I woke up early Thursday morning 7/14 after not having slept much, just the usual, couldn’t get comfortable, had to pee every hour, etc. I had been having some low back pain for a couple days which I attributed to the baby starting to drop, and I had a little bit of loose stools the day before - but I thought that was because I had been eating tons of fruit. I ate some breakfast and felt a little crampy like I was going to have diarrhea again. I decided to try to go back to sleep around 10:30am - and slept a bit off and on until around 11:30 - I woke up again with diarrhea cramps and went to the bathroom again and saw that I was starting to lose my mucus plug. Up until then, I did not even consider these signs of early labor, because I was so early (37 weeks exactly) and I thought I would for sure be late with a first baby.
I went into see Joe in his office and told him that I was having diarrhea, low back pain, and that I thought I was losing my mucus plug. He said “what does that mean” and I said “I think it means we are having a baby today”. I called my midwife’s emergency answering service and while I was waiting for her to call back, I went to the bathroom again and lost the rest of my mucus plug and started to leak amniotic fluid. It still had not really hit me yet that this was IT and that my baby was on her way. My MW, Bridgett called back and said that it sounded like early labor and to start timing the contractions and call her back in an hour with an update.
I went back into Joe’s office and told him it was time to stop working for the day because his job now was to time the contractions. As soon as I realized that this really WAS labor, and I put my attention on it, the contractions came fast and furious. The first contractions we timed were only 4 min apart. I called the MW back and told her that things were moving fast and she needed to be on her way (we are an hour from her).
We were planning on doing my belly cast that day, and for a few seconds, I considered trying to rush and get the belly cast done right then - until another contraction hit and I realized that was NOT going to happen. I got in the shower and let the warm water run over my lower back and circled my hips around and moaned with the contractions. They were still around 3-4 min apart and lasting about 30-45 seconds each and getting stronger. At this point I made Joe get in the shower with me to apply counterpressure to my low back and I told him I could see why people get epidurals, because it was getting really painful, and if I had been in a hospital with a nurse offering me pain relief, I don’t know that I could have said no.
I decided to get out of the shower to save the hot water for the tub for later, and went downstairs and decided that I should eat something for energy. Joe cut me up some watermelon and made me a PB&J sandwich and I had some iced pregnancy tea - I took one bite of the sandwich and couldn’t eat anymore, but did eat most of the watermelon.
The contractions were still coming fast and hard and I was fluctuating between pacing back and forth and kneeling with my head and chest on my birthing ball. I continued to leak amniotic fluid with a couple bursts of fluid during contractions and then I also started to see blood. I made Joe call Bridgett to see where she was and to ask about the blood to make sure it was ok - she was only 15 min away and said the blood was normal and that it was just from my cervix dilating.
Around this time, the contractions started to feel like I had to poop - so I started going to the bathroom to sit on the toilet during contractions - continued to have some bloody show, and just tried to relax during the contractions. I was really in pain and pacing and decided I wanted to get in the bathtub - but I wanted to wait until the midwives got there to check me first. Once the midwifes arrived, I told them I was already feeling the urge to push during the contractions, and they checked me and I was at 7cm - but was dilating to 9cm during the contractions, and that was why I was already feeling the urge to push.
I got into the bathtub and my midwifes said it was ok to push a little bit if I felt the urge and just to let my body take over. I was kind of kneeling in the tub with my head on a bath pillow and Joe was pushing on my low back during contractions, and that worked for a while, and then I flipped over and was on my back in kind of a supported squat and Joe was sitting on the edge of the tub behind me with his knees under my arms - holding me up. The midwifes checked me again and said I was ready push the baby out, I had been pushing a little bit and still moaning and grunting and making a lot of noise with each contraction, and the midwifes told me to try to visualize the sound coming out my bottom instead of my mouth and my contractions would be more effective.
I pushed a few times using this new method and started to really make progress, the baby started to crown in the next few pushes, but I was trying to take my time because I didn’t want to tear. I reached down at some point to try to hold the area that felt like it was tearing and could feel my baby’s head and it was so surreal! I remember saying “it hurts” in regards to the dreaded ring of fire. It took about 4-5 more pushes to get the baby’s head completely out, and I was so relieved once the pressure was gone. The midwives checked to make sure there was no cord wrapped around the baby’s neck, and then it was another 3-4 more pushes and the shoulders came popping out and the midwifes told me to reach down and get my baby.
I reached down and brought her to my chest and she was still all purple and covered in vernix. Joe was crying and I was just so in awe of the whole experience and so glad that the pain was finally over. It was 4:23pm - only about 4 hours from the time the contractions really started until my baby was in my arms.
The baby’s breathing was a little phlegmy sounding so the midwives turned on the oxygen and put it near her face to help her to get some good air in her lungs, she started to pink up a little bit and we were rubbing her down with a warm, wet towel, and at that point I had to look and see if we had a boy or girl and I peeked under the towel and told Joe that we had a girl!
The midwifes put a little pink hat on her and we stayed in the tub for about another 15 minutes until I passed the placenta with no problems, and Joe cut the cord and we moved into the bedroom and relaxed and took a bunch of photos (our photographer arrived right after the birth) and the midwifes checked her out thoroughly.
She weighed in at 6lbs, 15 ounces, 20 inches long, and is just beautiful and perfect.
Joe and I were both saying it was kind of nice that she was so early and unexpected, because neither one of us had time to be freaked out or nervous or anything - it was just so perfect! I had a totally intact perenium, but a few skid marks up and inside.
It was exactly the birth I wanted. Throughout my whole pregnancy, I kept visualizing a quick and easy labor and delivery. I told myself that I would be dilated to 6 before I even knew I was in labor. I am amazed at the power of my body and I feel like such a super-human for bringing a new life into the world. Being at home was better than I even imagined, spending the next few days in my bed, surrounded by family taking care of my every need so DH and I could just focus on loving our new daughter.