Part I Part II Part IV Part V
So the midwife and her assistant (Carol & Marte) arrived around 8:45 pm. I was to the point in labor that I was still wearing pants, and I had to stop and concentrate thru contractions, but otherwise I was all, "Come on in, would you like a drink?" as if we were getting together just for fun. I don't know why I do that.
Actually, I know exactly why I do that. Here's my deal with labor--it is hard work. I don't ever want to minimize the work of it and tell someone "Oh, it's no big deal," so please kick me in the shin if you hear that come out of my mouth with regard to labor and birthing. At the same time, while I am entering in and respecting the process and all of that, I don't want to feel completely consumed by it, or I will freak out. The part of me with control issues needs to control something. If I can stay present enough to say things like "please," "thank you," and so on, then I feel like--while it is big and important--it is manageable enough that it will not overcome me, and I will indeed make it through to the other side. So there's that.
Anyway, if you've been in my living room, you've seen the big rug, the 2 rocking chairs, and the blue & khaki couches. Really the khaki couch is just tan, but somehow when His Highness started learning colors we started calling it khaki. And why not? Khaki sounds so much more interesting than boring old tan. So picture two very nice ladies sitting on the khaki couch, the Cat Daddy on the old rocker, and me sitting cross-legged on the floor next to a white fitness ball except during contractions, when I draped myself face-down over the ball. We all sat & chatted. The Cat Daddy regaled us all with tales of a co-worker who shattered his ankle in an avalanche while ice climbing. I shook my head in amusement at first, and then a little later I was getting a little annoyed, mostly because labor was moving right along and contractions were getting harder to breathe thru, so I was beginning to hum through them.
Also during the process I was having a hard time deciding whether I was hot or cold. When the ladies arrived I had the windows open and they were all, "Gosh, are you feeling warm?" And I was for a while, but then I got cooler and shut the windows, and eventually started shivering a little bit, which I suspect was at least part due to nerves, but when I put on socks & a sweatshirt I stopped shivering, so there's that. But then I got warm and took the sweatshirt off...and started shivering again before long. So my clothing was variable.
During all this Carol had listened to the baby's heartbeat a few times. I liked how she approached it--she didn't seem to have a particular time schedule, but she listened under different circumstances. For example she listened once in between contractions, once as I was coming out of a contraction, and I forget what the third one was; maybe as I was going through a contraction? But the cool thing for me is that she could tell me the overall pattern or whatever she was listening for. And thankfully, the baby was following the normal patterns, giving all indications that she was doing well and was indeed getting ready to come out.
And let's not forget Marte. From what I can tell, Marte is a champion of charting. It is most definitely not the only thing she does in the birthing process, but it is one thing that she does prolifically. I don't even know what all she wrote down, but I'm pretty sure there are lots of things they are watching for during labor in both mom & baby.
The Cat Daddy finally switched the iPad from YouTube videos of his ice climbing co-worker to the Simon & Garfunkel station on Pandora, and I was grateful. By this time it was somewhere around 10:30 or 11pm, I believe. I'd moved over to the blue chair-and-a-half and had stretched out on it and the ottoman. The dang contractions were getting more annoying though, which really put a damper on my desire to nap. I can remember starting to complain a little bit by this time, saying I knew I had to get thru this to be done, but that I really didn't like this part of things.
It's a tricky thing sometimes with labor. By this point it was past my bedtime, so I was tired and wanted to rest in between contractions. And not knowing exactly how long labor would go, it is reasonable to want to rest, especially around bedtime. However for me, it was not the best choice. The contractions didn't go away, but neither did they pick up or get stronger or anything like that. So after a time Carol & Marte gently suggested I get up and walk around a bit. I was good-naturedly-annoyed (is that even possible?), meaning I really did want to take a nap, but I also agreed that getting up would be the best thing to get thru labor and be done so we could all go to sleep for real.
Awesome thing number 597 about home birthing: I decided I wanted an English muffin. So I walked myself over to my toaster, toasted an English muffin, chose to spread apricot jam and butter (olive oil spread, actually) on it, and ate part of it. Entirely possible in a hospital, yes. But not nearly as simple a process.
And guess what? The contractions did in fact speed up and even got a little harder, so we all agreed I was staying up and putzing around for a while. Mostly I just paced around my living/dining room area, taking an occasional bite of English muffin, leaning on my dining chairs during contractions, and complaining that they were getting harder and I was super annoyed by them. Carol said after the fact that she didn't remember me being all that complain-y, but I sure felt it.
This is another thing about labor--it is sometimes difficult to remember what you actually said, and what you thought in your head. There were a few things where I really thought I said them and neither Carol nor Marte remembered me saying them. It's the ultimate case of "Did I just say that out loud?" except it's entirely possible that the answer is no...
Part I Part II Part IV Part V