|Brandi and her son Oliver
After weeks of false labor, the real contractions crept in early Wednesday, May 15th, 2009 at 2am. I knew something was different about these contractions because they were quite a bit more intense than the false ones I'd had before, but I didn't want to get too excited. I laid in bed for an hour or two to make sure this was really happening, and then I got up and started timing the contractions. They were all over the place, ranging from 6 to 10 minutes apart, and lasting 45-60 seconds each.
It continued this way until about 9am when I called the doula, Becky, to let her know I thought something was happening. She suggested that I go to the chiropractor and get adjusted to get things moving more efficiently, so I got showered and to the chiropractor by 9:45am. Within an hour, the contractions really seemed to even out and get more consistent at 10 minutes apart, lasting about a minute. Jason and I went to Subway on the way home; we were starving and both got foot longs to prepare ourselves for a long night, maybe longer. We knew it might be anywhere from 24-48 hours still.
Once we got home around 11am or noon, the contractions started getting closer, in the 7-8 minute apart range, and getting more intense. I had to breathe deeply between contractions and position myself on all fours. Soon I had to moan in between contractions too. By 2pm or so the contractions were getting to be 4 to 5 minutes apart and pretty intense. I wanted to use the bathtub to relax, but knew I had to wait to be 5 cm dilated, so I decided to call Becky and have her come assess my progress. Becky showed up at 3pm and soon after she arrived things really began to pick up. The contractions quickly became more intense and closer together, but at this point we weren't counting; we knew things were really happening.
I was becoming very internally focused now on the contractions, and on my bed on all fours leaning against Jason through the contractions. Becky then called the midwife, Kari, to come over. The contractions started coming closer and almost on top of each other and I started to feel like I had to go to the bathroom. I was in the bathroom trying to go and there were several contractions back to back and I became overwhelmed with emotions and began to cry while slow dancing with Jason. I was so happy that I was soon to meet my baby, and I couldn't believe it was finally here! The contractions were so intense and the crying so overwhelming that I couldn't tell Jason and Becky that they were happy tears, so Jason was a little worried--poor guy! Then I finally got it out that they were seeing happy tears and they both laughed.
I went back to the bed and Kari arrived and when she saw me knew right away that I was 9cm--a vaginal exam confirmed this. Contractions were extremely intense and I was pushing against Jason really hard. I thought a bath might help, so we moved upstairs to the bath and it was very soothing. The contractions were much more bearable in the warm water. It was about 6pm and I was in the tub for the next several hours or so. Kari checked me again and I was 10 cm with a slight cervical lip. We gave it some time, and after about an hour or so the lip was still there, so Kari had me try pushing on the next contraction, as she thought the lip was minimal enough that the baby's head would pass by it. I tried pushing in the tub and on the toilet, but it just didn't feel right, and I was afraid. So Kari suggested that we try moving back downstairs and trying some other positions to get me pushing. When I got out of the water, the pain got much more intense.
Kari had me side straddle down the stairs, and lean to the side, and the pain was unbearable when I did this, so we just went down the stairs and got onto the bed. Kari was going to have me spend 20 minutes on my left side, 20 on my back, and 20 on my right side. The pain was unbearable--I didn't think I could do it at this point, and I was scared that the cervix would swell. I didn't know what was going to happen, and I didn't think this would work. I was moaning very loudly during contractions, and just in unimaginable pain. Then I moved to my back and they had my legs up like in the hospital. Still unbearable pain, then we moved to the right side, and still terrible pain. I didn't realize it at the time, but looking back on it I realize I was in transition during that point.
Then suddenly I got a crazy urge to push--YES!! It was awesome! It had worked! So I crawled onto all fours, again with Jason in front of me for support. I began pushing, and it was extremely hard work, like running a marathon. Out of nowhere, the only way I could cope with the straining was to scream. I got about two or three pushes in per contraction and was really getting into it. I wanted to meet my baby so bad! Kari eventually had me reach down and feel the head and I felt the soft skin and hair! Then a couple more pushes that took every bit of my might and the head was out. I felt the most intense burning as the head came out, then felt tickles as the baby cried and Kari checked for cord around the neck. Then I pushed out the rest of the baby and felt the body move through me--a wonderful feeling. Oliver was born at 11:04pm May 15th, 2009. I leaned back to sit and Kari gave me my baby--it was unreal. I looked down and saw it was a boy, and he was so perfect! I couldn't believe how perfect he was, and his slimy body felt wonderful. I was in complete awe of him and I was so relieved it was all over.
I sat back in bed while I held him and they had me push to get the placenta out, but sitting back wasn't a good position for me to push it out, so we clamped the umbilical cord and Jason cut it so I could squat and push out the placenta. It came right out once I squatted. Then we tried to get breastfeeding going, but all Oliver wanted to do was suck on his hands, which made it difficult. So we made another bath and Oliver and I soaked together and he just came alive in the water. He opened his dark grey eyes wide and just looked around; it was amazing. Later we settled into bed and I couldn't sleep--I was on an emotional high and couldn't stop staring at my beautiful baby. Giving birth to Oliver was the most profound experience of my life.