***WARNING: this is going to be a long one so get comfy***
Some Background Information:
Three years ago, my twins were born by cesarean section because they were in breech position. While I felt that the c-section was necessary, I left the hospital feeling that so many things that happened to me and my babies there were wrong. Not that the hospital staff was mean or anything like that, but that the protocols in place and the interventions used were in no way "birth friendly". These negative experiences led me to seek out a very different path for my next birth. Soon after the girls were born, I immersed myself in researching everything I could about birth. I began attending birth circle and ICAN meetings, and preparing myself for what I hoped would be a much better birth.
Have an intervention free VBAC
Labor at home for as long as possible using birth ball/shower/birth pool/hypnobabies
Have our doula Kimberly come over when contractions are almost 60 seconds long and get in the birth pool
Leave to go to the hospital when I am around 7cm dilated
Get into jacuzzi tub at L&D room until I am complete
Push baby out
Be discharged from hospital asap
My "guess date" was September 8th, and it came and went without any sign of impending labor. I tried to avoid thinking too much about "the numbers," as I truly believed that this baby would come when he was ready. Even so, I was anxious as any first-time-soon-to-be-laboring-mom would be. I had noticed a new surge of hormones running through my body, and I suddenly felt the need to protect myself emotionally. I didn't want to allow any negativity about him not being here get to me so I avoided phone calls and facebook as much as possible.
Some of Kevin's relatives had planned a baby shower brunch for me on September 10th, which gave me something to look forward to if I had not had the baby by then. That Friday morning, as I was blow drying my hair on the birth ball, I began feeling small menstrual like cramps with my braxton hicks. They weren't very noticeable, and so I wondered if they were really anything. I thought that maybe it was just my empty stomach. I began timing them, just for fun and noticed that they were coming about every 7 minutes. Kevin was getting ready for work, and after going back and forth as to whether I should mention anything to him, I cracked and told him about these alleged "cramps". I told him it might be nothing, and he left for work as I left with the girls and my MIL Shirley.
We had brunch at Wildflower, and I opened presents and enjoyed visiting with relatives. Afterwards we walked around Once Upon A Child and made our way home. On the way, I decided to tell my MIL my "little secret," as she was on call to take the girls when I went into labor. I wanted to do some walking to see if they would progress, and so we headed to Target. I sent my doula Kimberly a text message to give her a heads up just in case.
After perusing Target for about an hour with the girls, my contractions/cramps were coming every 5 minutes and were becoming a little more noticeable. We decided to buy our stuff and go home just in case. Once at home, I had the girls play in their rooms while I rested on my bed listening to a hypnobabies track on my ipod. The contractions seemed to slow down and were less noticeable while resting. I figured this wasn't quite "it," but that my body was definitely gearing up. We ate dinner and at 830pm and Kimberly texted me to see how things were going. I was still having the contractions every 6-8 minutes but they weren't progressing, and I felt that I could sleep through them that night. She told me to let her know if I wanted her to come over and help at any time.
I decided to go to bed early (930pm) just in case things progressed later that evening. I was able to fall asleep quickly while listening to a hypnobabies script, but woke up at 11pm at the peak of a contraction. Unable to get comfortable enough to sleep through them, I got up and watched TV with Kevin in the living room.
I never went back to sleep Friday night and ended up staying in the living room swaying back and forth during contractions or sitting on the birth ball. The contractions were coming about every 4-7 minutes and were lasting about 20 seconds. I was also feeling a lot of pressure in my back with each contraction which had me rocking my hips back and forth and doing pelvic tilts in an effort to relieve the discomfort. Kevin felt bad going to bed while I was in the living room working through contractions, and so he stayed with me.
At 3am on Saturday morning, he suggested that we text Kimberly with an update. We let her know that I hadn't been able to sleep past 11pm that night due to the contractions. She asked if we needed help and if she should come over, but I felt that it was too early. At this point I was so unsure as to what to do since this was my first time experiencing all this. We had no idea if things would progress soon or if it would be another day or two. As frustrating as it was not knowing when and how things were going to happen, this birth was all about trusting and allowing the process to happen in it's own time and not trying to manipulate the situation.
(930am Saturday morning)
I continued doing my thing in the living room, while Kevin tried to get some rest on the couch.It had been a VERY long night.
On Saturday morning (September 11th), before the girls woke up, I asked Kevin to give me a priesthood blessing. This was something I knew I wanted to have in "early labor," so that I could feel peace and assurance going into my birthing time. Kevin gave me a beautiful blessing that was exactly what I needed. It reaffirmed my trust in my body, and it's ability to give birth naturally and without complication. It also built up my confidence as I knew that my Heavenly Father would offer me strength and guidance throughout the process.
At 845 am, the girls were up and my MIL Shirley came over to get them. Kevin and I still hadn't gotten very much sleep, and we thought that active labor *could* start within the next 24 hours. I had also begun losing my mucous plug which told me that things were definitely progressing. I asked Kimberly to come over at 930am to see what she would recommend at that point.
On arriving, she checked Dallin's heart tones during a contraction and he sounded great. She helped me through a few contractions and I mentioned to her the discomfort in my back. She noticed that my stomach was really low that it was probably causing Dallin's head to push up against my back at a weird angle. She began applying counter pressure on my lower back during the contractions, and it immediately took away the discomfort. Kimberly also showed me how to lift my belly right before a contraction to lessen the pressure on my back.
(lifting the belly)
I told her that I was having a hard time using some of the hypnobabies relaxation techniques that I had learned, and so she helped me to relax on the couch while playing a hypnobabies script aloud on the computer. I was finally able to relax enough to sleep, and we decided that it would be best to try and get some rest at that point. I told Kimberly that she was good to go home and that we would keep her updated.
Kevin and I napped on and off for the next couple of hours. At 3pm we decide to go for a walk around the neighborhood to see if my contractions would pick up. Once we started walking they began coming every 4 minutes, but were still only 20 seconds long. Kevin and I would stop with each contraction so he could apply counter pressure to my back. After one lap we agreed that it was far too hot to be outside and we returned home.
At 530pm we went to Shirley's house to see the girls and eat dinner. My contractions were coming every 6 minutes, and Kevin and Shirley would take turns rubbing my lower back during them while I took deep relaxing breaths. We were still so unsure of when active labor was going to start, but we decided to have the girls spend the night at Shirley's house just in case. This turned out to be a very good decision.
to be continued...