** I have never felt this insecure about a blog post. Even posts about which I very much should have been insecure. I’m putting this up, as incomplete as it feels and reads to me, because if I don’t, I’m never going to.**
Thursday afternoon (August 9th, 38 weeks +3), I was on my phone reading up on ways to naturally induce labor. N was headed to the gym and I was having tiny contractions that were inconsistent. Told N about the contractions and he left for CrossFit. I continued reading, thinking I was still several weeks away from giving birth. I had to use the restroom but didn’t want the contractions to stop so I gave myself another 20 minutes in bed, hoping they would continue.
At 5 pm, got up to use the restroom. Something felt a little off and I realized I was losing my mucous plug and I had a feeling my water broke!
Back in bed to see if contractions would stick around or if I could confirm the breaking. I was texting a few people at the time, my friend Nancy being one of them. Once I was 90% confident that my water had broken, Nancy told me “Better call your midwife just to be on the safe side.”
“My water broke.”
“Holy s***! I’m five minutes away.”
I called Puget Sound Birth Center at 7 pm and Ali was on call. She basically told me to keep her posted on the contractions but that since my water was broken, I needed to be in active labor within 24 hours and that in all likelihood, my body would take care of this on its own.
N asked if he had time to shower, which he later said was because with all the television shows he had ever seen, water breaking meant a baby was 20 minutes away. I chuckled and suggested we go to the store to pick up some food for our time at the birth center and dinner to go. We headed to Trader Joe’s, grabbed some Thai food and came back home to triple check our birth bag. I feel like I watched a movie or something but I can’t recall. N says I went straight to bed after dinner but I know I didn’t fall asleep until midnight.
During the night I had a pretty serious contraction every hour so it was completely manageable! N probably thought that it was TIME every time I woke up and tried to grab on to him to counter the pain in some manner but he was encouraging the whole time.
About 5 am I woke up for good with regular contractions. I put some water in the tub and soaked for a bit but it didn’t help the way I wanted it to so I got out. I was terrified that I was going to vomit so Nano threw some peaches, oranges and pineapple into the juicer so that I would have something easy to come back up if it was going to. (A little acidic if you’re taking notes, blend in a banana also!)
We gathered our things around 7 am and headed over to Mike and Bobbie Allen’s place so that we could be closer to the birth center. Bobbie made breakfast and I labored at their house until my contractions were 1 or so long and 4 minutes apart. I made N follow me outside so I could labor while walking in the morning sunshine which was AMAZING. I even worked up an appetite while walking and doing squats (in an attempt to move Dillinger down) and so I had a few eggs and crackers while I worked.
At 10:30 we headed to the birth center. They had the room all set up for me and Val, my midwife, asked me if I wanted to have my cervix checked to see how far along I was. I did and we found out that I was 6 cm dilated and 90% effaced. I don’t know if my face, response or tone of voice conveyed it but I was STOKED. I mean, that was pretty darn close. It was only going to be a couple of hours, things were going very smoothly and easily. Soon we’d be done!
Active labor was very easy. I switched around between the bed, the tub, the birth stool. When I heard words like “transition” I was encouraged. This was so totally manageable.
Until it wasn’t.
I knew labor would “hurt” but you know, I have high pain tolerance. I’ll keep pushing when other people quit. I certainly wasn’t going to yell while I pushed, what a waste of energy!
Transition was fairly rough. Pushing even more so. I could see by where the sun was that we were coming up on late afternoon. And he just wasn’t moving down as quickly as I wanted him to. I wanted three pushes and out!
So I struggled. What other option did I have? I complained and yelled during contractions. I told Nano I loved him during the breaks. I asked myself a million times why I thought this going natural thing was a good idea. I hated pushing and I wanted to stop but my body had taken over and there was nothing else I could do. So I pushed. And pushed. And pushed. And pushed.
“An hour, maybe less!”
Kill me now. Take me to the hospital. No, I don’t care that there is a child’s head an inch inside of me. I will walk there if I have to. Just let me leave. Or die. Anything but another push.
I could see his head! Someone got a mirror and I could see a mess of dark hair. He was FINALLY crowning. I pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed.
No baby. Just a small sliver of head. I tried not to let him sink back in during my breaks. I pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed. And I made NO progress. What was wrong? I was crying.
“Dillinger, please just come out!”
“Keep going baby, he’s almost out.” Nano had been encouraging me the entire time obviously. That’s who he is. I couldn’t keep going.
“No, keep going! He’s RIGHT THERE!”
I pushed for longer than I had pushed for all the previous pushes (or so it felt.) Nothing. He was still inside. I planted my feet, arched my back into N and kept pushing.
“Ok, Victoria. You’re going to do this next push and then you’re going to stop.”
I nodded. “More water.” (They were hydrating me between every contraction with water, Emergen-C and juice. Take that, hospital births!)
The contraction started welling back up. I planted my feet, laced my fingers into N’s, arched my back and pushed for what felt like an eternity. I needed this boy OUTSIDE. NOW.
The pressure faded. His head was out.
“Victoria, I need you to push the rest of him out now.”
Ummm, I’ve never been happier to do anything in my life. Split second later he was in my arms, SCREAMING.
A pool of blood is spreading across the floor, out of me and towards the midwife and her assistants. “Am I ok?”
“Yes, we’re just taking care of some of the bleeding.”
Bleeding? Whatever. Everyone bleeds when they give birth. I’m holding my son! The pressure that was going to break me in half is gone. The contractions are light. I’m totally fine.
It’s sort of hard to remember what all happened after that! Dillinger’s hand was across his face so I pushed out his head and at least part of his arm – I don’t know if he pulled it back in – which is why I tore and bled. I got stitched up, saw our parents and some friends, ate, took some pictures and tried to recover.
Strangely, for the first few days I felt like I had failed. I couldn’t explain it, really, other than perhaps by the fact that I am my own biggest critic and worst enemy. It took me about four or five days to realize that I had my perfect birth. Not a single intervention. Not giving birth on my back. No drugs. Food and water available to me when I wanted it. Ten hours of mostly easy active labor. Less than an hour of pushing. I did it. I don’t have to credit a doctor with delivering my baby. I did it myself. (Well, with my husband. Couldn’t have done it without him.)
I was SO pissed here because N was so happy that Dillinger was close while I felt like I was going to break in two from the pressure! Haha.
AH! I love him! He’s soooo cute! I need to get some of these pictures printed ASAP.
Ok, that’s all. I’ve been working on this for weeks and it doesn’t feel finished but I’m just going to let it be and hope it’s good enough for all my kind readers! :)