Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tallulah's birth, part I

The coming of Tallulah was much-anticipated, as I was practically in active labor for weeks. At my midwife appointment on March 6th, I was dilated to 4 cm and completely effaced, with baby sitting pretty low. The midwife said they expected to see me that weekend, and I was not instructed to not attend my brother-in-law's wedding up in Bountiful in case things progressed quickly. Well, we went anyways, and besides a few pre-birthing waves that didn't really hurt and lots of pressure, nothing happened. Saturday morning, we headed up to Rock Canyon to hike and see if that would help things along. I think it did the exact opposite... contractions all but ceased, but we enjoyed the day immensely, the weather was gorgeous, and Atticus had a great time. It was our last big outing as a family of 3. On Sunday, things seemed to be picking up and I was having a lot of back pain, so we headed to the hospital that evening after a stopover at Casey and Melissa's to drop off the guy. I was still only dilated to a 4, and things slowed down, so we went home to sleep it off.

Monday and Tuesday brought little change, lots of walking resulted in nothing major, and I went to work without incident. We went to the midwife on Tuesday and I was already dilated to a 5, and she said she thought baby would be coming soon. I was jaded by hearing that the past few weeks and decided to myself I was done getting checked every week and so I did not make another appointment. I slept great Tuesday night, fortunately, because I was awoken on Wednesday morning by a major OUCH contraction at about 8:30. I automatically knew this was it, as it felt much different from previous ones. I labored around the house for a while, ate breakfast, took a bath with Atticus, and almost sent Tim to class. Around 9:45, when he was planning on leaving, I called my friend Charla to come stay with me in case I needed anything. Well, five minutes later or so we were in the car heading to the hospital and they were coming every 3-4 minutes apart. The car ride was brutal, and I seriously thought I must already be in transition or something. However, we arrived at Labor and Delivery and I was still only at a 5 (I had told Tim that if I wasn't at least progressing/ "at least a 6", I wanted an epidural, but I didn't get one fortunately).

(photo credit: all photos taken by the very talented Charla Finnigan)

After 20 minutes on the birth ball getting a strip of the baby's heart rate (which was excellent), I was cleared to get into the tub and WHOA, what a feeling. Water is truly nature's epidural, it was amazing but it did slow down my contractions quite a bit. The midwife arrived (by this time, Charla and Austin were also there supporting me), and we talked about expectations and what we wanted the birth to be like, since I had never met with her this pregnancy. She was really open to everything, and she was so supportive of my wishes. I asked for chocolate pudding, she brought my Haagen-Daz chocolate ice cream. I told her my most important requirement was that I was not separated from the baby, and she was fully onboard with making sure we weren't, even if she was having trouble breathing at first, like the guy (she said: "they can't take her away if I don't cut the cord!"). Our nurse Ashlee was supportive too, though she often would walk by and say things like "don't let me see you eating..." and things like that. I had to be monitored for one contraction every hour, but other than that was left alone with my support team to do our thing. Jennifer (the midwife) hung out for a while, but I think could see that I had plenty of help with laboring and so left and came back periodically. She offered suggestions occasionally, like walking to pick things up, but I had no desire to rush and make it hurt more, so I stayed in the tub. I did get out to go to the bathroom a few times, as I was really afraid to poo in the tub, which is a really silly fear when you are in labor.

Ahhhhhhhh..... (still feeling pretty good)

Surrounded by love and peace and harmony
Things progressed swimmingly (no pun intended), and I had a good handle on contractions for the next few hours. I don't have an exact timeline, but sometime around 12:30, I was checked again and at 7 cm. After this time, I knew I was getting close to transition, but I still had nice, long breaks in between contractions where I could talk and joke and I couldn't feel anything. It was marvelous. We skyped with my mom and sister for a while, we meant to be doing that during the actual birth but things started happening quickly after this time.... 

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