I woke up early Sunday morning, July 14th with a prayer on my lips. I told Papa, deeply meaning every word, that whatever day was to be my baby's birthday was alright with me. No matter how uncomfortable I was, or how inconvenient. I also made mention that today would be a great day. My doctor was on call, the doula we'd met and liked was in town, mom was still here and it just felt right. Right about then, I noticed my first contraction. I just stayed in bed, and rested. Another came, and they made me take notice as I couldn't sleep through them. As I laid and slept inbetween contractions, I felt I could distinguish a pattern. They weren't very close, but kept coming. I laid and welcomed each contraction, was thankful for each contraction and in my mind was watching the waves of the ocean bringing my baby to me. I prayed and thanked Papa after each contraction and felt so peaceful. After a good hour, and 5 or 6 of these contractions, I got up and grabbed my phone to time a few. For another hour, I continued to time and welcome contractions. They were 11 minutes apart, consistently for an hour and a half. About then, Dawn was near and I could no longer comfortably lay down through a contraction. I decided to get up, and upon being verticle they jumped from 11 minutes to 8 minutes apart. I went for a walk, and it was absolutely lovely out. Nice and cool, slightly breezy, and only the birds awake with me. Upon walking, contractions got stronger and 4 minutes apart.
When I got home, my husband was up and working on breakfast. My parents were here, and everyone was up. After breakfast, I think my husband was ready for me to say "lets go!" especially since I told him to make breakfast sooner rather than later. But I knew it was too early. We took another walk, and decided it was already too hot for more walking. I sat on my ball for a while and bounced etc while a movie was on, but I was horribly bored and tired of feeling watched. So I told dad to grab the curtains out of his camper and we'd hem them. I put down the phone, stopped timing contractions, turned on my favorite music and got to work on curtains. I kept having contractions, but as I could work through them just fine I kept going. It took about an hour and a half to hem all the curtains, and dad got them hung back up. I went out to see them and it was hot again.
After standing again for about 20 minutes, I was needing to lean on something during a contraction and focus through it. I decided eating sounded like a good idea, and that after I ate we'd go on up to the hospital to get checked and see what was going on. I knew I was in real labor, but I also knew it was still a bit early. Since I had tested positive for Group B Strep I also needed to get there quickly enough to get the antibiotics, or the baby would be watched and possibly admitted and given a full dose of preventive antibiotics. I felt getting the antibiotics in labor was a lesser risk to her than that. I ate a full hamburger, and drank up plenty of water. I honestly didnt think they'd keep me, but I wanted to go full and hydrated on my own just in case.
We got there, and I was at a 4cm and 75% effaced. I had been at a 3 on Wednesday and 75%, so I'd made progress and they decided to keep me. The entire time, the baby picked up on the monitor wonderfully, but my contractions didn't register.
After they moved me from triage to a labor and delivery room, my Doula joined us and we enjoyed chatting with her in-between contractions. She would remind me to relax my hands, shoulders and feet, everything with each contraction. Reminded me to breathe and give the baby oxygen, and to show her how calm I was.
It took quite awhile for the antibiotics to come up, and I was sitting on the birthing chair/ball. It was quite comfortable, a ball in a chair with wheels and back support. I wanted to lean forward with each contraction, but it interfered with the monitor a lot. So I leaned some and relaxed and breathed. The monitor still would not show I was even having contractions, but my doctor came in and felt during one, and said that it was definitely a moderate contraction. After they started the antibiotic, He checked me and I was a 5cm, fully effaced. After he checked me, I had bloody show for the first time. He was extremely gentle when he checked me so we knew it was more from cervical change than from the check.
