September 12, 2010
Briar Hill Midwives

Our due date was Sept 23.

I started getting PMS-like cramps on Friday Sept 10 while I was driving home from IKEA. I kinda got freaked out, they were worse than I've ever felt for PMS, but they only lasted from 4pm until 7pm, so I figured it was nothing. The next morning, Sept 11, I woke up to a contraction at 6:30am. Had one again at 7:00, one at 7:30 and one at 8:00. I figured this was it! But then nothing happened. I was excited/nervous/taken by surprise. I had a chiropractor app't at noon and I asked a friend to drive me in case I had more contractions on the road. They were too intense for driving. When I saw the chiropractor, I broke down crying. I was TOTALLY emotional, feeling like I was going to have the baby that day, and feeling I wasn't ready for my pregnancy to be over, and not really prepared emotionally to have the babe. I always thought I was going to be early, but I really didn't think THAT early. My chiropractor assured me that the babe was head down in a good position and that it was probably just pre-labour and some cervical changes might be happening.

I went home after a good cry (I was so emotional and I knew something was hormonally happening). Sue, I kept thinking of all the things we talked about and tried to get my ducks in a row emotionally and physically. We went to the Farmer's market in the afternoon. I felt great! I figured it was a false alarm.

Then at about 6pm I had a killer contraction and then another one shortly after. They started coming 20 minutes apart. I couldn't walk or talk through them. I tried to take the dog for a walk with my sister, but had to sit down on someone's lawn and breath through it. That was the beginning of the next 22 hours of labour!

They started coming 10 minutes apart, and by 10pm or so, I think they were 5 minutes apart and absolutely brutal. I couldn't stand the pain when I was lying down, so I jumped up and stood at the side of the bed, leaning on it, or the wall, for the duration of each contraction. They were between 60 and 90 seconds long.

At 2am I was totally exhausted and frustrated. I told Andrew to page the midwives, but he wouldn't because he knew it was too early. I got in the shower, and felt a bit of relief, but I was getting really tired and I couldn't sleep between them because they hurt too much and were too close together.

At 3am I called the midwives and she told me to take 2 Gravol and 2 Tylenol and try to rest. So I did, but still couldn't rest while I was jumping off the bed every 5 minutes to have a contraction standing up.

At 6am I was contracting every 3-4 minutes for up to 2 minutes and I was frustrated and totally exhausted. It was the longest 12 hours of my life! Andrew paged the midwives.

Savannah arrived at our house at 7am and checked me - I was convinced I was 8 cm - I was crying from the pain. She said I was FOUR cm!!!! I almost lost my mind. Sue - you are right, it's extremely discouraging, and I was scared to think about how long it would take me to get to 10cm.

We left for the Birth Ctr at 8am after packing up our things and then I experienced hell in the car on route because I was in a "sitting" position and I couldn't stand it. I was Strep B positive so as soon as we got there I had an IV of penicillin, and I had to sit still through a contraction while she got the needle into my hand. That was a new level of pain. I laboured from 8am until noon and only made it from 4cm to 6cm. I was soooo tired it was crazy. I started crying again from pain and frustration. I was trying to eat and drink through it all. I got in and out of the tub as I felt necessary.

At 1pm I was 7 cm and totally pissed off. Savannah gave me the option of breaking my water, saying it could intensify the contractions, but it could shorten the labour - all I heard was "shorten" the labour, so I asked her to do it. She broke my water, and during that, I had the most painful contraction of the whole day, plus I was on my back and not supposed to move much. I screamed. I thought I could die from the pain. I've never known that kind of pain. I couldn't even breath. Then the next contractions were really close together, mostly one on top of another, and soooooo painful I thought I was dying, but I figured this meant baby was coming soon so I tried to stay sane. When she checked me again, my dilation had gone BACKWARD by 1cm! I was only 6cm and my cervix was thicker, not thinner.

So by 2pm I was on the "happy gas" to calm down but I hated the feel of the mask on my face, and I hated being touched, and I was totally losing my mind. I said I wanted drugs, I said I wanted to be knocked out. I wanted to sleep so badly and to be able to lie down because I was always on my feet because it hurt the least. I had been rocking and swaying my hips for well over 12 hours at this point. I said I wanted to go to the hospital. Savannah told me to have a talk with Andrew in private. So we did. She procrastinated and left the room for a bit and said it would take an hour to get organized and to pack up and go the hospital. This was just so depressing to me. (She was totally procrastinating and I love her for it). I was standing up leaning against a counter, crying, and groaning. All of a sudden, about 30 minutes after she had told me I was only 6cm, I had bright red blood running down my leg, and I had the weirdest contraction, like I wanted to push, and I had that "grunt", and it was the least painful contraction I had in the last 20 hours. I called for Savannah to come into the room, she came and checked me and said I was 10 cm. HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!! From 6cm to 10cm in less than an hour? I don't know what happened, but I was ecstatic. She added more hot water to the tub and I got in. A second midwife arrived, and they told me to push whenever I felt like it. So I pushed with each contraction. It felt soooo good. I loved every minute of it. I could feel her crowning and got totally excited. This pain was sooooo much more tolerable. About 70 minutes later, after the best contractions I had all day, I pushed out our little girl in the tub. All of a sudden I wasn't tired anymore. It was awesome. I held her, got out of the tub, walked to the bed and breast fed her, and then delivered the placenta. We were home 3 hours later, called our parents, and mostly just stared at her all night. Talk about adoration!

Freyja 7lbs 1oz, 19" long, born at 3:45 pm on Sunday Sept 12.

Things haven't been totally easy since then though. At 4 days old she was jaundice and we had to go to the hospital and put her under lights for 18 hours. That was sad. They kept taking blood from her heel. Thankfully it was short lived! She didn't start breastfeeding until 6 days old, although it's going great now. But she is colicky and has acid reflux, so we have a very uncomfortable babe and nobody is getting much sleep. It's so hard to see a little baby in pain, and you just don't know what to do. We've got some medical advice and hopefully she'll start feeling better soon. I hear that things get easier after 1 month, and then even better at 3 months, and although I'm looking forward to that, I wouldn't wish away these newborn days. It's just so precious and we're so in love. I'm sure all new parents feel this euphoria. It ALMOST makes me want to do it again, hahaha! But perhaps the labour could be a bit shorter???? :)

Michelle, Andrew and Freya

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