On the 30th, I took the last terbutaline pill. I was expecting to have Abby pretty soon after that, but wasn't sure how soon. I'd been hearing story after story of women who were on best rest and medication to keep contractions away for weeks, only to go off and then go on to 40 weeks gestation. On Sunday the 31st, I started having contractions that were coming pretty fast and were a minute long. We left church early thinking that we could be going to the hospital. Turned out to be false labor.
The following Wednesday, I had an appointment with my Midwife. I was having contractions but not real regular. We discovered that I had dialted to a 4 and Lynn (Midwife) figured I would deliver sometime that day or on Thursday. Nothing really happened other than having contractions that were irregular.
Then on Thursday evening, Steve and I went to the movies to watch X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Around 1030 I started having contractions that were 3-4 minutes apart and a minute and a half long... the only difference was that I started to feel some serious back pain along with the contractions. I got up and went to the bathroom and started thinking that we might have to leave the theater to head for the hospital. After coming back to my seat, things slowed down a bit... but I told Steve that I suspected we may be going to the hospital eventually. After the movie, we went home and attempted to get some sleep. I let my Mom know before we went upstairs that we might be heading back out. Of course, I didn't get any sleep because I was busy trying to count my to see if it was the real thing. The contractions kept slowing down for a bit and then going back to fast... so I was feeling really confused.
Around 230am, I finally called my Doula to see what she would suggest. After talking with her for a moment, I decided to go ahead and go to the hospital to see if I had dialated any further. By the time we were ready to leave, the contractions were starting to get strong enough that I had to stop whatever I was working on in order to get through it. We got to the hospital around 330am and was admitted when they found that I was dialated between 5 & 6 cm. I called my Doula to let her know that I was in labor and tried to get comfortable in the bed. I had Steve set up my iPod stereo and turn on the relaxation music I'd been listening to the past several months. It wasn't long before my Doula arrived. Once the nurse finished with her routine questions, she gave me an IV with antibiotics (I had tested positive for strep a few weeks prior) and tried to administer a saline drip as well. The latter I turned down since I felt I was hydrated enough and wanted to drink from my water bottle. It wasn't long after that I vomited up the water I had been drinking and asked the nurse to go ahead with the saline drip. I hadn't eaten since 630 the night before, so there was nothing but water in my stomach and after that, any time I would try to drink or even eat more than 2 or 3 ice chips, it would come back up. A few times I simply got sick because of the pain and only thing coming up was bile.
From this point, I lost all track of time, so I have no idea what happened at what hour. Laying in the bed wasn't working for me at first, so I stood for a while. When a contraction hit, I would wrap my arms around Steve's neck and have him massage my back as I would breath through it. After a while, I was too tired to stand, so I tried sitting on the birth ball my Doula brought. She and Steve stacked pillows on the bed so I could relax... it worked for only a few contractions. Sitting down put too much pressure on my cervix so I felt pretty uncomfortable. For the most part, I was still relaxing pretty well through the contractions. Steve was continuing to massage my back and my Doula would massage my hand once they started. The massaging really helped me to focus on relaxing my body. I moved from the ball to a chair, and when a contraction would hit, I would stand up and put my arms around Steve's neck again. Not long after that, I was much too tired to stand or sit, so I got situated in the bed. By then I was starving, thirsty, and hot! My Mom then suggested that we use a wet washcloth to cool down my face. That felt really wonderful, and from that point on, Steve was wipping my face every time a contraction hit. Steve was enjoying watching the contractions on the monitor and started telling me every time the next one was coming. I snapped at him and told him I knew when they were coming and that I did not want to hear them announced.
Once the contractions started getting a bit too intense, I started to moan through them in order to release energy. The stronger they got, the louder I was. I was still able to maintain my breathing.... taking long deep breaths in and letting them out slowly in a moan, all the while, still trying to maintain relaxation throughout my body. I could tell if I was too tense if I was clenching my fists or if my brow was furrowed... so I used those areas to gage and focus my relaxation. My Doula continued to massage my hand and Steve continued to wipe my face.
The hardest part was when Abby started pushing through the birth canal. At first the urges to push would be very slight and in the middle of a contraction. Always involuntary. Later, I had a friend ask if I thought about asking for drugs at any point. The answer to that is no, but I was thinking and wondering at one point if it was too late for a C-Section! Around 645ish, the next shift came on and I was introduced to the nurse who would be taking care of the rest of my labor and delivery. She also had a student nurse with her who requested to attend my birth because I was doing it without medication. The new nurse would periodically check to see how far I was dialted, but was never successful... my water still had not broken and the sac was bulging too much for her to discern how things had progressed. She asked if I wanted her to break the sac, but I wasn't quite ready yet, so she held off. The urges to push kept getting stronger and stronger and I'm pretty sure that I was not relaxing very well any more, though I was still focusing my breathing pretty well.
Around 730, I consented for the nurse to break my water. She had a pretty hard time getting it to pop and after digging around for what seemed like forever, it finally broke. After that, things happened really fast. The preassure from Abby's head really hit and the pain was quite a bit more intense. I still maintained my breathing... but I think relaxation was out the window! By the time her head was appearing, the Doctor showed up. I was surprised by the change in my contractions. When it was time to push Abby out, the contractions were no longer strictly involuntary. I felt as though I could rest a bit, and was really lazy about pushing at first. The Doctor kept urging me to push for a 10 count, but for about 3 tries, I was only pushing for around 3 counts. I think it took 2 - 4 good 10 count pushes to get her head out. The Doctor wanted me to wait for the next contraction before pushing her the rest of the way, but I was so done with being in labor and was still having a contraction, so I went ahead and pushed her out any way. I ended up with a 3rd degree tear because I was over zealous... her shoulders came out at once, which I guess doesn't usually happen?
Steve was able to cut the cord and the Doctor threw her in his arms. After she was cleaned up, he put on her first diaper. Some time after that, he brought her to me, but I was a bit wrapped up in the doctor stitching me up, so I had him take her back for a minute. Afterward, he handed her back to me. I actually don't remember much of this part. Later, Steve asked me what I was singing to her when I was holding her... I have no recollection of it.