I was pregnant with my fifth child. I don’t really like being pregnant so I was hoping for a labor earlier than my due date. Also, my niece was born and seeing her made me realize how much I wanted to hold my baby in my arms instead of getting kicked in the ribs repeatedly. We chose not to have an ultrasound so the gender of baby number five was a mystery and added to my excitement for labor.
The friday of week 38 I was having contractions. Every. Ten. Minutes. For more than 12 hours. And then suddenly, done. Nothing. Bummer. No baby today.
The next day, I caught a cold. I slept all day Sunday. I was feeling pretty happy I hadn’t had the baby yet, but now I was getting worried I would go into labor while sick. Monday comes around and my ears have started aching. I finally call the midwife with my concerns. After following her recommendations, my sinuses are clear and I am no longer worried about infection. Actually, by Tuesday I am feeling much better in every area except I now have laryngitis and have lost my voice.
At 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning I am awaken by a tiny popping sound and a gush. My first thought was, I am so glad we put the mattress protector on. Next I started getting excited. No matter what, the baby was going to be born in the next couple of days, yay! After getting all cleaned up I was ready to go back to bed. I didn’t know when labor would start and I knew from experience that I would want all of the rest I could get.
Hubby, however, was not ready to sleep, even after calling the midwife to reassure him that we could go back to sleep. He couldn’t sleep. He kept thinking about how the last two labors came hard and fast and how his parents were a minimum of 45 minutes away. I told him nothing was happening, but every time I moved he would say, “Should I call my parents yet?”
Every single time!
Finally, at 7:00 a.m. I told him he could call his parents despite still not being in labor.
My body must have been waiting for my in-laws to come. As soon as they arrived, so did the contractions. My midwife calls to set up an appointment for 11:30 to check my and the baby’s vitals. I am excited. Not because I think I am in labor (I know I am not) but because I get to go someplace quiet! The kids are just a little too excited to see their grandparents, or maybe that’s the contractions talking.
When we get to the midwives, baby and I are doing fine. I am expecting to be told to go home and thinking about where Hubby and I can go that’s not home, but no. The Midwife wants us to stay for an hour and track contractions. My contractions are weird. Some will be ten minutes apart and then I’ll have three in a row with almost no time between them. They are still so light that I can walk and talk during them but they are definitely not braxton hicks, much lower and deeper.
An hour goes by and I show the midwife my contraction log and she decides I need to stay. Stay? Really? I fight the feeling like I’m being an inconvenience and accept.
The next 2 ½ hours are the most comfortable I have ever been while in labor. I send Hubby to take a nap. Meanwhile, I chat on the deck with a friend while drinking iced raspberry mint tea and trying to eat as much protein as I can.
It’s now 3:00 pm. I tell the midwife I am in denial about being in labor and am expecting to be sent home. She looks at me, completely shocked, “Wow, you are in deep denial! You’re not going anywhere.”
I think, “Well, the midwife thinks I am in labor, I guess I am. Maybe this labor is just going to be really easy.”
Was I ever wrong.
An hour later things started heating up. I thought, “Finally! Let’s get this show on the road. I want to meet my baby!”
When I was in labor with babies 3 and 4, Hubby and I did the labor dance during the worst of the contractions. I went into labor this time thinking that’s what we were going to do for this labor. It worked so well last time, why spend effort researching other positions and pain management? I had found the labor dance comforting. But this time, nothing was comforting. I kept going to Hubby during contractions and leaving immediately because it wasn’t helping. It was like we didn’t fit. It was really confusing and frustrating. Labor is not the best time to find new pain management strategies.
Nothing about this labor even resembled my other four. I didn’t think to hard about that or I might have started freaking out. I finally found leaning against the wall or bed helpful.
And then the back labor started.
I have heard how painful back labor is. One person described it as someone sawing their spine in half. I’ve never had my spine sawed in half so I can’t compare the pain with certainty, but I can say that I have birthed four other babies naturally and the pain I experienced during those labors didn’t come close to this back pain.
If it hadn’t been for the midwife applying counter-pressure, I probably would have demanded transport to the hospital for an epidural.
Once the back labor started we ran into a problem. The contractions were strong and frequent, enough that I should have been feeling some downward movement, but nothing was happening.
After feeling my belly and listening to the heart rate, and taking into consideration the extreme back pain, I was told the baby was posterior (baby was head down but facing the wrong way).
At this point, I am basically losing it during contractions, but between them there is zero pain. To the midwives it probably felt like dealing with a person with a split personality. During contractions I’m saying things like, “I can’t do this! There’s too much pain! I’m done!” Then the contraction would stop and I’d say, “That was fun! Get ready we’re going again.”
After about two hours of changing positions the baby has finally turned. Now I’m ready to push. I don’t care that I am not feeling that overwhelming need to push that I did with the last two. I am done being in pain and I am pushing this baby out.
I’m on my left side. One midwife is applying counter pressure on my back, the other is holding my leg up and pushing on my stomach during contractions. I didn’t ask why she was doing that at the time, had other things on my mind, but the contractions were hurting so much that I couldn’t push, with her pushing against the contraction, I was able to tolerate the pain and push.
After a few pushes I feel like baby is getting nowhere. I tell the midwives that I’m feeling discouraged. With the next push the midwife says she can see the head crowning. I didn’t feel anything so I called her a liar. Apparently just like my spirited 8 year old would have done. Well, she got it from someone.
Finally, I was able to give a strong, solid push. I could feel baby move. I thought, “I am pushing this baby’s head out or I am going to pass out trying.” I didn’t pass out. There was one second where I felt ‘the ring of fire’ and then baby’s head was born.
I take a second to catch my breath. I hear talk of the cord. I don’t really care about whatever they are saying. I’ve used my last ounce of energy. I’m done.
“You guys are just going to have to pull baby out the rest of the way.”
Oh no. Here comes another contraction. I’m so tired. I don’t have the energy to push. The contraction is half done and I still can’t bring myself to push. Then my sweet partially born baby screams at me. That’s all I need to get outside myself. With a heartfelt but pathetic sounding roar (laryngitis) I push the baby out the rest of the way. Someone tells me to take my new baby and suddenly, baby is on my tummy getting rubbed down.
Sweet relief. I take a peek at baby and announce, “She’s a girl? What? That makes four girls! Ben sure is outnumbered!”
I’m so glad labor is over. I didn’t hemorrhage, although, I “lost more blood than they like.” I didn’t tear–not even superficially, a first! I made it through without an epidural despite extreme pain.
It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do but I am happy with how it turned out and content with how I handled the pain. That being said, I’m in no rush to do it again. 🙂
Eva Serenity (meaning: life of peace)–her blog name will be Peace
8 lbs 1 oz