So anyways, Monday night after I put Madi to bed and talked to Bruce on the phone I started to feel some contractions. My braxton hicks contractions were few and far between (like 1 every other day or so) so this is when I first began to sense that I was getting close. Even though it was late and I was tired I decided to take a shower, just in case I had to go to the birthing center in the middle of the night. I woke up to a contraction several times that night but wasn’t really paying attention to how often they were coming. By morning, around 7am I decided to time them and see. They were about every 10 min. so I texted Bruce just to give him a heads up. I continued to get Madi up and ready for school. When I got back from dropping her off I decided to call the Midwife and let her know that I felt like my labor was starting. I also called Bruce and told him to come home. My labor with Madi was long but I wanted him home anyways. Meanwhile, my mom was upstairs eating breakfast and overheard my conversation with Bruce. After I hung up and turned around she was looking at me with a huge grin on her face. hehe. There was definitely some excitement around the house.
Around lunch time the Midwife on call, Nicole, called me to see how things were going. I told her that I didn’t feel like things had progressed too much so she said to just take it easy and call her when I felt like things were picking up again. I tried to make sure I ate good foods and drank coconut water to keep me hydrated. I got really dehydrated and my blood sugar was way low with Madi because I was too scared to eat anything. I didn’t want to make the same mistake this time. I was also trying really hard to relax my whole body with each contraction because I knew that if I tensed up they would feel more painful. Relaxing my whole body really seemed to ease the pain. I still felt a little but they weren’t nearly as painful. I was also calm and not stressed or scared because I had given birth before and I trusted my body to do what God designed it to do. Later that evening I decided to walk around outside to see if I could speed things up a little. On our walk my contractions definitely got closer together and stronger, so I called Nicole. She told me to try and get in a bath to see if the contractions stayed the same or slowed down. So I did just that, and to my disappointment they slowed back down. It still wasn’t time. :(
Later that night, around 10pm I was texting Nicole and we decided that I would just try and go to sleep. While Bruce and I were laying down my contractions started to feel really strong but they were still 5-7 minutes apart. I was starting to get really frustrated that they were so strong but so far apart and inconsistent. Bruce tried putting some pressure on my back during the contractions to try and ease the pain, but it didn’t do much. At this point I began to doubt myself and my ability to have a natural birth. But I had been working so hard and so long to make my “dream birth” possible that the thought of it not happening was really disappointing. I texted Nicole and asked her if she has any advice on how to sleep when I was constantly being woken up by contractions. She suggested some Benadryl and told me to hang in there. It was about 11pm.
After I took some Benadryl and was able to sleep a little. Around 12:30am I woke up and just felt like it was time to head to the birthing center. Even though my contractions were still 5 min apart they were more consistent. I texted Nicole and told her that we were coming. She said ok and that she would meet us there. She also asked me which room I wanted and I said the purple one. It was my favorite and the one that I had envisioned giving birth in over the past few months. :) Bruce gave me a blessing, we grabbed our stuff, said goodbye to mom and dad and headed out the door.
I was worried about my contractions being really hard to deal with in the car and the fact that we had an hour drive. But to my surprise, my labor actually started to ease up in the car. The whole ride down was really peaceful. I listened to my music and held Bruce’s hand. We arrived at the birthing center at about 1:45am. I was a little worried that my labor had slowed down because I wasn’t in as much pain. I even remember trying to act like a contraction was stronger than it was when I got out of the car because Nicole was watching. hehe. ;) Looking back on it now, I really feel like this was a tender mercy from the Lord. He knew that I was really worried about the car ride and I feel like He helped ease my labor pains during it. After we went inside and got settled in, Nicole checked to see how dilated I was. To my surprise she said I was around a 6 or 7. I thought to myself, “Yes, I get to stay!” It definitely gave me a confidence boost. Once I got to the birthing center I felt really calm and had a lot of faith that I would be able to have the natural birth I wanted. I never doubted myself again from that point on.
After Nicole checked me I decided to go ahead and hop in the birthing tub. It felt so good. It was so warm and relaxing, especially with my music. The whole atmosphere in the whole room was so calm. I had heard good things about laboring in a birthing pool and while it didn’t take away all the pain, it definitely made the contractions easier. So easy in fact that I started to feel like my labor had slowed down again. I decided to get out for a little bit since I had to pee anyways. (something I didn’t experience with Madi since I was hooked up to monitors, IV’s, and oh yeah, I couldn’t move my own legs). After I went to the bathroom and decided to lay down on the bed for a while. Bruce got me another blanket because I was cold and layed down next to me. It was so nice to be able to lie in the same bed instead of being in a small bed by myself. I remember Nicole coming in at one point to see how we were doing. She saw that we were sleeping and dimmed the lights for us. So sweet.
