As was predicted by all, my labor was FAST!
I woke up at 7:50 a.m. with a contraction that made me already on alert, but because I’d been tricked so many times before (the labor that actually brought the baby was the seventh one I went through!) I did all the things I’d done before that had always succeeding in slowing or stopping the contractions. I had some chocolate soymilk and part of a cliff bar for a snack, went to the bathroom and tried to lay down again. By 8:30, I was crying out in bed and Stephen put his hands on me and rubbed my back in his sleepy state. By 8:40, I whispered to him that it might be time to call someone. He said, “It’s only been three contractions,” and I said, “I’VE BEEN UP SINCE 7:50 AND THEY’RE NOT GOING AWAY!!!!!!” He muttered something that I don’t remember and I think maybe he suggested that I get in the bath. So I get up, tell Ellen (my MIL who was planning on heading home after dropping Ben off at preschool) that Ben should still go to preschool but for her to come right back.
I saw Ben only briefly in the morning and he asked me why I was crying and I told him that baby sister might be coming today, but it was still just maybe. She might change her mind again. He kissed me and trotted off to school.
The contractions I had while in the bath were almost more horrible than the ones before. The water was nice, but I couldn’t get very much of me in it at one time and every position I tried still hurt too much. I got out after three or four of them when it was clear that nothing was stopping or slowing. They came and came and came, one on top of the next. I made it to the bedroom and asked Stephen to call the midwife. Then I threw up, and then I had to run to the toilet. Which, of course, is where I was when I heard him on the phone, “Oh, hi Carmen!”
“Suzanne thinks she’s having the baby.”
“DON’T SAY THINKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I yell from the bathroom, but he doesn’t say anything else. They’ve already hung up. (Side note: My cellphone call log reports this call was made at 9:26 a.m., exactly one hour before she was born.)
I get out of the bathroom and call Jessi, screaming “It’s NOW!!!” and she said she’d be right here.
I ask Stephen to call my aunt to get my cousin here, and she starts giving him crap, like how far apart are the contractions and are you really really sure, etc. I grab the phone and scream that I was having the baby and if she didn’t want to believe me she didn’t have to but Marissa was going to miss the birth. It felt really really good to say what I needed to say to her.
Charlotte called back and thankfully I was the one to talk to her, saying that she said I’d know and I KNOW!!!! The baby is coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jessi arrived and her hands were cold and felt good to squeeze. I was on the bed on my hands and knees and there was no space between the contractions. They just came and came and came and I screamed and moaned and swatted Stephen away and begged for a washcloth, which Jessi couldn’t find and then Stephen got one but just handed it to me. “WET!!!!!!!” I screamed at him, and he scuttled off again. When Carmen got here I was SO GRATEFUL. She moaned with me and touched me just right and layed me down for a check. I almost refused it hurt so much to lay down and the contractions wouldn’t relent. Finally there was a microscopic break and she checked me and made a face …
I felt worse than I did with Benjamin when I begged to be checked and was at 8, so I was expecting a 9, but scared that it might be as low as 6 or7, and there was just no way I could keep doing this, so I begged her to tell me what it was.
“Do you feel pushy?” she said. I was like, uh, I don’t think so …
I wondered if there was a lip of cervix left that she wanted to me to push to get it out of the way, but it actually turns out that not only was I complete, but the baby was already so far down past that she couldn’t even reach my cervix. All she felt was a bulging water bag.
She didn’t want to scare me (since Charlotte wasn’t here yet) so she just went out and called her again to tell her to step on it.
I can’t remember if I started pushing before she made it or not, but I do know that I was on my hands and knees in bed and Carmen asked me if that was the position I wanted to give birth in, and I was like, what? Give birth? Huh? (She never told me I was complete, but I was starting to figure it out on my own at this point) And then I just fell over on my side. I was pushing at the peak at every contraction but involuntarily. The grunty kind. I whimpered, “I need a break.”
At this point, I know Charlotte was there because she said, “Suzanne, you’re going to have to open your legs.” And there I was, laying flat on my back in bed, in exactly the position I said I did not want to give birth in, pushing.
I started saying over and over and over again, “I can’t do it, I can’t do it” and as good midwives should, they said “You ARE doing it!” but I was still sure I couldn’t. It hurt and hurt and hurt some more. This is when Charlotte said, “I’m going to break your water” and I was beyond thrilled. (Later I found out that she tried to break it with her hands and couldn’t, so she had to use scissors. And even then, it didn’t burst like a water balloon would. She just cut a hole big enough for the baby to be born through. Stephen said this was one of the most interesting parts of the birth, he was expecting to see me crowing with our baby’s head, and instead he saw a huge full water balloon coming out of me.)
The moment she broke it, things were so much better. The pressure went way down, I felt the warm fluid soak my legs and relaxed a bit.
At this point, I was pushing really hard, but again, it wasn’t me, I just did what my body was making me do. They told me to back off and I wasn’t sure how to do what they were asking. “Little pushes, little grunts” Charlotte said, and demonstrated. I tried it and it didn’t feel like it was doing anything, but they said good job so I guess it must have. Stephen said he could see her head and that she had a full head of hair, and they asked me if I wanted to touch her. I again declined (I didn’t touch Ben as he was being born either) and continued trying to push slowly.
Her head was born pretty all of a sudden, and it was a big relief once it was through. I was content to wait until I had to push again, but Charlotte said that she was trying to breathe and could I give another medium push to get her body out, so I did and she was born! Pretty suddenly! It was 10:26 a.m. (10/26 is my birthday, for those of you who didn’t know) and they put her right on my belly. “Is it a girl?” I said, nervously.
They told me yes, and I looked at her, all gooey, but mostly clean from staying in her water bag for so long. She had dark hair and her head wasn’t smooshed at all.
Stephen cut the cord when it was done pulsing and they had me push out the placenta.
The next part is so interesting because here I am reveling in the fact that I had my baby and no one took her from me and here we are cuddling and nursing and she’s so big and healthy and fine, but I have no idea that they are keeping a cautious eye on my bleeding. First I nursed her, then they started the massage, then by the time I’m getting a shot of Pitocin, I’m starting to get nervous. “What? No! We can’t have to go to the hospital now!!!!!!” I say.
They assured me that my bleeding is just moderate, not emergency level. But it still doesn’t stop, so Charlotte gives me a shot of something stronger. She said it works better than Pitocin but they’re always supposed to do the Pitocin first.
This is about when my dad and my cousin Marissa arrive (later my aunt tells me that the reason she had my dad drive Marissa is because she wanted him to be here) and since the birth is over and I’m fairly covered up, I invite my dad in to see his granddaughter. He is stuck in whisper mode and overwhelmed with emotion. Marissa was sad to have missed it, but it was nice that she still got a chance to kind of catch the emotion of it all.
Sometime during all of this, my MIL had to go get Ben from preschool, and we had decided not to tell her name until he was there. My dad, though he was having allergy troubles, decided to stick around since it wouldn’t be too long.
Things settled down while we were waiting for them and the midwives help me use the bathroom (I couldn’t go the first time) and everyone was resting comfortably by the time Grandma got back with Ben and some flowers for me.
I let Stephen say her name since I was the one to name Benjamin, and lots of people had lots of questions, and all I would say at the time was “It’s a long story.”
And that’s all you guys are getting too, for now, because this story is long enough!