My labor actually started Friday morning, June 27th. The night before I noticed the contractions were stronger than usual but that didn’t seem strange since over the past couple of weeks they had changed from braxton hicks to stronger and stronger “real” contractions. By Friday morning when they still seemed somewhat consistent, it seemed my labor would be typical of all of my other births. With the stronger contractions from the night before, by morning I thought I would probably have the baby that night.
So….Friday day, we went and hung out at my sister in law Yulia’s house and the contractions were getting stronger and stronger. By late afternoon, we were pretty sure I was really in labor. You must know that with each labor I go through the same “acceptance and denial” routine. I spend the day trying to decide if I am really in labor while going through the whole emotional gamete of feelings that arise as I realize I am.
I called my husband crying when I clued in that I am, in fact, in labor…. and then I repeat the same scernio all over again when I call my midwife to tell her. It’s actually quite funny when I look back on it after it’s all said and done. It was actually really FUN to be at Yulia’s house while in labor because she was SO EXCITED for me to be having the baby. It made it easier to get excited about it too! Thanks Yulia! I LOVE YOU!
By late afternoon, I knew this had to be real and prepared for her to be born the same as my other kids which was around midnight that night. So Chris called my mother in law, Louise to come and pick up the kids. Chris and I had plans to go out with some friends. We kept them just because I refused to sit around thinking about being in labor when my contractions were still not bad enough that I had to fully focus on them. With my previous births, by 8 or 9 at night, I am in strong active labor and the babies are born by 11 or 12. But by 8 or 9 Friday night, my contractions were still coming but had fizzled quite a bit.
The dinner was nice. We went and ate at one of my favorite places. It’s a Greek place in Orem and they have DELICIOUS Greek salads. I just get it with no cheese. As we sat in the restaurant Chris kept asking me if I was still having contractions which I was, they were just not as strong as they had been a couple hours before. I was thinking “What if I am wrong? What if this is “false labor?” I have NEVER had “false” labor before so I thought it was weird that I was SO off about this one. At least, they were still coming and they weren’t bad at all.
We came back home around 10 pm and my kids were SO ECSTATIC to think we were going to have the baby soon. We decided to go on a family walk since I still couldn’t sit and just relax and didn’t really want too! We came home and just sat and watched TV. Then I laid in bed and played solitaire until about 1 am.
Sure enough, as soon as I put my head on the pillow to sleep my contractions picked up again. They proceeded to come every 10 or so minutes the whole night. (which actually wasn’t that bad because luckily with 4 other kids and busy life I could still sleep in between just fine) Until around 9 am, I woke Chris to rub my back because I was having VERY powerful back labor. (For those out there who have had it, you know the JOY of back labor) I remember having this with my first and with my 2nd, 3rd and 4th realizing how much easier birth can be without it. It was somewhat disheartening to me to recognize that I was having it again with this one.
Soon after waking Chris to rub my back, I remember with each contraction thinking “We should probably call Cathy and let her know what is going on.” But when the contraction was over I would think “No, these aren’t that bad.” It was really funny because the contractions were about 5 minutes apart (mind you, we never timed them….I’m just guessing) at this point, and the contractions were pretty dang strong but when they were done I kept deciding they weren’t that bad but during them…WHOA….I knew I was going to be having the baby soon. Finally Chris said “Yeah, you should call Cathy” so I did. We proceeded to wait for Cathy to come to put the tub together and get that all ready for when the time comes that I want to get in the water. We called her around 10 and she showed up about 11 am.
Now I have posted that I really wanted to try an unassisted birth. Chris was supportive of it but was having a hard time with the whole idea just because he felt he would then be responsible if anything were to happen. This stressed him out…..BIG TIME! We talked about it and I COMPLETELY understood. Cathy had already contacted me when I was first pregnant requesting that she would LOVE to come to my birth. She had been to all the others and so I knew it was exciting for her to participate in another one. I thought it was so sweet how much she wanted to be there and help out. Looking back now, Chris and I are SO THANKFUL she was there. We feel it was Divine Intervention that we chose to have her come. She was such a BLESSING at the birth and while in labor, I remembered once again why I LOVED her as a midwife, friend and maternal figure at birth. So….if you ever read my blog Cathy…..THANK YOU!! We LOVE you!
When Cathy got to our house, I told her I had tried to check myself but couldn’t even find my cervix because it was too far back. She offered to check me and I was 5 cm. By this time the contractions were coming very regular and strong. My kids wanted eggs for breakfast so I decided I wanted to make them. Chris was laughing at me because I couldn’t or wouldn’t sit down (I think mostly because of the intense back labor sitting down felt VERY uncomfortable) While making the eggs, I would somewhat squat by the stove with each contraction and then stand up again to finish the eggs when it was over. After that, Chris and I went and sat outside in the sun. I wanted the sun beating down on me. I was kind of cold and I just had this strong feeling that I wanted to be outside as long as I could. It felt really good to me for some reason. We were going to go on a walk but as soon as I started walking I would have to hang on Chris or squat so we really didn’t get anywhere.
