November 26, 2008 Eli's birthday:)
After having Braxton Hicks contractions over the past month (and praying that my water would break when I went into labor to avoid having to guess if it was true labor:)), I started having pretty painful contractions at around 1am Wednesday morning. I tried to time them, but some seemed like they were right on top of each other. Derek and I got up, got our stuff together, and left for the birth center. We called my midwife (Betty), and she said to call her back when they were 5 minutes apart and ALL at least a minute long. (She said that the 30 second contractions would not actually be dilating my cervix.) The birth center is 30 minutes from our house, so we decided to go ahead and drive there. We walked in the birth center at 3am. Betty listened to Eli's heartbeat, checked my vitals, and checked to see if I was dilated. I was at 3cm and 80% effaced. I birthed mostly on the floor, with the birthing ball, and leaning on the bed for awhile. Once I got into the birth tub, I stayed! Since this was my first time to use the tub, I wasn't sure how it would feel. I think the combination of the warm water and the jacuzzi jets on my back helped me through a lot of the contractions. During the contractions, I definitely had to rock my body and MOVE through them. The water was very helpful for that!
I could tell I was in transition when I started getting more vocal and felt like I couldn't handle the contractions as well. When I first felt the urge to push, Betty told me I was at 7 cm. She asked if I really felt my body telling me to push or if it was just me wanting it all to be "over!" I think it was mostly the latter:) My water had not broken at this point, but Betty broke it when I got to the point where I really couldn't keep from pushing. I got into position for Derek to be able to catch Eli. I pushed and contracted in that position for what felt like forever. When things got tougher, I leaned onto Derek's legs and hugged him around his waist. I was basically on my hands and knees at this point, and Derek wasn't going to be able to catch Eli...but I felt like this was the most helpful position for me to push in. (Derek unselfishly complied:) and said for me to do whatever I needed to do.) When I pushed Eli's head out, I apparently came up out of the water for a second, and he took a breath of air. Because of this, I had to stay up out of the water for the rest of his delivery. Once he was completely out, I flipped back around, sat in the tub in front of Derek and held Eli on my chest. I leaned back on Derek, and we held and stared at Eli while the cord was still pulsating. Once it stopped, Derek cut it and got out of the tub to hold Eli while I delivered the placenta.
After getting me settled in the bed and Eli bundled up in his blankets, Betty and Amy (the birth assistant) checked my and Eli's vitals. Derek and I were left alone in the room with Eli to hold him, feed him, and enjoy the peace and quiet. It was so wonderful to be left alone like that. I think that was one of my favorite things about birthing at the birth center. I had a small tear, so Betty came in a little while later to stitch me up. She weighed and measured Eli, and then he and I took an herbal bath together. I soaked in the tub for a few minutes by myself while Derek held Eli, then Eli got in with me and I bathed him. Betty checked Eli over after he got out of the tub while he laid on the heating pad. Finally, Derek dressed Eli in his going home clothes, I got dressed, we received our "discharge" instructions, and we left at 11:00am!!
Weight 7 lbs. 2 oz.
Length 20 inches