So, he's finally here! The labor was only 8 hours long from start to finish and everything went very well.
I went to my midwife appointment on Tuesday morning (December 30th) and Peggy said it was time to think about doing some natural induction methods since I was 2 weeks past due and we were pretty sure on the dates.
At around noon Kim (the assistant midwife) came over and helped me go through the various things they do to stimulate labor. This included some homeopathic medicines, herbal tinctures, Castor oil, belly massage and a breast pump. This part wasn't much fun because you're taking these very nasty herbs every half an hour and then the Castor oil kicks in which isn't much fun at all. It was nice just hanging out with Kim and she really helped me stay on track with things which did get things going. She left around 3:30 and checked me just before she went. I wasn't dilated at all but there had been some "softening."
My mom and Pudding, who had been at the park for most of the afternoon, got back shortly after Kim left and I was starting to have light contractions and running to the bathroom all the time. Castor oil really does what they say it does. Matt got home around 4:30 and right around then I was starting to think this could actually be it. We'd had so many starts and stops with labor this time around that I was not really sure I should believe it. I called my doula Tara to see what she thought. She said she'd come by after she'd fed her kids and gotten them settled for the night.
Meanwhile I sat down to knit on our big chair with Dilbert there. We would chat between contractions and he would rub my belly to keep them going. I kept a heating pad on my breasts because Kim had said that that would sometimes help stimulate things and I was feeling cold all the time so it just felt cozy to me. During a contraction Dilbert would stop rubbing my belly and I would look in his eyes. Things were not very intense yet but I would have to think about staying relaxed and focus on my breathing. Dilbert was a big help because he didn't look worried once, that was a huge thing for me. He just looked so confident and calm that it calmed me down.
Dilbert had to head out for a while to get some prescription filled. His sinus infection was kicking his butt. I stayed in the chair knitting for a little while. Whenever a contraction hit I would make eye contact with a silly little ornament on my Christmas tree. Oddly enough, it helped.
Tara got there around 7 or so and things were starting to pick up. When Dilbert got back, we made the decision to bring Pudding to our friend Jenn's house for the night. Dilbert packed Pudding off to Jenn's house so she could have a sleep over with her buddy K. I sang her her baby song just before she left, it was kindof a bitter sweet moment because it was the last time I saw her as my only child.
After Pudding left, things started really getting down to business. I started to have to make noise through the peak of a contraction and we moved up to my room with just me, Tara and my mom. During a contraction Tara would rub my leggs and mom my shoulders to help me stay relaxed. I started really wanting Dilbert to be there and somewhere around this time we called Peggy to come too. Dilbert got there first and I leaned on him for a few contractions. Then we tried laying down under the covers so that Dilbert could hold my belly. I remember the heat from his hands feeling really good and it didn't work very well when anyone else did it.
Kim got there pretty quickly followed by Peggy and Desiree. They got everything set up and said they would get out of our way if I wanted them too. I told them I'd rather have them there, "lets keep the party going " is I think what I said.
Shortly after that I got hot all of the sudden. Tara ripped off the wool socks she'd put on me earlier and Dilbert helped me off with the silly yellow hoodie that I'd been wearing. I was pretty frantic to get them off. Soon the Castor oil kicked in (again) and Dilbert helped me to the bathroom and stayed with me because I was having pretty intense contractions and didn't want to be alone. That was a new phase of our marriage right there.
I stayed in there for a while because I just didn't want to get up. My mom said that it was great to see how Dilbert and I worked together through this part because I was really starting to loose it. I kept saying that I didn't want to do it anymore and that it hurt, I don't like it. Dilbert would tell me to look at him and tell me that I was doing great and that I was doing it and that it would be done soon. That would usually calm me down enough to stop screaming.
For a little while Kim came in because they needed to check the babies heart tones and she did the same thing for me. As good as she did, it was nicer with Dilbert because I could pull on him and not worry about pulling him over. I don't know how long I was in the bathroom but it must have been a while. After a bit the midwives said they should check me since we hadn't done that since Kim had been here earlier. At 11:05 ( they read the chart entry later) I was at 7-8 cm dilation.
The midwives got the birth stool set up (not really a stool, just a big metal frame that you perch on) and I moved over there.
This I remember being the hardest part. I was still whining my way through contractions, sometimes yelling, sometimes just saying, "I don't like this." When I got on the stool though everything felt even more intense and I started feeling like my body was pushing even though I wasn't trying to. Peggy kept checking and said that I shouldn't push yet but I simply couldn't help it. For a few contractions I kept the pushing to a minimum because I would pant my way through them but pushing was still happening though I don't think I told Peggy that. I was sortof roaring through contractions now and they were right on top of each other. I would yell as loud as I could and still wish I could go louder.
Finally at 11:30 they said I could push for real so I stopped panting and just let things go. The contractions spaced out some but they were so hard when they came that I didn't notice. One last big push and out he came with a big splash of water all over the midwives. That last sentence makes it sound easy but it was anything but, I seriously thought in the moment that natural childbirth was a stupid idea and the epidural was the way to go. However, I changed my mind very quickly because then he was there I could still feel my legs and everyone was telling me how good I'd done and that I hadn't torn much at all. I walked (assisted by several people) over to my own bed and got in while holding my baby whose cord was still intact. I laid down in bed and the midwives came over the check me out and massage the uterus (no fun). I discovered that I had a boy, no one told me that, it was mine to discover. The Tyke didn't seem much interested in nursing but he didn't cry much, just enough to let us know he was ok. We got him to latch on a little to help get the placenta out. That seemed to take a long time and I had to push really hard. When the placenta finally came out, I could see why it was so hard to get out, it was huge, bigger than the baby. The midwives said that when your nutrition is really good you get a big placenta like that and that it's very good for the baby. They told me I should be really proud of a placenta that big. It weighed nearly as much as the baby himself. The Tyke weighed in at 9 lbs 10 oz!
That was pretty much it. Peggy, Kim and Desiree tucked us in and headed out after fixing things up and Tara headed home to her family. My mom went downstairs and Dilbert, The Tyke and I snuggled into our own bed. Other than feeling sore and whatnot, I'm in good shape and The Tyke is doing so well. I definitely recommend home birth because the whole thing was so much more peaceful and I never remember feeling uncomfortable, people came into my space, I didn't have to go to theirs. It was good.