This is a fairly detailed story of my fourth baby labor and delivery.
Some time in September I told several people the day I expected baby to come based on the number and day being mathematically pleasing to me based on some patterns. I said it in a joking manner but did hope that it would work out. At least until I was uncomfortable pregnant and wanted to have the baby NOW and not wait for that date.
I had occasional contractions at night starting several weeks before his estimated due date. I took this as a sign that the actual labor was going to be short and quick since my body was doing all the prep work ahead of time. But it also made me very skeptical about contractions since I had several times where I'd have contractions for an hour or two and then they stopped. So the contractions that evening before I had said baby was coming were mostly ignored and I didn't even tell Fixitman about them until right before bed. At this point they'd been coming occasionally for several hours now and I was starting to think we might be in actual labor. We went to sleep, me wondering if the contractions would stop or keep getting stronger. I didn't sleep much. About 2 am I decided I wasn't going to get any more sleep. They had been coming fairly regularly about every 10 minutes for several hours and were strong enough that I had to focus on breathing through them. They were hurting enough that I woke Fixitman and told him I thought I was ready to go to the birth center. He got up and I called my midwife and friend. We got to the birth center about 3 am and the contractions were still between 6-10 minutes apart but some were doubles and others were lighter. When the midwife checked and said I was about a 3 and 80%, I was a bit disappointed. She also said baby was not locked in position and was posterior. She recommended I try to be in a few positions during contractions to help him rotate to anterior.
She said we could go home and rest there or stay at the birth center. Since I hadn't been getting any rest at home, I decided to stay. I was hopeful really that things would speed up and the 3 was just a fluke. I tried to sleep some at the birth center but after a half hour of painful contractions (worse than they'd been at home) I couldn't lie down. So I got into the tub. The water helped immediately with the contractions and I tried to rest in there. About 6 am, some random guy drove up right next to the birth center blasting his music and apparently got out of his car and was dancing (with sunglasses on!) Fixitman was looking thru the window trying to figure out what he was doing and I was telling him to make him go away he was really making things difficult! The midwifes' apprentice came in and said she'd go shoo him away if wanted. Thank you!
My dear friend who came to help with everything and the midwife's apprentice sat with me for about an hour and chatted at this point and then I decided the contractions seemed to be slowing down and wanted to get out. Moving around immediately brought on more contractions (yay!) and I decided we should go walk around the park. Woke up Fixitman, midwife said I should eat some breakfast and I agreed to eat a bagel with cream cheese after the walk around the park. I wasn't really feeling hungry but she said I might need the energy and would be glad I did or the baby would come and it wouldn't matter much. So we walked slowly around the park as the sun came up and stopped when I had hard contractions so I could focus on breathing. After eating the midwife checked and I was almost a 4 and he was still posterior. This was really disappointing news and while she focused on me being in a position to rotate him, I got tired and fell into a light sleep. I would wake up for contractions but was able to breathe thru them with help and the nap helped me feel more able to handle things.
We went for another walk after this. The midwife apprentice said to walk fast if I could thru contractions. I did though it hurt and it was entertaining as everyone encouraged my vocalizations. My preferred sound was pbbbt. Next I got a dose of the group b strep meds and the midwife recommended some natural inducing of oxytocin. This helped a lot at bringing on some strong regular contractions for a while and I felt like squatting after a bit and felt so ready to have the baby. I was sure if I squatted long enough he'd come but after 20-30 minutes my legs were very tired and I had to stand up. I tried to use the facilities but instead got faint and tired and had to lie down. (It was about noon.)
At this point I fell into a light sleep and had some sort of dream about taking an engine out of one car and putting it in another. I mumbled something about it out loud because I heard the midwife interpreting it. "She wants someone else to finish the labor for her." Yep, I was tired and ready to be done! When I was roused from my short nap I felt more energy but also fairly depressed. The midwife said movement was helping and I should keep moving positions and to do some more natural inducing of oxytocin. But I was having a hard time staying relaxed during contractions and mentally was telling myself I couldn't do it anymore. I told Fixitman to have just the midwife come in and check me because if I wasn't about to have this baby I was going to drive to the hospital and get an epidural so I could sleep for a while. Wisely, he didn't argue with me (much) and had her come check.
I was at a 7, completely effaced and the bag of waters was bulgy. He seemed to be in the right position at first and then moved back to posterior again. She recommended breaking the bag of waters and said he would probably come pretty fast after that. (It was some time after 1pm at this point.) She had the apprentice come in and break the bag of waters and immediately I felt like things were going better. I was unable to decide where I wanted to be though and tried to go to the birth stool and squat again but it felt wrong and Fixitman had to help me back to the bed. I ended up half on my side and half on my back holding one leg up. I was fairly disoriented and not sure of anything and was crying all sorts of crazy things at this point but then they were telling me he was crowning and I was able to see it in the mirror. It was a little crazy to see him coming out and of course I looked away right when he decided to spin into the right position (finally) which was pretty cool according to the midwife and Fixitman. When he was out and they put him on my belly, I had no energy to pull him up to me. I was so exhausted. I hurt so much and was so tired and so happy. My first thought was that he looked just like Trainboy. With help I brought him up to my side and let him nurse and then he of course released his bowels and had to be cleaned up.
It was not an easy labor, since the contractions never were regular or consistent in intensity. The mental game was harder because it was longer and not as textbook as my previous two labors. It was also my second longest and reminded me so much of my first labor which was also posterior but for which I had so little support and ended up getting an epidural and pitocin. It was much nicer this time to have four very supportive people around helping me and encouraging me. I had my dear husband, my dear friend, the midwife and the midwife apprentice. Between their encouragement, support and all the different ideas the midwife had for helping the labor, things were so much nicer than my first where Fixitman and I were just put in the labor room and left alone for hours.
After my celebratory hamburger, fries and milkshake, I was able to get cleaned up and Fixitman went to get the other kids. They were excited to meet their baby brother and I showed them the placenta and umbilical cord as well. Then we all were able to go home together. The first thing Fixitman and I did of course being to climb in our own comfortable bed and sleep!
Link to photos from before that relate to this story.