8.23.2010

the details, part 1

First of thank you all so so much for your congratulations.  I keep reading your comments over and over on my iPod while I'm nursing and smiling at them.  You guys are seriously the best.

And now, for the those of you who are down with reading the words "cervix" and "contractions" ten zillion times over the course of several paragraphs...

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Now that I have had three babies I know how I labor; my "early labor" is always spread out over the course of a few weeks, hard spells of contractions coming for an hour or so at a time and then disappearing, ultimately leaving me somewhere around 4cm dilated -- and waiting.  Then one morning - poof!- I am in hard and fast active labor.

On my due date, I had a midwife appointment.  I asked her to check me and she said I was easily 4cm, then decided I was 5cm.  FIVE centimeters!  I know it sounds like cheating to be that dilated when not in active labor, but trust me, I worked for that progress.  I just worked for it a little bit at a time.

Around 5:30 the next morning, I woke up with contractions that I had to hum through.  They were hard and evenly spaced, but I expected them to go away like usual.  By 7:30 they still weren't gone and I told Luke I was having contractions but to go to work.  At 8:30 I called my mom and said maybe she should come get the kids.  I had Luke come home from work.  I called the midwife and told her maybe today was the day.  It's funny in retrospect how in denial I was.  During contractions I was 100% convinced I was in labor -- they were really hard and required lots of vocalizing and were rapidly getting closer together and harder to handle.  But during the breaks I felt so normal that I would talk myself back into thinking they could still go away.  Silly me.

I tried to hold it together in front of the kids as my mom picked them up around 9:30, but as soon as they were out of the driveway I went straight into transition. It was just me and Luke and Wilco at that point, and I felt like I was handling things pretty well.  It was hard hard labor, but I got in the tub and relaxed during the breaks. I made lots of noise during the not-breaks.  The midwife arrived a little after 10:00 and I asked her to check me so I could know how far I had to go.  She quickly checked and said I was just about complete.  Hooray!  Complete!  I mentally high-fived myself and was thinking I could have the baby really soon, maybe even around 10:30 -- the time Alice was born two years (minus one day) earlier. My midwife told me to just relax, that I was doing really well, to keep doing what I was doing, to listen to my body and to push if I felt the urge.  But I didn't feel the urge.

Transition went on.

By noon I was getting discouraged.  I kept thinking back to my labor with Alice, how the contractions got so much less intense after I was dilated to 10cm, and I was wondering why that wasn't happening this time. The contractions were incredibly intense and close together, but baby's head wasn't moving down and I didn't feel any urge to push him out yet.  The midwife suggested that I take advantage of gravity, and helped me get into the optimal positions to do so. We tried a few things, and then I walked around for a while, holding onto Luke during contractions.  I asked her check me again and tell me if the baby had moved down at all.  I so badly wanted to hear some kind of progress, just for the encouragement.  She checked and broke the news that I was still not totally complete, and was pretty much in the same shape I had been in two hours ago when she had arrived.   I had a cervical lip -- a tiny piece of cervix that wasn't getting smaller, even though the rest was totally gone.  She said she could either try to hold it out of the way so I could push the baby past it, or I could wait.  Waiting was better, she said.  We didn't want the lip to swell and if I didn't have the urge to push I probably wasn't ready, but IF it worked, the baby would be born and we could rest.  Of course I had been in transitiony labor for several hours at this point and was really desperate to GET the baby OUT, so we did a little trial of pushing with her holding it out of the way.  It didn't work.  And it hurt.  A lot.  The lip started to swell.  A lot. She put some anti-inflammatory somethingorother on it and had me get as comfortable as I could in the tub.

And now, she said, you try to rest. 

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And now my sweet baby is awake.  I will finish the story as soon as I get the chance. I don't want to forget a thing about it.

23 comments:

  1. This sounds familiar ... wondering if your son was posterior? I can't wait for part 2! My daughter's labor was similar ... and so worth it in the end, but long, and hard ... Congratulations to you.

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  2. Thanks Lindsey! -- He wasn't posterior, he had an asynclitic (tilted) head that caused the lip and slow descension. Alice was posterior, and I was glad to not repeat that!

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  3. look at your bed all made in the background!! ;)

    gotta be honest ... this is kind of freaking me out a little bit. i want a hard, fast labor since this is my first med-free delivery. so hurry up and post the 2nd half that talks about how he just rolled right out and you forgot all about the pain. ;)

    love you & i actually really do love the story so far!!

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  4. This is so amazing and beautiful to read. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  5. Oh my! I can not imagine being in transition that long!! Mine lasted maybe 30 or 40 minutes and I wanted to DIE. Can't wait to read the rest! What a rockstar momma.

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  6. I could listen to birth stories all day long. That photo is beautiful, Erin.

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  7. oh I am so glad you are posting already! My transition lasted like 2 minutes and was the worst pain of my life. I cannot even imagine being there for hours.

    You are awesome, can't wait to hear more...

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  8. I'm so proud of you. Also, I just love hearing this story and the amazing ways you birthed this baby without need for a hospital. Because most of your story couldn't happen in a hospital setting- they wouldn't let you even experience the nature of really having a baby IN YOUR OWN TIME and how it is meant to be. Sorry, I get worked up about it because it's emotional! And I love it. :)

    Steph

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  9. Love the story.
    Love the photo.
    Love the mama.

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  10. This is wonderful Erin. Thanks for writing!

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  11. yay, you are wonderful. I love getting to see the photo. what an amazing experience for you, Erin. I'm so happy for you that you did this at home. while I was reading what you were describing about waiting and waiting- you know if you were in a typical hospital most nurses would want you to start pushing anyway- that's what happened with Em, and oh did I push- for 3.5 hours! and oh did I have a huge recovery from that! I can't wait to hear the rest. I hope you're able to rest and I hope life is feeling not-too-crazy. love you!

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  12. I am also a weeks long laborer. I sit around/get around to 4 cm during weeks of minor lip biting and eye and face squinting. And then one day, BAM. Five plus centimeters.

    I'm eager to hear the rest of your story!

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  13. I love this so much, Erin. It's amazing how people always wish for fast labors and while I get that, I also don't think anyone gets how HARD a fast labor is, really. You did a good job of describing what it's like. I can't wait to read the rest.

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  14. I am hitting refresh until part 2 is posted! I am curious to hear your take on the homebirth vs the previous two births. I am considering it from now on. Lots of love to you, baby Hal, and your sweet family.

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  15. love this story.
    LOVE that picture.

    transition for hours. i seriously just cried for you. so proud of you.

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  16. You! Are! AWESOME! Cannot wait to hear more . . .

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  17. Damn you, Erin.
    This is making me want another baby.

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  18. What a cliffhanger! I can't wait for part II. Can't wait.

    I think home-birthing is awesome (and I think you are awesome).

    stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

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  19. I LOVE birth stories! Especially ones like yours! I could have NEVER done something like this (I am a total hospital, epidural, wimpy mom)! You are amazing! THat picture? Beautiful! Can't wait for Part 2!!!

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  20. I'm so excited to read this story!! Can't wait for part two!

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  21. so amazing. I'm glad little Hal is here healthy and happy. Feed that baby and tell me the rest of the story.

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  22. I'm doing a homebirth with babe #2, who's due to appear the very, very beginning of December. This was so great to read! I can't wait to read more. And see pictures! You are such an inspiration.

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  23. ohhh this is the best part one. I love birth stories and I have been so awaiting yours! That picture of you in the tub is so lovely. I just so, so remember being there--though I was never in transition that long, my goodness.

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