I guess I should probably be more specific. I'm going to share the birth of my second, Oliver. My first birth was, well, fine, but I mostly look at it as a huge set of lessons I learned about what I DIDN'T want my birth to look like, and what DIDN'T work well for me. My birth with Oliver was about as perfect as a birth can be.
Except for one thing, that is. He was nine days late. But even that I am thankful for... not that he was late, but that HE was late and Izzy wasn't. With my first I would have been more suggestible. I would have probably let them induce me. With my second I knew better.
I must have had a premonition that he was going to be late, because I encouraged my mom to fly out AFTER his due date. But even then she was there for a week before he made is appearance. It was awesome, though, having my mom around for that week before. Mostly because she made me desserts:)
Is it normal that I remember exactly what day of the week it was when I both started labor with each birth and what day of the week it was when I gave birth? It's probably normal, but it is weird for me because I have to think a minute before I remember Oliver's birthdate. But I remember the day. It was Tuesday and I woke up at 7:30 with cramping, exactly like I had with Izzy (in fact, the labors with both kids were nearly identical, except for my inexperienced freaking out with the first one). But I was pretty sure I was in for a long haul so I stayed relaxed and prepared for my day. I had an appointment with my midwife that morning, so we (mom, Izzy, and I) got ready and headed there.
I strolled into the birth center and realized that there was another birth happening. In fact, it was pretty amazing, because it was the first time I was actually there during a birth- I got to hear the baby's first cry! But before that wonderful moment I mentioned to one of the nurses that I was pretty sure I was in labor and the woman's husband overheard me and got a little panicky- I assured him I wasn't going to affect their labor- my births take a really. really. long time.
After the baby was born my midwife did a quicker than normal exam on me. Everything was fine, I was effaced and dialated to not quite one, but I assured her I was in labor. She said I was probably just dehydrated (I had done the castor oil thing the day before to try and induce labor) and made me drink some electrolyte drink. I told her I would see her late tomorrow night:)
But we didn't go home- we decided to do some shopping. It was kind of amusing to wander the baby boutique and answer all queries about my due date with "oh, I'm in labor right now!" It's unfair to do that, I know- my labors are really long, but for the first day it is like menstrual cramps.
After our shopping spree we went home and I relaxed the rest of the day. I took a nap in the afternoon, made sure I ate, and spent a lot of time in the recliner. I was able to sleep most of the night with little disturbance from the cramping.
The next day things slowly started to get more intense, but I managed them most of the day by relaxing, rotating between the couch and the recliner. I had taken the hypnobabies home study course and I credit it with getting so far with no real pain, which was absolutely invaluable during such a long labor!
Everyone went to bed, leaving me up to manage my pain until things progressed more. I was determined to stay home as long as possible- it was one of the many mistakes I made with my first! I remember sitting cross legged on the recliner, as relaxed as I could be, and watching a show on the top 10 haunted houses in the country. Then I watched an episode of House that I didn't really watch, because I was too busy relaxing around my contractions. Then I knew it was time to get in the tub.
I filled the bathtub up with hot (hotter than my midwife would have ever allowed- shhh!) water and got in between contractions. That helped me manage the pain for about another half an hour. By this point I believe it was around 1am. Finally I knew it was time to go- the hot water and my self hypnosis were not quite doing the trick anymore, so I knocked on the bedroom door and told Scott to get stuff ready to go. He got the car ready and came back to get me.
I remember the care ride VERY vividly- it was so stinking uncomfortable! I was in the back of our Pathfinder, as stretched out as I could be without actually laying down, and cursing at my husband for every single bump he hit! But it was only a 10 minute drive- thank goodness it was the middle of the night and not 4:30 on a Friday afternoon, then I would have really had something to curse about!
