The night before I had been wondering if my amniotic fluid was leaking very slightly. My underwear was slightly damp and I was fairly sure it wasn’t urine or cervical fluid. When we got home from watching a basketball game at my in-laws’ around 11:30pm, I decided to just change my underwear and go to sleep. I woke around 3am to pee and didn’t have anything gush out when I stood up, though my underwear was damp again. I figured it wasn’t amniotic fluid and went back to sleep. I had a midwife appointment the next day, so I’d ask about it then.
We woke at around 8:30am and I got up to pee. I was still sitting on the toilet taking care of other business after I peed when I felt a small gush. It was obvious it wasn’t pee by both the amount and the sensation. I called my husband in and told him of my suspicions and he brought me a cloth pad. I decided I’d just tell the midwife about it at our appointment in a couple hours.
I got up and went into Peanut’s room to help her take her diaper off. When I went to put the diaper in the pail, I felt another gush and ran to the bathroom to stand in the shower. I called in my husband and told him that for sure my water had broken and he took my went clothes to the hamper and brought me new ones. We called the midwife at 8:48 and she said that contractions would probably start within a couple of hours, if they didn’t, we could come to our appointment. If they did, she could have her assistant stop by to check on us on her way into the office.
While we were debating if my husband should go to work, contractions started. They were around 5-6 minutes apart and pretty strong from the get go. We figured I still had a while and they were just strong because of the lack of fluid cushioning the baby against my cervix. We decided he should go in to make sure things were in order for his paternity leave and then come right home. We called the midwife at 9:21am and told her contractions had started. She asked us to time them and said she’d see if her assistant was still in the area. She said she’d call us back when she knew.
While he was gone, Peanut and I ate cereal and a blueberry muffin. It was painful to sit through the contractions so I started walking in the kitchen. They were getting pretty intense and I was wishing I could get in the birth pool, but realized it wouldn’t be wise to even fill it, let alone get into it, this early in labor. I decided it was smart to take a shower and get clean for the last time in a while anyway, so I got in.
Peanut was dilly-dallying downstairs so I called her up. She tried to tell me something, but I was too distracted. She climbed in and I started cleaning myself. A few minutes later, my husband came in and told me the midwife’s assistant was here and Peanut was supposed to have told me when she came up. I finished getting clean as quickly as possible and headed downstairs to meet her.
She checked my blood pressure and the baby’s heartbeat. I told my husband to call my mother so she could come watch Peanut because I needed him. While he was in the other room on the phone, I stood through some contractions leaning over and the assistant pressed firmly with her hands flat on my back, which felt great. At this point I started vocalizing through contractions.
She asked to check my cervix and I agreed, hoping it would tell us this wasn’t just the beginning because the pain was getting so intense. She said I was at about 7cm and I felt immediate relief. She also said I had a bit of an anterior lip, which is a thickening of the cervix. She said, if I could tolerate it, I could lay there during a contraction and she could try pushing it out of the way. Not only could I tolerate it, but it made the contraction less intense. She said that meant that standing would probably bring the baby faster and that leaning forward like I was earlier was good for the lip. The assistant called the midwife to let her know the progress and I heard her say my contractions were about 3 minutes apart.
My husband came back and I said I wanted the birth pool. He and the assistant started filling it up and I walked the hall between contractions, calling my husband to come help when a contraction started. He pressed on my back and it helped, but the contractions were still very intense. Peanut almost melted down at one point when she wanted to push on my back with daddy, but he quickly gave her the job of pushing on my leg and she was happy to help.
After some amount of contractions, standing was hurting too much. I decided to lay on my side on the bed since the pool still wasn’t full. I started what I can only describe as howling through contractions and my husband did counter pressure on my knees and lower back. I started feeling like I could maybe push, but I thought it couldn’t be that time yet.
When the birth pool was full enough, I got in. It was freezing to me though, so they started boiling water on the stove. I was on all fours with my legs spread open in the pool and my husband got in to push on my back more. Peanut stood on the outside watching and trying to help. She was very good at listening and was happy when we gave her the job of bringing mama water between contractions.
I started feeling like I needed to push, but it hurt when I did it. I almost stopped pushing because of the pain, but the midwife (who had just gotten there) and the assistant were cheering me on so I continued. It also provided some sort of relief to push, though it was still incredibly painful.
The contractions became more and more painful as I continued to push through them and I could tell they we’re further apart now. It was also quite painful between contractions, especially on my tailbone. They told me that it would feel better once the baby got past my tailbone, so I kept telling myself that to get myself to push harder.
The assistant was supporting my perineum on both top and bottom. She explained to me later that she supported both because it was shaped like a volcano, though I’m not sure what she meant. At one point I heard her ask my husband if he wanted to feel the baby and he did. This made me wonder how close the baby really was so I felt too and it was just inches from crowning, if that. My mom showed up around this time and started taking pictures. I started feeling the baby after contractions to know where it was until I started to be able to feel the baby crowning without the need to feel with my hand.
By this point the tailbone pain was gone, but the stretching pain replaced it. I was screaming as low as I could as I pushed and the midwives kept telling me I was doing great. It hurt so bad that I just wanted the baby out. Apparently I was screaming that I wanted it out. I pushed harder and more frequently trying to get the baby out until finally its head emerged, which relieved some of the intensity.
What happened next felt to me like the midwives were pulling the baby out of me and it was painful, though not as bad as the head coming out. It turned out that the baby had shoulder dysocia, which means its shoulder was stuck behind my pubic bone. They told my husband later that if we weren’t in the water, they would have let me push more before assisting, but in the water they needed to get the baby out before it got panicked and inhaled water.
The baby came out at 11:12am and I flipped over to hold it. My immediate feeling was relief that the pain is gone, but it was quickly followed my the intense joy over the fact I was holding my baby. It was still absolutely covered in vernix, which the midwife said that, along with looking at some other stuff (possibly something with its ears?), made the baby seem more like an early baby than a late baby. I don’t know how that would work out considering how positive we are on my date of ovulation.
They put a blanket over the baby when they placed it on me, so we didn’t look at the sex. After a couple of minutes my mother started to ask and I was amazed I was level-headed enough to say I wanted Peanut to check. I moved the blanket and Peanut told us the baby was a girl! She was ecstatic that the baby was here and she was a big sister now. And how much little sister looks like big sister!
We stayed in the pool while I started to nurse and pushed out the placenta, which we put in the container and allowed to float next to us in the water. My husband was behind me supporting me as I nursed and he cut the cord once the placenta was out, which the midwives said meant the cord was done pulsing.
The pool was getting cold, so we got out and went to the bed, where we nursed more. She nursed pretty much constantly for the next couple of hours actually. When she was unlatched at one point within those hours, we decided to take her measurements. She wasn’t very happy about it.
She weighed 9 lbs 8 oz, which I immediately tried to justify with all the nursing, but the midwife said she had also pooped while we were in the pool (something I didn’t notice), so it kind of evened out. She was 20.25 inches long and her head was 14 inches around. Certainly a big baby!
The midwives checked me out and I hadn’t torn. They weren’t concerned by my amount of bleeding until I tried to get up to shower and almost passed out. They told me my options were pitocin, an herb called shepard’s purse, or just wait it out. I decided to wait it out, but when I got up to pee I passed some large clots and lots of blood, so we decided to try the herb. It tasted disgusting, but quickly got my bleeding under control. The midwife went back to her office for her appointments, but the assistant stayed for a while to make sure things were okay.
Peanut immediately wanted to hold her new little sister, but was happy enough to play games with my mother as we got settled before taking a family of four nap. She is already absolutely in love with Meredith Renee. We all are.