May 11, 2009

Best Ever Home Birth Part II...

Part I Part III

Wednesday (April 8)—1-ish am...

So then my water broke. I was unsure at first if that was truly what it was, but my body helped me out by leaking some more fluid, and oh good, there’s some bloody show (ew). Yep, water broken, labor time.

I had some lingering denial to deal with. I’d done such a good job of not getting my hopes up for an early labor, that it came as a great surprise to find that very thing happening. I would say I was shocked, except that at 39 weeks it was entirely reasonable for me to be in labor.

I went back to bed and looked at the clock—1:13 am. Dangit. I did NOT want to have to call the midwife in the middle of the night, even though she’d assured me a million times that that was exactly what she wanted me to do, especially since she would be driving 2 hours to get to me.

I had not felt any contractions yet, so I decided to wait a little while to see what happened, and try to get some sleep if I could. I couldn’t. I was shaking, either from adrenaline or labor hormones; probably both. I really wasn’t feeling anything, except maybe a little crampy, but then it went away after half a minute or so, and—DUH. So I looked at the clock again and it was around 1:20.

Now I was satisfied that I was, indeed, in labor. I still felt bad about calling my midwife (I’m a dork; I know), so I decided to time a few contractions and call her at 2 am. So I did. They were coming reliably at 6 minutes apart, lasting 30-40 seconds, and they were still fairly easy, but definitely more than the initial crampy feeling. Then I called the midwife. She asked a couple questions & then said she & her assistant would head our way. I tried to lie down & see if I could sleep any more, but ended up going out to the living room to sit on the fitness ball…which had become a birthing ball for the day.

I had not awakened the Cat Daddy yet. I wanted to let him sleep as long as possible. So I sat on the ball and timed contractions, which to me made the time go really fast. Around 3:30 I finally decided that he would not be happy to wake up on his own to find the midwife already there, so I woke him up with, “Dude, I’m in labor.” He looked at me and said, “Are you sure?” and I said, “My water broke, and the contractions are 6 minutes apart, and Janet (the midwife) will be here probably within an hour or so.”

He still had work stuff scheduled the rest of the week. He had worked out a leave plan with his commanders & such, based on the assumption that I would not go into labor until at least the 11th. He said, “So you probably don’t want me to go to my trainer ride this morning,” and I said, “Um, we’re probably going to have a baby today.”

His response was “Oh, shit.” This is exactly what I was thinking. Most women would be ecstatic. I was slightly disappointed that I wouldn’t get to finish the last few things I’d wanted to do that weekend—mostly laundry--and had to suck it up a little about the fact that my plans had been disrupted. I think I kept a reasonable perspective, though. Above all I knew it was time to get to work, so I did.

I went back out to the living room to sit on the ball, and the Cat Daddy made me a PB sandwich to nibble on & then busied himself with setting up the pool and putting down all the sheets of plastic. It was a bonanza of plastic--I could move freely without worrying about the carpet (which we're tearing out anyway, but that's another story).

I had done the test-inflation of the pool and had worked out the particulars…so I helped out by answering a few questions the Cat Daddy had along the way. He had a knack for asking in the middle of contractions, which I found highly annoying, and yet I was pleased that I found it annoying because that meant we were moving right along.

My midwife & her assistant arrived around 5 am. Janet (the midwife) got up to speed with me while Faith (the assistant) set up the gear they’d brought in with them (several bags’ worth--they were ready for anything). By this point the contractions were longer, stronger, and closer together--all good things. In the course of our conversation I said, for lack of better terms, that it felt like I was going to poop out a baby. Janet said that probably meant he was nice & low. Good.

After talking with me, Janet had me lie on the couch to take my vitals and listen to the baby’s heartbeat. Everything looked and sounded good; the only thing was that, after weeks and weeks of perfect positioning, the baby had twisted himself so that his back was now facing right instead of slightly-left. Not a catastrophe, but still not ideal. Little booger. I got back on the ball and Janet brought me a snack (vanilla pudding--yum), while Faith refilled my water bottle for me. I didn’t really feel like eating, but I hadn't felt like eating the entire pregnancy, so I kept nibbling, not knowing how much longer I'd be in labor, but knowing that as time went on I would be glad for the extra energy.

Somewhere in there, around 5:30 I think, His Highness woke up and joined us. The Cat Daddy fed him and got him ready to go to the sitter’s (who he had called a little before). Janet suggested that, once His Highness was on his way, I should try getting on hands & knees to encourage the baby to turn back where he had been. The Cat Daddy wasn’t dawdling exactly, but he seemed to be kind of lingering, so Janet told him, “You should go and drop His Highness off because her contractions are really picking up.”

Something to know about Janet—she is one of the calmest people I’ve met. Ever. Everything she said to me or The Cat Daddy was as if we were just hanging out by the pool on a regular day, instead of milling about preparing for a birth at 5 in the morning. So even from her comment to The Cat Daddy I really couldn’t get a read as to what she thought my timeline might be. That, or I was too engrossed in concentration to think about it. Contrast this with Faith, whose personality is more energetic and “up”--she had come up & rubbed my temples while I was on the couch and said, “Yay, you’re having a baby today!” They are like Yin & Yang--it was very fun to watch the two of them work together.

So The Cat Daddy and His Highness were out the door around 6 am. I did a couple of the wiggly exercises Janet suggested to get the baby to twist back to the left. The next contraction came and was more intense than when I’d been sitting on the ball. I told Janet this and said, “That’s probably a good thing, right?” and she said, in a very nonplussed way, “Yes.”

So I went through a few more contractions like this, and it kept getting worse, and I started thinking that I’d really like to get in the pool. It was about half full at the time. Faith and the Cat Daddy had been working on this, first with hot water via the washing machine hookup and then with pots of hot water via the stove. I asked if we could work more on filling the pool because I was really uncomfortable and would like to get in. So Faith threw in the hose and started adding cool water to balance out with the very hot, and fill it up faster so I could get in & hang with the cheerful sea creatures...

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