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Birth Story, Part 2 (or, in the middle…)

September 19, 2010

I have hesitated in posting the second part of LM’s birth story, because there are details of the day that I can’t remember and it makes me feel guilty.  I was hoping DH would be able to fill in some of the blanks, but that was a vain hope.  So, I will just continue with the story and let the gaps fall where they may.  Where was I?  T-minus 27 hours to LM…

After the six mile bike ride on Sunday, I woke up around 5:00 am Monday morning with real, regular and time-able contractions.  They were mild and far apart, but it was early in the morning and I was convinced I was going to give birth to Spud that day.  I was super excited but one of the delights of home birth is that that there is nowhere to worry about going!  DH called out of work for the day (his boss is on EST so he could do that) and we had breakfast, then I called Lisa the midwife to let her know I was in labor.

Lisa asked about the contractions and I described them, and she said it could be false labor but that she and Phred were going to be around town doing home visits and would stop by around midday.  Alrighty.  This is where one of the gaps happens, because I don’t remember what we did that morning except hang around the house and yard.  About every five minutes I’d have a contraction and would have to hold on to something, or sit down, but it wasn’t unbearable and I could talk through them.

Maybe about 1:30 pm, Lisa and Phred arrived and my contractions were still the same mild, 30 second contractions with 4 1/2 to 5 minutes between them.  I sat up on my bed while Lisa checked me and said I was almost 100% effaced but only 3 cm dilated so Spud wasn’t quite ready to put in appearance.  Lisa instructed me that if the labor really picked up to call her back, but if not, get a good night’s sleep because I’d be having a baby the next day.  Yay!

The labor didn’t really pick up.  We lolled around the house and timed contractions, and they didn’t increase in intensity and only got slightly closer together, so we decided to go to a movie.  “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” was playing at the local indie movie house so we went to see that, and then picked up a Veggie Wedgie sandwich and waffle fries from a local place called Oregano’s Pizza Bistro.  It was a bit surreal to be wandering around doing normal-type things when I was in active labor, and no one knew except me and DH.  A friend of mine stopped by our house around 8:00 to pick something up (I don’t remember what it was…memory gap) and we chatted for a bit, with me stopping talking every four minutes for a contraction.  She kept saying how weird it was, and I told her to pipe down (we’re pals like that).

With my mild labor at status quo, we went to bed around 10:00 pm and I fell right to sleep.

I awoke to the same feelings around the same time the next morning.  The contractions were maybe a little stronger, but still no more than 4 minutes apart so I opted to wait a little while to call Lisa, since she and Phred aren’t exactly morning people.  DH and I laid in bed and talked about baby names, making our top choices for boy and girl names then.  Gabriel was the top boy name, and LM’s name beat out Amelia and Natalie for girl names.  We had breakfast (What was it? Another memory gap) and lolled around again while the contractions got a little more intense and a little closer together.

When they were about 4 minutes apart and 45 seconds long after being up for an hour, we called Lisa at 6:00 am.  She sounded groggy and Spud (soon-to-be-LM) didn’t seem to be in a huge hurry, so they said they’d have a quick breakfast and head over; she lives about half an hour away, plus morning traffic.

As soon as I hung up, the next contraction was noticeably more intense and I wanted a shower. Right. Now.  DH went about prepping the bed according to the instructions, covering a set of clean, nice sheets with plastic, and then covering the plastic with another set of clean, cheap sheets.  He pulled out the birth kit and cleared off the dresser; I was only vaguely aware of his productivity, because I was standing under the hottest shower I could stand and trying not to go totally cross-eyed every 3 1/2 minutes.

DH poked his head in the shower a few times and grunted at him.  I must have been in that shower for at least 15 minutes (3x longer than I usually  take showers) and every contraction was stronger than the last.  Finally I decided I was done, so I got out of the shower and sat on the toilet to dry off because it was really convenient, being right there and all.  I didn’t move for the next 40 minutes.  DH prowled back and forth and I just breathed through my contractions as they came.

I played a little game with myself every time I got a contraction; because my hands and feet were the only parts of my body that didn’t feel like a towel getting wrung out, I imagined my breath flowing back and forth between my hands and feet and taking the pain out.  It seemed to work, a little bit.  DH asked if he could help; we learned at least eight different positions for laboring, but I wasn’t interested in moving anywhere; I was in my “cave” and as relaxed as I could be, so I wasn’t about to go lie on my side or bounce on the exercise ball just on principle.

About 6:45 I told DH that I felt like I had to push.  He looked really alarmed and asked me if I was sure.  I don’t recall my exact response, but it involved at least one four-letter word and some variation on “how should I know?”  Later, he told me that he was REALLY scared that I was going to have the baby before Lisa arrived.  At the time I remember thinking that this whole labor business was starting to get really painful and I was not looking forward to hours and hours of this, which is what I was told would be the case.  I mean, I’d only been in hard labor for about 45 minutes at that point, right?

Finally at 7:00 I decided that hanging out on the toilet all day was going to make a lame birth story, so I willed myself to stand right after a contraction passed, and started heading for our room, just as I saw Lisa and Phred pull up to the curb outside.  I told DH that they were here, and that I would be on the bed.  Lisa came in, I told her that my contractions got worse right after I had called her, and that I felt like pushing.

She took one look and said something like “oh god” and then yelled (this I recall very clearly) “Phred!  Crash-landing!  Hurry up!”  Lisa told me that I was right about being ready to push, but that I needed to hold off a few minutes until Phred got all the just-in-case accouterment set up (oxygen,  emergency IV, etc).  I was, of course, amazed that my labor had progressed that fast, and totally distressed that I had to suffer through at least two more contractions before I could PUSH because that is all I wanted to do at that point.

Around 7:10, Phred had everything ready and Lisa said we were good to go.  DH had been hovering right next to the bed, ready to do anything they asked, or I asked, but I was busy suffering through those two wanna-PUSH-can’t-push-YET contractions (worst pain of the whole experience, hands down).  Finally, he sat down on the bed behind me and we got ready to meet Spud, after nine months of waiting…

(To be continued.  Wow, I thought I’d be done by now, but I’m remembering more details that I thought I would.)

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