J's mom, Lorraine, got to my house around 11:00am. I was still having contractions, some more powerful than others. She helped apply counter pressure to the small of my back when they got a little rough. I ate a some lunch, and then we headed out. It's roughly a 1 hour and 15 minute drive to Deb's office, and we stopped for a pee/candy bar break on the way. When we got to Deb's, she hooked me up to the NST machine (the reason I was there), and I told her about my contractions. She said it sounded like I would probably have the baby that weekend, but I was still doubtful. She asked if I wanted her to check my cervix, and I agreed. Originally, I didn't want any cervical checks, but after a week of contractions I had to know! I was dilated about 2.5 cm, and I gave Deb permission to stretch me a bit further. That. Was. Not. Pleasant. We were hoping it might just nudge me over the ledge in to true labor. Well, it worked! I had my first contraction as we were walking out of the door, and they continued for the entire drive home. I was timing them using J's tablet, and they were never further apart than 8 minutes. My poor mother-in-law was a nervous wreck (although she didn't tell me that at the time!) We had planned on stopping by Target to pick up a yoga ball, but I was having too many contractions and said screw it. By the time we got home, the contractions were 3 minutes apart!
I waited about half an hour to call Deb, just to see if the contractions would stop once I was out of the car. I gave her a break down of how close they were and how long they lasted, and she decided to come up. I called J to see where he was - he had just left work! It was a little after 4:00pm at this point, and I was upset he hadn't left sooner. He finally got home around 5:00pm with Little Toots. I looked at him and said "We're having a baby today." His response? "Oh, ok." Then I told him Deb was on her way, and all of sudden he realized that I was serious!
Deb suggested a shower, and it was wonderful! The hot water was magic, but we decided that the jet tub downstairs might be better. It was probably 7:00pm, although I"m not sure. Little Toots kept coming in and feeding my strawberries, and asking if I pushed the baby out yet. She was a nice distraction, but when a surge hit, I had to focus all of my energy to remember to breathe the baby down, instead of wasting my breath blowing out. J and Deb were great, reminding me to relax.
To be honest, during this whole time I thought that these contractions were fake and would go away, and that everyone would have to go home disappointed. Even when I felt like pushing, I thought I was making it up in my head! I gave a few pushes, and while it felt good it didn't feel right, so I asked Deb to check me. I was 8cm! Since I was out of the tub, I walked around a bit. I think this is when J's sister, Jen, showed up, and did a little Reiki on me.
I needed to get back in the tub, and once I did things really picked up. I remember shaking my head "no" during a couple contractions, like I was not allowing it to happen. I remember feeling so tired, and I said aloud "I just need a break" and my body listened! I had a short break between contractions, and when they started up again, my body pushed. I pushed sitting in the tub for awhile, and Deb was trying to offer me suggestions but I knew I was in the right position. I needed to move, but in the middle of pushing it literally seemed impossible. Somehow, J and Deb got me to turn so that my back was in the corner of the tub - I was able to spread my legs more, but it still didn't seem right to me. Deb asked if she could check the baby's position, and I must have nodded or said yes. She said "The baby is RIGHT THERE!" and then she apologized because when she felt the position, she broke my water. I had been hoping for a baby born en caul, but it wasn't meant to be! Anyway, hearing that she was so close, I gathered all my strength and hoisted myself up into a squatting position and pushed with every bit of myself.
I felt like I was roaring at the top of my lungs! Everyone else said I barely made a noise, so it must have been my inner birth warrior screaming. It burned, and it hurt so bad that I wanted to stop, but knowing that I had no choice I just kept pushing. No, that's a lie. I didn't push - my body took over and pushed without me. I opened my eyes and all of a sudden - A BABY! There was none of the "there's her head, now her shoulders" stuff; she was out in one big push! Deb and I scooped her up and I looked at her and said "She has hair!! Why does she have dark hair?!" I think this picture says it all.
It's all such a blur, but there are bits and pieces that stand out to me:
J and Deb tag-teaming my contractions, one pushing on my back, the other hugging me.
The smell of the clary sage oil in the tub.
Little Toots feeding me strawberries and asking if I pushed the baby out yet.
Finding out Little Toots ate an entire carton of strawberries and being really concerned that she would have a tummy ache.
Deb telling me to grab my knees, me telling her I couldn't then doing it anyway.
Saying "I can feel her!!" when she was just about to crown.
Thinking to myself 'Keep your eyes open' so I could see my baby right away.
Holding my new baby and just sobbing!
When I stood up, I was bleeding a little too heavily, and I had a second degree tear, so Deb and Jennifer (the assistant that showed up sometime between 8cm and pushing) helping me to the couch. Deb gave me a shot of pitocin and cytotec to stop the bleeding, and started to stitch me up. The stitches seemed to take forever, and I still hadn't nursed the baby, so J brought her to me.
Goldie is a champion nurser! After I got sewn back together, Deb stayed for a while since my bleeding was a little concerning, and I passed a few huge blood clots. By 1:00am, it had tapered off enough that Deb felt comfortable leaving (she had another birth to get to!)
I am not a talented enough writer to fully express what this birth experience meant to me. This pregnancy was long, and at times really rough. Sometimes I doubted myself, and I often felt guilty about not being satisfied with a family of three. Now, I realized that this was the best gift I could give to my daughter and my husband, and myself. Our family is complete. And, I reaffirmed my belief that I can do anything I set my mind to!