~ Welcome to the World, Amelia Jeane Judith!
Yes, I had her 3 days early, much to my surprise! She was born on March 1, 2010 at 1:40 pm after about fiv e hours of labor and an hour of pushing. She was 7 lbs 13 oz and 20 3/4 inches long.
On Sunday, February 28, for most of the day I started feeling what I thought were gas pains. The gas pains were coming fairly regularly (like once an hour or half hour) and I just figured it was normal gas pains that I usually have and they were coming fairly frequently because I was just that constipated. So I ate dinner and went to bed, feeling pretty uncomfortable, but chiding myself for not eating enough fiber (haha . . . funny to think back on this now). I tried to go to bed early because I had not gotten much sleep the last two nights.
Around 1 or 2 in the morning I woke up feeling really bad and kept getting up to pee (because the "constipation pain" was worse when I had to pee) and to try to go to the bathroom to relieve the constipation. After I was able to go to the bathroom and STILL felt the pain, I thought for sure something was wrong, but I still thought it was constipation. I went back to bed and started crying. This was around 4:30 am. Aaron asked what was wrong. I told him. Then I started to realize that I was having the pain regularly and in waves. It was coming every two minutes or so. I thought maybe we should call the midwives or our doula, Sahana, but I thought it would be too embarrassing to call if it was just constipation.
Then I started to think, "Maybe these are Braxton-Hicks contractions?" I hadn't had any before so I had no idea what they were. I got online to see what contractions were supposed to feel like, how frequently they were supposed to occur--all that stuff. I read something about contractions feeling like gas pains at first and that being pretty normal. So Aaron started timing them and the time between them and they were about 45 seconds long and every 2 minutes. They weren't extremely strong at first so I tried to get some food down and do some housework, but by the time I got to the food I couldn't stomach anything. I drank a little orange juice and tried to drink some coffee for strength (since I hadn't eaten anything since the night before), but I just could not get it down and threw it up multiple times. I tried to do some housework, which lasted about 30 minutes to an hour and then I couldn't do much more. I still wasn't sure if they were contractions because I never felt my uterus hardening like I was told I would during a contraction. Turns out it was, I just couldn't tell.
Around 7 am I went to the bathroom and saw a bit of blood. That was when I knew I was definitely in labor. We promptly called our parents and let them know and I focused on deep breathing and relaxing during contractions. We updated our doula, Sahana, and said she should come over. Aaron tried to help me relax and did some techniques to help me stay calm during contractions.
By the time Sahana arrived at 9am I was pretty much in the throes of labor. I was starting to be unable to tell Aaron what I needed. I couldn't really walk or change positions without difficulty and pain. Sahana helped me get into positions where my labor could progress, despite the discomfort. She told Aaron when she thought my water would break and it did about 5 minutes later around 10:15. After that we decided to go to the hospital. We got there around 10:30 or 11.
They checked my dilation and I was only 4 cm dilated. I was not happy about that. Over the course of the next hour or so they got me into the tub. I couldn't get comfortable in the tub at all. I tried a few positions and then decided I could NOT do it any more. I couldn't relax between contractions, I was terribly nauseous and just felt like I could not handle it on my own any more. I no longer wanted to go through it or even try. I asked for drugs. They asked me to wait an hour. I said I would. Then, 15 minutes later I asked again for a narcotic again to take the edge off. The midwife agreed it might help me relax between contractions. They gave me an IV and the drug and I felt better for a little bit. Contractions still hurt, but I could relax. Turns out it was a good thing because I went from 5cm dilated to 9 in only 30 minutes!
The last cm went by quickly and it was time to push. This was my least favorite part. I expected to feel like pushing--that with every contraction pushing would bring relief. Instead it was kind of the opposite. With every contraction I did not feel like pushing at all and I didn't want to push, but the pain of not pushing was almost equally as bad as the pain of pushing. It took awhile to get the hang of it. I tried and tried many positions--on the toilet, on my back in the bed. Finally, another midwife came in and said the fastest way to get the baby out was squatting. Sounded terrible, but I gave it a try and it helped get the baby down far. I could see the head between my legs and after that I just kept pushing and pushing and I don't remember much, except I apparently got on all fours to deliver the baby. I don't remember her coming out--only that when the head was out it hurt like heck and I didn't want to push and make it worse, but I wanted the baby OUT! haha . . .
When she was out, they handed her to me and I was very confused. I had no idea what to do, how to hold her or anything. I was still halfway on the ground. So they helped me into bed and I held the screaming baby and I was so, SO relieved it was over! I never want to do that again! But chances are I will . . . I didn't feel as emotional at that moment as I thought I would. I was just so dazed and tired. But it was wonderful to see and hold my baby. It was a beautiful moment. I'm glad my emotions didn't overwhelm me, because I couldn't have taken much more at that second!
Aaron cut the cord and they checked her and we tried breastfeeding and she did pretty well! As for the gory details, I did have 2nd degree tears, but only barely, and frankly, the recovery really is NOT bad at all. No complaints, praise Jesus!
Now, I have a gorgeous little daughter and I don't have to go through labor again for a long time or maybe never again! haha . . . I will say that I think an epidural would have been overkill. Only if I took it in the beginning would it have been worth it, but in my case the narcotic was good to help me out and get me to the point of getting done since the contractions were coming so incredibly fast and intense and I had almost no recovery time. So I'm glad I did it. However, I will never begrudge anyone for their birth of choosing--I will strongly consider drugs or a C-section in the future. Although, by then I will probably have forgotten the trauma of giving birth and try it naturally again.