By 12:30 pm, I could tell I was feeling a bit “pushy.” I checked myself and was fully dilated. I could tell my cervix was still quite posterior which was probably the reason for the back pain. While checking I felt something I had NEVER felt before when checking a woman. It felt like a sweater over the top of the babies head. Normally, I would call that an anterior lip but it really wasn’t a “lip” which is usually thicker and feels like a lip. This was just a thin piece of tissue holding up the babies head EVERY time I had a contraction. It covered about 1/2 of the babies head. So when I pushed, it was unproductive as the head was just putting pressure on that tissue and the baby wouldn’t really move down until we could get that tissue moved out of the way.
At this point, I decided I wanted the tub. I got in and Cathy and I discussed that I should try holding that tissue back with each contraction. I did and talk about SEVERE back pain. This went on for several contractions until I was having a hard time doing it myself. I then proceeded to get out of the tub and get into a knees to chest position so we could take some of the pressure of the babies head off of the cervix. Let me tell you, this is the WORST position to have pushing contractions in, on top of having your cervix held back. You are working against gravity. NOT FUN!! I was a bit concerned because we could get it to stay back during a contraction but then when it was over, the tissue would just move right back over the babies head.
We held back the cervix and tried different positions for the next 1/2 an hour until I wanted to get back in the water and hold it myself again. Within a couple of contractions after getting in the water, I felt the tissue stay back after a contraction. I finally felt a bulging bag of waters coming out from the babies head. YEAH!! I could push and get the baby OUT!! HALLELUJAH! I broke my own waters and then felt as the baby came down. I don’t remember pushing this hard with any of my other children. Well, maybe my first. I had heard others say that there is a big difference in the pain factor when pushing out a 8 lb. baby as compared to a 6 lb. baby. I DID NOT find that to be the case in my situation, I am sorry to say.
Cathy was holding my hands and pulling against me while I was squatting in the tub pushing her out. I am usually quit vocal at this point but I think this is the LOUDEST I have ever been. I have seen so many of my clients stay so quiet and I just don’t know how they do it. Everyone is so different when it comes to giving birth. The interesting part, that Chris pointed out to me after, not one swear word came out of my mouth.
As I was pushing Cathy was asking me what I was feeling because I kept checking and feeling the babies head descending the whole time. The last time she asked I told her I felt burning. I told her “yes.” She said “Oh good!!” I thought that was really cute! As soon as her head was out, my kids ran over to the tub to see it and were oooooing and ahhhhing over it. With the next contraction, I grabbed up Mabel and pulled her up to my chest. She did have a nuchal and chest cord. We quickly unwrapped it to then listen to her WONDERFUL scream. I have never cried after the birth of my children. I have been at many births where I have cried after someone else’s birth but this was my first child where I sobbed just to see her BEAUTIFUL, healthy face. I was so GRATEFUL that all was well and we had been SO IMMENSELY BLESSED!!
As many of you already know, Chris was so anxious about us having a girl. A few days before the birth, he was in a severe depression because he had come to the conclusion it was going to be a boy. So it was HYSTERICALLY funny when within one second of birth, I heard Chris (who was sitting behind me) say, “Praise God, it’s a girl.” Now mind you, I have NEVER heard him say praise God before so that made the situation even FUNNIER!! He wasn’t looking at how cute she was or if she was ok. The minute she was born this eyes only focused on the area that would show him whether or not he was having a daughter or a son. SO PRECIOUS!!
Chris was AMAZING during the whole process. He was supportive and LOVING rubbing my back and just being physically and emotionally supportive. My kids were all there to see their little sister born. They thought it was the COOLEST thing they had ever seen. The birth had been a bit intense toward the end trying to deal with the “lip” and all. Chris was so great to explain everything to them as it was happening so they were reassured that all was well. I could tell that since they could see Daddy wasn’t stressed there was no need for them to be stressed either. They sat intently and quietly for an hour and an half waiting for her to be born. I was in complete AWE of my children and how grown up and mature they acted during the whole process. It made the experience so much more to have them there.
All in all, even with how hard it felt at the end, it was a WONDERFUL, BEAUTIFUL birth and the gift we received at the end was COMPLETELY worth it. She is the SWEETEST baby EVER!! We are all so HAPPY she is here and part of our family. As you can imagine, Chris is ECSTATIC to have a girl. He loves and caresses on her when he gets the chance. Hope you all like the pictures. Thanks for all the prayers that have been sent our way. With how stressful life has been with Johnny, our move etc., we couldn’t top of the end with anything better than MAGNIFICENT Mabel.