The birth story (edited April 1 with pictures) Please note that birth isn't something you can really do while dressed, so you'll have to overlook any nakedness.
So I was getting a little antsy about my baby coming. She was born Saturday March 29, 2008 at 6:45pm, this was 42 weeks and 3 days gestation based on my last period and 43 weeks from my ovulation date. I had been having regular contractions all week varying from 3 minutes apart to 10 minutes apart.
Thursday, the 27, a friend from church came over and brought us split pea soup for dinner. We had just gotten up from a nap and had slept through dinner (that was my last "good" sleep. By the time we finished talking with her, I was trying to hide the fact that the contractions had just gotten stronger. It was 10:30. After we ate, I tried to lie down in our bath tub. At about midnight we went to bed. I struggled all night to sleep, but eventually gave up at 4 in the morning.
Once the pool was filled I labored in it and McKay would make hot compresses and press them on my back for the back pain and would boil water. He was doing the work of two people.
At some point I asked for a blessing and I was told that I would receive the inspiration on what to do next. That evening I started losing my mucous plug which was exciting because it meant progress was being made. I continued losing my mucous plug up until Saturday morning. That night I pretty much didn't sleep and about 5 in the morning I was getting frustrated with the lack of progress, and I was feeling like I didn't know what I was doing so I called a friend (J) who was training to be a doula. She had told me that it wouldn't bother her if I called in the middle of the night. I left a message about 5:45. About 20 min later she showed up at my door with some food. I explained to her that I was in labor and what I was feeling. I felt hopeless and that the inspiration I had been promised wasn't coming.
She gave us some food, which I ended up throwing up later that morning. J took over the water boiling so McKay could put pressure on my lower back during the back labor. I had really hard back labor through the afternoon. I threw up gain sometime that afternoon, but we had hidden the clocks so I wouldn't be bothered by the time, so I don't know when.
At some point, probably around 4, I realized that I didn't need McKay to apply pressure during the contractions. That either meant that baby was moving down or had moved down or that labor was going to be stalled. I was getting really tired of the back labor but was beginning to feel pushy. I wasn't sure how dilated I was so I didn't want to push too much. I started vocalizing through contractions. Around 5:30/6 I started pushing with the contractions and could feel which contractions were productive and which weren't. I put my finger up my vagina and felt that the baby was about 4 inches back. I thought I felt the head, it was very smooth. For the next while I would push with the contractions and sometimes without contractions because I was so anxious to see my baby and was finally making progress that I could measure which gave me hope. I started ignoring the fact that I was supposed to wait for contractions and pushed whenever I got antsy. I was holding on to McKay's hands and leaning over the edge of the tub.
The next time I checked how far back the baby was, there was about an inch and a half to go.
McKay moved behind me into the water and I gripped J's hands. In the next few pushes I started feeling something crowning, but the ring of fire was not as strong as I expected. It was only a little bit of a sting. I felt something partly out of my vagina and put my hand down there and felt something really squishy hanging out about an inch. I stood up for McKay so he could see what it was. It was my bag of waters, which had not yet broken (obviously). I knew it was soon, so I gave a few more hard pushes and finally felt the ring of fire. The part that stung the most was up in front, I didn't feel any pain near my perineum. McKay saw the head coming out and I finished pushing it out. I knew at this point that there usually is a lull while the baby turns to get the shoulders through. I kept thinking McKay was pulling on the head and told him to stop. He said he wasn't. I felt the shoulders turn and I helped push them through. Two shoulders and an arm were pushed out, and then there was a slight pause before the rest of baby spilled out. The baby was still in the water sack until the feet came out, at which point it broke. McKay passed the baby to me between my legs and I brought it up out of the water. I noticed she was a girl but didn't say anything yet. J and McKay started to help unwrap the cord which was around her arm. Then it was announced that we had a Margaret. We checked the time and it was 6:45.
J got the camera and started taking pictures.
I started nursing in the pool and then J suggested getting out of the pool and helped me out. I reclined on the couch, nursing our little Margaret. McKay gave me a blessing for the placenta to come quickly. I started noticing after pains of my uterus clamping down as I was nursing. About 15/20 min after the birth, the placenta started coming out and was sitting in my vagina. I scooted towards the edge of the couch and it just fell out into a bowl with a lot of blood clots. Soon after, we grabbed our sterilized meat scissors and a piece of cotton yarn. The cord wasn't pulsing so I tied it off and McKay cut the cord. A little bit later, McKay examined the placenta and it was all there. I asked J at what point she thought I had hit transition. And she said a long time ago I had shown signs that morning but none recently. Either that meant my second stage was really long or didn't really exist. When Margaret was born, she was very pink and started fussing and breathing right away. There was a good amount of vernix on her, which reassured me that she wasn't too overdue and that everything was fine. There was a little stain of meconium on the top of her head, but that was it, and it was barely noticeable. I had just given birth!
I will totally go this route again. McKay was such a help and I was glad that J came so McKay could focus on helping me with the back labor Saturday. Next time I'm going to do more stretching (hips, legs, back) during pregnancy; maybe it'll help me be able to walk better afterwards. The pool was the best thing because by Saturday, the birth ball didn't feel comfortable anymore. After having done it, UC doesn't feel extreme- just natural.
We haven't uploaded the pictures yet- they'll probably show up on our family blog.