We went to the OB/GYN the day before I delivered, and I was 5-6 cm dilated thus far. That was pretty awesome and something we attribute to the daily intake of red raspberry leaf tea and evening primrose oil. Of course, that somewhat alarmed the doctors. They wanted to suggest to me that I might be having silent labor (the kind where the woman doesn't know she is in labor until it's time to push!). I knew that wasn't the case for me as I had been feeling bearable, inconsistent contractions for a couple weeks. My doctor was kind enough to release me, even though anyone else would have admitted me to the hospital. She just gave me the warning to have a low pain-tolerance, meaning don't stay at home until I can't take it anymore because I can usually bear up under pain.
After the appointment that morning, I started to cramp and have bearable, consistent contractions all day. I went about my business, but my mom stayed home with me until Ricky came home. I had several bowel movements that evening and forewarned my doula that labor could be around the corner. Believing that to be a real possibility, I went ahead and popped in my movie-to-watch-before-real-labor-begins comedy: the 1970 version of the Out-of-Towners (nothing makes me laugh harder than this). Laughed, cried, ate dinner, slept.
3:15am. I went to the bathroom and had a snack (apple and cheese). The harder contractions started coming at 4am. At 5:30am we awoke my mom and called the doula to come over. I ate my pre-prepared meal around 6:30am (Mexican macaroni), and the doula arrived. Ricky checked my cervix at 7:15am, and we gathered that it was at least 7 cm. Off to the hospital. We got to the hospital and checked in by 8:15am.
Nurse: What do we have here?
Ricky: Well, I checked her cervix, and she's already 7 cm --
Nurse: YOU checked her cervix?? [in disbelief]
My doctor was there and even had a dream about me going into labor that night!
Ricky [to doctor]: I checked her cervix at home, and she's at least 7 cm already.
Doctor: Valiant effort. You know, we have an opening in the OB/GYN residency program next year.
By the time she checked my cervix for the first time, I was 8-9 cm :) We took a long, hot shower complete with the high-strung nurse intruding every 10 minutes to listen to baby's heartbeat! I did some squatting. The doula massaged me. Ricky read some Scripture verses to me. My mom's job was to keep my energy levels up with snacks and LOTS of water. Second cervical check: 9.5 cm. My water was still intact. I had told my doctor the day before that if I got to 9 cm with my water intact, she could break it. However, we wanted Aolani to move a little further down before I consented. And then...
I blew chunks. Everywhere. And we were not prepared for it ;) BUT, the strain pushed her tushy down some! So, I let the doctor break my water. Oh, and that's when the fun begins. The nonstop, unbearable, HARD contractions. The only way that I could stay on top of those was by closing my eyes, focusing my breathing, and moaning, deep and loud. Through every one. If someone distracted me, I would lose my focus and start to panic. Thankfully, that only happened a couple times.
That got me fully dilated and ready to go. I didn't have to wait long before I felt like pushing. And it wasn't long before they were shouting, "We can see her head crowning! She has a head full of dark, wavy hair!" I was in disbelief; it was working!!! After a few more good, hard pushes, she popped out and came straight to my chest. My mom was crying, the doula was rubbing me, and Ricky got to cut the cord. And me? I don't know the right word to describe it. All I could see was her, and all I could say (repeatedly) was, "My baby, my baby, my baby." I didn't know the time because we had taped a sign I made over the clock (it read: My body is strong and healthy and knows how to birth my baby). We purposely obscured the clock because watching how much time has passed or hasn't passed can be discouraging. The nurse, who was very not into natural things, said that my labor and delivery was the most "granola" birth she had ever seen!
- Total labor: 9 hours
- Hospital labor: 5 hours
- Pushing: 30 minutes
- Left hospital 24 hours later
- Except for the rupture of my water, EVERYTHING went according to my birth plan!!
- All natural ;) No drugs, no medications. Would definitely do it naturally again! Preparation is THE key.
- Probably the toughest and most rewarding thing I've ever done.
The family of three is going home!
I know we have a lot of pictures to catch up on... a postpartum post is due too ;)