Sophie's Birth Story
Sunday night/Monday morning woke at 1:30 am with painful contractions coming 20 minutes apart. At 3:30 I got into the tub to relax and went back to sleep at 4 am. Back up at 6 am with painful contractions, back into the tub and then back to bed until 9:30 am. Told Richard it was starting… he took the day off and we took a walk, hoping to speed things up. Contractions were intermittent, lasting from 20 minutes to 7 minutes apart all day. In the afternoon, after eating, walking more and trying to nap (no luck) the contractions were around 4 to 7 minutes apart. I was anxious for something more to happen…. so i called the midwife and told her what was happening. She told me to drink a couple shots of vodka, get in the tub and take a long nap. I did.
I woke up at 9 pm. We had Thai food. At 10:00 the contractions started coming faster and harder. By midnight, i couldn’t talk through them and Richard was getting worried. I knew that this was going to be a long labor at this point….just sort of puttering along! We were at the birth center by 1 am and I was “sounding” through the contractions. Our birth instructor at Birthing Class had said this would help, and honestly I didn’t know if it would or not, but I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t made noise. A low, groaning OOOOOOOOOOAAAAAHHHHHHHH sound. When the midwife arrived at 2 am, I was 3 cm. She stretched me to 4 since I was totally effaced. Richard, Maureen (midwife), Christina (nurse) and I were the only ones in the building. I walked the halls, leaning on Richard, the wall, or whatever when the contractions came – “sounding” – I was still in my “social self” (as Richard called it) and making jokes and chatting in between contractions. Maureen gave me a tour of the birth center, I saw all the rooms – a good distraction. Then the contractions started closer and faster…. I wanted to get in the jacuzzi, but she wanted to make sure I was ready. I had to be 6 or 7 cm or else my labor would stall. So I got in the shower, hot water pounding my lower back. My abdomen hurt so much I had to massage it during contractions. Then after the shower, I got really hot and threw up (I know – gross) but after that the contractions started really fast…
I wanted to get in the jacuzzi!!!! When she checked me, I was dialated enough. So I hopped in the jacuzzi. The jets felt great. And A LOT of the pain subsided. Soon after this point (I have NO idea what time it was I was totally unaware of what was going on around me) I couldn’t open my eyes at all. I was in the tub, Christina or Richard would give me cold water or coke from a straw in between contractions or herb tea ice chips. I was squatting the tub, rocking my hips and moaning like a banshee! It was the only way I could control the pain. When I lost my concentration, my “sounds” would get very high and the pain would intensify. But when i had my rocking rythym going I could manage the pain really well. It was so helpful to know that one of the three people there with me was ALWAYS at my side (I knew even if my eyes were closed) They were always encouraging. At one point I was holding on to Richard wrist to wrist with my arms streched out, squatting in the tub, rocking abck and forth. He thought it looked like i was water skiing and Christa said it looked like I was riding a horse…. that sort of motion. Sometimes I would open my eyes and see Richard lying on the king-sized bed in the dimly lit room right across from me…. and Christina would be holding me. I think Maureen was taking a nap at this point, because I was getting close.
When she came back to check me, my water still hadn’t broken and I was 9 1/2 cm. We decided to break my water bag, she did it while I was still in the jacuzzi ( i had gotten out once or twice since I first had gotten in). I think it was 7:30 am by this point. Usually when you break the water, it accelerates labor, so she told me that if i felt like pushing to go with it and push. But for some reason, my labor slowed a bit and mentally, i wanted to push, but my body wasn’t ready. It was confusing, so i had to ride out the pain again. I was ready to have the baby already!!!!!
So I had around 2 1/2 to 3 more hours of this intense labor. Rocking and moaning in the hot tub, then she suggested I move to the toilet at one point, hoping that sitting on it would relax me enough so I could start pushing, and then I went into the shower. The contractions were coming so fast I barely had time to take 2 breaths in between them! I had really wanted to try to give birth in the jacuzzi in the water…. but it wasn’t happening….so she put me on my back on the bed, and I started to push. I was getting frustrated, because I felt like I couldn’t push. I didn’t have “the urge to push” that all the books talk about. I was fully dialated, but nothing. At this point, after walking some more and gettng back in the shower (she was trying to relax me – I was soooooo tired – in retrospect I think she hoped I could regain some energy to push) I got really mad I started saying stuff like, “just take me to the hospital and cut this baby out!” “I want to see my baby!!!!” “I want a c-section” They pretty much ignored me Transition!!! So then back on the bed and 45 minutes later (10:43 am) I pushed the baby out! Thank god! She went right on my chest, coughed, then started crying and wriggling like crazy! Richard was lying on the bed next to me the whole time i was pushing, saying you can do it, you’re almost there…. he leg up and held my hand the whole time. Man! Who would think pushing would be so hard!!! Anyway, then Richard held Sophie while the placenta came out and then he cut the cord. Soon after that Sophie was suckling my breast. We held her for at least 30 minutes beofe the midwife took her to weigh her and check her. It was glorious. We stayed in the bed and napped with our daughter for a couple hours after that. She cried for a while then calmed down. She was beautiful…..
When the midwife checked me, I had only one small tear… no stitches. The nurse and midwife came in occassionally to check me, I was fine. The baby was pink, healthy and adorable! We napped, marveled at our new little baby, and ordered in some pancakes and bacon for me. I ate, took a shower and at 8 pm we packed up, put Sophie in a car seat, hailed a taxi and went home.
I tell you it was pretty damn amazing. I never anticipated my body could manage to go through something like that intact. But I can certainly see why women opt for an epidural or any other medical intervention. Holy Cats!!! But I am glad that I birthed naturally. Sophie is healthy and happy and quiet and I love her so much…..
Mom Alisa and Sophie
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