Teresa and Adam

February 6, 2011 at 10:46 am Leave a comment

While falling asleep late on the night of February 5th I felt a strong Braxton Hicks contraction. Since I had many of these throughout my pregnancy, and sometimes along with menstrual-like cramping, it didn’t alarm me. However the cramping this time felt a little stronger than usual. I decided not to think about it too much and to try to get some sleep.

I was able to get several hours of sleep and sometime between 3 and 4 am I felt another light contraction. Around this time I also experienced stomach cramping and loose bowel movements, which I remembered were common symptoms in early labor. Over the next couple of hours the contractions, along with the stomach cramps, became more frequent and intense and it was hard to tell at times which was which. This made me question if I had truly started labor so I decided to wait to call my midwife.

Around 6 am, however, it became clear to me that I was indeed in labor and when my husband and I started to time the contractions, as suggested by our midwife, they were coming every 2 to 3 minutes apart. By this point the pain was so intense, the only thing I could do was get on my hands and knees and rock my hips back and forth. I wanted to scream with each contraction but tried hard to moan loudly instead allowing the sound to come from the back of my throat.

The next 2 hours were chaotic as my husband and I ran around the house gathering last minute items and arranging for our 2 year old to be picked up by a sister-in-law. All the while I was crawling around the house on my hands and knees with each contraction. I also tried to take a shower to help relieve some pain but the contractions were coming on too fast and too strong.

I was able to do 2 down dogs on the shower wall before rushing out because I had the overwhelming sense that it was time to leave for the hospital as soon as possible. It wasn’t until after the shower that I remembered to try the TENS unit and kept it on until we got to the hospital. I can’t say whether it relieved any pain or helped by serving as a distraction from the contractions. It probably would have been more effective had I tried it earlier in my labor.

We arrived at the hospital at 8:30 am and I was relieved to discover that I was already 8 cm dilated and that the feeling I had of being out of control was transition. For the next 30 to 40 minutes my husband held me in a standing position from behind (the way we learned in our Couples Yoga for Labor class) and we swayed back and forth with each contraction. I asked the midwife to check me again when I started to feel like pushing with the contractions and she found I was just about at 10 cm but had a small lip of cervix in the way. On the next contraction she pushed it aside and I was fully dilated.

When I started to push I got on my hands and knees because I wanted to give birth in a upright position, but the pain in my back was so intense with each push that the only comfortable position was on my side in the bed. After pushing for a while, my midwife broke my water in the hopes of speeding up the process, but it did little to move things along and I ended up pushing hard for an hour and a half. Everyone kept assuring me that they could see his head and that he had lots of dark hair but my husband told me later that it felt like an eternity since they could see his head in the same position with little progress.

I knew the end was close when I started to feel the “ring of fire” but felt like the stretching lasted for an unusually long time. It almost felt like the baby was stuck! The long, hard pushing as well as the intense pressure on my back all made sense when Adam’s head popped out facing up. In retrospect I’m glad that no one realized he was OP because I’m sure I would have felt discouraged and therefore less confident—ignorance is bliss!

Adam Dominic was born on Sunday morning February 6th at 10:46 am. He was 8 lb 9 oz. (a big boy!) and 21 inches long. When I held him in my arms for the first time, I was overwhelmed with feelings of love and in awe of one of life’s great miracles. I also felt strong, powerful, and proud.

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