This is the last picture taken of me while pregnant. It was taken at the beginning of september at my baby shower. Doesn't do my belly justice at all. (By the way, do you like our cake?)
October 10th, 2012: Braxton hicks began. I hit 37 weeks on October 7th, and I had a strange feeling baby would come before her due date. The contractions started about three in the afternoon and continued until midnight. This continued until Tuesday, the 16th of October, getting stronger each day. I spent six whole days with uselessly difficult afternoons. Dealing with two kids during contractions is not in any way easy. We aired up the birth pool on this day.
Tuesday, October 16th, 2012: I thought today would be D-day. Contractions started like always around three. They were instantly 2-3 minutes apart and had me doubling over in pain. Around 7Pm, I called my awesome midwife to come because I just felt like it was actual labor this time. She came, and then suddenly, contractions started spacing apart and went on to stop almost completely. Turns out it was labor, early labor. I had a while to go.
The next day, nothing happened. I felt very discouraged that even the boring BH contractions didn't come. Oh well. The day was spent nesting like no other, refilling the air in the birth pool because there was a small hole we couldn't find, and after 6 days, the pool was only halfway blown up. That night, I made sure everything was done. I had an appointment in the morning and wanted to do nothing until after picking up my 4 year old from school.
October 18th: I woke up, and nothing happened, as normal. The husband went back to work for PT and what not, while I waited for Nina. He had been let off for tuesday and wednesday since we knew I was making some progress, but since nothing happened wednesday, back to work he went.) She arrived and we did all the normal appointment things and then I complained about being sick and tired of contractions and wanted it to just be done with. (Don't we all?) So I had this great idea of drinking the castor oil I had in the cabinets for an oil face wash I've been using. Nina left, and my exhausted self headed to the kitchen.
About 12:30ish, after a good lunch, I mixed about a tbs of castor oil in with some chocolate milk. This masks the taste very effectively, if you use enough chocolate syrup. I didn't have any of the nasty side effects castor oil is known for, so I guess either chocolate milk is awesome or I'm immune to crapping my brains out..
2:00 - I walked to the school to pick up my daughter, and nothing happened. I think I had a contraction or two, but not anything worth noting. We played at the park that day, and the second I walked in the door around 3, contractions started. Painfully. Mindnumbingly. 2-3 minute apart one on top of another. For some reason, I was sure that I was not in labor. About 4:00, I called my doula who was supposed to come over. The conversation went a little like this:
Me: "These contractions HURT. I need some help gettting through them. Do you have any ideas?"
Her: "Have you tried swaying your hips? Where do you feel them?"
Me: "They feel like superfuckingintense round ligament pains."
Her: "The hips thing should help, so should rocking or dancing."
Me: "Ok, but they're really strong. I'll try it next one."
-contraction hits- -insert screaming, moaning, and groaning here complete with high pitched squealing-
Her: "Are you sure you're not in labor?"
Her: "Call Nina and have her come over."
Me: "But I'm not in labor!"
Her: "Yes, you are. Call her."
She hung up. After the next contraction, I called my husband to see when he was coming home, as I was still pretty damn sure I wasn't in labor. He said he was on his way and asked if I was, you know, in labor. I said no. Then a contraction hit. He also said to call Nina. But of course, I was NOT in labor. No way were these crazy intense fast paced contractions labor. About 4:45 or so, he walked in the door, helped me deal with a few contractions. Packing back and forth, dancing, and screaming like I was dying are what helped the most at that point. After a few contractions, as I have no clue how many, he forced me to call Nina. That conversation went like this:
Me: "I'm definitely not in labor, but Morgan and Michael think you should come."
Her: "Well, what would make them think you're in labor. Are you having contractions?"
Me: "Yes, they're like the other night, but stronger."
-contraction hits. I'm grabbing my stomach, screaming and yelling at this point-
Her: "I'm on my way." /end call.
