Incase you missed out on Part 1
Where did we leave off? Ahh yes…Aria had decided that her first race would be the one out of my womb. My cervix had gone into overdrive. When my midwife and nurse predicted me to just be reaching 4cm dilated, I was actually at 10cm, 100% effaced, and my body had taken it upon itself to begin pushing on it's own.
It took me a second to comprehend what she was telling me. I had been waiting for an hour and a half for pain relief and some time to process what was happening to me.
Instead, it was Go Time!
The anesthesiologist was standing next to us, watching everything. My midwife pointed to her and said "You. You can go."
I looked at PJ, terrified. He looked back at me and told me that I could do this, and were going to do it together. He reminded me that now that I wasn't getting the epidural, I would get to have the drug free birth that I truly wanted.
Even with all of the pain, that thought was very comforting.
Adapt and overcome. Something I'm familiar with.
My midwife had positioned herself at the bottom end of the hospital bed. She instructed me at my next contraction, to push with everything I had.
A strong contraction came on and I could feel it through every fiber of my body. I pushed hard. It felt so good to push. Channeling all of my energy into something that I could actually control, felt incredible. I felt empowered.
My midwife could see the baby's head. She instructed me to hold my legs up and push. I was exhausted. I couldn't even hold up my own legs. I moved off the table and squatted for the next round of pushing. It felt good to squat and push…for a second. Then my legs started to shake uncontrollably. I was falling over.
PJ and the nurse helped me back onto the bed. They held my legs up for me. In the next few rounds of contractions, I pushed as hard as I could every time. It was exhausting. I was making long, crazy grunting noises with each push.
I thought I would be able to feel the baby moving down the birth canal, with each push…but I couldn't. All I felt was pressure. The pushing didn't even hurt.
After what seemed like forever, I felt a sudden burning feeling. My midwife yelled "Stop pushing now!" If you listen to me very carefully, you will not tear."
The baby's head was out.
My midwife then rotated her and worked out her shoulders. She instructed me to push one last time. I pushed with the little energy I had left. Then I felt an incredible feeling of relief. The baby was out. My midwife placed her on my stomach. I just kept saying "Oh my god. Oh my god".
It was 1:35 am and she was here.
It was the most unreal feeling I have ever experienced. She was here. My little buddy for the past 10 months, who I had been carrying with me everywhere, talking to and sharing experiences with, was finally in my arms.
Then because I'm a very sensitive, classy lady, the first thing I said was "She doesn't smell as bad as I thought she would".
My midwife delivered the placenta and told me that I didn't tear during delivery. Then, again, because I'm so appropriate during emotional situations, I raised my arms in the air as if I had just landed a flip, and said "Yes! I'll be running in no time!"
Aria layed on my stomach for over an hour, while PJ and I took it all in. I can't describe the love and emotion that fills a moment like that. It's unbelievable.
The nurse then came in and asked if she could take her and weigh her. When she picked her up, we saw that I was completely covered in baby poop. During our first encounter, Aria completely covered me in crap. It was hilarious.
Aria clocked in at 6 pounds, 14 ounces, 19.5 inches long.
After we were settled, my midwife came in to debrief with us, which I appreciated. An experience as intense as labor and delivery, definitely warrants some processing.
She explained to me that it was pretty remarkable how fast I progressed through labor. The reason I was overwhelmed in pain was because things progressed at an extremely fast rate. If my cervix dilated at the average speed, I would have been in labor until at least 7:30 am, and then I would have started pushing. It still would have been painful, but I would have progressed more slowly through each centimeter of dilation, giving my body time to adjust. Aria had her eye on the prize, and really wanted to take first place (I'm not sure who she was racing), so what should have taken seven and a half hours, took an hour and a half.
For comparison sake…there was a woman there who was 5cm dialated. They had her walking around the hospital for 3 hours, trying to help her cervix to progress. She was walking and talking and completely functional. Finally after 3 hours and no progression, they sent her home to wait it out.
I asked her about transition. Transition is the last part of active labor where your cervix dilates from 8 - 10 cm. It is the most intense part of labor. Some women vomit, some shiver and some start making deep grunting sounds. By the end of transition your body can begin to bear down and push on it's own. I asked my midwife when I went through transition. With all of the reading and prep I did, I expected to know for sure when it was happening, but because everything progressed so fast, I really wasn't sure. She told me that I was in transition for about the last 45 minutes before I started pushing…right when I started begging for the epidural.
Another interesting part of Aria's arrival is that every night for about the past month Aria would get extremely active at 9 pm. PJ and I would just watch my stomach, in disbelief that a little baby could move so much in such a small space. We would just watch her until we went to sleep. Also, the last month I started waking up at 1:30 am and could not fall back asleep. Aria was very active at that time, and would keep me up. Low and behold, my crazy labor started at 9 pm and she arrived at 1:35 am. Amazing.
After delivery you feel like you've just run a marathon. You are exhausted from the miles, elated because you completed the race, pleased with your PR, filled with emotion at the outcome, yet way too excited to rest. I didn't sleep a wink the rest of that first night or the following day.
Labor is not like it is shown on tv. There is no yelling at your husband, screaming "You did this to me!" Even if I could have formed words, those are not the ones that would have come out of my mouth. I could not have made it through the experience of labor and delivery without PJ. He was an amazing coach. I'm a very strong willed person, very independent, and I don't like to accept help.
During the contractions I felt out of control. I was completely vulnerable and I couldn't find any strength within myself. PJ picked me up and gave me the strength I needed to get through the scariest and hardest thing I've ever experienced.
The biggest surprise about labor, for me, was that the contractions were the most painful part. I always thought the act of pushing the baby out of that tiny opening would be the most painful part. Not even close. Pushing her out felt good. It was something I could control, a place to channel my energy, and I was able to use my body and muscles. When she came out, it didn't hurt. It felt like a great deal of pressure. Contractions however, made me want to throw myself out the window.
Although my labor was completely opposite of what I expected, I'm thankful it happened the way it did. If I had progressed even just the tiniest bit slower, I would have gotten the epidural that in my right mind, I firmly did not want. Instead, I was able to have the drug free birth experience that I really wanted.
And here is a picture of me and my new BFF.
Happy Hump Day Ya'll.