Born on Sunday (full moon) September 30, 2012 at 8:05am/ 7lbs 7ounces/ 20inches long
It was one o’clock in the morning and I wake up feeling the need to go to the bathroom, but for some reason this time in my head I thought “careful, careful” as I rolled out of bed. Then I noticed that I couldn’t hold this one in and after it just didn’t stop coming I knew it was my water that had broken. I walk out of the bathroom and Dave is already awake wondering what’s going on. I say to him, “I think the baby is coming.” At around 1:20 I call my midwife, Karen, just to let her know. She tells me ok and that I should try to get some sleep. I knew she was right; that it was probably going to be a long day, but after that, contractions started and there was absolutely no way to get to sleep. I had Dave time them for a little while as I labored over the side of the bed. I had expected them to not be so active until later, but they were constantly around a minute to a minute and a half long with the same time breaks in between. I tried getting comfortable on the bed, on the side of the bed, out on the couch but nothing felt right. Plus I was telling Dave, “How am I supposed to sleep when it just keeps leaking?!” and at this point I felt a little tired and frustrated saying “I just want to lie down.” Around 3am things had cleared up. I had Dave text Karen to let her know the progression.
The contractions were consistent, but hard and I had to try and control my breathing. The best technique that helped me out was making “horsey” or “raspberry” lips when blowing out. Dave was trying not to laugh, but I thought they were a God send. When I thought in my head, “oh God this is going to last forever” and “I don’t want to anymore” they helped me focus and stay in the moment. After that I started to get the hang of things and it really wasn’t so bad. Dave was such a huge support. He talked me though every single contraction. He said things like “you are so beautiful right now, I am so proud of you, so amazed” and made me look him in the eyes every time so I could focus on breathing and not the pain.
At this point, even though I was getting control over my breathing and handling things ok, my back was hurting even when I wasn’t having a contraction. I decided then to fill the bath tub. Earlier that morning we discovered that the plug we had for the pool didn’t work for the pump (we thought we had more time to test these things!) Dave got a little frustrated since he wanted everything to work out, but I said that it was ok I would just use the bathtub. I tell you what, that was absolutely amazing! I thought it would be uncomfortable, but it was the heated water that was the ONLY thing that made my back feel good and I could FINALY relax and lie down during my breaks.
Dave says that during this point in the labor I was very rhythmic. I would start breathing fast, grab for his hand to pull me up to a squatting position either in the tub or toilet, control my breathing with raspberry lips, there would be a peak point of intensity, then I would be done and lie back down in the water. Afterwards, he would rub my head with a cold cloth then get me to sip some vitamin water or eat a couple bites of pineapple . One minute or so each contraction and one minute break. With the tub and warm water though, my breaks were wonderful and at this point I would pass out for a bit until the next contraction came along.
It was either 6 or 7 in the morning when the midwife called Dave wondering how everything was going because she hadn’t heard from us in a while. She said she would start to head over. We really didn’t realize how close to being done we were otherwise we would have called earlier! I kept checking myself to see if I could feel the baby and at one point got a little sad and said “but he’s still so far up there!” Dave wanted me to stop checking so that I wouldn’t disappoint myself. Luckily, pushing started, and the intensity of the contractions was making a difference. I could honestly feel him moving down.
My labor was more intense now as pushing began. I want to point out that I didn’t start trying to push; my body did that itself. It was a very powerful feeling and probably most painful part of my labor. Dave tried to help me when I would lose focus. When I would give him a sad look he would say “No, don’t Nicole, you’ve got this, ride on top of the wave, focus, do your raspberry lips.” He was wonderful and really got me through it all, but at this point the adrenaline was kicking in and breathing techniques weren’t helping to cope. I just had to push through it. Most of my words throughout this and the rhythmic part of labor were singular, “water” or just “Dave” as I reached for his hand, but there was one point of lucidity after Dave got me through a really tough contraction. He was telling me to say “yes” instead of “no” or “oww.” He told me I needed to “embrace” it and push through the pain. For some reason this reminded me of a silly military poster I had once seen. In this moment of lucidity I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Embrace the suck!” We both laughed and I went back into labor mode.
Just knowing Karen was on her way helped me get through the next few pushes and contractions. I was thinking how it really was a good idea that she was on her way because I was feeling the “ring of fire” and it was getting so intense. She arrived at our place around 7:30. I remember silly little things like her red shoes and white shirt wondering why she picked such a colored shirt to wear to something as messy as a birth. She smiled at me so sweetly and I knew it was ok. In the next moment I had another contraction and she heard me push. She asked Dave, “so how long has she been doing that?” to his reply of “Maybe an hour or so.” She was surprised, but she quickly rushed to get things together. She wanted Dave to help her with a bag downstairs, but I kept saying “No! Don’t go, don’t go” Then as I checked myself I yelled out, “I can feel his head! I can feel him coming!” Karen went down stairs to grab her things and when she came back up she barely had time to grab her gloves. In fact, after she saw me she said, “ok screw the gloves” then “in or out of the water, you can’t be in both.” So I stood up, braced myself on her shoulders and pushed so hard through this contraction and felt the ring of fire shoot up towards the front on my body as his head came out followed by the rest of him spilling out. Karen quickly unwrapped the cord and put Jackson in my arms. Dave said the look on my face was priceless. Big, wild, shocked eyes of astonishment.
Karen dried me off and helped me walk over to the bed. The cord stopped pulsing and Dave cut it. I physically had to push the placenta out which was entirely different from the pushing I felt with my baby. However, after it was out it was the most relieving feeling. I felt wonderfully empty. Karen let me know that I did have a little bit of tearing and abrasion and that it was going to need stitches. That really was so intimidating to think of a needle down there after just having pushed a baby out, but Dave held my hand, and after being nicely numbed up it really wasn’t anything to have worried about. After everything was all done, Dave and I marveled at Jackson and called our families to come see. We were both so proud and overall it was wonderful. I will only have my memories of the experience to carry with me, but I can honestly say that every time I look back I will think nothing less than, “that was amazing.”