After we slept some, I woke up and asked Bruce to get me a trash can because I felt like I was going to throw up. Sure enough, I did and I was so happy because I knew it was a sign of transition and that the baby would be coming soon. Nicole and the other Midwife Marcia, who had just arrived, came running in with excitement because they too knew this meant the baby would be coming soon, or so we thought...
Nicole brought me a cool wash cloth with some peppermint oil to help with the nausea. After that I hopped into the tub hoping that I would be pushing a baby out soon. Things didn’t pick up like I expected them to so Nicole put some clary sage oil on a different wash cloth. She said it would help my contractions pick up. One sniff of that stuff and sure enough, there came a big contraction. A little while later, things had slowed down again and I had to pee..again, so I got out. I decided to sit on the birthing ball for a little while. Bruce sat in front of me with a pillow on his lap so I could lay my head down. Then I asked Bruce for the cloth with the clary sage on it and I began sniffing it like crazy trying to speed things up again. I was starting to get impatient.
After a while I got back in the pool and thought I felt like pushing. I had no idea what that felt like since I couldn’t feel anything last time because of my epidural. I began complaining about how long it was taking even though I had only been at the birthing center for about 3 ½ hours. It had been a while since I had thrown up/supposedly moved into transition which is normally the shortest part. So I voiced my frustrations with Nicole and she said that she could break my water if I wanted. I thought, sure, why not. So she went ahead and broke my water. As she was doing that I had one huge contraction and immediately realized what it REALLY felt like to need to push. It was like I had no choice either way. It was such a crazy feeling and it threw me off guard a little bit. Because of my epidural I had no idea what this part of labor felt like. There was definitely a ton of pressure and that scared me a little. Because I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t really relax like I should have. At least I had read about the “ring of fire” and knew that it was normal. I didn’t really feel like I had to push that much. Kate was coming out whether I was pushing or not. I was pretty quiet throughout the whole labor but as she was crowning I yelled “ouch”. Marcia and Nicole assured me that everything was ok. They, along with Bruce, were really great cheerleaders at this point and having them all tell me I was doing a good job really helped to keep me calm. On the next contraction I yelled “ouch, it hurts” and then pop, out came her head. I took a few deep breaths and reached down to feel her head. This was so awesome and gave me a renewed strength. The midwives were awesome and coached me through the whole thing. Nicole said, “ok now she’s going to turn a little bit so the rest of her can come out.” I felt her head turning in my hand as the next contraction came. As the shoulders were coming out I again yelled, “ouch, it hurts” but then the shoulders, along with the rest of her came out. It was 6:11am. Four hours after we got to the birthing center. As I looked down in the water at her and saw her for the first time I was completely unaware of anything else going on around me. I calmly grabbed her and pulled her up out of the water and put her on my chest. She didn’t even need to have her mouth and nose suctioned because she was so clear. She started crying a little and I just held and cuddled my new baby for a while. She was starving as soon as she came out so I quickly stood up, climbed out of the pool and walked to the bed to nurse her. That part was amazing to me. I had just given birth 10 minutes ago and I was already walking myself to the bed.
After the cord stopped pulsing and was white Bruce cut it. It was crazy how easy it was to cut after all the blood and nutrients had finished getting to Kate. She latched on like a champ. She was seriously so starving. I love that for the first hour or so, I was the only one to hold my baby. No nurses to take her away and run tests. When I was ready Nicole took Kate and weighed and measured her. She was 6lbs 4 oz and 18 in. long. They also checked me for tears...zip, zero. I was so surprised! Then Bruce got to hold her while Nicole helped me shower. Then after we FINALLY decided on a name we called mom and dad and told them to bring Madi to come meet her new baby sister. We cuddled on the bed until they came.
Madi did really great meeting Kate for the first time. She brought her a little stuffed animal and Kate gave Madi and new book. After a while we were ready to leave so we packed up our stuff and said goodbye. Just 6 hours after I delivered Kate and 12 hours after arriving at the birthing center. On our way home we stopped to eat. I remember walking into Subway and thinking to myself, “no one here knows that I just have birth a couple of hours ago.” That is so awesome. I felt great. Then we went home and took a wonderful nap in our own comfy bed without any nurses coming to wake me up and mess with me.
This whole experience was more than I could have asked for or imagined. I am so grateful to have had such a great experience. Whenever I hold the top of Kate’s head, or when I give her a bath and I pull her out of the water and onto my chest, the same feelings I had that day still come back. I’m grateful that my body did so well. I’m thankful for the wonderful support that Bruce was and for the midwives. I’m grateful to my Heavenly Father for allowing me to have such a great experience. I really feel like He led us to the decisions and guided us every step of the way.
Here is a video of the different pictures we took that day/night. I'm really wishing I had a professional photographer to photograph it. I wasn't sure if I would want someone else at the birth but I love the pictures that Bruce took while I was in labor so much that now I wish I had more. Oh well, next time. ;) The music is also one of the songs I listened to while I was in labor.