I recall going up stairs until Morgan arrived, but I'm pretty sure this is the point I went into laborland. I was really hoping I'd be coherent the entire labor. How crazy was I for thinking that? I have no idea when Nina. I do remember morgan using a rebozo and it helped immensely. Once Nina did arrive, Morgan asked if I wanted the pool filled up. I remember telling her at this point that once again, I was not in labor and that filling up the pool was useless. She then asked me if I needed anything, and I replied, "SOMEBODY CALL NATASHA." She was supposed to be photographing the birth for me. They ended up getting ahold of her via facebook. Thank you, facebook. Following that Morgan filled up the pool, even though for some awful reason, I was SO SURE it was not labor.
I love the baby smiling in this picture. It totally embodies the power of this birth.
Soon, I had a huge need to vomit all over everything. But I didn't puke. I think this event happened before Nina arrived and I recall her saying that the need to puke means you're getting reallllly close. In all honestly, looking back at it, I think this was the point where I started to go into transition.
As I came out of the bathroom, I came out of laborland when Morgan said the pool was filled up. For a full minute or two, I could actually think! It was a nice change. I waited until after a contraction, and ran down the two flights of stairs as fast as I could. I don't think I've ever seen a pregnant woman move that fast in my entire life. The next contraction hit as I was climbing into the pool. The water was enough relief to where I had one or two contractions where I wasn't totally screaming my brains out. I think. I could be very wrong, but I remember them being easier to deal with for a total of three or four contractions. Back to labor land I went after that for however long I was in laborland. I had no sense of time or direction at this point.
Side note: Throughout the entire story, once my husband arrived home, he was constantly rubbing and putting counterpressure on my back. It helped SO much, and I am very sure I couldn't have done it without him being there right next to me through each and every wave of pain.
Suddenly, I had about a five minute break between two contractions. I felt so great during that time, and we even laughed. Nina made a great stiff joke. I wish I could remember what it was, as I was laughing for days afterward. Should have written it down. I think this is the point where I was fully dilated and going into transition, because after that, all I remember is pain. Lots of pain. I tried so hard to just "escape" and go somewhere else until baby arrived, but it just wasn't happening. After what felt like a few eternities, I asked Nina to check me, because I noticed I was fighting contractions and wanted it to be over. I also said that I wasn't moving so she had to maneuver and figure it out on her own. That worked, and she told me I was fully dilated and could push whenever I want.
The pushing began the next contraction. My water broke, and out came her head, and for some reason, perhaps the same reason I didn't think I was in labor, I didn't stop pushing when the contraction ended.
Nina: "Are you pushing?"
Me: "Yes. GET IT OUT." (I may have thought the get it out part. I don't know if I said that out loud or not.)
Nina: "Well stop. Its not very effective and you might tear." (Again, I think that's what was said, but it could have been different. That's how I interpreted what was said though.)
I stopped, and once the next contraction hit, she came out into the water. The next thing I recall I was sitting down in the pool trying to keep her head above water. Her cord was fairly short, as I was holding her super uncomfortably because of it. I asked later how Astrid came forward to me, and Nina said she had pushed her enough to guide her forward between my legs.
The other two kids came down to the basement at this point. I have absolutely no idea what they were doing throughout labor. I asked aria if she wanted to cut the cord, but i think the blood in the water bothered her too much. Natasha got the opportunity.
That awesome moment when you and your baby really look at each other for the first time and connect.
Natasha cutting the cord
The kids meeting their new baby sister
Dad and daughter bonding instantly
Big sister admiring little sister
New baby being weighed. She ended up being 3500g. Or roughly 7lbs 14oz. My biggest baby! What a happy birth. Also, this is Nina, the most amazing cool helpful wonderful person I know, and not just in the aspect of birth. She's knowledgeable in all kinds of things and even caught a tongue tie that was causing issues. The best part about her? She knows how to trust you and just go with it. If you ever find yourself in Bavaria and pregnant, this is who you should see.
Overall, I wouldn't change a thing about my birth, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat, except, I better not have any more children!