Contractions began getting much more intense from there, I was struggling to get through them a little. I wanted to tense up and it was difficult to keep my perineum relaxed. I remembered suddenly that I'd read many times and many places about vocalizing. So with the next contraction I vocalized, moaned in a low tone, and I was surprised at how much it helped. Pauline, my Doula who had stepped out to get some large soft balls to put behind my back for counter pressure heard me vocalizing and encouraged me to continue. She told me the low tones showed baby how calm I was, and that high pitched or screams would tell her to be anxious. So I made sure to keep tones low. I was pushing my low back into the chair, and into the ball for counter pressure with each contraction, and having to maintain focus between contractions instead of coming out of it and chatting. I glanced at the monitor and noticed they were coming every 3 minutes or so. Barely registering, but they were actually there now according to the monitors. I no longer wanted the cold rags on my neck, I was suddenly chilled. I noticed my legs felt shaky but thought nothing of it. Afterall, with my last birth it took 12 hours after reaching a 5. I had tons of time left.
The antibiotics finished, and they unhooked the IV. I made mention of how much I had loved the water in my last labor, and had progressed quickly with it. Pauline went and asked my DR if he'd ok me being off the monitors to labor in the shower for awhile. Usually this is no issue at this hospital, but as I've had a previous c-section their policy is continuous monitoring. My doctor said it would be alright for 10 minutes, to take a shower. I could feel baby descending with each contraction, and even noticed myself pushing gently with each one, but thought nothing of it. Pauline stepped out for a 20 minute break to give us privacy while I showered.
I got up and in the shower, the first contraction, I had Randy spray water on my back as I leaned on the chair and vocalized. The next I sat, and leaned my head on the wall, then I felt a POP. I told him to go tell the nurse my water just broke, and they wanted me back on the monitors since my water was broken. My experience with my waters broken had made the rest of labor very very difficult, and it scared me and I prayed that it wouldn't happen again. While I was drying off, another contraction hit hard and I knew my body was pushing. I even felt the "ring of fire" but thought it couldn't be. Instead of vocalizing, I groaned "I'M PUSHING!!!!" and the nurse said "No dont push!" I did not bear down, but my body was pushing. I made it to the bed, and had another contraction, my body pushing, and the nurse reassured me that it was ok. She checked me quickly, just to see if maybe I was complete, and much to my and her surprise, I was complete. "You did it girl, you're complete!" I said, "Are you serious?" She left the room saying, try not to push! to get the Dr and get things setup. They mustve been close, because the Dr, my nurse and one other nurse were right in with all the supplies and trying to get the room setup. They were lowering the light on top and he wanted to check me. I was trying to lay down to be checked when another contraction came on, and the Dr looked at me and said "OH! and there's baby! Ok, lets do this!" He put a pad down on the bed under me, and told me whenever I was ready. I rested for a second, and with the next contraction I grabbed Randys arms and propped myself up on my left side a little, with his help. A nurse positioned my right leg at the advice of the Dr, and I was pushing. Hello Ring of Fire! I remember saying "THAT HURTS!" and being reassured that it was almost over. I took a few blowing breaths right at the most intense part, letting her head ease out rather than tear out. With the very next push, and all in the same contraction there was this big POP feeling. I looked down and there she was on the bed. I just said "Oh my gosh!" I was in disbelief that she was already here, and how quickly she literally POPPED out. Dr said no tears, and we all watched and waited for the cord to stop pulsing and turn white before it was clamped and cut and then, she was on my chest. It was about this time, that Pauline returned from her 20 minute break. She's only missed 2 births in over 20 years, and was rather disappointed she missed it. So were we! The baby had her own ideas of when she was ready. Just before leaving the room, my Dr put his hand on my arm and told me that was one of the most amazing births he's ever been apart of.
Later after we'd settled into our room, Pauline, who'd been taking notes as things progressed told me that when I was checked and was 5cm was at 4:20. Lillian was born at 5:29. 69 minutes from checked at a 5, to baby. I'm still rather astonished, and even moreso that with such a fast entry, there was little bruising on the baby, and no tearing for me. It was a beautiful birth. We could not have asked for anything better.