Sunday, December 28, 2008 I began having mild contractions late in the evening that were coming every four to ten minutes apart. The contractions were very sporadic. I decided to take a hot shower thinking that TODAY was going to be the big day. After the shower I decided to lie down on my left side to see if the contractions would go away. We put on a movie and I tried my hardest to ignore the contractions. About thirty minutes later, to our surprise, they stopped. I was able to sleep until about 5am.
Early Monday, December 29, 2008 I awoke to abdominal cramps. I continued to feel this way until I got out of bed at 7am. I went to the bathroom feeling like I really had to pee and heard a PLOP… look into the toilet and there it was, the mucus plug. I excitedly yelled to Karli and KNEW that today was going to be our son’s birthday. In all of our natural childbirth classes we were encouraged to ignore early labour as much as possible and “do life”. We thought it would be the smartest idea to take the dogs to a friend’s place and did so on the way into work. Karli needed to tie up some loose ends at work, so we thought we would go in for a little while, understanding that we most likely weren’t going to be there too long. I called our MW Nancy at 8am to give her a “heads up” that I had lost the mucous plug and was having contractions. The contractions were consistently ten minutes apart at this point. She told me to call her back at 11am and see what was happening at that point. We dropped off the dogs and arrived at work. I got on the computer to update blogland, and Karli went about her business at the shop. While at work the contractions intensified. I no longer was comfortable sitting down at the computer…I noticed I was breathing a little heavier than normal. I got up and just walked around the shop, into the show room, the bathroom and just generally not wanting to be around anyone. The contractions were coming every 5-8 minutes at this point. When I had to start swaying back and forth and holding onto something, I decided it was in our best interest to leave and return home. Karli knew from looking at me that labour was progressing pretty quickly. We left work at 10:30.
Again, trying my best to ignore labor and “do life”, we decided to shoot in the grocery store and pick up a few last minute items. The contractions were coming every 5 minutes or so. I had one getting out of the car and waited for it to pass, just holding on to the mirror of our SUV. Then we grabbed a cart and went shopping. I had several contractions in the grocery store, and stopped walking and held on tightly to the shopping cart. At the checkout, I had a pretty strong contraction, and noticed I was moaning softly. One of the grocery guys looked at Karli and said “is she OKAY?”. Karli responded, “Oh yeah, she’s fine…we’re just in labour.” To which he replied, “Oh my God, do you want me to call the paramedics?!” Ha! Karli just calmly said “Oh no, we’re having a homebirth and we’re just trying to ignore labour right now.” Ha again. He looked at us like we were crazy and just said, “Oh okay….” And walked off. It was 11am in the car on the way home, and I called Nancy. I told her I thought the contractions were coming every 4-5 minutes, but I wasn’t sure because I couldn’t time them in the store. I was still able to talk to her and be coherent, so she asked me to go home and time them and then call her in an hour (at 12pm).
Once we arrived home, Karli went into action…she started getting out all of our birth supplies, and doing some last minute things to prepare. I was just walking around the house and doing okay at this point. I pulled up a program on the computer that tells you how far apart the contractions are, and how long they last. I couldn’t concentrate enough to watch a clock and right them down. So, all I had to do was hit the SPACEBAR, and let the computer do the work. Within 15-20 minutes the contractions were getting more painful and I was finding it hard to get to the computer in time to hit the SPACEBAR. I was now moaning through each contraction…they seemed to be really painful coming every 3 minutes or so. I did this until 12pm, when I called Nancy. She kept me on the phone for awhile, hoping to hear me have a contraction on the line. It didn’t seem like a had a really tough one, so she didn’t hear me moaning like I had been! She asked me if I thought she should come over now. Still thinking labour was hours away, I said “no, I think I’m okay…I’ll know when I REALLY need you here.” She asked me to call her again in one hour (1pm).
The contractions intensified almost immediately, and took me to a new level of pain. I swayed back and forth and relied on Karli heavily. I remember when a contraction came on, I would call out to Karli, “I need you now!” and she would come running. I stood for most of the contractions, putting my arms around her neck and digging my chin into her. That was the only way I felt secure, and she had to support most of my weight – hard job! I should have called Nancy sooner, but waited until 1pm to call again. She sensed how much I had progressed, just hearing my voice, and said she was coming over. She said she would be at our place in 45 minutes. I told her the contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes. In actuality, they were coming every minute or two. This is where it starts to get a little blurry…I felt like I was being hit repeatedly with contractions…not getting much of a break. Karli helped me through each one as the pain increased. I needed her attention 100% or I felt I would lose it mentally and emotionally. She was being so supportive, encouraging me and telling me how great of a job I was doing. She kept reminding me that Nancy and her assistant would be here soon.
