Here is the birth story of our daughter, who will henceforth be referred to on this blog as “Cupcake,” because she’s cute, little, and sweet.
I woke up at 12:30 A.M. having some moderate contractions. They weren’t extremely painful, but I thought they seemed stronger than Braxton-Hicks. After a while, I started timing them, and they were about ten minutes apart. I lay awake for several hours and then managed to doze a bit between the contractions, which had slowed down.
I continued to have light to moderate contractions throughout the morning and early afternoon. I wasn’t very diligent to time them, because they weren’t even requiring my full concentration at that point—I was able to continue doing whatever I was doing through them.
I managed to take a nap for a couple of hours in the afternoon, which I guess meant that I didn’t have contractions during that time, or they were so light they were unnoticeable.
After I woke up, I decided to take a walk to see if that would help the contractions become more intense. I walked briskly around the neighborhood for about twenty or twenty-five minutes and had four fairly strong contractions during that time. When I got home, I started to make dinner. I had all the ingredients for potato-broccoli-bacon soup, and I wanted to use them up before they spoiled, so I started making the soup, even though the temperature was in the seventies and I already felt hot. I started chopping up vegetables and realized that my contractions were getting closer together and stronger. My water broke at with a gush at 5:00 P.M. while I was standing at the kitchen sink peeling potatoes. I found a contraction timer on the internet and started using that every time I had a contraction. Within forty-five minutes or so, the contractions went from moderate intensity and about five minutes apart to extremely strong and about three-and-a-half minutes apart. My water gushed a couple more times during contractions. By this time, Hubby had called my mom, who was staying nearby, and she said she would be right over. I guess I should have realized how close I was to having a baby at that point, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up of having a short labor, so I continued trying to make the soup. I told myself all these contractions were probably a false alarm, and the baby probably wouldn’t actually come for a couple more days. Finally, Hubby told me to stop making soup and come pack my bag! He had already put in a lot of my things for me, but I tossed in a few more things between contractions, which had me yelling and pounding on the wall. My mom arrived and took charge of D.L.F., who was becoming a little upset about seeing Mama acting so strangely (at first, he thought it was just a game and tried to imitate the sounds I was making, but after a while, he realized I wasn’t playing around). As we were heading out the door, I was giving my mom instructions on how to finish the soup! She said she would figure it out just fine, and I should go get in the car.
We made it down the stairs and about halfway out to the car when a big contraction hit. I was a bit embarrassed to have to moan so loudly while there were other people in the parking lot of our apartment complex, but I couldn’t help it.
We left our house around 6:30 P.M. and got to the birth center at 6:50. During the ride, I sat in the backseat and clenched the handle grip above the door with all my might during contractions, which were getting closer and closer together. The breeze from the open windows felt great. My method of distracting myself during contractions at this time was to slowly sing the ABC song in my head and mentally write the letters in swirly cursive.
When we arrived, Hubby opened my car door for me and extended his hand to help me out, but I was in the middle of having a contraction, so he stood there waiting until the contraction finished. Then I got out of the car and had another contraction. There were three men talking together on the sidewalk at the bottom of the stairway up to the birth center. I tried to ignore them, but was again embarrassed to be making such animalistic noises. We made it up the stairs and into the birth center. I saw my midwives, but couldn’t bring myself to even greet them, as the contractions were right on top of each other and were all I could concentrate on. I requested the room D.L.F. was born in. I collapsed on my side on the bed, and Midwife L. did a quick exam and said I was at ten centimeters and ready to push. Wow! What a different experience from the hours and hours and hours we spent at the birth center awaiting the birth of D.L.F.
Someone asked if I wanted the tub filled. I said sure, but I was beyond caring where the baby would be born. I was just ready to get her out. While the tub was being filled, I sat on a horseshoe-shaped wooden birth stool, gripped the handles, and pushed. Hubby was right behind me rubbing my back the whole time. I didn’t need the back massage this time in the same way I needed it with D.L.F., who was posterior, but it was still nice to feel Hubby’s touch and know he was there supporting me. He kept telling me what a great job I was doing and reminding me that we would see our baby very soon.
I started pushing at 7:07. At first, I was yelling a low “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” every time I pushed, but Midwife L. suggested changing to a more grunty yell, which would help get the baby out more easily. And it did—Cupcake was born at 7:27 P.M., weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce, and measuring 20 ¼ inches long. It was only thirty-seven minutes from the time we walked in the door of the birth center until she was in my arms. Whew! Her APGAR scores were 9 and 10.
I bled quite a bit, approximately 450 milliliters, and so one of the midwives gave me a shot of pitocin in my right thigh to help control the bleeding.
I pushed the placenta out at 7:36. It was large, healthy-looking, and complete. Cupcake’s cord was extremely long—“Enough cord for two babies,” as one of the midwives put it. Hubby cut the cord at 7:41. I got into the tub and cleaned up a bit.
I started nursing Cupcake at 8:00. She was more interested in trying to get her fingers in her mouth than in nursing, but she did manage to latch on and suck for about forty-five minutes.
Midwife D. brought us take-out from a Thai restaurant. I had cashew chicken, and Hubby had teriyaki chicken. We were hungry, as we never had gotten to eat our soup! Hubby fed my dinner to me, as my hands were busy with Cupcake.
After we ate, Midwife L. examined me and found that I had a small first-degree tear which did not require stitches. I was so grateful for that, as getting my third-degree tear after D.L.F.’s birth stitched up was physically and emotionally as hard or harder on me than the actual birth.
We left the birth center at 10:50 P.M.—exactly four hours after our arrival. Midwife D. said, “What a great way to spend an evening. It only took the same amount of time as going out for dinner and a movie, but you got a baby!”
Hubby and I thank God for our precious, sweet baby daughter. It was a blessing to have such a quick, natural, peaceful, beautiful, relatively easy birth. Mama and Baby are both doing great.