The best birthday present.

It was two days before my due date and I woke up extra early at 5:30, ready to start the day.  I got up and ate some breakfast and noticed that I was having some contractions.  They were different than any of the contractions that I had been having so I decided to time them.  They were coming about every 8 minutes. 

I finished up breakfast and told my husband that I was having contractions, but that we needed to get ready and go to work, because it was probably just false labor.  On my way into work I had a couple of really intense contractions.  By the time I got to my desk, I couldn’t sit through the contractions that were averaging about 5 minutes apart. 

I stayed at work for about an hour and a half then decided to go home.  I called my husband and told him that I was going home to rest, and then called our midwife to tell her that I was having contractions.  She advised me to alternate resting and being active and said that it was a “possibility that I could be in labor.”

My husband came home over his lunch break to check on me.  My contractions were still pretty strong and frequent but I sent him back to work, still in complete denial that I was in labor.  I told him that there was nothing he could do, that I was just going to rest.  After he left, I laid down hoping to take a nap.  The contractions wouldn’t allow me to rest at all.  I began to think that maybe this was the real thing.  I called my husband who had just arrived back at work and told him to come home.  I also called the midwife to tell her that the contractions were getting worse. 

I was able to keep up a good sense of humor throughout the process in between contractions.  When my husband got home we tried to keep my mind off of the contractions by playing a board game.  We got through one round, but halfway through the second game I couldn’t concentrate anymore on anything but laboring.  We live out in the country so we decided to take a walk around our long driveway.  I wasn’t able to do that for very long, but it was nice to be outside in the fresh, November air.

The midwife arrived around 4:00 and checked my vitals and got the baby’s heart rate.  She began setting up her equipment and that’s when it hit me that I was really in labor.  It was really happening.  Sometimes I can’t believe that I was in denial for that long – almost 12 hours.

I decided to get into the birthing tub.  It wasn’t as big of a relief as I was expecting it to be, but it was nice because I could switch positions easily.  I very quickly fell into a pain coping pattern with my leg during the contractions.  When the midwife came in to check the baby’s heart rate, she said that it was a little fast.  I had to get out of the tub to see if it would slow down.  It slowed back down right away and she told me that I could get back into the tub.  At that point I was on the birthing ball and was not able to move.  I waited a while then got back in.

Throughout the process it was so nice to have the privacy that we had.  The midwife and her assistant only came in to check me and the baby’s vitals and to see how I was laboring.  Otherwise they left us alone.  It was nice to not have someone standing over me the whole time.

Around 11 p.m., after several hours of laboring in the tub, the midwife came in and said that if I didn’t feel like pushing in the next hour I would have to get out for her to check my dilation (that would have been my first internal exam).  That’s all I needed to hear.  About 15 minutes later, my body began to push.  It was definitely a relief from the hard contractions that I had been having.

After about an hour of pushing my husband put his swim trunks on and got in the tub with me.  By then, the midwife was in the room, coaching me through pushing.  I reached down to see if I could feel his head and it was there.  I let my husband feel his soft head and that was all the motivation I needed to get to the point where we could meet our little man!  At 12:26 a.m. on my birthday and the day before my due date, our 9 pound son was born into our hands.  It was the most incredible and intimate experience of my life. 


***After the birth I got out of the tub and birthed the placenta.  I was not bleeding too badly, but had some significant tearing.  The midwife stitched me up as best as she could then we all settled into bed for a rest.  It was wonderful having the baby with me the whole time.  They never took him away – he had all of his testing done right there in my arms.