We got to the birth center just after my midwife (who we called before we left) and her nurse followed me in the door. She got me on the table to check me and found I was at 7 centemeters, just where I wanted to be! She had the pool mostly full for me, so we got our things arranged, dimmed the lights in the birthing room, and I got in. It was a very quiet, peaceful place for the next few hours while I went through the hardest part of labor- dilating from 7 to 10. My midwife encouraged me to keep moving, at least to change positions in the tub between contractions, but I was so much into my own mind that I didn't want to move- I just wanted to relax and be still. But she's a pro and I did my best to cooperate with her by flipping from reclining on my back to squatting and leaning on the side of the tub between contractions. She came in every 10 minutes or so to check the baby's heart rate. All went well.
She had told me that she could tell by talking to a woman when she got into transition. I had never actually felt transition before- I had an epidural with Izzy (another thing that didn't work well for me!). So I kept waiting for pressure, or the urge to push, but I didn't feel either (or no more pressure than there already was!) But she came in to check me and asked how I was doing and I was like "I don't... I don't know... I... I" and she was like "okay, this could be transition, let me check you" and low and behold I was at 10 and ready to push. The second she touched my cervix my water EXPLODED all over the place- seriously, I heard people use river analogies. The rest of labor I kind of lost hold of my hypnosis and went into a pretty standard panic, but between Scott and the Midwife they kept me together and got me to do what I wanted to do. I think I may just be a lazy labor-er... I just wanted to lay on my back to push. My midwife gave in for about one push despite her better judgement, but when Oliver's son almost got wedged she quickly made me roll to my side. After a short stint of squatting to push (which felt like torture to me at the time, but I understand it was the best way to get the shoulders through the canal), then did the rest on my side with Scott holding my leg up. It felt like a long time, but pushing only took about 45 minutes (which is the only difference between Oliver and Izzy's labors- with Izzy I took over 3 hours to push, and they had to threaten me with a C section and use the vacuum in order to get her out!).
And of course once he was out it was such a relief. When I saw him I remember thinking he was cuter than Izzy and smaller. The first was a kneejerk thought, and likely due to the fact that he spent a lot less time in the birth canal and didn't have a huge black circle shaped bruise on his head. The second was downright wrong.
He nursed right away, wrapped in a warmed towel and skin to skin with my bare chest. Then, mostly because he had meconium ALL over his bottom (and we have pictures to prove it!) they took him to clean him off and weigh him. Yeah. 11lbs, 5oz. Bigger than Izzy (10lbs, 3oz) by over a pound. The newborn diapers they had didn't fit him!
After the birth I nursed a lot, Scott spent some time holding Oliver, and I got my uterus massaged A LOT. I wasn't bleeding a scary lot, but a little more than normal. And there was some conversation about the placenta and cord- apparently they were slightly abnormal (nothing scary). The placenta was like twice the size of normal, and part of the cord was missing the jelly. The latter can be serious, but in Oliver's case it was only a few inches. But my midwife wanted to keep in for a few weeks to show to nursing students. Fine. I didn't know what the hell I was going to do with it anyway (this was before I had heard of placenta encapsulation).
And three hours later we got to go home, which in my honest opinion was the best part of a non-hospital birth. It was like 7am by the time we took off, and I made Scott drive through McDonalds (this was before my health revolution, but I can't say I would have done anything differently... I was STARVING and wanted sausage biscuits BAD). When we got home my mom was up, but Izzy was still sleeping. But Oliver started crying and woke her up, so that was her introduction to her brother. I made sure I went in and got her up and carried her, and that grandma was holding the baby on first intro.
And for those of you curious as to what happened to my placenta... (because we know you all are). After my midwife used it as a teaching tool, she gave it to me frozen solid. I really didn't want it, but I understood that for her to dispose of it she has to pay hazardous waste fees, and I know my birth center was struggling financially, so I didn't argue. I went home and put it in the freezer with the intention of eventually burying it in the back yard.
It was in like two ziplock bags inside of a Stater bros. bag. I took it out of the freezer one day to dig around and well, I forgot to put it back. And Scott found it many days later (should mention the deep freeze was in the garage). It was thawed and gross, so he buried it, bags and all, in the back yard. In a house we were renting. So I hope it's not something the new tenants ever dug up!