it happened. Transition happened, that is. You know what I’m talking about. No turning back now. Contractions were long and strong with no breaks in between. I don’t know how much time elapsed. It could’ve been 20 minutes or perhaps only five minutes. But I had had enough and asked Katie to check my cervix and make me complete if I was almost there. That’s exactly what she did. I’d have to say that was the worst part of my labor. She had her hand up me and I was lunging forward, screaming and gagging, (everyone thought I was going to throw up in her hair; I didn’t, thankfully), yelling,

No Katie NO!” And she just yelled back, “PUSH. PUSH” So I pushed and then she was done. I was complete. Whew! Katie told me to get on my hands and knees and push with the next contraction so my cervix wouldn’t close back up. Abigail crowned very quickly. Katie poured olive oil on my perineum and did a lot of stretching. I followed her instructions as to when to hold off pushing during the next contraction.

My labor nurse was right beside me, helping me breathe and telling me when to push. Todd caught Abigail. In my hands and knees position, I couldn’t see a thing except the wall. I thought she had already been born when it was just her head and I wanted to turn back over and sit down. (the head was such a tremendous release I didn’t realize her body was still inside me).

My second stage was 14 minutes. And third stage was quicker at 6 minutes. My midwife asked me if I wanted to push the placenta out and I said no, I wanted to wait for it to release on it’s own. She said, “It already did; it’s sitting right here. I know you don’t want me to go in there and grab it–just give a little push!”

Baby girl. Abigail Helene. 8 pounds, 1 1/2 ounces. 20 1/2 inches long. I’ll always wonder when (and where) Abby would’ve been born had we been at home when my labor stopped. We wouldn’t have known I was 9 cm and I would’ve chalked all those hours of contractions to another round of pre-labor.

Read my other birth stories: