I am in awe of our birth story and the beautiful little reward at the end of it all.
The prior 2 days I started having really bad hot flashes while at work. We're talking...sweat dripping behind my knees....I had a feeling something was going to happen soon, but I was thinking March 1st sounded like a good day for things to happen.
Around 1am yesterday I thought I was going to throw up, sat up and a gush happened and I hurried to the bathroom. I started shaking - my whole body convulsing. We paged the on call midwife and while we waited for the call, I called Kim to express my shock/concern/freaked out/ack feelings. Heike called - Pete talked to her and then he put me on the phone with her. I told her I was shaking like crazy and she told me to breath deep and that it was a surge of hormones causing the shakes. She asked if I'd had any contractions and I told her nothing other than braxton hicks had happened. She told me we should go to sleep and she'd hear from us in the morning (it can take up to 24 hours for real contractions to start after your water breaks so she wanted us to get our sleep in while we could). I laid back down in bed and felt very uncomfortable and then at some point, a contraction. I knew at that point that I wouldn't be getting any sleep that night as it was very uncomfortable to lay down. I got up, brushed my teeth and wrote my prior post. Then I went and sat in the glider in Hailey's room. I put the blanket my mom made on my legs and Wesley (our cat) came in to cuddle on my shoulder while I glided through contractions (3 minutes apart from the start says Pete). I figured I would try to let Pete sleep as long as possible since I had prepared myself mentally for this challenge and knew I just needed his presence, but not much more for the laboring bit. I guess you could call this early labor... I sat in the glider for about 2 hours gliding and focused on my breathing. In the nose, out the mouth. There I sat in the dark. The glider was becoming uncomfortable so I worked my way downstairs to bring up a medicine ball so I could sit on it (thank goodness for our amazing birth class I learned all sorts of laboring techniques that proved to help get me through).
By this time things had gotten pretty intense and I asked Pete if he could join me as I was at the point where I couldn't talk through the contractions (they say you shouldn't 'go in' to the birth center if you can talk through). I felt like I was already in active labor, but the short timeline made me have my doubts. Pete brought in all our books and we flipped through them in between contractions to read up on 'early' labor and 'active' labor. We knew that for early labor we were to try and conserve as much energy as possible and to find or make a distraction. Pete took the big clock off the wall (another great thing I learned from my pregnancy fit class!). This ensured I wasn't watching the time. I thought it would be neat to paint Hailey a picture while going through this experience... turns out that just setting up for the activity during the breaks kept me busy. The contractions got real hard...I soon could only sit on the medicine ball, push don on the sides with my hands and grimace through while keeping the end goal in mind. Pete just laid on the floor. The lights were out. I just needed him there with me, but I didn't need him to do anything. In fact one time he tried to touch me to comfort me and I chased him away with my actions. After that contraction I told him, just be here, don't touch me. He did just that. He hadn't timed my contractions in a while, but I was sure we should be getting going to the birth center at any time now...and for a bit I freaked out telling him "load the car - grab this that and the other thing". He didn't quite believe me and took his sweet time loading the car...I wanted him to run and do it and he was walking around gathering things. Around 5:55 or so I convinced him to call the birth center and tell Heike what was going on. She called back and wanted to talk to me to hear me through a contraction. I must have been on the phone with her for 10 minutes or so...and I didn't have a single contraction during this time. She said 'if I'm able to distract you this much, I think we should give it an hour and then we'll talk again'. As soon as we hung up I of course had another huge contraction... Pete said it was hard to watch me go through these contractions. I went through the shaking again, I requested lots of blankets be put around me...then I got hot and would throw them off only to want them back on again. I forget which part of labor it is where you fall asleep between contractions, but I went through that (I know this because I woke up almost falling off the medicine ball a couple times). It's amazing our bodies do this to gain a little bit of energy to help make it through the tough parts. I noticed it getting lighter outside and was hoping an hour had passed so we could call Heike back. Worried about hitting the morning traffic, I convinced Pete to call her (it was around 50 minutes later). She told him we could head in (they don't want you there too early because they'll turn you around if you aren't dilated far enough - this is why I was waiting so long at home - I did NOT want to be sent back home).
The car ride was horrific. I developed a pattern in the car...window down between contractions and window up during. I carried this out for a while, then between contractions I asked Pete to keep on doing it. I wanted it shut during so I could focus, but I was so hot that between contractions I wanted it open. By the time we were nearing Kirkland I was completely out of my seat, holding the seatbelt out and bracing my arms and legs as I fought through contractions. By the time I saw the exit sign, I knew her head was very low and I got the urge to push - but determined not to have her in the car - I did my best to focus on breathing through the urge (thank you class!). We ran a red light and pulled into the birth center parking lot at 7:45am. I very slowly got out of the car...and stood outside freezing while another contraction or two came and went. We hobbled into the birth center and I headed to Suite 1 (our first choice room). I ripped off my pants and not knowing what else to do, hovered over the toilet. Pete went to find someone. There was another birth happening and our midwife wasn't there yet. The student and midwife attending to the other birth came to the rescue, set up a birth stool and finally convinced me to get off the toilet and to come to the birth stool so I didn't have the baby in the toilet. I wanted to labor in the bath and they couldn't fill that thing fast enough. The midwife checked me and told me if I wanted to push, I had permission to do so. I didn't want to have her while on this stool thing, so resisted pushing until I could get in the bath. Finally...with Pete's help I got in the bath. Heike and Keri (student midwife) arrived around the same time. Pete overheard the midwives talking and learned that Hailey was at +3 - which means that she was already in or through the birth canal (from what I understand the scale goes from -3 to +3 in terms of where the head is in the whole birth canal - I'm fuzzy on this topic though).
Heike told me I fooled her on the phone and she was impressed that I came in so late in the process. They told me I could push...I was scared. I finally mustered up the strength to push. Pete kept a cool washcloth on my forehead and held the ice water near so I could drink between pushes as I was pretty dehydrated. There were no lights on in the room, just natural light from the windows. I wanted it quiet and it was perfect. I focused and bore down and pushed. Pete told me she had lots of dark hair and Heike told me to feel her head of hair. I felt a bit weird feeling her head but not having her out, but it gave me the urge to push more so I could really see her head of hair. Finally I pushed and pushed and her head made way. They told me to stop pushing as the cord was around her neck. Keri worked for a while to get the cord off, after we were through it all she told us it was really tight and she was a little worried because she had a struggle getting if around her head. Then they told me to push again and 'schfloop' - out came her body and Pete caught her and brought her to my chest.
She was covered in Vernix and looked blue. She gasped for air and made a really cute little girly squeaking noise. I was worried and shocked and in awe and told her hello and I love her and that she's beautiful and perfect.
Pete cut the cord and blood squirted onto my chest. They rubbed her down a bit while she was on me - meanwhile I pushed out the placenta ("shlop!"). The water filled with blood at this point and they gave Hailey to Pete so they could wash me off. Scrub a dub, I got out and laid down in the bed and they gave me my girl and she took right to breastfeeding (about 15 minutes after she was born). I was shocked there was anything there for her. She ate for a good hour or so.
We packed up and headed home from the birth center at 12pm. Determined to rest for the day, we asked people not to come until we called them to give them the okay (we really wanted this day to rest and be together as a family). We napped for about 6 hours - well, Hailey did...Pete and I were in and out of napping - I think due to the excitement of it all. Now we've had visitors and are getting the hang of changing teeny diapers and all that. I agreed to a week of bed rest in exchange for stitches...so I'm trying to lay low. Pete has been amazing through it all.