This is what natural birth looks like!
Okay, so I left off at my water breaking....anyways, at this point Brett called our midwife and Wilma (our doula) to let them know what was going on. Wilma said she needed to get a few things together and she'd be over. Well, I guess I must be what the Bradley book refers to as a "speedster" because my contractions went from pretty irregular and un-timeable, to five minutes apart, to about three minutes apart very quickly. Brett called Wilma back and told her to just meet us at the hospital. I was pretty excited to go but was worried about having contractions in the car. Again, referring to the Bradley book, many women don't have contractions in the car because they're too tense/nervous. Well, that was not the case with me! They kept coming and continued on...by the time we were at the hospital I was working very hard on staying relaxed and vocalizing in "low tones." I don't really remember much about that part except for being so relieved to see our midwife! She had gone on ahead and was waiting on us. She even talked to our nurse ahead of time to let her know about what kind of birth we were hoping to have.
I was taken immediately into the labor and delivery room. The nurse we had was amazing- she read over our birth plan and consulted with our midwife over any questions/issues she had. In total, I was probably only in the hospital bed pre-delivery for 10 minutes or so- just long enough for a quick blood draw, blood pressure check, and doppler for the baby. I didn't have to have an iv (not even a heplock!) or wear the fetal monitor at all, which was such a blessing. As soon as the nurse was done Brett and I got down to work. We used a lot of different positions to deal with my contractions, which were coming pretty quickly by this point. I found squatting (with his arms supporting me) and rocking my pelvis was especially good for staying relaxed. Wilma had the lights turned down, soft music playing, and had lavender oil ready. After a while I got in the tub (not a nice birthing tub- a regular old hospital tub- but I'm not complaining :-) ) and it was wonderful. Wilma poured water over me with a pitcher and Brett massaged me with oil. Between contractions it was positively blissful- I felt so supported and encouraged and loved.
After a while I got out of the tub because I really wanted to make sure things were progressing. Wilma recommended I start walking "through contractions" which was really difficult, but effective. I had a quick check and was at almost 8 cm at this point. Then transition hit, and I definitely threw up a bunch (luckily only water) and felt pretty bad for a few minutes. But I knew I was close to the end, and that was encouraging. Before I knew it we were ready to push.
OMG was pushing incredible! I know people say that "you can't do anything else but push," but it's so true. It's as primal as breathing- you don't think about, you can't NOT do it. It didn't feel that long, but I think I ended up pushing for about 30-45 minutes (edit: I now know it was more like 15 minutes!). I think Ina May hit it on the head when she said it's not so much pain, but an overwhelming sensation- you almost don't know how to process it. Brett actually delivered Lucy- he got to grab her little head, rotate her shoulders- and full on deliver her (not just catch!) He put her on my belly and he said, "It's a girl!" I could.not.believe.it. I actually asked him, "Are you sure??" She was so beautiful- red and crying and amazingly alert. She was just looking everywhere!
We waited until the cord stopped pulsing and Brett cut it. I was also able to deliver the placenta without having a pit injection, which was a relief. I was bleeding rather heavily, but we managed to get Lucy latched on within minutes and that really helped. I think the most painful part was when the nurse "massaged" my uterus- our midwife had to remind her that I was unmedicated, so I was definitely feeling everything she was doing. She quickly was much more gentle. I also had a second-degree tear (I had specified in my birth plan I'd rather tear naturally than have an episiotomy) so I had to be stitched up, but it wasn't bad.
Isn't he a natural?
As I was being stitched up, Brett took Lucy over to be looked at by the nurses- still in our room. They only looked her over quickly and weighed her before she came back to me. We didn't have her footprints done, length measured, etc. until the next morning. We refused eye medication, hep B shot (she'll get it later). She also didn't have a bath as we rubbed the vernix in ourselves. Actually, she didn't leave my sight at all (we roomed-in) until her hearing test Thursday morning- and Brett was with her then. As much as I was worried about being in the hospital, the nurses were fabulous. They listened to everything we wanted and were super nice- a lot of them were excited to see a natural birth! In total, I was in the hospital for just under 3 hours when Lucy was born (admitted at 10:30 or so, Lucy was born at 1:06 am).
We were able to leave Thursday morning after Lucy's hearing test. She has to be re-tested in one ear in two weeks, which is apparently pretty common. I'm not too worried about it. We had our first pediatrician appointment today, but I'll have to write about that later because it's almost time for Lucy to eat again!
Ready to come home!
Meeting Brett's grandparents!
....More pictures to come once I censor all the ones Wilma took. They're beautiful-but considering I labored in the nude- I figured they're best kept private until I get the chance to make them more PC.