Kyle dropped me off at the door. I went in to re-register. They where very quick and efficient. Kyle and Colton met me in the registration room. And soon we were taken to the 4th floor labor and delivery wing. Me having contractions every few minutes on the way.
The birthing room was lovely, spacious with a private bath and a big beautiful tub. The nurses tossed me a gown and in between contractions I changed. They hooked me to the monitor, and checked me. I was still only dilated to 4 1/2 cm. But my contractions were strong and regular. The baby's heart beat was steady as well. They would have liked to monitor me longer, but I had to pee, not to mention laying on my back was making the contractions extremely painful.
I kept thinking about that tub. I wanted to wait until the contractions were unbearable before I got into my only source of pain relief. But the contractions were so intense and so close together I decided it must be time. The room seemed extremely warm to me, I remember the simple hospital gown felt suffocating, my wedding ring and necklace I was sure were strangling me. So off everything came. Forget modesty, forget what anyone else would say. It was like I was in another world. Far removed from reality, all I could do was move with the contractions. Moan and groan, and try to welcome them.
Meanwhile, Kyle my beloved labor partner was pulling double duty. I had no real concept of this but he was wrangling Colton, getting him set up with a movie. Reassuring him that Mommy was o.k., and running back to me every time I called so that he could apply counter pressure to my lower back with his lovely large warm hands. At one point during a brief break from a contraction I heard Colton call; "Daddy I need you!", then a contraction came and I called; "Kyle I need you!", he came back to the tub and applied pressure to my aching back. Just as Colton called again; "Daddy I need you!", He left to tend Colton. But no sooner I was calling for him again. Kyle said in a kindly way; "I've never felt so needed in my life!" This statement made me laugh, which made me relax. Every once in a while Colton would pop in to the bathroom, and ask if I was having a hard time. Or he would tell me I was doing a good job. Once he made the suggestion that I should "MOO" something I had read about, and he liked the idea of.
In the tub each contraction intensified, I swayed in the water on my hands and knees with either Kyle or one of the nurses applying pressure to my lower back. I could hardly grasp the breaks in between. It seemed as one would leave, another was coming right on it's heels. I was so thankful for the research I had done over the past months. I'm sure the coping techniques I learned from Ina May Gaskins book, where primarily responsible for hanging on to my senses enough to cope with the intensity of this labor. I drew off the stories of women in labor before me. I tried to welcome each contraction, I wished it goodbye as it went. I felt my self open up more and more. I wished Alex to come on down, I repeated the mantra, "I'm going to get huge" to keep me from fearing I would tear. Kyle even reminded me of this when I was extra tense, he encouraged me to relax my face when my brow would furrow. He would tell me I could do this, that I had done it before. He was my anchor. Holding me steady. He kept me from being swept away by the intensity of the contraction.
Pretty soon the tub was too hot for me. I climbed out, and sat on the toilet. The thought of sitting was unbearable, but so was standing. The nurses gave me a cold wash cloth for my neck. I could feel Alex coming down along my tail bone. As I approached transition the contractions suddenly got easier to cope with. I no longer felt the need to moan. I just breathed. As the contractions intensified I reached deeper with my breath, and as I exhaled I allowed the release. Much like you would doing a difficult yoga pose. The nurse commented on my ability to control my breathing. That simple word of encouragement made me feel like I could do this all night. (Though I'm glad I didn't have to.)
Before I knew it I could feel stinging at my cervix, I knew Alex was ready to be born. I called for someone to get my midwife Carol. She came quickly and recommended we move over to the bed. I was so close to delivering, I could barely walk, Kyle and Carol had to support me as I moved to the bed. As I walked to the bed, I told Colton that Alex would be here soon. He grinned and went back to watching his movie. Once again, I labored on my hands and knees. It was unbearable to think of sitting or laying down. I could feel Alex coming, but I never made the conscious effort to push. I just felt him moving down, I felt my body pushing, I tried to just let it do its job. I breathed.
Carol thought maybe the baby could have big shoulders. she suggested I roll over and sit in a kind of squatted position. For a moment I thought, "How am I supposed to do that?", but I changed my thought right away to: "sure I can do that." Kyle supported my back so I could be as upright as possible. The nurses supported my knees hugging them toward my chest.
It was much easier, for my body to push in this postition and Alex came very quickly once I changed. Almost as soon as I flipped over his head was out. My body gave one more push and the rest of him slipped out.
Alex was here! He was beautiful too. dark hair, pink skin, and did he ever smell good, brand new and sweet. He hollered about the transition from womb to world. Carol handed him to me. He had a pretty short cord, so it was hard to get him to my chest. He quieted quickly after he was in my arms. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating, which happened a lot faster than I thought it would. Kyle opted to not cut the cord. Carol offered me the privilege which I gladly accepted. It was rather tricky to cut the thick slippery cord with my left hand but I managed.
I held Alex taking in every inch of him. He was so much smaller than Colton had been. But he was amazing and perfect. The nurses dried him off in my arms. No one took him from me. Pretty soon the placenta came. I was so pleased to not have any bleeding and no tears. No drugs of any kind were needed during my labor. It was wonderful. I felt like I could do anything. Kyle kissed and hugged me. I'm sure he was as proud and happy as me. Colton also was all grins. I couldn't pay attention to it at the time. But Kyle told me that Colton watched the whole birth with a huge smile on his face. Though he did not want to come over and see Alex right away. I imagine because he was still a little messy. (Colton doesn't even like the calves when they are brand new. He won't get close to them until they are clean and dry.) He said he would see him after his bath.
Alex soon was looking for my breast. He latched on easily and had his first meal. When I was finally ready, I handed Alex to Kyle. Then we let the nurses clean him up. They applied the antibiotic ointment to his eyes, and gave him a vitamin K shot. I opted not to have him get the Hep B shot. They gave him a bath, and I also slipped blissfully into a nice warm bath.
Alex weighed in at 7lbs. 12oz. and 20inches long. My labor was just over 20 hours.
Alex is a champion nurser. He nursed almost non stop the first 24 hours. We snuggled together that night. No one asked me to put him down. I have to give Carol, and my nurses credit for the amazing birth experience. I know without their support for my wanting to have a natural labor and birth it would not have been near as good an experience. I feel so blessed to have had such a beautiful time.