My midwife recommended that I write out my birth story and my thoughts on my birth. I already have run over it so many times in my head that I am more than happy to oblige.
Monday morning around 3:30am I had started feeling what felt like a menstrual cramp in my lower back turn into a charlie horse in my stomach and run all the way to the top of my belly. It kept coming every 20 min or so. I started whimpering because it was quite intense. Tom sleepily put his hand on my shoulder trying to comfort me as I started to cry that I wouldn’t be able to do this if this was early labor and it only got more painful from here on out. (As it turns out, these were my hardest contractions to manage. It was only at the very end did I think the contractions were comparable, but it might have been because I didn’t have time to breathe through these early ones and woke up in the peak of the contraction). I decided I was starving so I got up and showered and made myself a protein shake. Then I went back to bed. I had another contraction that Tom tried to comfort me through that ended up with me in the bathroom puking. I text my boss that I wasn’t sure if I would be at work today but not to count on it, then text my midwife that my contractions were 9 min apart and lasting a minute, and then went back to bed.read more...
My contractions then stopped from 7:30 to 8:30. I had no idea what was going on and if I was in labor or not. We decided Tom would go to work as normal. My contractions soon picked back up and jumped to 3 min apart but were much, much lower in intensity. This is what my midwife considered the onset of labor. I called Tom to come back home. At 11:30 I called LeAnn and told her my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and lasting 30 seconds, but that I didn’t think they were doing anything because they were too easy compared to what I was feeling earlier. I told her Tom and I decided to take a walk and then I would nap. She thought that sounded like a good idea. Suddenly, though, I felt super tired, so we decided to take the nap first. On the bed, contractions picked up in intensity but slowed to 9 minutes apart again. After 3 contractions or so, Tom and I decided I managed the pain way worse on the bed and moved downstairs. I laid over the couch for about an hour, and then at 1:30pm, I realized they’d been 3 minutes apart for quite some time. Up until this point, I wasn’t convinced I was in real labor, and I still wasn’t sure, but I told Tom to call LeAnn just to get her thoughts. He soon handed the phone off to me and I told LeAnn the contractions were stronger, but not as bad as I thought they would be pain-wise. We went back and forth a bit, but ended the conversation with her deciding she would take her time but would come on over. This is when I kind of got excited because LeAnn seemed to think I was in labor and that made me think that maybe this was the real deal. She got to the house around 2:15 and my contractions were 2-4 minutes apart. She said that I started vocalizing (letting out a low moan) with each contraction around 2:25 and around 2:50 she asked if I wanted her to check my dilation. I was so nervous to be checked because I was scared I wouldn’t be dilated much since the contractions weren’t that intense, but were hard enough that I’d be discouraged if I’d made no progress. But I was so excited when she said I was between 5-6 centimeters and 75% effaced. One of my favorite memories of labor was seeing the look on Tom’s face and hearing him say he was so proud of me. He was so incredibly supportive and it boosted my morale immensely. I had a contraction shortly after, and LeAnn said this was when I started to say, “I love you, baby” or “I love you, Tom” with each contraction.
Allison, LeAnn’s medical assistant, had arrived around 3:30 during the one minute attempt I had tried to walk around outside. It was too windy for me and I felt like I’d tense up in the cold. Back inside, LeAnn and Tom started setting up the birth pool, and then Allison took over for Tom. Then Tom stayed with me and supported me through each contraction. LeAnn thought it was really funny when Tom and I did a slow dance type position and the hardwood floor kept creaking as we swayed back and forth.
At one point, I decided to go to my hands and knees. I stayed there for awhile and I kept puking. In this position I could feel the baby move down my spine toward my tailbone. and lower into my hips. It didn’t hurt and there wasn’t a ton of pressure, but just a general feeling of fullness. It excited me that I could feel the baby making progress. I also got hungry at this time and Tom brought me a fig bar. I was unimpressed with his selection at first but had a bite and I just absolutely loved it. For the next few contractions, I remember thinking, “I can have another bite of that when I’m done!” I just kept my eye on it the whole time and anticipated my next little bit of fig bar. After a while, my arms got tired and I wanted to lay down. LeAnn told Tom to keep me walking. Walking sounded boring, so I was relieved when my contractions were close together because it gave me an excuse not to walk very far. I would go to the bed, then the 30 feet back to the table, then back to the bed, then back to the table. Finally I was leaning over the couch, and it felt like my contractions were double peaking and I wasn’t getting a break in between. I started to puke again (a lot) and it was a welcome distraction from the contractions I was having. Around this time I realized my water hadn’t broken yet. My sister Rachel told me a tip she had gleaned from my other sister Melissa about squatting during a contraction. LeAnn told me I could lay down if I wanted to, and I had one contraction leaning over the bed where I decided to try the squats. I did 4-5 squat attempts through the contraction. It wasn’t a ton of fun so I only did it one time before I got on the bed with Tom beside me. On my second contraction on the bed, I felt a pop (Tom heard it too) and then a gush of water. Water broke! I started yelling, “Water! Water!” and then Tom and LeAnn moved me to the living room where the birth pool was. It was 5:14 when LeAnn checked me and I was 9.5 cm with an anterior lip. I started to feel like I wanted to push, and LeAnn said that I could if I wanted. At 5:25 I started forcefully praying in the form of, “This is HARD. GOD HELP ME!” Up until this point, I thought the pain was very manageable. The pushing, however, made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I thought I was screaming but Tom said I wasn’t at all, just moaning and grunting. Looking back, I don’t think I hated it because it hurt that bad, but because it just felt gross to me and that made it harder for me to get through. The contractions were farther apart and I got more breaks, though, which was helpful. Each contraction, Tom gave me his hands to squeeze as I really needed something to grip. LeAnn checked me again at 5:36 and I was fully dilated. At 5:50 I got in the birth pool and I managed it a little better, but I started getting extremely hot. My birth team kept bringing me cold towels to help. A little after 6 I started to worry (seemed like I had been pushing forever) and asked LeAnn if I was fast enough for the baby to be okay, and she assured me that I was. LeAnn asked if I wanted to move to the bed since I was so hot. I was super indecisive because all I wanted was the baby out and didn’t care where I was. They moved me to the bed and literally two minutes later at 6:20, Baby Willis came out just screaming. It definitely burned but for such a short time and was such a relief to be done. LeAnn and Allison cleaned and did laundry, took down the birth pool, and gave the baby and me a bath. (She didn’t normally give baths to newborns but he had three big poos within the first hour of his life and looked like he had rolled in mud). LeAnn and her medical assistant Allison left just before midnight. I was so, so tired but having Tom and Willis so close to me was the best feeling ever. Tom was so proud of me, never grossed out by it all, and was so supportive. It was amazing to have him there with me. I was so excited and seeing him so excited made me even happier. He was such an amazing help with learning to breastfeed as well, and it was because of his research that he was able to show me a hold that helped Willis to consistently latch.My midwife gave him Husband of the Year award for breastfeeding support. She also said one of her favorite moments in labor was after the baby was born and Tom was helping her with something in the kitchen. She asked him what he thought, and he said, “It’s just so…PRIMAL!”
So proud of my husband and baby. Now to adjust to this huge change in our lives!