Contractions started on Friday July 31st about 11am and continued throughout the day 30 minutes apart. Matt came home about 5ish and we noticed that the contractions started getting closer together, about ten minutes apart. We decide we were hungry and went out to Olive Garden to celebrate Matt’s birthday. Then we went to my grandmother’s house to borrow a blood pressure cuff, since my blood pressure had been high. We went home and watched a movie, tracking the contractions at ten minutes still. Kathleen (our midwife) suggested we have half a glass of wine and go to bed, which we did around ten thirty. I couldn’t sleep until about midnight, because of the contractions getting stronger and the excitement, so I talked to God for a while.
I was sleeping between the contractions until about 1:30, at which point it became uncomfortable to wake up to a contraction. I snatched Matt’s iPhone so I could track the contractions on iContraction and establish a pattern to tell Kathleen. They were getting stronger and hurting my back pretty badly. I got the TENS unit to try to help relieve the back pain, but it didn’t help for long. I was doing side-lying and trying to focus on breathing calmly. Moving during contractions became uncomfortable and if I did move, I’d have to rock through the rest of the contraction. I got a good pattern of 4-6 minutes apart and 2 minutes long, I called Kathleen (about 3am) and told her the pattern and that I thought she needed to come. She said I needed to get on my hands and knees to rotate the baby (the cause of the back pain) and that Matt and I needed to start getting set up.
Matt heard me talking to her and came out to see how things were going. I was in the middle of a contraction, so Matt dropped to the floor to wait it out with me. He cuddled with me after it was finished and I caught him up on what was happening. The contractions changed to 1-2 minutes apart and 30 seconds long. I was trying to help Matt set up the birth tub, but had to stop because of the contractions. I had some juice and then wandered to the baby’s room. I had a contraction in there and decided to go to the restroom, since we’d been told an empty bladder makes the contractions less painful. In the bathroom, I decided since I had my pants off, I may as well be naked, and then decided that the shower looked pretty inviting! I got in and Matt came to see what was going on. He was still working on getting the tub filled and getting the music set up for me. He would come and go between contractions, which were getting much more painful. At one point I called to him and he came and held my head while I threw up my juice from earlier.
Soon after, my water broke, which felt great! I kept pushing, trying to make it “break” again, because it had relieved so much pressure. Pretty sure this is where the pushing stage started! Matt called Kathleen to tell her my water broke and find out where she was. She talked to me on speaker phone and told me I was doing well. At this point, the relief from the water breaking had passed and the contractions were much worse. I was trying to hum through them, but my humming would turn into a scream at the peak. I felt so bad for Matt, because he had to listen to them! Poor Matt was still trying to get the tub and music ready (only about 30 minutes had passed). He came back for each contraction and would try to hold me and tell me I was doing well. I was crying because of the pain and frustration at not being able to control myself. He gave up on the tub because he realized things were going too fast for us to use it and came back to find me surrounded by poop, in the squatting position, pushing! Kathleen was on the phone, telling Matt to get me out of the shower and into side-lying on the bed. I didn’t think I could get out, because the head was so low it hurt to close my legs. Matt finally convinced me to move to the bed (with some great coaching!) and in between contractions we moved. He’d covered the bed with a tarp and a clean sheet and got me up onto it.
We panted through a few pushes to try to slow labor down and the assistant Melanie showed up. I begged her to be allowed to push and she asked to get gloves on first! Then she checked me and could see the head. Kathleen showed up a few minutes later and the baby was crowning. She asked about heart monitoring, and Melanie pointed out that there’d been no time. They helped me through about 4 or 5 more pushes and “the ring of fire” (which was accompanied by more screaming) and then Aria was born at 4:33am! After about 20 minutes the placenta was delivered and I was finished being stitched up (she came too fast, there were a few tears, but my perineum didn’t tear!) and then we got to cuddle with Aria Ren Elizabeth for the first time and breast feed. We did get visited by a police officer because the front door was open and Kathleen’s lights were flashing, but once he heard everything was fine and congratulated us, he went on his way. Kathleen and Melanie helped us bathe and cleaned up all the birth stuff, including doing our laundry! They were great and made sure we were all settled in for a wonderful, well deserved nap before leaving.
Sarah Meyers is a proud high school art teacher. She spends her time making art, teaching about art, playing video games with her hubby, and watching her beautiful baby grow and learn.