I woke up at 2am, July 11th, my due date, having strong contractions that were fairly regular. I lay in bed for a bit but was unable to relax, so I knew this was something different from all the contractions I'd been having for weeks. I woke Tim (my husband) up and told him I thought this was it. He said, "no, it can't be, I have this project I need to finish at work." Anyway he realized I wasn't joking so we got up and timed 2 or 3 they were 60 seconds long and 3 minutes apart, and very uncomfortable. We waited a bit to see if they'd keep going and they did, so at 3am I called Gail (my midwife) and talked to her for about 10 minutes, she hopped in the shower and came over by 3:45. Tim emailed worked and went to wash out the tub. I was getting more and more anxious to get in, but Gail wanted to wait until she got there. By 4 I was in the tub and miserable. It only seemed to make things worse, I was having back labor since Annie was still posterior and so I got on all 4s in the tub. Gail did counter pressure and Tim held ice on my back and I felt Annie roll over! By then the contractions were on top of each other and I decided to get out of the tub. Tim lifted me out (!no small feat!) and we went into the office (which adjoins our bedroom). Gail asked if I'd be comfortable delivering there (Miranda was still asleep in our bed) and I was shocked because I didn't think we were anywhere near delivering, I kept saying "it hasn't been long enough." I held onto Tim (standing felt the best) through the next few contractions while Gail ran to set up.... none of our supplies were even unpacked. Then she went to the kitchen to get our ginger compresses and I let out a moan and I vividly remember the sound of Gail running upstairs as fast as she could.
With my moan I also woke up Miranda, who walked into the room, looked at all of us and went straight back to bed! Tim decided to call Kris (Miranda's support person who luckily lives next door) we had initially talked about waiting until 6am to call Kris and my sister Joan since that’s when they would normally be getting up anyway. With the next contraction my moaning got Miranda up for good and Gail asked if she could check me. I kept thinking, oh no, what if I'm only at like 4cm, it just all seemed way too fast. But I was at 8cm at 5am! I knelt on all fours while Tim rubbed my back and Gail set up and I had a chance to rest after I got to 10cm, I had no desire to push for about 10 minutes. At 5:30 I started pushing and here is where I had trouble. It didn't feel right to me. It was very different than with Miranda and I felt I was going nowhere. She crowned and Gail asked me to stop pushing, but I couldn't (I was a bit testy about it, too!). I even said things like, "GET IT OUT OF ME!" Once her head came out, she got stuck since her hand was under her chin. Gail asked me to lift up one leg to make more room, but I couldn't move, so Tim hoisted up my leg and she slid right out. Leaving a 2nd degree tear in back and a little one in front too. I knew I was going to tear when Gail asked me to stop, but at that point I didn't care… I just wanted her OUT!
Once she was out Gail handed her through my legs to me and Gail and Tim lifted me onto the bed. Miranda was announcing the whole thing: "there’s my mommy's bottom", "there's my babies head", "it’s all dirty", and "Gail got all wet". I wish we had her on tape because it was so perfect. But I'm glad I wasn't on tape, I have never heard noises like the ones I made while pushing Annie out. It was something like a rather large cat in heat. I was pretty crabby too, telling everyone, "it hurts!" Like that wasn't obvious!
The minute she was on my chest, with Tim and Miranda cuddled up to me, everything in the world was perfect! It took a while for the placenta to come so Tim cut the cord while we were waiting. Now the gory part....
I had a lot of bleeding, I didn't realize how much until Gail started saying, "Elisabeth, you don't need to bleed any more. Please tell your body to stop." It didn't work. I wasn't able to piddle and we couldn't get my bleeding stopped and my cervix wasn't going back to where it was supposed to. Getting me to pee was a huge ordeal, and a catheter was threatened a number of times. I really didn't want one, so what finally ended up working was taking a straight teaspoon of cream of tarter (no, I don't know why!). Then walking back to bed I started to pass out. At this point Gail gave me the option of drinking a placenta shake or going to the hospital. Needless to say I opted for the shake. It is amazing the things you will do if you have to. Gail threw part of the placenta in the blender with orange/pineapple juice and an electrolyte powder. I honestly don't know why everyone doesn't eat or drink part of the placenta. My recovery after that was incredible! I had lost 3 cups of blood, and once I drank the shake I felt super! My recovery since then has been amazing. I stopped bleeding Monday (3 days postpartum)! Other than my tears I would be 100% right now. We decided not to have them stitched since I wasn't moving from my bed.
Our baby moon time has been great; we have had only a couple of visitors a day and people have really helped out entertaining Miranda. Tim has waited on me hand and foot so I haven't had to go downstairs at all. Annie is perfect, she actually slept thru the night last night (11pm till 9am) but I did wake her to nurse since I was uncomfortable (read, soaking the whole bed!). Every morning when I wake up and see my 2 girls between Tim and myself the whole world is perfect. I would never do it any other way.
Thanks to everyone who encouraged us to have a homebirth. We probably wouldn't have done it without you!