I find myself stunned at how quickly these months has passed. Have I really let my blog sit for so long? I think about this blog most days, only to have no energy or motivation to share when I finally have time to write. I’ve got all sorts of ideas spinning in my head. Stories. Recipes. Struggles. Questions. So to ease myself back into blogging (I can hardly believe I had weeks where I posted every single day.) I want to tell you of Jeremiah’s birth.
Some of you may have read of my desire to have a intervention-free birth here. I am thrilled to report that I the birth of Jeremiah went exactly as I wanted!
Around 1 a.m. on October 12th, my water broke, waking me from my sleep. Fortunately for me (and JD), I did not have a mess of fluid in our bed, but on the carpet when I stood up. Jolted from deep sleep, I remember standing there stunned. Jeremiah was coming on his due date. Those of you who have had labor start the same way can recall the heart-pounding feeling of knowing that real contractions are imminent. I woke JD, whose groggy response was, “I knew we were going to have a baby today because you were over-the-top emotional”. He’s not exaggerating. I had been a mess the day before. Next I called my dear friend and doula Jill, waking her as well. Then I showered and finished packing my bag. And then I waited.
You get the point. I was expecting contractions, but having none. JD went back to bed. I walked around the family room, but went back to bed around 5 a.m.
8 a.m. By now I am having sporadic contractions, fixing the boys breakfast, helping them get ready for church and delaying calling my midwife. I had done a lot of research, so I knew that once your water breaks, the clock is ticking and most health providers want that baby born in under 24 hours. In case my labor was going to start very slowly, I didn’t want to head to the hospital until something was really starting to happen. However, I was over-rided by my husband and midwife (once I called her). They were both concerned that things would go very, very fast once labor was going. Turns out they were right!
9:30 a.m. I have now checked into the hospital, mocha latte in hand–which the nurse made me throw away, but I chugged it down quickly–and am hooked up to all those monitors. The nurse reports that I am 5 cm dilated. That was the best news I had heard in a while! I still wasn’t really even contracting much! For the next few hours I walked in my room, down the halls, and around the ward. The contractions were getting stronger, but were easy to manage. During my last 40 minutes of walking, my midwife urged my to do squats during my contractions. When I started to feel a bit more uncomfortable, Jill put pressure on my lower backs and hips. It helped.
12:30 p.m. (or so . . . time had no meaning at this point) Finally steady, strong contractions! They were not overwhelming me at all. I was actually surprised at how easy it was for me to breath through them. My midwife suggests that I spend 40 minutes in the tub, to help me with transition. I LOVED the tub. It was warm and soothing. The bouyancy removed some of my aches and pains. The first 40 minutes in the tub were still fairly easy. My midwife checks me again, reporting that I am a ‘good 7cm dilated’. The next 20-30 minutes were the toughest as I experienced my first, non-medicated transition. As each contraction hit, I vividly remember making a huge effort to stay relaxed. Jill was a tremendous help at this time. She sat at the edge of the tub, speaking in a soothing voice, “Relax your forehead, relax your eyebrows, relax you mouth and jaw”. We teased JD later because after one contraction I opened my eyes and thought he was about to fall asleep. He found Jill’s voice soothing too! All of a sudden I knew the baby was coming. Jill pulled the nurse cord, and the bathroom was immediately filled with people. They helped me out of the tub and back to the bed–those few steps were so hard. I really thought the baby was coming out. Once on the bed, I had a few pushes and Jeremiah arrived, very bruised, but absolutely beautiful. There had been no time to break the bed down.
It was a beautiful experience. It was so different from my first three. Jeremiah was so much more alert and responsive. I really could see a difference in how much easier it was to feed him. Plus, I did feel a stronger connection with him. I wrote in an email later that week:
As for a natural birth, I wish I would have done the others natural as well. I wouldn’t say that I feel empowered or an emotional high . . . but you know me, my emotions don’t really swing a lot. What I would say is that I do feel a stronger connection with Miah. I feel like he is MINE. I birthed him. I suckled him. Part of it is probably knowing that he is my last, part of it going through the birthing process. I absolutely loved holding him and nursing him immediately after delivery, instead of waiting 30 minutes or so. I loved how alert he was . . . there really was a huge difference between him and the other three.
What would I do differently? Not much. I would use Jill more, I think. I really wasn’t too uncomfortable until transition hit, so I thinking I was waiting to use her bag of tricks when I really needed them. I’m guess I should be glad that I really didn’t need them too much.
I was surprised at how easy my contractions were. But pushing was harder and more painful than I expected. I was trying to follow my midwife’s advice and push gentlier, with control. I tore a bit anyway. Is that too much information?