Picture of my belly the DAY before I went into labor.
Here it is... Adoration's birth story:
I really wanted to try and go the whole natural childbirth route so James and I did all sorts of things to prepare for that. We chose a ob/gyn practice with midwives and that was supportive of natural birth. We chose a hospital that was non-invasive and also supportive of natural childbirth. We hired a doula to be a labor coach and to help represent our desires to the hospital. (Even though we wanted a natural birth, I still wanted to deliver at the hospital.) We took a childbirth class based on both the Bradley Method and Lamaze.
After all of this, we were educated. We knew what hormones would be released in my body and when and what they would do. We knew all the stages of labor and what they were supposed to look like. We were ready.
So the plan was to do most of the laboring at home and then head to hospital during hard active labor, preferably before transition. Also if you go to the hospital too early in your labor they just send you home, so we were trying to avoid that as well.
If you don't know the stages of labor it goes something like this:
Early First Stage
Active Labor/First Stage
Hard labor/Late First Stage
What ACTUALLY Happened
We had a late night the night before so I didn't get into bed until midnight and probably didn't really fall asleep until 1 am. I remember feeling really uncomfortable and crampy in my sleep but subconsciously was thinking "just sleep as long as possible because if this is labor you need your rest." So I kept sleeping. In retrospect I was feeling pretty uncomfortable the whole DAY before but didn't think it was really something to pay attention too. First baby... I am totally clueless.
I woke up at 5am because there was no way I could keep sleeping. I was pretty sure I was having contractions. They already seemed pretty intense. I waited a little bit before I woke James up just to be sure this was it. I pooped three times and the contractions just kept coming. I woke James up and told him I was in labor.
Now with most labor, early labor/first stage and active/first stage last a good bit. This is a good time to go on a walk, watch a movie, etc. Contractions usually start off pretty far apart, 10 minutes apart even in active labor.
We timed my contractions and they were already only THREE minutes apart. Translation: not a whole lot of a break between contractions. So pretty much from the time I woke up I am really having to focus during each contraction and get ready for the next one when it is over. James is helping me get through my contractions by letting me lean on him, putting pressure on my hips and back, helping me get in different positions etc. I remember thinking "what happened to contractions that are 10 minutes apart?" At the very beginning we even put a movie in to try to watch and after about 2 seconds I say, "I can't do this," and start pacing up and down the hall.
We call our doula, Molly and she is at another birth. The baby is pretty close to being born so she is planning on coming to us after that. We tell her that my contractions are three minutes apart and 30 seconds long. Since the actually contraction is only 30 seconds long and that I had pretty much just started labor we think that I must just be in early Active labor. She offers to send her backup doula to us. We are feeling pretty confident with the process and say we don't need the backup at this point. Molly tells us to call her when my contractions get to be 45 seconds long cause that will show I am progressing. We all think I have hours to go. Most first labors are pretty long.
James makes me some scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast pretty soon after we wake up. I need the fuel for labor. Not long after eating it, I throw it all up due to the intensity of the contractions. Hmm....I thought throwing up is supposed to happen during the Transition stage?
At about 9 a.m. James manages to steal himself away from me and make the call to our parents and a text to our Charlotte prayer group to let them know I am labor. My contractions have remained about 3 minutes apart and 30 seconds long (by how we are timing them) but they are def. feeling much more intense. Everyone thinks we have time. We contemplate going into the doctor's office just to have the check me but since the contractions are still 30 seconds long we think we are good to go. Plus I am in the groove of working through my contractions.
During my contractions it is too painful to sit or lie down. I am either having to stand up and drape my arms around James' shoulders, hold on to the counter and squat, get on my hands and knees, or drape my arms over the couch/bed/exercise ball on my knees. James is there for me through it all, helping me up to standing positions, putting counter-pressure on my hips, etc. In between contractions I am pacing, lunging from side to side, sitting on the exercise ball rocking my hips. All of these movements help to relieve the pain and tension from the contractions.
(side note: I can't NOT imagine having to lie in a bed during labor. That is pretty much the most uncomfortable position you can be in during a contraction.)
At some point, Brooke, our back-up doula calls. I remember listening to her talk to me but not actually HEARING a word she was saying. I start having a contraction in the middle of the call and I am just trying to get through it. I'm not really thinking about how it would probably be a good thing for her to know that I CAN NOT talk during a contraction, or listen or concentrate, or anything. That would've clued her in to where I was at in labor. I was lost in a world of contraction, breathe, contraction, breathe. Everything else was blurry.
My contractions are feeling pretty brutal now. I have thrown up a total of 4 times (even though I didn't have any more food to throw up after the first time.) I keep trying to drink water and nibble on all our special energy foods. I am now starting to groan during each contraction and am pretty much just keeping my eyes closed. My contractions are still 3 minutes apart, 30 seconds long.
(Which in retrospect, we were probably timing the contractions wrong. They had probably gotten longer, but it was hard for me to tell due to the intensity of everything.)
Molly our doula is now on her way to us, since her other birth is over. James tells her to stop at the grocery store and get me some Pedialite (due to all the throwing up.) I know nothing about this. Remember...I'm lost. Contraction,breathe. Contraction, breathe.
At this point, I am most likely in the Transition stage. I don't recognize I am in Transition because it has all felt pretty intense thus far for me. Physical signs of transition are: sweaty,shaky, hot then cold, nauseous, may vomit, water may break. Hmmm.....all of these things (except the water breaking) have been happening since I woke up. I remember glancing at our outline of labor stages, utterly confused.
During the entire labor I am pretty quiet, focusing all of my energy inward.
I decided I want to get in the bathtub. I just lie on my side with my eyes closed in between contractions. When I feel a contraction coming on I roll onto my hands and knees and groan. I am starting to feel pretty tired and I am thinking "Do I really have to do this for HOURS longer?" At this point I have only really been awake in labor for 4 or 5 hours and am thinking that we are just starting out.
I get out of the bath tub and am feeling so exhausted I just lie on the floor, again rolling onto my hands and knees during the contraction.
We are still alone in our home, me and James. No doula. No midwife. No family. JUST US.
I move to sit on the exercise ball and after a particularly brutal feeling contraction I hear myself quietly say to James, "I don't know how much longer I can do this." It feels like I am not getting a break between contractions and I've had only a 3 minute break at the longest since 5 am.
When I hear myself say, "I don't know how much longer I can do this," it dawns on me that I must be in transition (because that is what EVERYONE says when they are in transition.) I know we should get to the hospital (that is only two minutes away.)
I walk to bedroom after this contraction to put a skirt on and shoes to go to the hospital. I get to the bedroom and feel a contraction starting to build. (I think James is just following me around at this point, and probably texting Molly, our doula.) I get on my knees at the foot of the bed, throwing a blanket down under my knees for cushion. I drape my arms over the bed and try to brace myself/give in to the coming contraction. I can tell it's gonna be a STRONG one.
And then IT happens. The contraction is moving the baby into the birth canal. I can feel it. A primal scream is coming out of me. My whole body starts to shaking. It is an out of body experience. My bags of water breaks in one big gush (how perfect I had just happened to put a blanket underneath me.) The contraction is pushing this baby out and there is nothing I can do about it! It feels like the baby is going to drop out on the floor right there, in my bedroom. I am praying with my whole being for the contraction to STOP.
To Be Continued........
Click here for part TWO!