For all of you who have asked for this, there is really not much out of the ordinary about this birth, but I am sure my write up will still end up really long as I am a rambler haha.
Let’s see, where to start…? I had been having strong Braxton Hicks for ages, which had gradually started hurting more. Not sure when I would consider it prodromal labor, but the pain started getting bad enough to stop and take notice on Thursday (the 12th). In fact, when I laid down, they kept waking me up, and I only ended up sleeping a couple hours that night. So I was a bit worried on Friday as I have friends who had prelabor like this for several days. I wanted the birth to take its own course, but I also was afraid of getting exhausted. Then I realized it was Friday the 13th and thought how cool it would be to have a baby on that day! I decided to take a nap in the afternoon and do a round of Pam’s cohosh plan in the evening to see if anything would happen.
So that is what I did, and nothing much seemed to change. I was still having fairly painful contractions with no pattern to them. I was starting to feel kindof depressed because I couldn’t sleep but felt like real labor could be days off. Then around 11 or so, the contractions seemed to pick up. I had Rose start timing them, and they were actually coming pretty close, mostly 4-5 minutes. I had no idea because some of them were fairly mild. It turns out they were following a pattern, although not a common one. I would have one pretty strong one, over a minute, then the next one would be about 45 seconds and not very painful. Odd. So I called Pam around 11:30 I think, and she suggested timing them for a half hour. I also mentioned that so much of the pain seemed tied up in the fact I felt a lot of bladder and rectal pressure at the same time. She said that sounded like possible posterior, even though I wasn’t having back pain, so I decided to start riding them on my hands and knees just in case.
Of course as soon as I got off the phone, the intensity and regularity seemed to pick up. Some were even only 2 minutes apart! So I told Ron I thought we should go down to the birth room and he should fill up the pool just in case (it is a huge one and was going to take awhile). I called Nicole to give her the head’s up, and she decided to head over. Then I called Pam back, and she said to give it another half hour to make sure. Ron was wanting her to come, but I understood as there are so many times something like this still dies out. But I also reminded Ron of the only thing he really needed to remember if Pam didn’t make it (don’t let the baby’s head come out of the water then go back under). Things kept rolling along and we were about to call her back when she called and said they had decided to come anyway. Guess everybody had a feeling this was it!
My contractions kept up the odd pattern of being mixed with weaker ones the entire time – even during transition. It made me question if this was really it, but labor is individual and strange for sure! I got in the pool as soon as there was enough water to enjoy it, and boy was that nice, but I was soooo sleepy. I was starting to feel dozy between contractions, so I decided to see if I could go to the bathroom at all and then lay on the bed to see if I could get in rest mode in between. While in the bathroom, I had a doozy that actually felt pushy at the end! I wasn’t too worried as I figured I couldn’t really be that close, so I thought I would see how the bed felt. Pam and Lennon got there somewhere around that time. The bed didn’t last long! The contractions were really starting to hurt, so I said I was getting back in the water.
I was wishing I had something lower than the wall to lean on, so Ron’s mom came up with the idea of an upside down plastic crate with a towel on it, and that was perfect. I was doing most of my contractions leaning on that, and they were getting pretty intense. I was off and on starting to feel mildly nauseous in between and was wondering if I was near or in transition, but I was still managing pretty well, so I was skeptical. When I started feeling kindof pushy at the end of some contractions, I asked Ron if he was getting in the pool. Maybe I sensed I needed him. It was perfect because I got into this kindof sideways position where I was pushing on his leg, and that worked well for me. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was pumping me with Reiki energy. Maybe that was why transition didn’t seem quite as bad this time? And I kept doing that all the way through pushing.
At that point I am pretty sure transition was really hitting because I had a few contractions that never completely subsided before the next crescendo. Thankfully I didn’t get any more nauseous! I was feeling more and more sporadically pushy, and my “O”s were turning to grunts and roars at the end. Then I felt the “pop” I have always heard about. For a split second I was like, what the heck, then I realized it must be water. It was weird because I couldn’t feel the amniotic fluid itself in the water at all. Lennon looked with the flashlight and confirmed it. I checked with Pam and she said that was at 3:02 am and that she thought I was in official pushing mode after that.
And dang, was I loud! I kept thinking about my friend Aubrey who said, “I roared that baby out!” That was just how I felt, and it seemed like the right thing to do. This part seemed way more painful than with Orion for some reason. At one point I said, “Whoever said pushing was a relief was crazy!” I think part of it might have been that Pam doesn’t do internal exams during labor unless you ask for them. I really wanted to follow my intuition, but part of me was wondering if I was really complete. I finally asked if it should hurt so much because I remembered that is how you know if you have a cervical lip. She asked where the pain was and said she thought I was fine. So then I gave over to it, and lots more roaring ensued. :) It seemed like a long time before I felt anything lower down, but then oy!
I never felt the “ring of fire” with Orion, but Goddess did I feel it this time! When it started burning, I made the funniest noises. I don’t recall exactly what it was, but I remember thinking it sounded like a little animal – something high pitched haha. As much as it hurt, I feel like this was the most empowering part of the birth for me. I so wanted to listen to my body, and I feel like I did that really well at this point. With each contraction, I would push a little and then stop and blow through it. I could just tell this was the best thing to do to let myself sit and stretch a little bit each time. It was an amazing experience just being in tune with my body and doing what I felt was right. I was also reaching down and feeling for her head this time. I have seen so many pictures of crowning, including Orion’s, and thought it would feel flat and hairy, but what I felt was smooth and bumpy. I remember asking if it could be the cord pushing out first because that is what it reminded me of. They looked with the flashlight and said it was the head and that it does feel ridgy because of the head being squished as it comes out.
Somewhere around this time, Lennon asked Ron if he wanted to catch her, and he said he would! This was the biggest surprise of the birth as he had not wanted to before. Originally, I planned to reach down for her, but I couldn’t in that position! While the room in the pool was great in early labor, it was officially too big for delivery! I had nowhere to put my feet and was hanging onto the edge. If I had let go, I would have gone under water!
I was wondering how many of those “crowning pushes” I was going to have to do, but I think it was only a few before Ron told me her head was out. Like last time, I didn’t even know it! Phew! Next push brought out half her body. That was pretty funny because I just assumed the rest would come all at once. Ron told me later she was out right to the middle of her stomach, with her hands still tucked inside. Pam was in the background asking gently if I could give just one more push. I remember laying there and thinking, sheesh, I was always done in one more push after the head before! But I took a breath, pushed, and there she was! Ron put her right on my chest and it was love at first sight for sure. She looked totally pinked up right from the beginning, and Pam said later she was a 10/10 for sure. She gave a few little sputters and was crying and breathing just fine. No plastic bulbs for my baby. Ron was checking her hands and feet out, and I just kept nuzzling her head and thinking how soft it felt.
I think this is right when we heard Orion upstairs. I had originally wanted to wake him up for the birth, but I am glad now we didn’t as I had no idea how loud I would be during pushing. As it turned out, that woke him up anyways. So perfect timing except Ron had to get right out of the water. And the poor little monkey was upstairs all alone and scared at first. He totally freaked out at being woke up initially, and Ron was going to put him back to bed, but he kindof came to and decided to stay.
We stayed in the water for awhile and waited for the placenta. At this time, I started going through all our names, and really felt like Akasha was the one. She certainly came into the world with an elemental force, and later I thought how it was interesting it is related to the principle of sound. Very fitting! The placenta didn’t seem ready to come, so I decided to move to the bed for more cuddling and waiting. Still nothing for quite awhile, so they said to try standing up. I didn’t think I could do it while holding her because my pubic pain was AWFUL at this point. So we checked if the cord was still pulsing. It wasn’t, so dad and Orion cut it together. Akasha went to Dad, and I was helped up. Still no placenta in the standing position, so I decided to go sit on the toilet. They put a liner under the lid, and I sat there for awhile. It was kindof freaking me out that blood was coming out every time I pushed, so I think that was what was keeping me from pushing harder. But I finally started working a bit more at it and out it came.
They had gone ahead and weighed her while I was in the bathroom, and as I suspected, a whopping 11 pounds, 6 ounces! She almost bottomed out the scale! Back to bed with the baby and got checked out for tears. Three small ones, but all superficial, so they were left alone. They actually weighed the placenta because it also looked so big LOL. They said they don’t usually do that – it was 2 pounds – guess that is big for a placenta. And then that was it. There was a bit of cleaning up, instructions and snacking, then everybody got on their way and it was a cuddle fest for the rest of the day!