I remember around 1:30, my mind went to another place. I stopped hearing my birthing music that was coming out of the player, and needed Karli in my face. I squeezed her hard every time and just made deep moans. The midwife arrived at 2:15pm. Karli went down to help them bring up all their supplies. I remember thinking, “How am I going to get through a contraction without her?” At this point I was kneeling on our leather couch with my hands gripping the corner of the sofaback. I don’t remember saying hello to Nancy or her assistant. I just remember she was at my back in 2 seconds, pressing hard on my hips and massaging them in big circles. I was moaning loudly now…there was no hiding the pain I was in. Her assistant moved around quickly, but I don’t remember seeing what she was doing. It’s unreal how this all gets blurry after the fact. Karli told me that they immediately started filling the birthing tank, and my clothes were off in seconds. A shower curtain was placed over the sofa, with a clean sheet on top. Nancy checked me and I was 6cm dilated with a little bit of lip left. I thought in my head, “Oh God, no, I’m only 6?? It will be hours more…” I couldn’t imagine how I could get through it for much longer. They told me I could get into the tub shortly after I was checked. Nancy got in front of my face and kept repeating, “Your baby is SO low…it’s not long now honey.” Karli said she kept saying “sweetie” and “baby”… she was right there with me, helping me through.
Before getting in the tub, she asked me to go to the toilet to pee. I don’t remember peeing or having to pee, but on the toilet I let out a high scream and then noticed that I was pushing. ‘Wait…why was I pushing if I was only 6?’ I thought this, but never said it. Thoughts were scattered in my head at this point. I remember grunting towards the end of the push. She told me I was going to get in the tub now, and I didn’t know how I’d walk there and lift my legs to get in. Somehow I did, and the hot water felt so good. Then the contractions were coming in wave after wave. I let out another uncontrolled scream, and they told me to turn that noise into GRUNTS and not let the noise escape me. After that, I never screamed again. With each contraction now I was pushing. Nancy told me that it would go very fast now, that the baby was so close. They instructed me to squat in the tub with one leg extended out, to get rid of the lip. I tried that and hated it, so they told me that if I got out of the tub and went to the closet door (squatting and holding the door handles with each hand) that it would be over soon. I think I said “I can’t move” at this point…but somehow I got over there with tears streaming down my face. I had 3-4 contractions in that position and pushed hard with each one. Nancy knelt down and looked in between my legs…I vaguely remember her saying “he has dark hair!” Wow. ‘Then I must be close…I must be close now’. Nancy looked at me and said “You can do this, you ARE doing this. He’s almost here. It’s almost over”.
They then moved me over to the couch, where I sat on the birthing stool. I remember seeing the bowl below me as the contractions hit me over and over. I gripped those bars so hard and felt myself shaking all over. Several contractions with me bearing down, and his head was out. Everyone describes that as the “ring of fire”. I can see why. For me it felt like rugburn x 100. I leaned back against Karli with all my weight and just stayed as still as possible, squeezing those bars with my hands. I don’t remember feeling the rest of his body come out, but suddenly this beautiful big boy was laying on my chest moving his arms and legs. The tears flowed as I held him. The first thing out of my mouth was, “It was so worth it”. I couldn’t believe I did it! I couldn’t believe it was finally over. I couldn’t believe this was our beautiful son. 28 minutes of pushing definitely felt like a lifetime, and the pain was more intense than I ever could have imagined, but it was WORTH IT. Every second of it. I was so focused on him, I didn’t even feel what came next.
My placenta had partially detached, causing a lot of bleeding. Nancy said I filled up a large bowl in just seconds, so she had to go in there and take it out. I didn’t even feel it! I held him for a few minutes, and then he was given to Karli. For the next hour or so Nancy stitched me up. Lachlan was 9lbs 3oz and was born at 4:03pm, and came out with his hand by his face. This left me with a 2nd degree tear and he also broke open an artery inside me. The bleeding was severe, and Nancy worked quickly. She was able to do all the sutures and even tied off the artery. I never once worried, as I was in the most competent hands. The stitching was hard though, and very painful. I just wanted it to be over. Nancy and her assistant stayed until 10:30 that evening. They wanted to get me upstairs to bed, but because of the blood loss, I knew if I tried to get up too soon I would pass out. I finally crawled up the stairs at 8:30pm where they put me in a healing herb bath and then into bed.
The physical recovery has been harder then I thought it would be, but I’m on the mend now. Karli has been amazing, and I truly can say my love for her has gone to new levels! I could not have gotten through this without her. I keep remembering her saying “Baby, I am SO proud of you. Do you have any idea how amazing you were? That was incredible!! You are so strong!”
We are so happy and feel so blessed that our birth went well, and we have this little angel to show for it. Now we are just adjusting to life with a newborn and trying to figure out our routine. Today Karli went back to work for ¾ of the day, and will do half-days the rest of the week. My emotions have surprised me, and the littlest thing can set me off crying now. When she is away from me, my emotions can overwhelm me and the tears come. We’re making it through all this though and I have such a supportive, loving partner. I am blessed and we both feel so lucky to have this little angel in our lives. I’m so in love with my new little family. Some photos of the birth: