My due date came and went and I was convinced that I would be pregnant forever. Everyone kept asking me when I was going to have the baby as if I was holding it in for the right time. I thought for sure that I would go earlier than my due date, since I had constant contractions since I was about 25 weeks. They didn't hurt but I still timed them often, only to disappoint myself and my family.
The nights leading up to the delivery, I couldn't sleep at all. I was so hot and restless. I would fall asleep after 3am and sleep as late as possible. Each morning, my husband would give me a pep talk and I would cheer up for the afternoon/early evening and then start the cycle again. I did everything, naturally, to help coerce the baby down. I walked and walked and walked but each morning I woke up in disappointment.
The night before I went into labor was the worst, I cried and cried and tried to keep myself from smashing something. Everyone was always asleep and comfy and I was always up, alone, feeling miserable. Every time I struggled to get out of bed and go pee I would look at myself in the mirror for a few minutes and tell myself that I could do it and I would be holding my sweet baby soon.
The next day (July 5th, 8 days after my due date) I got up earlier than normal and felt pretty good. My husband, Matt, had the day off so we went with our friends to look at houses and eat lunch. After lunch, I picked up some raspberry leaf drops at the health food store hoping it would do the promised "uterus toning"... whatever that meant. I had some back pain and cramping but just figured it would lead to the regular disappointment so I didn't freak out about it. I did feel different all day and even said a few times that I was sure it was the night I would finally go into labor. I felt very tired and crampy and wanted to take a nap but I knew my house would be too loud and smelly (my dad was in town) so we all went to my in-laws house to chill. Matt hung out with our friends and his parents while I slept in the guest room. When I got up, I felt normal and was so upset that my back pain and cramps went away. We decided to go for a walk around the block hoping to get the cramps back but nothing happened.
Later that night, we went to TGI Fridays for my friend's bday dinner and the cramps and contractions were back. They didn't hurt at all and weren't at all consistent but I still knew I would have the baby that night, even though a part of me was still anticipating disappointment. I ate so much that night, which came back to haunt me later.
Matt and I went home, played some Peggle on the PS3 and went to bed around 11:30ish. I actually fell asleep for about 5 minutes before I had to get up and pee. I got to the bedroom door, felt some back pain and cramps, stopped, turned around and almost woke Matt up, but decided to go pee and see if it happened again. Sure enough, 7 minutes later, another one. I said something to Matt but it was so bad, I had to run back to the bathroom. When I got back, Matt was up, with the lights on holding a pad of paper, writing down the time. 7 minutes later, another one. Every contraction, I would stand up and lean forward against a wall by my door and stare at the letters on my golf hat. I remember seeing and hearing my mom come in the room during a bad contraction and I told her leave for a minute. I just couldn't stand any movement or noise. After a few at 7 minutes apart, they started at 5 minutes and that is when we made all the phone calls and started setting up. It seemed like it took everyone less than 5 minutes to arrive and I didn't even notice or hear my midwife come in. Everyone was running around setting up supplies and getting the pool ready. I felt like a mommy cat while in labor. I just wanted to hide under the bed in the quiet dark and push the baby out by myself. I needed everyone's energy to match mine but they were all running around so my sister and I went into the nursery where it was quiet and slow. At that point the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and I was moaning through them. That is when I puked up the plethora of grossness I had eaten at Friday's, which really grossed out my sister. During every contraction, I couldn't stand any movement, noise, or most importantly, any kind of caressing. No one was allowed to touch me, which I kept having to point out to everyone. I remember feeling like I was on drugs. Every time someone would talk, it would take a minute for me to hear it and sometimes I was saying stuff without even knowing I was talking. I kind of remember saying something to my husband about how relieved I was that I didn't have to eat Mac n' cheese with A-1 sauce (he had been bugging me to try it ever since he heard it could induce labor).
My midwife arrived around 1:30 and checked me at 2am (2 hours after I started contractions). They were about 1-2 minutes apart and pretty bad. I remember thinking that they were so bad that I wasn't sure if I could handle transition when it came, since those contractions are usually way worse. When my midwife said I was at 9cm, I was so relieved that I was already almost done with transition and it was only 2 hours into it!
I stood in the living room in a bikini top and a towel, waiting for the birthing pool to be ready. I leaned against my mom and then my husband, moaning through each contraction until I could climb into the pool. I got in the pool for what seemed like only a few minutes before I felt the urge to push. I got up and went to my bed and had the WORST contraction ever. I think I almost squeezed my husband's arm off with my bare hands. My midwife got me situated in my bed and then broke my water. That is when things really started picking up. It seemed like only a few minutes but I pushed for an hour. At some point, they showed me the head with a mirror and let me touch it, which was encouraging because I didn't feel like my pushing was doing anything, but it also broke my concentration. I felt like after every push, it was going back in. I kept asking if I was doing it right and if they were sure it was coming out. I was convinced they were lying to me because earlier in the pushing I kept feeling and smelling myself go poop but when I asked they dodged the question and said no and it was OK. I really didn't care that I pooped but I guess they thought I would. It was kind of funny and relieving so I really didn't care at all. I knew what would come out of my vagina, after the baby, would be way worse.
I would push through every contraction, usually getting 1 1/2 good pushes in before I felt like I was going to pass out. I closed my eyes and let my mind and body do what it needed to do. Everyone was cheering and counting and telling me I could do it. Toward the end, my vagina felt so stretched that I just kept pushing through the pain and exhaustion until it was out. When she finally popped out, everyone kept saying "oh my god, its huge!" and when they put her on my chest, I was shocked at her size. It took me a minute to check if it was a girl or boy and it was hard to see because the cord was between her legs. It is kind of fuzzy but I wasn't at all surprised when I saw her little vagina. Something inside me, for the last few weeks, knew it was a girl.
Matt cut the cord and then I delivered the placenta. Then I held my daughter and she nursed for about an hour while they cleaned me up. After a while, we measured and weighed her. She was 20.5 inches and 9lbs.4oz. (12 oz. less than the doula's guess after seeing her and 2 lbs. more than my guess before seeing her). I still can't believe something of her size was alive and kicking inside me for so long. I guess that is why I was so miserably crippled for the last few weeks.
I remember being so shaky and freezing cold so it felt awesome to take a shower, even if it was difficult to stand. I had used so many muscles pushing that baby out that I felt like I would fall over. In the shower, I got the nerve to feel down there. I had some major hemorrhoids and a small tear near the bottom of my vagina. It was so small that I didn't even need a stitch, which was impressive considering the size of the baby I had just delivered. Thank god for my midwife and her technique. If I were in the hospital, I would have either had a C section or episiotomy and would still be in pain to this day. It only took about 5 days to be able to walk normally. I kind of feel bad because my sister, Kris, went into labor only 3 days after me so not only was I still sore and walking like a cowboy, I was tired from staying up all night with Lu and my nipples were really sore so it was hard to help her. It was the worst physical day for me. I could barely sit up and my nipples were so sore that nursing made me cry but we got through it and ended up with two beautiful baby cousins.
I am so glad we did the home birth and I am even happier that my labor and delivery only added up to less than 4 hours. I am also glad that I went first because if I would have had to see my sister's birth first, it might have scared me into the hospital. It was traumatically disgusting and scary when you are on the other side. For me, being the one in the bed, in pain, was easier.
Overall, It wasn't half as bad as I thought it would be and more joyful than I could have ever imagined. It was amazing! The love you feel for your baby immediately and the sense of accomplishment was awesome. I did it for Lu at first but in the end I can't deny the feeling it gave me as a woman. I am a champion! :)
I believe my words were, "No f***ing touching... please."