When H was less than 2 months old, I wrote out her birth story to share with my friend Kathleen. I’m really glad I did, because almost 2 years later the details are not as clear in my memory as they were then!
Since then, several people have asked for our daughter’s birth story and I’ve always meant to post it online to have a link to share. So, here it is!
The night of March 31st (9:14pm, actually; I don’t know how/why I remember that!) I felt my first contraction that seemed stronger than Braxton-Hicks. Paul and I both had felt a little sick to our stomachs so we’d gone to bed after dinner, around 7pm, and I woke up feeling the contraction. I looked at my watch, waited, and felt two more before 10pm when Paul woke up. I told him I thought I was going into labor and he got really nervous… we’d really expected her to come a week or more late, not 4 days early!
Paul got out his ipod contraction timer and we timed several contractions. They were just lasting 15 seconds or so, and there was really no pattern to their frequency. We called the midwife and told her, but she said that since they weren’t regular yet, I should try to get a good night’s sleep. She expected me to be in labor a long time. So we went to bed (so obviously the contractions weren’t very hard at this point).
At 1:30am I woke up with a really strong contraction, more than I could sleep through. The next contraction was the same. For some reason I felt that the softness of the bed made the contractions hurt worse, even though I’m not sure that was true or made any sense, so I put a bunch of towels on the bathroom floor and layed down there. The contractions were pretty strong but I could easily breathe through them so I didn’t wake Paul up until that changed at 3am. I called him to come talk me through the contractions and help me relax. I’m not very good at relaxing 🙂 but he was good at encouraging me. We called the midwife again and she said she’d be on her way.
At this point my body was pumping out a lot of hormones (nature’s drugs :-D) so I actually don’t remember it very clearly.The next thing I remember is her arrival at 5:45am. She checked me and I was already 9cm dialated; she said that as soon as my water broke the baby would come quickly. I sat on the toilet, pushed a little, and it broke so I went back to lay on the bed.
Pushing was the only part I would describe as painful, and even that only hurt bad for the minute or less that her head was at its largest point coming out (it got stuck a little because she had the umbilical cord over her shoulder, like a purse strap, and that hurt really bad). But the midwife put olive oil on me and coached me through gentle pushing, so I didn’t tear at all (which meant I had a really fast recovery from birth!) Once her head was out, the rest of her body came out with just one tiny push, and I got to hold her immediately and didn’t really even notice pushing out the placenta because I was so enthralled with my new baby girl.