We got our grocery shopping done and headed home. I had a few more contractions in the store. They were not strong and were still very far apart.
When we got home I was feeling a little depressed, so I decided I was going to take a very long relaxing shower. I noticed I had maybe one or two contractions in the shower, but nothing bad. Once I was done taking a shower...I decided to take a bath.
Hey, my midwife did say that I was supposed to relax!
I laid back there listening to music and reading the birth stories in Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (best book about child birth out there in my opinion!) After I got out of the bath I decided to fix my hair. That is when things finally started!
My husband would come back every once in a while to refill my drink and ask me if I was having any contractions. I said yes. I didn't want to start timing the contractions though because my midwife said not to. Plus, they were not strong at all. I could still walk and talk through them. I felt fine. But as I called out to my husband each time I was having one I quickly realized they were coming pretty close together. My husband suggested that I time them. I agreed, but said that we would not head to the center again until the contractions got too hard to deal with or my water broke.
To my surprise....they were coming 2-3 minutes apart. I was so confused. I thought they were supposed to hurt by the time they got this close together. My husband suggested I call my midwife just in case.
"Hi Bernadette, this is Lorissa. I am having contractions 2-3 minutes apart."
"Oh honey, you need to get back here right now. You are having a baby tonight."
"No, no, I'm sure it's nothing. They are so mild. I can still talk through them."
"No you need to come back right now."
So we put all of our bags back into the van, dropped the boys back off at our friends house and headed to the birth center.
When we arrived my midwife checked me and found that I was already at 8cm! I just laughed. I couldn't believe it! I was at 8cm and was no where even close to what I would call in pain.
My midwife had already prepared the tub for me and I got right in.
This is me right after we got there. Happy as can be. I was so over joyed to finally be in labor! I remember being in labor with my boys, basically strapped down to a bed and begging for an epidural at 5-6cm. This seemed way to surreal to be at an 8 and this HAPPY!
Contractions did slowly start to increase in intensity. But they never became painful. I would have to stop and move gently from sided to side and and focus through them, but I never got to the -screaming and cursing- part that so many people talk about. I couldn't believe the difference in being able to move freely, and not be confined to a bed, made in being able to handle the contractions. The water also made a huge difference. It felt wonderful to relax in the tub.
My mom and husband were wonderful. They both would massage my back and neck while I was having a contraction. I did start to get nauseous at one point and my midwife got a bottle of peppermint for me to smell. That helped tremendously and the nausea faded.
My favorite part of labor was when my husband would hold my hand during a contraction and I would lay my face against his arm. There was something indescribably comforting about that to me.
This was the only point in my labor that I would consider "painful". But to be honest it was more
-crazy intense- than painful.
My husband wanted to be the one to catch the baby, so he went with my midwife, and my mom stayed by me for comfort and support. It really was amazing. My husband kept encouraging me and my mom prayed over me the whole time. It took a little bit to figure out how to push properly. I would almost have her out, and then I would get scared of the intensity and stop. It finally came to the point where I just had to surrender to the pain and push. I never felt that "ring of fire" that others describe. All I remember is feeling the most intense amount of pressure ever. It was crazy. It was a good thing we didn't wait at home till my water broke or things got intense, because neither of those things happened until it was time to push.
After what felt like eternity to me, but was only 10 minutes of pushing, Charlotte was born into her daddy's hands after only 3 1/2 hours of labor.
She had the cord wrapped around her neck twice, which is what caused her heart rate to drop. The good thing about her being born in the water was that they were able to unwrap the cord while she was still under the water and it did not have to be cut prematurely or risk any complications.
I turned around to see our baby girl for the first time.
To say it was one of the most emotional and wonderful moments of my life would be a huge understatement. There was such a peace and yet such a euphoric high of holding our sweet baby for the first time. It was a moment I will always treasure.
It is so funny how the pain and intensity you were feeling just seconds before completely vanishes when you are holding your baby. Everything I had heard others say about natural birth being worth it was so right. Every single moment was worth it.
I got to snuggle with Charlotte for a while before she was handed to her daddy for some snuggles.
My midwife helped me get out of the tub, cleaned up, and to the bed so I could start nursing right away.
At this point one of the major questions I had was...how bad did I tear? With both boys I had tore horribly, and she seemed to be much bigger than my boys. I was worried.
My midwife gave me the news...barely a tiny tear, only needing one tiny stitch. Praise the Lord!!!! She gave me one quick stitch with no pain medicine-it was either one poke for the stitch or one poke for the pain medicine. I declined the pain medicine.
After lots of snuggles and nursing, I got something to eat and drink while they did all the vitals for Charlotte.
My little chunker weighed 9lbs 2oz and was 21 1/2" long. She was 9 days "late" and completely perfect. I am so thankful I waited on God's perfect timing for this little one.
Daddy got her dressed, my midwife gave us our discharge instructions, and we headed home that night to our family.