Monday, April 8, 2013

results not typical: labor

Guess who gave birth! I'll give you a hint: it was me. Me!!

Due date: March 25th
Got tired of being pregnant: March 28th
The contractions I'd been having for weeks picked up intensity and frequency but were still bearable and erratic: March 29th
First castor oil smoothie: March 30th
Effect of this smoothie: upset stomach

March 31st we decided to go for broke. We went on a 2 mile walk, had sex, ate spicy food, and I had another smoothie (though I'll note I only used 1-2 tablespoons each time, which is apparently not nearly enough).

At 1am I woke up thinking I was wetting the bed. I thought "I guess I'm incontinent now. I'm at that part of pregnancy." The Foliage woke up and asked what I was doing, and I told him I thought my water had broken but to stay in bed. Because maybe it hadn't and then he'd be up and excited and standing in my urine and I just couldn't let that happen. (Spoiler: my water HAD broken)

1:45 we called the midwife. Contractions about 40 seconds long, 2ish minutes apart (but really...all over the place), 5 on the pain scale (I am terrible at things like pain scales - I based it on limb severance via hacksaw = 10). She said to call back in an hour.

At 2:45 I had to moan to get through contractions and I rated pain at a 7. TF called the midwife at 3ish and she came over right away.

For the next 4 hours I labored on our bed (kneeling, draped over our birth ball), the toilet, and sitting in the tub. It was hard. HARD. I had TF repeat to me "your face is relaxed, your neck is relaxed, [etc]" during each squeeze, which really helped.

Lemme just say, he was...amazing. I knew he'd be awesome, but geez. I fully anticipated getting annoyed or frustrated with him, and it never happened. He truly anticipated my every need perfectly and interpreted my grunts accurately. So I wasted 9 months of preemptive apologies is what I'm saying.

He also described my contraction noises as such: "I imagined a battle scene, like from 'Braveheart.' A 10,000 man army assembled on one ridge, and on the opposite hill - you. Running at them, screaming." Which is pretty much how it felt, so. Well done, spouse.

I guess the second half of those 4 hours were Transition. I don't think timing ever got really consistent, but I recognized a lot of double-peaks. The midwives said to let them know when I felt downward movement, and I felt the baby shift down around 6am.

Then they said to let them know when I had an urge to push, so the very first contraction that ended with that feeling, I was IN. Because OH MAN I was ready to be done. That was at 6:30. I might've actually had a few contractions to go before I needed to push, but. I was not down with waiting. They wouldn't do a pelvic exam to see how dilated I was. This is because my water had broken, and it would've introduced new bacteria/whatever to the baby unnecessarily. So that was frustrating during contractions but HAHA they couldn't tell me not to push! Handy.

They helped me get onto the bed (I'd planned to push in a squatting position on the floor but decided in the moment that FCK NO I was not gonna support my own weight). I laid in the bed with TF on my right, Midwife M in front of me, and Midwife E on my left. TF and E held my legs back while I pushed.

Which was a hard thing to figure out. Draw your knees back! Keep your heels down! Relax your shoulders! Don't push against your legs! Feel the baby's head!

I did not want to feel the baby's head. It felt weird and squishy and too far inside most of the time. I also did not want to see the baby's head but M held up a mirror and E took photos. Of the head emerging. So now those exist and I don't know how I feel about it. They had me feel the perineum so I could apply "counter pressure" but ummmm it's not like there was one area that was having trouble. As far as being a baby-slide goes, the whole perineal area was problematic.

I pushed for about 45 minutes and it felt impossible but then she came out and HOLY EFF SHE CAME OUT.

They laid her on my chest, where she sputtered and cried and immediately looked up at us. And then...I don't know. We've kept her alive for a full week now, but I'm continually surprised no one's confiscated her yet. I am always on guard for that knock on the door.

More thoughts on pregnancy, childbirth and parenting as events warrant.

Aria Luren. 7lbs 13oz 21". Born 7:16am on April 1, 2013. (For blog purposes she'll go by AL)