Labor Day means something different to me. It's not about cookouts, although we did that too, or the end of summer, because man it is still hot here. It's about holding my little guy and remembering the day that I labored to bring him into this world without any medical interventions. I've never shared my birth story here so today I will, about a year after, and greatly condensed.
Let's start when I am 28 weeks pregnant and I make one of the best decisions I've ever made, I switch from my OBGYN of 7 years to a Midwife practice at a hospital farther away. My OB had a less than positive outlook about natural childbirth and I didn't want that attitude in the room when I delivered. Now let's fast forward to 39 weeks pregnant, August 8th, 1am.
My contractions start, or I should say pick-up, I'd been having contractions for 2 weeks prior and so I wasn't sure this was going to be it. But I was having a little bit more trouble sleeping than usual. I didn't say anything to Dana when he left for work and I got up and headed to the studio like normal. After losing my mucus plug I felt the urgency to finish a card I had been making for my girlfriend whose birthday is the 10th.
By 3:30 pm I was calling Dana to alert him that "this was it" and to wrap things up at work and head home. My contractions had increased to every half-hour or so, and honestly, I just wanted him to be home with me.
Over the next several hours I ate a goulash dinner, called our doula, Nadine, and tried to relax and sleep. Yeah right, the more I tried to relax the stronger my contractions got. Around 11pm we called the midwives, I say "we" because we had to pass the phone back and forth because I was having a hard time talking through contractions. Although my water hadn't broke, the decision was made to start making the 45 minute drive.
The ride was rough. Contractions in a car are horrible. I yelled at Dana to drive incredible slow when I was having a contractions and super fast when I wasn't. I don't know how much this actually helped but Dana was a fantastic husband and did as I asked. It was around midnight on a Monday and so traffic wasn't a problem.
We got checked into the hospital just after midnight, which took longer than I thought it would. Buy hey, if you are alright with me leaning on your desk through contractions then so am I. We must have looked like we were going camping with all of our gear; pillow, bags, birth ball, cooler, etc... The cooler had another function you can read about here.
One of the many great things about delivering with the midwifes was being allowed to bring in anything that made me comfortable and snacks. Not to mention not being strapped to a bed with a needle in my spine and a catheter, eeeeeek, it gives me the creeps just thinking about it.
So, after some swift baby monitoring I was free to labor as I pleased. And labor I did, for a long time. On the birth ball, in the bathroom, in the hallway, but mostly in the middle school dance position, leaning on Dana. The whole time Nadine was feeding me jello and popsicles and Dana was being a fantastically supportive husband coach.
Sometime Tuesday morning, August 9th, we headed into the tub and I went through my hardest labor there. This is also when I managed to lose my crocheted slippers, but that is another story. By early afternoon I was still in that tub and had been in transition for hours. This was the moment having a great natural birth team paid off.
I was "checked" and it was discovered that I was at 9 cm but Desmond was coming down this his head to one side. I was told to lay on my right side through three contractions and he would move. This sounded like a crazy painful idea, and it did hurt, but it worked, without any medical interventions. I just laid on my side, Desmond rolled, I opened up and my water finally broke in a pipe bursting kind of gush. I was ready to push.
I pushed from a squatting position on the bed with Nadine and Midwife Leslie in front of me and Dana by my head filling me with encouragement. When I was told I could reach down and touch the head I said "No, I just want to hold my baby" and kept right on pushing. I felt incredibly determined to meet my little guy.
At 1:13 pm on August 9th all that pushing produced a head and more pushing revealed the rest of him and when he was laid on my chest I said "oh, hello pumpkin." Within moments he was squirming his way to my nipple to nurse and I couldn't believe it. I knew I had made the best decision for my birth and for my baby. I will be amazed by him forever.
So, now that I am feeling gushy about my baby all over again, I hope everyone had a great long weekend and on Labor Day I encourage you to think of your mother.