This said, when the labor started I was feeling more pain in my back then anywhere else, so I continued to roll around on my birth ball and just hum to myself. Then around 4:00am, I had called the doctors as my contractions were actually quite close together… just not intense and my water hadn’t broken. For some reason, the midwife on call said to go into the hospital. Well, what do you know? By 6:00am, they were sending me home with some medication to get me some sleep and a note to come back when my water had broken.
Did I sleep? Hell, no! What were they thinking? Someone who has anxiety disorder, who has taken ambien in the past and the $#i% doesn’t work on me, and well… I was a little panicky because I have never had a baby before. So what do I do? Strung up on ambien, I go and take a bath while my husband was downstairs checking in for work and letting them know the “baby’s arrival was imminent.” Yeah, for all those out there… Don’t take a bath when strung out on ambien. Most people sleep with that stuff. Not me. I just walk around hung over. Still, not a good idea to submerge oneself in water without supervision. But God was watching out for me, and nothing happened. Plus, hubby came to check on me and panicked when he saw me in the bath. He didn’t leave my side after that. (We had a similar incident with another medication way back when we were first dating… answered the door. Buck. Naked. Don’t remember a damn thing. But that is for another post).
At around 10:30am… little Sunshine was ready to come out and the water broke. We headed into the hospital and they strapped me to monitors. Problem is, Sunshine kept kicking the darn things off. (If I didn’t say this already, Sunshine was a consummate soccer player in my womb since week 11 of my pregnancy. I am really sensitive to things going on with my body, and that is when it started. She rarely stopped for the entirety of the pregnancy and even after she was born. The girl had/has ants in her pants!!) So whenever a doctor would try to listen to her, she would kick at whatever was pressing on the stomach. Including the cat. While in labor, I just could not sit down because my back pain was so bad. The nurses and midwife were so worried because the baby monitor kept falling off, or moving (even if they made me lay in bed- which SUUUCCCKKED). It was because Sunshine was not having it. She was ready to come out and things pressing on the tummy in an already cramped situation was not what she wanted.
From 10:30am-3:30pm, my contractions continued. I was at 3.5 centimeters by that point and progressing nicely. The contractions were constant. Never really stopping so I could catch a breath, and when they ebbed, they didn’t really stop or go away… they just weren’t as painful as they were when they really contracted…. and they hurt. Mostly, the pain was in my back. It just killed. But Sunshine was not in a position to cause “back labor.” My back is just that whacked out. By 5:30pm, I was in tears and just wanted my back pain to stop. The nurses were concerned because they couldn’t get a good reading on Sunshine because I was standing, and wanted me to lay down. This was not happening with my back. So, though I was hoping for a natural birth… I opted for the epidural. Man… wish I had gone for that sooner.
The action of putting in the epidural was a challenge because they wanted to wait for my contractions to go down to insert it. Problem was my contractions didn’t let up for them to do it easily. But, the anaesthesiologist was awesome and got it in with only a few pin pricks. Really, my back hurt so much that I didn’t notice much else. Poor Mike, was in front of me holding on to me while tears rolled down my face. I think he was in pain from my being in pain. At least the look on his face said that much. We were about to be parents and I think we were both scared poo-less!!
After this it was smooth sailing. Amazing really. I could self-administer more or less of the epidural as time went along. I didn’t really use it until later. By 8:30pm, I was 8 centimeters. At 10:00pm, I was at 10 centimeters. Usually doctors worry that the labor will slow down when given an epidural, but we had no problems there. They began to set up for the delivery. I guess I had this greenish/silvery bubble sticking out, and you could see Sunshine’s hair waving around in it. I had them bring a mirror so I could see it, but would not permit Mike to take a picture. Now I kinda wish he had. It was called a “caul.” (A child “born with the caul” has a portion of the amniotic sac or membrane remaining on the head. There are two types of cauls. The most common caul is adhered to the head and face, and looped around the ears of the infant. Birth with a caul is rare, occurring 1 in every 80,000 births.- Wikipedia). If you really want to see what the caul looks like, you can visit here. The rare ones born in the caul are known as “caulbearers.”
When they told me I would be pushing soon, I gave my self an extra pump of the epidural button at 10:30pm, and then at 10:40pm. I started pushing at 10:51pm and little Sunshine came out at 11:17pm. Twenty-six minutes of pushing and we had/have the most beautiful little girl! Because I didn’t have to push very long, (I guess this is where many women would hate me) and because her head was lubricated and protected by the caul, her little head was perfectly round. She was mostly clean with very little vernix on her. My midwife said that the umbilical cord was pretty dead and it was good she came out when she did.
I hurt a whole bunch afterwards. They say you are in this whole other world with your little one when they come out. Really, Mike and I were. Amazed. Awed. Astounded by this little life. But having to have a DNC while trying to establish our connection with Sunshine? That sucked because the epidural had definitely worn off by then and I felt the scrapping and pulling and tugging of the placenta that really didn’t want to detach from my uterus. Ughh!! I kept saying, “Uh! I feel that. Uh… that hurts. Uh, OW!”
Other than that, and the lovely few stitches I got, I felt like I deserved a gold star. I’ve got some majorly awesome tummy muscles (hidden beneath my lovely phat . I don’t even have to do those lovely kegel exercises because all’s good under the hood down there. No accidental pee accidents from laughing or anything. I am super lucky!!! I honestly owe this to singing. If I hadn’t developed those lovely muscles from singing and using breath support, would never have made it. Totally kept me calm throughout the pregnancy, too.
So… that is my birth experience. They kept me in the hospital for 3 days. Mostly to keep an eye on me, and my lack of meds and oh… the stress induced first breast feedings. We got a social worker that came in to make sure I was “okay” emotionally, and had established mental health care. All-in-all, I am supremely blessed and lucky that it went as well as it did. I have several friends who had a much tougher time of it, and I often feel guilty for it going so well. Will it be as easy next time? Don’t know. I think the process was helped a great deal by the caul and what are the odds that will happen again? Not as good, I think.
That is my birth story. If I can give any advice to soon-to-be first time momma’s, it is go with your gut. Do whatever you need to do to stay calm and have a healthy baby. As my ARNP said, it is better to have a pink baby than a blue baby… and if you stress to much you deplete the amount of oxygen to the little one and end up with the blue baby. So do whatever you need to do to stay calm and enjoy the process… as much as you can in this given situation. It really is a beautiful experience.
Oh! and don’t forget to giggle!