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Birth Story, Part I

On Sunday morning, the 12th, I was having fairly easy contractions, very similar to the ones I had been having. DH said that I had “that look” though, so we were expecting things would pick on up. I called the midwife to give her a heads up. I expected things would get going when the boys went down for quiet time, and sure enough, they did, and I had good contractions about 5 minutes apart for that couple of hours, so we called the midwife again. They had petered out some when she got here (it was time for the boys to get up again, so I knew that would happen), but she checked me, and I was quite effaced and a stretchy 4. She said she was going to leave, but expected to be back by dark, just call her. We chatted a while, and I got up to go potty while she gathered her things. When I came out, her hand was on the doorknob, and I started having contractions that buckled my knees. I was at the back of the couch, holding on to it, and said, “Midwife, I think you better not go.” This was right at 6pm. Baby had slammed from -1 station to + 1 in about 10 minutes.

The contractions were 2 minutes apart, and incredibly intense. I got to the end of the bed, and kneeled down so I could rest my upper body on the mattress, and she gloved up, because we both expected the baby to come flying out. But, no! In spite of the 8 centimeter contractions, I was still at 3-4.

After about 3 hours 30 minutes of these back to back contractions, I got up to go to the bathroom, and things backed off a bit. I piddled around, doing this and that, gathering clothes for me for after, etc.

Things continued to be start and stop, mostly stop for a couple hours. I was glad for the break when it first occurred, but then I was ready to get down to business, and still no more good contractions. At 8:15, I hit a real good 6 and the babe was well down and applied to the cervix.

So, I started knitting, LOL! Finally around midnight, I made the connection. As long as I was standing or sitting bolt upright, the good contractions continued, but as soon as I relaxed my positioning into something less rigid, they stopped. So, I stood. And I sat bolt upright. Of course, by this time, I had been laboring for several hours, and the “good contractions” were incredibly intense. All that added up to not being able to stand for very long at a time, because I felt like I was going to fall down.

We sent the younger girls on to bed at 12, as I was really beginning to feel the pressure to produce a baby NOW! NOW! NOW!, and promised to wake them before the babe came. I was kneeling on the living room floor, knitting that sock toe, when the contractions began to feel “grunty”, though a trial push was no good. I had the midwife’s assistant wake the girls at that point, though they still had to wait awhile.

1:00 AM 13 Feb, 8 centimeters. The bag had been bulging for awhile, and so we elected to break it at 2 AM, since I was still at 8, with baby at +2 station.

2:35-2:50 almost complete, and there was a goodish resting phase. I sang through several contractions, trying to hold off pushing as long as I could, trying to wait out a cervical lip, but eventually, I could not wait anymore, and here came the babe. First push at 3:00.

Her head was not flexed, so she was snagged on the perineum at about the eyebrows for a contraction. At 3:06 she popped right on out, the rest of the head and the shoulders (together) in one contraction.

We were quite concerned, as she did not cry out like we expected and her head was terrifyingly blue. I finally looked at her body, which was a nice rosy pink, and just kept saying, “the body is pink”, “her body is pink”, as the midwife scrambled for the stethoscope to check her heart and everyone looked on horrified.

Heart was great, breathing was great, she just had a huge bruise covering the entire head down to eyebrow level. She latched on and suckled well (we thought), and life was good again. Her apgars were 8 and 10, she was 5 pounds 6 ounces, and 17.5 inches long.

She sang for several hours after she was born. It was the sweetest sound. I have never had a baby sing to me before, though this is not the only one I’ve “sung out”.

Next up: how jaundice sucks.

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