Friday was my 40 week check with my midwife, Lisa Marie. We checked my iron which has previously been low (resulting in me almost having to be in a hospital to birth) but luckily, I got it up in time! I'd been having regular "tightening" all day but it wasn't painful. Lisa Marie informed me that she believed this was an early stage of labor and to expect active labor possibly in the next day or two.
Friday night I went to dinner and Babies R Us with my mom, a work friend and her daughter who is also expecting soon. When I got home I went to bed around 10:30pm. I was woken up close to 11:30 (only an hour later) with some cramping in my abdomen. I ignored it and tried to go back to sleep but continued to have these contractions every 10-12 minutes while laying down. I managed to lay around but not actually sleep. I got out of bed around 4am and decided to eat some food in case this was the real thing. I wanted to have enough energy. I sat on a birth ball for a while and watched TV and noticed my contractions when up (not in bed) would jump from 10-12 minutes apart to nearly 4-7 minutes. I went back to bed shortly after and managed to sleep very lightly (kind of waking up during contractions) until about 7:30. At that time, Rudy woke up and went out to feed the horses and get breakfast. I sort of walked around to pass time and then took a shower as I was starting to have cramping in my back. I'd been in touch with my midwife and doula throughout the night. My doula happens to be family. Her husband is my god-brother and she is like a sister to me. She was supposed to be attending a class in Hollywood that day so I felt bad telling her to be on standby. My midwife figured since I'm a first time mom and it was now day-time that my labor would either slow down or take a while. The plan was to labor as I could throughout the day and then around 5pm maybe go for a walk to help things along and we figured I'd be delivering that night sometime. 10am rolled around and things were speeding up and getting more uncomfortable in my back. I called Angie (my doula) and told her I didn't think I could make it on my own until her class was over. She had no problem leaving her class and headed my way (about an hour from Hollywood with no traffic). When she arrived, I asked Rudy to turn the heat on in the jacuzzi so I could try to labor in there for a while and take some of the pressure off my cervix and back. My best friend Crystal arrived around this time as well and went out there with me. They both sat outside the spa and kept me company. Angie rubbed some mint on my back to help my muscles. After this I came back in the house and my back was just getting more and more uncomfortable. I sat on a birth ball and Crystal massaged my lower back and kept pressure on it. This helped SO much and felt amazing. Angie recommended trying to turn the baby's head position using a sling to get the pressure off my back. So we went into the bedroom and I kneeled on my hands and knees on the bed (I have had knee surgery so this was quite uncomfortable). She used the sling to gently lift and rotate my belly and this felt good for a while. I ended up having to puke during one of the contractions and that was damn near the worst thing I've ever experienced. lol!
After the puking, I just wanted to sit in the shower and have the water fall on my belly. Angie sat on the toilet next to the shower and held the shower head on my stomach. At this point, I was shaking and cold and I just knew I was in transition. I called for my best friend to bring me the cell phone so Angie could call the midwife and tell her I wanted to go in to the birth center. She was in another city and would be leaving soon. I couldn't wait at home anymore though and was beginning to feel the urge to push. We called the other midwife Angela in hopes she could meet us there and at least unlock the door and let me feel prepared. So we packed up and headed out. Angie followed in her car and Rudy drove our truck. I sat in the backseat with Crystal. She kept pressure on my back the whole time and really kept me sane. I closed my eyes and resisted the urge to push which in the back of a truck is just not so awesome...
After our 20 minute ride to the birth center, the midwives weren't there yet (we had beat them by about 10 minutes). I stood in the hallway with Rudy and rocked back and forth with him. He talked gently and reassured me. As soon as Angela (the second midwife) arrived to unlock the door, we took everything in quickly and I immediately undressed and took off for the tub! lol Rudy got into his shorts and climbed in with me. I immediately wanted to start pushing and waited for the urge. After about 15 minutes of nothing, I wanted the midwives to check me to ensure I really was complete and I didn't have a cervical lip. I sat on the toilet first and my water broke (finally!). After that, they checked and said I'm complete but did have a small lip however, her head should push it aside. At the time, her head was slightly cocked to one side so she was realigning herself. I got back in the tub and wanted to be on my knees leaning over the edge. I had them put some washcloths at the bottom of the tub for my knees. I kneeled and leaned over the edge and held tightly to Angie's hands while Rudy put pressure on my lower back. I felt so connected with both of them at this time. Angie placed her forehead on mine and continued to whisper confident building statements. Rudy was keeping pressure and also encouraging me. I pushed for a bit in this position and then the pain of my knees was too much and decided to lean back against Rudy. That way the midwives could also see what was going on down there. Rudy placed his hands under my hips and I just sort of floated in the water and braced my feet against the opposite side of the tub.
After almost an hour total of pushing, she began to crown. It was awful and hurt but not to the point that I would have begged for drugs had I been in a hospital setting. I just wanted her out! I tried to not push too fast to avoid any tearing. That was the hard part... feeling the burning with each contraction and resisting the urge to just push hard. After her head was out, my spirits lifted. What was, "Just get her out!" turned to "Rudy, can you see her??" with a nervous laugh and he looked over my shoulder. With two more good pushes, she was out and I grabbed her out of the water and placed her on my abdomen. Rudy and I bawled. She was gorgeous. And not just the kind of gorgeous you think of because we're her parents. She looked like a 1 month old. Head full of head, head wasn't coned, barely any swelling...
She didn't cry, she just gurgled and made soft noises. She was so comfortable in the water. Rudy, who had been calling her "Aly" the whole pregnancy called her name and she looked up to look at him. I cried again.
I leaned back more comfortably and placed my legs outside the tub as my poor knees were just exhausted. I passed the placenta shortly after. We let Angie cut the cord and be the second to hold her. They gave me some oxygen as I was feeling very weak as I tried to get out of the tub. I laid on the bed and they brought her to me again.
I couldn't believe it was over. My labor had lasted about 15 or 16 hours and she was born at 3:38pm on Saturday, October 22nd. I was 40 weeks and 4 days.
She had no issues. 7 pounds 5 ounces and 20 inches long with a 13.5 inch head. She was bigger than I expected considering I never got too big in my pregnancy so my belly was literally all baby!
We let my mom, dad and Crystal see her while I got my few stitches. It was nothing too bad and still doesn't hurt. We came home that night close to 12:30am.
Now for the kicker, for those who know our personal life, Rudy is in charge of helping his nephew's horses foal their babies. We have a monitor in our bedroom to keep an eye on them. I got in the shower when I got home and as I got out, Rudy was calling me to hurry up! Turns out the mare we had been waiting on to foal had had her baby while I was in the shower! lol So after I got our baby settled he ran outside to check on mama and baby.
In the end, all was well and we went to sleep. :)
Now for some photos.