Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Birth Story, Part III: Z's Birthday
On June 14, I had an appointment with my concurrent care OB. As my due date approached, she had suggested doing a membrane sweep if I went past my due date. I had always responded that I was comfortable letting baby come on his own timetable. I had been doing a lot of reading about how common it is for babies to be born past their due date and reasons why it was better to let them come when they were truly ready.
But on the way to the appointment, I began wavering. After so many days of labor limbo, after almost a week of hearing "Isn’t that baby out yet?" type comments at VBS, it sounded appealing to do something concrete to help things along.
As expected, the OB requested to do a vaginal exam to see where I was at, and again offered the membrane sweep. I said a sweep would maybe be OK, depending on the results of my vaginal exam. My cervix was basically unchanged from June 2. With her fingers still inside me, the OB asked again if she could do the sweep, and I made a noncommittal noise that she took as a yes.
It hurt quite a bit and I immediately regretted agreeing to it on any level. I felt weak and impatient and foolish, that I should have been stuck to my ideals and let baby come in his own time.
At the same time, I was hoping it would work right away because the timing was good for DH to take minimal time off from his new job and for my mom and grandma to come up and visit/help with the baby.
By 4:00 I was contracting steadily and they felt different enough that I was fairly certain that this was “it.” I made all the necessary phone calls. My doula arrived at 6:00 and timed my contractions at about 3.5 minutes apart and building in intensity.
The first midwife, Ms H arrived around 7:00 and did a vaginal exam that showed I was dilated to 5cm. Baby’s head seemed to be asynclitic at a -1 station. Ms H called Ms X and a midwifery student who planned to attend the birth and told them not to rush, they had time to drive to my home at a safe speed.
Immediately after that exam, the contractions intensified to the point where they required all my concentration and focus. My doula helped me through them by applying pressure to my back and hips. I vocalized a lot, making mostly low moans. When I did that and breathed well, she told me how great I was doing. When I made higher pitched or whimpering noises, she’d remind me to breathe and encourage me to get through this one so that we could handle the next one better.
I requested that the birth pool be filled and got into it around 8:15 although it wasn’t yet completely full. It helped relieve some of the pain, but things were still very intense, and I began to cry slightly. I alternated leaning forward over the edge and leaning back into my doula’s arms, clutching DHs hand all the while.
When I was in that leaning back position, I heard Ms H ask my doula, “Did she just bear down?” and was surprised to hear the doula answer yes, and even more surprised to hear the midwives (all three had arrived by this point) encourage me to push as I felt like it. Surely it was too soon?
My vocalizations got louder and my body continued to push. I felt the ring of fire, I felt my water break. Someone told me to reach down and feel my son’s head. “He has hair!” I said.
His head emerged slowly and as my body rested between contractions/pushes someone commented on the cute shape of his nose. On the next push just before 9:00 pm, I felt him slip out and lifted him up to my chest and snuggled him with a towel.
DH called my MIL and told her the baby was here and to bring C over to meet him, and when they got here I announced his name.
The placenta came out rather quickly. Afterward, I lingered in the birth tub until about ten minutes past 9:00 and then we made our way down the hall to my bedroom.
Looking at the midwife’s notes, the midwifery student arrived at 8:30, and Ms X arrived around 8:45. My water broke at 8:47, and Z was born at 8:52. I pushed out the placenta at 8:58.
It was a great, albeit intense, experience!