SHE HAS ARRIVED!!
Okay, she arrived 6 weeks ago but if any of you are parents then you will understand why it took me this long to find the time to sit in front of my computer to write about it. Of course not without multitasking-using my feet to sway the portable rocker back and forth and expecting at any moment that I may need to leap up for a bottle, pacifier or wet diaper.
So how was it you ask? We'll I learned a huge lesson...expect the unexpected. Always plan several birth plan options and never assume anything.
On Monday March 19th I woke up after a very strange dream that included the feeling of my bottom dropping out and swimming in the ocean. So oddly enough, 7:30 I felt the need to touch my bottom which was actually soaking wet! I couldn't believe it! My water broke! No contractions, no pains, just a very wet bottom. I woke my fiance up and said "It's time!" I was actually very excited but knew I had a long day ahead of me. My hubby then called our birth center to advise them what was going on while I jumped in the shower. I was surprised that with my water breaking I still didn't feel anything. I also had no other previous signs that labor was coming. No mucus plug, no cramping, none of the things that I searched the internet in hopes of seeing to "prepare."
We never prepared our bags for the birth center because I knew I would be laboring at home for sometime. So this gave me a few hours to keep my mind busy while waiting for the contractions to begin. Mild cramps started to kick in around 11 am so we began timing the contractions. They were really not as regular as I would have expected and so the birth center advised that maybe acupuncture would be helpful. Hmm...isn't that with needles? If anyone knows me then they understand that pointy objects that come into contact with my skin is just not my cup of tea, but I was willing to do this in order to make things go as smoothly as possible. So around 1 pm we loaded up the car and headed over to the acupuncture office. By now the contractions had become much stronger and I definitely knew this was labor. It wasn't unbearable but took some time concentration and a little controlled breathing. I paced around the acupuncture office as customers came in and out and were asking me "when are you due?"
"Ummm...Now?" I responded. One woman was shocked and commented on how well I was handling the labor considering she was in agony within the first hour of her water breaking and under epidural by hour 5. So I felt pretty good and proud of my self.
Once I was in the doctor's office he explained how the acupuncture worked and where exactly they would be placing the needles. Several in my hands, one in each of my ankles and a few under my toes. Yeah, pretty weird. I have to say I now know that acupuncture is not my forte'. Once was enough for me. The points actually felt pretty uncomfortable to put in (he said he could tell I was in labor because all my senses were heightened-usually it is painless). Haha. Good thing the large belly and agony during contractions didn't give that away. Whew! The doctor then connected wires to each of my points that put small amounts of electricity to each pressure point causing my muscles to automatically reflex. I was then told to relax. (INSERT LAUGH HERE). Relax?? How am I supposed to relax? I have a baby making it's way downward, needles poking out of me and every few minutes and my stomach is tightening so hard I have to tune the world out just to concentrate on breathing through it....so yeah..sure I will try to take a nap or something. Nonetheless, I managed to sit there for 25 minutes, hoping this would all be worth it! Finally it was time to go.
We started to head over to the birth center and get the ball rolling. Once we arrived they guided us into our suite and checked to see how far along I was! I was trying so hard to not get my hopes up that I would miraculously be one of those women who suddenly was 8+ dilated and the baby would come flying out.
Darn it...I was only about 4cm dilated. Apparently that was good progress anyhow. I guess my expectations were just too high! I knew I had a long day ahead of me. We brought with us several movies, plenty of snacks and a few things to do to help us wait it out. The contractions actually never really got closer together and the pain still managed to stay around the same level. I was actually able to take a few naps between some of them and even through a few of them. Not an easy task but I was exhausted and needed as much rest as possible.
Around 10 pm we checked my cervix again and I was only about 5-6cm. Not much progress. I was really hoping she (baby) was going to come during the night. I decided maybe to get into a hot shower hoping to manage some of the pain. At this point I was becoming tired and pain management was becoming slightly more difficult. The shower cut the pain in half! I sat on a chair and let the water just run over my back and down my abdomen. I could have stayed in the shower for hours! When I got out I decided to walk around as my midwife called in a chiropractor to help.
At 2 am I had been in and out of the shower and even in the hot bath for an hour or so hoping to progress things along. It was actually the only place I could sleep since it helped cut the pain in half. The bathroom had such a nice ambiance since I had candles lit, music playing, cold water nearby to sip on and the tub was comfortable and spacious. But things were still not progressing the way we had hoped so it was time to try something else.
The chiropractor wanted to try several things, adjustments and exercises to help me diliate quicker and make sure the baby was in correct position. She apparently is a side sleeper, even now as an infant-so it makes sense.
Long story short ( or is it too late for that). We attempted to do a natural birth until Wed night at midnight. That's right! I walked, took hot showers, ate, drank herbal teas, did lunges, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments and anything else to push myself to get where I needed to go. It just was not happening. Around my last check I was only about 7 maybe 8 cm dilated and not sure I could handle much more pain. I was too exhausted to even concentrate on the pain which made it very difficult to handle. It was time for me to make a decision.
I decided that I needed to transfer and that I had given it my all. I intended on a natural birth but my baby and my body just were not going to have it. I requested a transfer to the local hospital and set my mind on an epidural so I could get some rest for pushing. The chiropractor/midwife completed our release papers and escorted us to the nearby hospital.
The hospital we went to was a new facility, just built within the last year. I was able to check in right away and was wheeled right up to the labor ward. It was pretty interesting to be on the other side of the fence now. They didn't expect me to walk and of course I was not able to have any food or drinks when I arrived. (Something I knew would happen). I was given an IV because I was slightly dehydrated and then my bag of antibiotics. Once those were completed then I could start the epidural. I had no idea what to expect. I had this huge fear of needles and this was the ONE extreme reason why I avoided the hospital and here I was counting down the minutes till I would feel the relief! I must be hurting!
The anesthesiologist came in and proceeded to do his job. I have to say, it was nothing like I expected! It actually didn't hurt at all and felt more strange than uncomfortable! He did a wonderful job and within a few minutes he was done. The strangest part was touching my thigh and not feeling anything. Finally I could get some rest. My fiance and I were both beyond exhausted and ready to close our eyes. We went to sleep on the sofa and I fell asleep right away.
I woke up around 6 am with the sudden urge to use the bathroom. Strange. I called the nurse in and explained to her I felt very strange...she advised were were getting close and my contractions were much stronger and closer together. Whew! I wasn't feeling any of it except pressure in my lower area. She asked if I wanted to start pushing? Of course! I heard it feels good to push and I haven't felt anything yet that "felt good." So I began pushing and within a few minutes she called the doctor in and said I would be delivering at any moment. My fiance said he could see the baby's head. Once the doctor came in I pushed several times and the my little girl arrived @ 8:22am.
It was a very long road to delivery but I was so glad it over and I made it without surgery or tearing! I didn't get the birth plan I intended but I did try. I am happy with the way things went and I really had the chance to experience both sides of the birthing process. My advice to other women...expect the unexpected and never assume anything!