***warning*** do not read any further if you're hoping for/needing to read an endorsement of natural childbirth (said only very slightly tongue-in-cheek)
I'm having a hard time remembering what day it even is... okay, Sunday afternoon...
Last Wed (Jan 31st) at my midwife appointment, I was told I was 2-3cm dilated with a very soft cervix and given the names of two homeopathic remedies to take that might help start labour (the homeopathic versions of black and blue cohosh). An afternoon-long hunt to actually find these ended in them just being given to us (!), because they'd already been opened and a few granules take out. While they did seem to bring on a few contractions, nothing lasted. Thurs night I had hours of Braxton Hicks, but no labour even with a repeat of the homeopathics.
Friday evening, standing at the stove, I felt a few drops and rushed to the bathroom thinking I was once again being let down my weakened pelvic floor. I thought there might be a chance that it was my water breaking... however if it was, it was VERY underwhelming.
My midwife stopped by that night to confirm that it was in fact amniotic fluid, examine me, and do an uncomfortably thorough membrane sweep. She also gave me some more homeopathics and left instructions for a castor oil smoothie if I really wanted to get things going. I was 3-4cms dilated and about 20% effaced that night. I took the homeopathics, which unfortuanately did very little, but decided to wait until morning for the castor oil.
Saturday morning, after a delicious banana/orange/raspberry/castor oil smoothie, and a call to my midwife to arrange to meet at the birth center around 10am, I laid down to try to rest. Well... the castor oil had other plans. So not wanting to stray far from the facilities, I decided to make sure everything I'd need/want was in my bag, the camera memory card was empty, batteries charged, etc.
We met the midwife at the birth center and, at around 10:30am, started a "natural induction" using the breast pump - 5mins on, then 5mins of walking, repeat. It made my toes curl, but it seemed to work. The midwife also offered a tincture of black cohosh (I couldn't have the blue cohosh tincture because it was a VBAC), which I wouldn'tve have taken on my own, but felt comfortable taking with her present. Right from the get go, my contractions were 1.5-2mins apart and lasting 45-60sec. So not much rest between. At that point though, they weren't too intense.
Things really picked up around noon. That's when the midwife said my real labor seemed to start (apparently the previous hour was just for kicks!). Even though the contractions were getting stronger, I thought I was doing really well at managing the pain... although I was anxious to get into the tub! Midwife checked me while the tub was filling up, AND I WAS STILL AT 4 CENTIMETERS. That was seriously discouraging. I was more effaced -like 90%- but I felt like all those contractions (remember they were almost all less than 1.5mins apart) should have produced more progress.
I got in the tub just before 3pm. It did feel nice. It didn't make the pain go away, but I seemed to be able to relax and focus better. The midwife checked me again and I WAS STILL AT 4CMS at which point I began to question whether or not I could do this. My midwife was great though (as was Peter, but what does he know? HE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A UTERUS) and stressed that I really had to relax because I was fighting the contractions too much. With that challenge, I managed to go from 4-7cms in the next three contractions.
7cms. We had progress.
But then it really, REALLY started to hurt.
Yeah, I know labour hurts, but remember that I had epidurals for my last three births! When I really started to vocalize, the midwife checked me again and -get ready for this- I WAS BACK TO 5 CMS!
At that lovely news, I totally lost it.
Started crying. Saying I couldn't do it. Praising the invention of the epidural. Begging my midwife to forgive me for being such a wimp, and inwardly totally freaking out at the fact that I could see no way out of the MOST AWFUL, PAINFUL SITUATION OF MY WHOLE LIFE.
After only 15 mins in the tub, I somehow managed to get my heaving, moaning, bawling mass of contractions onto the bed. I landed there on all fours and that's how I stayed. I think I started pushing when I was only 9cms, more out of UTTER DESPERATION to have it all over than that actual urge to push. IT WAS THE ONLY POSSIBLE WAY OUT I COULD SEE.
So I pushed.
The midwife kept saying that he was "right there", but I would respond (sobbing), "No... he's... not! I can tell! He's... not... there... at alllllll!" So after what seemed like the most excruciatingly pain-filled, hellish, never-ending eternity OF MY LIFE -but what I've been told was in reality ONLY 12 MINUTES- Andrew Russell Faer Bundy made his slippery entry into this world.
It was not the quiet, peaceful, calm entrance I had imagined for by sweet boy. The poor couple down the hall probably thought I was dying -AS DID I. Although I don't remember everything that came out of my mouth in those long, LONG twelve minutes, I do remember screaming, "BABY, GET OUT!" several times.
And out he got. THANK GOD.
One of the first things I said after I was finally laying down with him was, "THAT. SUCKED." In all seriousness, WHAT WAS I THINKING?
I don't think I was unprepared for the pain, but more for my ability to manage it. Or maybe my ability to handle the disappointments and set backs of labor... not being able to do something well that I'd planned to do well. Whatever it was, I think it'll take a few years before I'm willing to ever consider doing this again!
However the end result is definitely worth it!
(Sorry to all the men in my life who were perhaps unprepared for that picture, but cmon, you can't see anything.)
Andrew was 8lbs (but was weighed AFTER unloading several ounces of lovely meconium poo on Peter's bare chest) and 19.3" long. In the end it was 3 hours of labor on land, 15 minutes in the tub and 12 minues of pushing. My placenta took 12 minutes to deliver (likely cause I was just too tired to push any more), during which time Andrew stayed attached.
We left the birth center when he was about four hours old.
The boys were so excited to have us home and to meet their new brother. Simon constantly wants "my turn" to hold baby and Liam thinks that Andrew is "the BEST present".