It started on a Thursday night around midnight. All through the end of pregnancy, I had experienced contractions on a daily basis. Sometimes, I would even have them every 3 minutes for an hour or so, and then they would go away. This time, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention because I thought this was probably what was happening. However, I couldn't sleep, and the contractions kept coming. I finally started timing them around 3am, and they were consistently 3-6 minutes apart. By 6am, they were starting to make me uncomfortable, and I gave the Charleston Birth Place a call to see what I should do. The midwife on call told me to wait it out until I couldn't bear it any longer. Being a first time mom, I had no real idea when this point would hit.
Around 8am that morning, I called my mom and just let her know. Around 10am, I went into the Birthing Center just to get checked (I'd had an appointment the day before and they wanted to see if I'd progressed with these contractions). I'd gone from 3cm to 4cm in one day, and I was obviously contracting, so we settled in.
Around 4pm, the midwife checked me again and I'd hardly dilated more than half of a centimeter. I was pretty exhausted from staying up all night, so she gave me a few options. She said that we could either do something to get the labor going a little quicker like break my water or strip my membranes. The other idea was that she would give me a really heavy sedative and send me home for a while so that I could get some sleep. I surprised us all (myself included) by immediately asking to be sent home. I even cried because I was so relieved. I was so exhausted and had not been able to sleep, so the rest sounded like heaven.
Once we got home, I was pretty loopy from the shot she'd given me. Thankfully, I slept for a few hours, and then took an Ambien that they'd given me and slept some more. Around 4am the next morning, I started having more intense contractions that would wake me up, even in my sleep-induced state.
When she checked me, I was 6cm. By this time I'd been in labor for a good 30-something hours. I was relieved to know things were moving along. We got into our room and started moving through several positions to move the birth along. We were really prepared for the focusing and breathing, and it helped immensely. I was able to take one contraction at a time without stressing over the birth as a whole.
This was right at 8.5cm, and my water broke sometime while I was sitting on the ball. Liam's head was so low that only a little water came out because he was blocking the rest of it. Right after this, we got into the birthing pool.
Around 9.5cm, I started to feel an intense need to bear down. When that feeling came, there was NO resisting it. I've heard that an epidural can help you resist the urge, but I'm not sure. All I knew is that I HAD to push some.
This was definitely the hardest part of labor. The focusing that I'd done through the beginning was much more difficult. I had a rough time even remembering to breathe. The contractions hit one after another and they were huge. I never screamed out for an epidural, but I did groan through these contractions. It was almost involuntary because the pain was so intense.The midwife had me squatting, getting out of the tub to lie on the bed for a minute, and then leaning back onto Billy to push. I kept asking her how many more pushes, and she would sweetly say, "I'm hoping only a couple more." Really, nobody knew how long it'd be.
Finally, two hours after starting to push, Liam came into the world at 5:08pm. Actually feeling the pushing and the crowning and the delivery was one of the greatest things I've ever experienced. He was born in the water, and it was wonderful.
Billy got to hold Liam on his chest to keep him warm while I got all cleaned up, and it was an awesome moment of bonding for the two of them.
Our birth was one of the best moments of my life. It was long, really hard, and I even got sick a few times. Pushing took forever. However, oddly enough, even amidst all those things, I kept telling everyone, "I can so do this again." And it's true. I loved giving birth, and every hard moment was precious to me. I can't wait to do it again.