Like most births, this story is fairly graphic, so just be warned that I'm telling details:
I went into "labor" Sunday night. I never experienced the contractions that you could actually walk/talk or function through (latent labor). From the start, my contractions took concentration to relax through and they kept me up. Tim and I labored together all through the night, I even tailor-sat on the ground, propped up in bed and on the toliet nodding off between contractions (about 4-10minutes) for about 10 hours. When the sun started shining around 6am my contractions decreased and eventually lengthened to 20-30min. apart. We decided to do some errands, take the pups to the park and go to the mall for Bath & Body Works Semi-Annual Sale. I wanted a scent my Bradley instructor had rubbed on my hand during a class because it was so fresh and relaxing (Juniper Breeze). I would have a contraction every now and then, and even then I would have to hug Tim or stop to work through it. We visited his parents for a little, then we grabbed Rosa's Cantina for dinner and headed home. Labor then started up again around 9pm. I would have working contractions 10 min, then 7 min., then 5 min. apart. They were lasting 1-3 min. in length. I was working on breathing deeply but they were already intense (in my mind). Tim called my Mom to come to our house around 8am. We had called my midwife, Anne Sommers, and after describing the contraction pattern to her, she thought the baby was posterior and needed to turn. We called Dr. Cody Masek from Complete Health Chiropractic and he came to our house to adjust me. He is amazing and if you are looking for a chiro, he is the one to see! After that, my midwife came to check me and told me I was at a conservative 4cm, and she could stretch me to 5cm. I labored on my birth (exercise) ball with my mom while Tim set up the pool the midwife brought. My contractions started to slow again which was really discouraging, but I drank some beet/carrot juice with some calcium magnesium and took a heart-boosting supplement and they picked back up again. Finally, around 2pm I was able to get in the pool and it helped SO MUCH!
The warm water and the zero-gravity factor cut the intensity of the contractions in half. I kept working through contractions in the pool and the midwife continued to monitor baby with a doppler. My midwife checked me and she said I was at 6cm but she could feel a cervical lip which was catching the baby. She also felt that the baby still wasn't lined up to descend which is why my labor, though intense, was fairly unproductive in moving the baby down onto the cervix which would signal the hormones my body needed to receive in order to expel baby. I kept it up in the tub, but I was starting to slip into a different state. I don't remember time or details of the room everything became very surreal. Around 4pm I thought I felt the urge to push, but looking back, I think I just wanted to start pushing. My midwife checked me and I was to 8cm but she was hesitant to let me push because if you push with a cervical lip you can swell the cervix and then the baby might go into distress. She had me climb out of the tub and labor on my left side to try and get the lip to release.
This was one of the most uncomfortable times in labor for me. Side-lying is one of the most painful positions for me, even during the previous night I had to get up off my side because I felt like that position increased the pain; thus, I was propped up trying to labor, or on the ball which relieved much of the pressure. Anyways, here I was at 8cm and my midwife is telling me to go labor on my side, I was none to thrilled. Tim and my mom helped me get into bed- I have no clear memories of this time, but I know that Tim was there helping me every single second. He never once left me when I needed or wanted him. If he was needed elsewhere (to set up the tub) my mom was there to help me breathe. After forever, I got back in the tub and headed into transition. I remember looking at Tim and my mom and the midwives (at this point the second assistant showed up) and saying "Please help me." All you Mommies know what I mean when I say that I was under no ability to control what my body was doing. Even though I was only 8-9cm by midwife told me that if I wanted to push I could try. I gripped Tim extremely tight and started pushing around 5pm. After about an hour of pushing in the tub, my midwife called Dr. Cody again because my progress was slow. She also told me I needed to get back on the bed so they could "alley-oop" my legs back and get better force out of the water. Dr. Cody came AGAIN and Anne had him work on my sachrial tibia in order to open my pelvis. He also did this crazy pubic bone adjustment because Bump was getting caught on the pubic bone too. (She just didn't want to come out!) He had me lay on my back with my knees up and press my outer thighs against his palms, he then pushed really hard and quick against me and we all heard a loud POP! (I heard some gasping- maybe my mom) I guess it released my pubic bone for her to get out. All the while, Bump!'s heartbeat was very strong and never distressed. Pushing contractions were upon me and I pushed so hard I thought my butt was going to rocket off my body. When I wasn't contracting, Dr. Cody was trying to get that muscle in my back left and right thigh to release, this meant that I was once again on my side laboring (this made me very unhappy). Because he would work until the next contraction, I had to push on my side too; I didn't like this position, I would have rather been in a modified squat, but I needed to have the ligaments release. After about 1 1/2 hours of side pushing, I finally rolled my legs back and was able to crown Bump! I was given oxygen to perk me up and revitalize me, but I was breathing through my mouth, and I honestly didn't really feel it, maybe I needed a higher feed. At this point in the pushing stage, everyone kept saying I was getting close and they could see her head and they were all excited. Coley (the other midwife) even had me touch her head coming out, but all I touched was about 2cm round of her hair- after that, I didn't want to see pictures or look in a mirror because I was very much ready to have her but it still seemed such a long way off. I pushed until she rocketed out and the midwife quickly grabbed at her, saying "Tim, get the baby!" because she came out SO FAST! I don't know if anyone realized how hard I was pushing to get her out, but her speed of departure might have made everyone realize how much pressure I was exerting to get her out! Her cord was very short and she didn't quite make it to my chest, but Tim laid her on my mid-section and was crying and kissed me.
She was so warm and pink and was crying as soon as she hit the air.
Tim cut the cord and I just held her for a while.
Then I said, "Hi Madeleine, hi baby girl."
She was born June 2 at 7:39pm and weighed 7lbs. 15 1/2 oz., she was 20 3/4 in. and she is perfect. People have asked me if at any point I wanted to be in a hospital or if I wanted pain medication. I did not once think that I wanted to be in a hopsital, there was a point in time when I thought I might end up at the hospital and that scared me so much. In my mind, the labor was going poorly and I didn't want to have to go in for an emergency c-section. I guess things weren't as bad as I imagined because being at or going to the hospital never came up. Tim also asked me if I would have taken medication if it had been offered. Again, I never once thought about having a drug to help in pain management, but if I had been offered one, I would have taken it. I think for me, being at home where there was no option of drugs was best because it kept me from taking one during a time when I had little control over my faculties. There was a time when I felt totally out of control, but even during those times God gave me the strength to be kind to my husband and mom and be glorifying to Him, so I couldn't have been so out of control that I wasn't able to use my rational mind which chooses good. All that to say, even at the worst, had I been offered drugs, I would have had to use my rational mind to choose to take them. I would have known what I was doing and I had made a choice long before to birth Madeleine without drugs. I don't know if in that time if I had been offered drugs, if I would have stuck to my original choice. (Does that make sense?) For what it is worth, my midwife said this was the hardest labor she has birthed all year. So why do it this way? I guess there are a few things I have learned in choosing to labor for 30+ hours and deliver at home without pain-reducing drugs. The first thing I learned is that my God is one of power and faithfulness. He created me to do what I did. I certainly wouldn't choose to initiate contractions if it were of my own accord, but God knows just what it takes to deliver a child and he created my body with the ability to do it. He was also faithful, faithful to give me the strength and ability to deliver our baby safely. It was He who oversaw what happened that day and He in whom I can trust to deliver me safely from my sins. I also learned that my husband is an absolutely amazing man. He labored with me through everything and I could not have done it without him. He didn't just create a child with me, he created an experience and memory for all time. He loved me, looked me in the eye, breathed with me, held me, danced with me, fed me, let me almost tear his arms off in the birth pool pushing, cleaned up after me, cried with me, told me he loved me and basically helped carry me through our birth. There is no way I could have done it without him and there is no way I would have chosen ANY one else to be my husband and the father to my baby. He is so tender and kind and during these hours, I know God was calling him to be Christ to me in a unique way. I also learned that my mom has the heart of a servant. I know it was hard for her to watch me through some of the birth, but she was there happily to share with and support Tim and I as we delivered. She joyfully played the go-fer in every instance. I'm happy we chose to do it at home and thankful that God saw to bless us.