Our baby girl was expected June 5th. Sunday morning, May 27th my water broke, or so I thought. I starting having contractions that felt very different from my previous ones, when I went to get out of bed I felt a small trickle of water, then more came out on the way to the bathroom. I called my midwife Christine and counted contractions till she came over and did an exam. At that time I was 1 cm dilated and easily went to 2 cm, they could see the baby's head when they did an internal exam and the sac for the water as well.
Because of the water breaking they decided to have me come in after the contractions sped up. I called James at work and told him and we went to the center around 5 for some more exams including a ph test and fern test. The fern test came back positive but the ph was negative (we wanted to have 2 positives). We stimulated labor using tea, walking, and cervical stimulation and the contractions really increased and were going strong till around 10 p.m. when they slowed down a great deal. After another exam we found that I wasn't dilating more than 2 cm. I was by that time exhausted so I opted to go home to my bed since things were going so slow. I was told to take 3 pills every 4 hrs and my temp and keep an eye on myself. One of the pills was a natural stimulus for labor the other 2 were to fight off any possible infection.
Next day, I went back to the center to be re-tested and checked, the tests this time were opposite. Ph positive, Fern test negative. I was still having really slow spaced out contractions but wasn't dilating more than the 2 cm. My midwife consulted with 3 OB/GYN's from the university hospital and a few other midwives. The fear was that the sac may have a tear or hole and if so the baby or I could be at risk for infection. Half the people suggested inducement, but the other half said to wait it out. So it ended up being my call. I opted for going home again since inducement meant I would have to go to the hospital, which I wasn't comfortable with. What we all found out from the hospital (which specializes in labor and babies) is that a new study found there are 2 sacs around the baby not just one... so it’s the smaller sac apparently that broke. (Things being lost in translation, because I am English living in a French community, I believe what they mean is it was fluid between the sac and the uterus.)
Tuesday morning, May 29th, started out pretty much as any day. I woke up and paddled around the house, cleaning and enjoying the day, which seemed kind of gray and rainy. Jamie woke up around noon and we ran some errands. We stopped to grab a bite at McDonalds, when we went in there was an older gentleman who came up to us and recited a quick little poem about how wonderful life is then we went to rent a movie and the manager of the store asked if we were expecting soon then told us he was also expecting his first child, he congratulated us and we went home. Thinking back now both events were kind of pointing us in the direction of the baby coming that day. We put away some groceries at home and I was running around cleaning while we waited for a friend of ours to drop by to watch the movie. Just after our friend arrived around 7:30 pm I was walking out of the kitchen when I felt a 'pop', I told Jamie that I thought this was it but I didn't want to get my hopes up too high just in case I was wrong. Within a few min of calling my midwife the contractions were less than 40 seconds apart and coming on faster. Another friend of ours was on her way over in a cab so we asked her to hold the cab and we headed to the center.
Once at the center I was quickly undressed and laid in the bed, my first exam showed I was 3½ cm dilated. I relaxed on the bed as much as I could though the creeping apprehension of what was about to occur was a constant. Jamie was holding my hand and focusing right in my eyes helping me remember to take deep cleansing breaths. The next exam showed I was about 7½ cm dilated. I asked the midwife how much I had to be and when they answered 10 cm I groaned. I was already feeling a little tired. With the contractions building I still managed to talk a bit with my friend, Mel and Jamie. The one thing I didn't expect was that I would throw up. After this happened they checked me again and I was now at 9½ cm. We all decided to put me in the tub for a bit, which was difficult but so relieving. Then my contractions turned from just contractions to pushing. Suddenly I felt very hot and realized that I really needed the gravity to help me push, something you don't get in water. So they started taking me out, pausing for 3 contractions while I was getting out. I was rolled back into the room and helped onto the bed again. Jamie sat beside me and rubbed my shoulder. I threw up again and apologized to everyone in the room (I have always been a 'polite puker'!). My second midwife, Jeen, told me that throwing up actually helps the contractions to push the baby out so I felt more relieved.
