Even longer version with more details and pics in blog. Link in siggy.
On Thur, 7/22 at about 4:30 in the morning, I was awoken by my water breaking. It was a huge gush and it went everywhere! I believe, I yelled out to dh, ?My water broke!? We were both in a state of confusion for a little bit and I remember thinking, ?Oh my gosh, we are having a baby today!?
Contractions started coming right away. They felt like menstrual cramps and were coming every 3 minutes and lasting a minute.
At 5:30 they were quite a bit stronger, but I was still able to talk through the contractions and move around. I ate breakfast: yogurt and crackers, while dh packed his things. By 6:30, I was having to stop and concentrate each time a contraction came, so we had our Doula start her drive to our place
During the next hour, I tried sitting on the exercise ball and hated it. Laboring on my hands and knees was ok, but I found that what I liked the best was standing with my arms wrapped around Dh's neck and swaying through the contractions. I knew that if I was going to do this naturally, mental relaxation was going to be key. I did a lot of visualizing that I was in Hawaii lying on the beach. The contractions started coming sooner and were becoming more painful.
Around 7:15 ? 7:30, Our doula arrived and contractions were about every 2 minutes and lasting over a minute. We decided that since the contractions were so close that it was time to head over to the hospital, which was less than 5 minutes away.
Once in L&D, the nurse checked me and I was dilated to 6 centimeters! I received a heplock instead of an IV, so I could move around. We planned to do intermittent fetal monitoring and the nurse said I had to leave it on for an initial 20 minute strip to see how DD was doing.
I tried laboring on my side and it was horrible. Then I tried on my hands and knees leaning against the back of the bed, which I found didn?t help much either. Instead, I went right back to standing/leaning on DH and swaying through each contraction. Since, I wasn?t moving around too much, we kept the fetal monitoring on and whenever it moved off Ivy?s heartbeat, the nurse would just come back in and reposition it.
I?m not sure when I reached transition, but soon the contractions were right on top of each other with no letting up. Dh and my doula took turns applying pressure to my lower back with two tennis balls, which helped immensely. In efforts to keep my energy up, I kept drinking water and had a couple of honey sticks.
Soon, I started to feel an urge to push with each contraction. Nurse checked me and I was at 7.5. At this point, I started to feel like I couldn?t do it anymore and was discouraged. I remember telling this to Dh and our doula, but with their awesome encouragement and reminding me that transition was super short, I was able to keep going.
Not sure how much time passed, but soon the urge to push was even more intense and I asked to be checked again, hoping that I was finally at 10 centimeters. The nurse checked me and I had progressed to 9 centimeters. With every contraction and having the urge to push, I had to consciously not tighten my pc muscle. This was soooo hard to do! I also kept thinking about this saying, ?Imagine your cervix opening like a flower.? I remember reading about in our Bradley classes and thinking that?s cheesy, but this really allowed me to not tense up and freak out.
At 12:00 pm, each contraction brought an uncontrollable urge to push. I was finally at 10 centimeters! I pushed for an hour. I did feel the ?ring of fire? and her crowning, but it was nothing in comparison to the pain prior to pushing and transition.
Ivy Mae was finally born at 1:05 pm! I did receive a 2 degree tear. DD was 7lbs 5 ounces and 19 inches.
Overall, the entire experience was surreal, amazing and so very empowering! I would not have been able to give birth naturally, if it were not for my amazing husband/coach and our doula! Also from everything we learned in the Bradley Method classes.