Paul arrived here from Heaven on Friday, August 31 at 9:39pm. At 4am that Friday, bright and early, I went into labor. I, honestly, didn't think too much about it because I knew that early labor can last a few hours to a few days.
Previous in the night, I moved from the bed to the couch, around 10pm, trying to find a more comfortable position because of mild back pain. So, when I started contracting, I got up and made myself a celebration breakfast of crepes with Nutella and fruit. I wanted to keep busy as I wasn't sure how long this stage of labor would be. When a mild contraction came, I stopped, leaned over the counter, and did a hip circle as I had learned from my time taking various birth classes.
By the time Brent rose a couple hours later, around 6am, I was in the guest bedroom, laying on the bed, on my side, propped up with pillows, listening to relaxing music on my phone, and practicing my breathing; another technique I learned in my birth classes. Before Brent left the house for work, I let him know I was in early labor, but to go to work as I wasn't sure how long it would last. I told him I would call him to come home if labor progressed and I needed him.
(Oh, and I let him know that I really wanted some pizza. He told me to go ahead and order the pizza and have it delivered to the house.)
Brent replied that he would let his principal know about the labor, so the school would be prepared with a substitute if he needed to leave during the school day. We said goodbye and about three hours later I got out of the guest bed needing a change of position. It was 8:30am. I turned on the relaxing music I'd been listening to on the tv via youtube.
(I was disappointed to realize that the pizza place didn't open until 10am, so I decided to distract myself until I could order the pizza.). I did some light cleaning around the house - sweeping and dishes. Nothing too crazy. When a contraction came, I would simply do a hip circle and breathe through it.
When 10 am rolled around, I placed the order with the pizza place. At this point in the morning, I was fairly sure I was starting to go into active labor as the contractions were starting to feel more intense, painful, and frequent. I text my doula, Natalie, to let her know that I would need her to come to the house fairly soon. She asked me to time my contractions, so she could figure out about how far along I was.
(While I was timing my contractions, the pizza was delivered and I had a couple slices; although I was disappointed that I didn't feel like eating more.)
After I timed my contractions for about an hour, I saw they were closer together than I thought. I let Natalie know and she said she would head on over. While waiting for Natalie, the contractions, once again, intensified. I was fairly sure I could handle them though, so I decided to go to the restroom, try to relieve myself, and sit on the toilet - a good technique for laboring.
(Throughout the previous part of the day I had pooped multiple times, to the point that there simply wasn't much left in me. Looking back I know it was because my body was naturally getting rid of things it didn't want to be concerned about.)
To my dismay, after I had relieved myself, I saw quite a lot of blood in the bowl. I was a little scared at the sight because the sight of it made me believe I was progressing quickly and no one was at the house yet. To add to my frightened state, the contractions really started ramping up after the bathroom trip so much so that I could barely walk without a great deal fo pain.
Right away, I called Brent at work. It was around noon. I let him know I was in active labor and I needed his help at home. Thankfully he was able to come home right away. After I hung up with Brent, Natalie text me to remind me to call for the birth tub to be set up per our birth plan. I called, and the birth tub tech headed over.
Brent arrived before Natalie and when he did, I was almost unable to articulate what was happening. I was, however, able to ask him to administer counter-pressure to my low back where I was feeling the contractions the most. I later realized that I was having serious back labor as Paul and I were back to back instead of belly to back. Brent and I had spent the last few months of my pregnancy trying to turn Paul, but he was determined to stay in the position he was in.
Brent also helped me call Cassie, our midwife, to come over. Normally midwives come a little later in the game, but I wanted her with me and now! I had the distinct impression that if she was with me everything would be okay.
A few minutes after Brent arrived, Natalie arrived. She switched off with Brent doing counter pressure and encouraged me to change into my swimsuit as I had planned to be in the birth tub. I did so, and she tried to help me labor in the shower. Unfortunately, though, it wasn't a great success. I mostly labored in our master bedroom in various positions, against the dresser, in the shower, on the bed, waiting for the birth tub to be set up in our living room.
As I labored in the bedroom, Cassie arrived. It was so good to hear her voice and see her. I knew it would be okay even if the pain was nearly constant at this point. there were no ebb's and flow's. The position Paul was in made it nearly impossible to distinguish one contraction from the next. As I continued to wait for the birth tub to be set up my mucus plug came out.
Unfortunately, the tub took a couple hours to set up and fill, and the tub tech forgot the tub liner, so she had to go get one making the wait longer than anticipated. When the birth tub was finally ready, it was such a relief to get in the water. The contractions spaced apart as the warm water helped me relax. Brent got in the tub too and held me from behind between the contractions. During the contractions, I held the side of the tub with my arms with my legs in the kneeling position.
After laboring for a while in the tub, Cassie asked me to get out and labor on the bed for a while so we could try to turn Paul - from back to back to belly to back. However, that didn't last long as labor was excruciatingly intense out of the water. I hadn't realized how accustomed I'd become to the water until I was out of it. Cassie took this opportunity to check me. Sadly, I was only 2cm out of the 10cm needed to birth Paul. This news was very disheartening as I was already exhausted!
Once I could stand the "land" contractions no more, I returned to the tub. Thankfully the contractions were much less intense with warm water soothing my body. Brent didn't get back in, but he and Natalie continued to administer counter pressure with each contraction as well as offering water and frozen grapes. I ate and drank throughout the entire birth.
I remained in the tub until about 15 hours into labor, at which point things really started ramping up. Cassie asked to check me at this point, but in order to do so, I had to leave the comfort of the water. This seemed a daunting task considering the pain I felt the last time I was out of the tub because of the intensity of the contractions.
Thankfully the second midwife that came, the midwives work in pairs, was great at getting me into and out of positions that I thought otherwise impossible. She also was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the church I attend. One time when I was having a particularly difficult time getting out of the water, she reminded me of the Saviors sacrifice in enduring all for me. That meant a great deal at the time and is one of the most distinct memories I have from Paul's birth.
Cassie checked me and I was 8cm dilated. Technically I was 10cm, but had a lip on my cervix that wasn't quite softened yet. Because to that Cassie told me not to push. That was a difficult task indeed. I wanted to push so bad!
Once back in the tub, I felt so much better and things progressed quite quickly. The water was easier to labor in since it was warm and soothing. My water finally broke and about an hour later, Cassie told me I could finally push! What a relief it was. I pushed for about an hour and then could feel the top of Paul's head at my cervix.
As he was crowning, Cassie asked me to move from the tub to the floor since the water was dirty due to the mix of blood and other bodily fluids. (Midwives note: The water became cloudy during pushing. We suspected it was due to fabric softener on a towel that had fallen in the tub but were not sure. When the water became opaque, the midwives thought it best to get mom out of the tub as visibility was greatly reduced and we did not want baby ingesting whatever was causing the cloudiness of the water.). Although I understood the wisdom in her request, I had no idea how I was going to be able to get out of the tub, especially with Paul so close to being born. I couldn't fathom lifting my legs over the lip of the three foot high side of the tub. Thankfully Natalie, Brent, Cassie and the other midwife helped me.
After that feat, they helped me down on all fours where, after a few big. long pushes, Paul was born. His head first and then his body a few minutes later. Brent and Cassie caught Paul and passed him to me. He was so beautiful. All there, so perfect!