Another midwife came into the room and the pushing was in full action. I pushed with all my might, screaming a little near the end as I lost strength. I apparently only swore twice, and it was in doubt of being able to do it. They told me they could all see her head but it didn't feel like it to me so I thought they were lying about it. They brought over a mirror, which I didn't look at, not because I didn't want to see, but because I was trying to concentrate so hard on the pushing I didn't want to look at anything. I pushed again and they said her head was out. At that point I was really hot and tired and remember mumbling that I couldn't do it anymore. Jeen told me to get it together I was doing great and could do it. With that I did the last push and she came out. They put her right on my stomach and I looked down at her, she was beautiful. I looked to Jamie and he was crying. I'm sure I would have as well, but I was so overwhelmed by everything I was in a stupor.
She came out pretty clean just looking wet. Jamie cut the chord and the 3 of us snuggled on the bed for a few minutes. I gave one more push to get the placenta out which came out whole. As they cleaned up everything I tried to feed her but her birth was so fast she was still a little shell-shocked and wouldn't feed. After a little while, Jeen helped me into the shower so I could get clean while Jamie held Draven. By this time I was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to just sleep but I cleaned off and then went back to my bed, clean sheets and baby. We tried to feed her once more with little success so Jeen took her while I ate a tray of fresh fruit, yogurt and other stuff to get some strength back. Close to 2 am we were all left alone and I was really awake, so Jamie and I looked at her and talked in hushed voices about how wonderful she was. Eventually we all slept the night, peaceful and content.
Draven Autumn Janelle is what we named our daughter. She was 7 lbs 4 oz, 19 ¾ inches long and her head was about 13 inches in diameter. She came to us healthy, beautiful and strong at 10:29 pm. I really lucked out. The total time of the labor was 3 hours long, less than 20 min of that was active pushing. This was my first labor and even though people scoffed at me for wanting a natural labor I got to have the last laugh. My recovery time was excellent, I needed no stitches and the weight has been coming off very quickly due to breastfeeding. This is something we were all afraid I might not be able to do since I've had a breast reduction but if your surgeon is good enough it will work.
I have taken time these past few days learning about my daughter, Jamie and myself. I have tried thinking of words that can express how I really feel and I’m at a loss because the words have not been invented yet. It is the most powering experience. Filled with so many varied emotions. I find now that I love Jamie more than I ever thought I could, and I love Draven so much that in a way it hurts but its all so good and wonderful. The sweetest of pains. When I look at her I feel like she is too perfect to be a part of me. I know that she will hurt me more than anyone on this earth but that I will also love her through out it and that she has already made me feel more whole than I ever have. I look at her and I see all there is and I am in a way comforted. She is the accumulation of our love, she is not our hopes and dreams but she is a pure creation of love and perhaps that is why she is so beautiful. We often used to talk of the daughter we one day would have, and we spoke of her in such love at that time. My midwife, Jeen, said to me 'she chose you because she knew you were ready and good parents'. I think when I look at her, that statement is so rich and true. Love has made something absolutely beautiful and it’s that love for her and each other that has made this first week with her go by so well. I am still feeling a mix of emotions, a slight sadness for the loss of her presence from my body but at the same time total joy that I can hold her in my arms. There is nothing more intense or wonderful as having a child with love in your hearts. All things are possible. I wish only that I could slow time so that I could savor every moment all the more. To say I am happy is the smallest of terms, I am in a wonderful state of bliss and sadness. I love her, I love James and without them I don't think I could ever feel as whole as I do at this moment. James and I are the yin and yang to each other; Draven is the circle that binds us, the circle within us, and the circle around us.
I have designed a site that I kept up during my pregnancy, dedicated to the experience. I have pictures on the site of my labor and of the center where I gave birth. You are welcome to look at it: http://heybeby.itgo.com
I would totally recommend everyone to go to a midwife if possible, I found that I was far more informed as to what was going on at all times and had great positive encouragement at all times. They made a wonderful experience far more memorable and less scary.