Miriam Elizabeth made her grand entrance into this world on Thursday, September 30, 2010, at 5:04am! She weighed 8lbs, 5oz, and is 20.5" long. She looks exactly like her older brother, Benjamin, but definitely more "girly" in her features.
I had been sitting at 5cm dilated for two weeks, and being at risk for a placental abruption, my OB decided to do a membrane sweep at my 9:00am appointment to see if we couldn’t get labor jump-started. About an hour after the appointment, I started a dull back pain. At 6:00pm, I started to have contractions. They didn’t hurt, but they were felt first in my underbelly and then spread to my entire lower back. They were very regular, starting at 8 minutes apart, but never got stronger and never got closer together. By 8:30pm, they were pretty much gone, or maybe I had just become accustomed to them and didn’t notice anymore! I had been sitting on an exercise ball, and it had done a great job at relieving the back pressure because I could roll back, stretch my hips, and sink into the ball. So, at 9:30pm, I decided to just go to bed.
I woke at 10:55pm, feeling a strong contraction in my lower back. After two of those, I woke my husband, Chris, and told him that I needed his help to get through the contractions. He applied counter-pressure (pressing both in and down on my hips to give a “spreading” feeling), and the warmth of his hands made the contractions seem like nothing at all. These were very irregular contractions, first at 6 minutes apart, then 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, then back to 5 minutes. I laid in bed for another hour, then decided that they weren’t going away and we should call my father to come stay the rest of the night with Benjamin. I told him that the contractions weren’t regular, but it was going to happen tonight, and asked if he wanted to come now or should we call him when we were certain we were going to the hospital? He opted to come right away as it takes him 45 minutes to get to our house. I decided to take a shower to bide the time, but by the time I was done, my contractions were so strong that I was having difficulty breathing through them on my own. So as soon as my father arrived to babysit Benjamin, we left for the hospital, even though my contractions were still irregular.
When I arrived at 1:30am, I was 7cm dilated. I chose to sit on the birthing ball since that’s what worked for me at home. My doula, Vanessa, showed up shortly afterwards and sat in front of me to help control my breathing, while Chris continued to sit behind me and applied counter-pressure to my back. My contractions remained irregular, both in timing and in strength. It felt like I would have one really strong contraction, then a small one, and then a large one again. I had a few contractions that were so hard and so long that I vomited immediately afterwards. Everyone assured me that vomiting is good because it acts as 10 contractions since I’m pushing downward with each vomit. Though, I wished I hadn’t chosen to eat Sloppy Joes for dinner! At about 4:00am, I moved into transition and I changed my breathing to a moaning. I felt like I had a better control over the release of the pressure by using words like “okay, okay, okay,” and that actually made me smile and calmer because that’s what Benjamin says when you ask him to do something, “okay, okay, okay.” I moved to the bed on my knees and hung my upper body over a support bar when the contractions became really intense. The support bar was a little high for me, so I turned around on my hands and knees and buried my face into a pillow. I did a lot of physical shaking with the transitional contractions.
At 4:55am, my contractions made a sudden change to strong, regular, smooth contractions. With two of these, my water broke, and the very next contraction had me pushing the baby’s head out! The nurses tried to encourage me to lay on my back, but I didn’t want to move from my hands and knees, so that’s where I stayed for the pushing. At first, the nurses were telling me to push, but I told them, “Stop telling me to push! Don’t tell me to push! I can do this on my own!” I’m afraid I embarrassed Chris because of how vocal and loud I was being. I don’t feel that I actively pushed, but that I let the contractions do the work. To be absolutely honest, as the head was crowning, I got very scared and I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t. It was okay though, because 6 minutes later, Miriam was fully delivered!!
The on-call doctor showed up 15 minutes later, and the only thing she did was deliver the placenta which was being very stubborn. She administered pitocin for that, and I’ve had it one additional time because I’m having a hard time with getting the post-partum clotting to stick.
I’m feeling pretty good!! I had a tiny little tearing, not even enough to consider a 1st degree, which is wonderful compared to the 4th degree one I had with Benjamin. It’s amazing how wonderful and proud I feel after a non-medicated birth!
Benjamin is enjoying being a big brother, if only because it means that the grandparents and Daddy are at home everyday. He hasn't quite figured out exactly how this new baby relates to him. As a toddler, it's still all about Benjamin!