Apologies if anything in here is TMI. But let's dive in!
so as mentioned, Friday evening resulted in alot of prelabour. I assume this brought me to around 2 or 3 cm dialated. The contractions then tapered off throughout Saturday. Early Saturday evening I started to get some back pain, and occasional pressure in my (ahem!) rectal area. It was very odd. I literally felt like I had to poo every 20-30 minutes or so. Baby had always been in a good birthing position, spine curved along my left side, head down, so I didn't think she was posterior, causing back contractions.
These pains were coming a few times an hour, so I got on the floor and did some cat stretches or rested forward on the ball. That helped some. Some of them were very painful, so we called our doula, Lorena, and asked her opinion. She hadn't heard of this before, told us we were probably still in early labour and to call her overnight if contractions started up again, or to watch for the desire to push. We also checked with Catherine, the midwife, who confirmed she figured we were in early labour and just try to get some rest. She didn't think it was worthwhile to come to the house and check me at this point, since the "pains" were so irregular.
As the night progressed, the rectal pressure continued, and they started to increase when I felt them - every 15 minutes or so, to every 10 minutes or so. Regan started timing them, to see what they were doing. Around 6am they increased to every 2-5 minutes, and were beginning to last longer then 45 seconds. And every third one, I felt a huge desire to push. And often those ones I could feel pressure on my cervix, and tried to hold them in, but couldn't. I would say every third to fifth one was accompanied by a stomach contraction. However, I was an idiot - I really didn't think I was in labour. I thought I was having a bad reaction to the castor oil in the induction cocktail, and my intestines were just trying to clean themselves out. I thought it was payback for agreeing to drink something with castor oil in it!
At about 7am we called Catherine because the pain was becoming unbearable. She agreed to come over and check me, after listening to me breathe through a "pain" session. 30 minutes later she arrived, checked my cervix and said "ok. we need to go to the hospital now. you are 8cm". Umm what?!?! I didn't have time to change, brush my teeth, grab our hospital items. We had to leave, and we had to leave now. Did I mention it had snowed the night before for the first time this season? Thankfully it was 7:30 on a Sunday morning, so traffic was light.
My carefully planned phone tree list went out the window. We quickly texted our best friends to give them the update, and called my mom and Lorena to meet us at the hospital. By the time we got there, I was 10 cm. The beauty of a midwife was she had already called and checked me in, so we went right to my delivery room, I hopped up on the table, and I started pushing. It was 8 or 8:30am. Catherine also broke my water, since that hadn't happened yet. It had meconium in it, so they called a pediatrician consult to check the baby as soon as she was born.
My mom and Lorena arrived by 9am. Catherine continued to coach me through contractions. In these early pushes, I found pushing on my side the most comfortable. We also tried me on all fours - that helped to move her down, but I didn't find it very comfortable. I got tired quickly. For the last hour or so I pushed in the more traditional position - on my back with my legs up, the table angled down. I had my mom, Lorena and the nurse to hold various appendages while I pushed. I don't think I could have held up my legs that long without them. Regan continued to be a great coach, by my head and cheering me on through each push. He would also hold my back up during a contraction.
We went along this way for 2 1/2 hours. Catherine wouldn't let me push too hard or too long, and instead slowly helped me move the baby up. For awhile I thought she was some sort of 80's fitness extremist. It was always "just a few more contractions and she will be here". It was always just a few more contractions. It felt like she was never going to come out!
At one point I turned to the nurse and said "I don't think I can do this anymore". She replied "whenever someone says that, they are very close". And she was right. A few pushes later, at 10:56am, baby Keira was finally born. There had been a ton of meconium in the amniotic fluid, so they were worried she wouldn't respond right away, but she started wailing the second she hit the table. It was a joyful sound. And she came out with one hand by her face. Viva la revolution! Apparently this is what caused all the rectal pressure. It was likely her hand moving around during labour. It also resulted in a small tear. Catherine thought if she hadn't had her hand there, I wouldn't have torn at all.
So that is the story of my med free non-labour labour. Seriously, what kind of idjiot doesn't know they are in labour?
So a few things I remember -
1. the burning sensation in the final moments of pushing seems unbearable. But it means you are close!
2. the whoosh sound/feeling when they finally do come out is absolute heaven. It made the preceding 3 hours of pushing worthwhile.
3. you are immediately incredibly cold. I couldn't get warm for a few days.
4. everyone should have 5 people help them labour. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I say it takes a village to birth a baby.
5. you can be in labour without having stomach contractions :)
Keira scored 9/10 on both of her Apgars, and she breastfed within the hour. I was exhausted and elated all at the same time. Immediately grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles all arrived to greet miss thing. Everyone was so excited. We are so lucky to have so much love for her already.