Contractions finally started around 6:30am and were pretty mild at first. I sat on the birth ball had some breakfast of grapes and a bagel with butter and almond butter, yum, even if I threw all of it up a bit later! I continued to have gushes of water coming out, used more towels. The special white birth gown that I was going to wear during labor got soaked so that got tossed in the laundry basket and not worn again. I was naked from that point forward. Mike was up with me and informed his work that he wouldn’t be coming in that day.
Eventually I stopped gushing water and went into the kitchen and made chocolate cupcakes from a box in between contractions. I would lean on the kitchen counter and sway with each contraction, then go back to what I was doing. I had heard someone say this phrase and I was hoping it would be true for me, but it certainly was NOT.
“I will labor for as long as it takes, to make, bake, and eat a chocolate cake.” No idea how I’d have eaten during labor, though!
By 9:30am contractions were 3-4 min apart, consistently, and I started eyeing the birth tub. I was in touch with Pamela this whole time and she was asking if I wanted her and Lennon to come over as the other mama’s labor had stopped. They went to Fred Meyer for snacks and then arrived at our place around 9:45am. By this time Mike had finished filling the birth tub with warm water and ahhhh felt really good to be in there. I also found that the best position was on my hands and knees, or just kneeling and hanging over the edge of the tub. I stayed like this for awhile and then started alternating between the bathroom, bedroom, and tub. The whole labor is very fuzzy from this point forward, as my sense of time went out the window. I do know that Lennon kept me drinking water, and water with Emergen-C, and later on, miso soup for energy. She also had a bowl of ice water to keep washcloths cold for my face and the back of my neck. The labor was hard work!! I also MOANED with every single contraction. That was what got me through. Moan. MOAN. MOOOOOOOOooooOOOOOaaaannnnnnn.
I kept checking myself to see if there was any progress, and sometime in the afternoon I expressed concern because I was unsure of what I was feeling. I asked Pamela to check. She said it was fine and that I was actually fully dilated! As I wanted to move things along, I was trying to push lightly during contractions. I’m not sure if that helped or hindered things. For some reason Pamela checked me again and found that I had swollen my cervix maybe from pushing without my body being ready, but most likely due to Jake’s head being malpositioned. She then gave me some homeopathics to help with the swelling and had me get on my bed and put my chest flat on the bed with my butt high in the air to get baby off my cervix. OOOOH BOY! Those were the hardest contractions to deal with of the entire labor! I whined a little but then just focused on breathing and made it through 5 contractions. It worked and the swelling went down. I did not push after that.
Tried more positions, went back and forth from the bathroom to the birth pool many times. I noticed it was getting dark, and couldn’t believe how much of the day had passed! My knees and shins hurt from being on them all day, but still that was the best position for me. A few times when I tried to labor on my back in the birth tub or any other position, after 1 contraction it was just like, no way!!
While in the bathroom I alternated between kneeling on the floor in front of the bathtub with Mike sitting in the empty tub, and sitting on the toilet, both facing forwards and backwards. At one point I said to Pamela that I didn’t want to go to the hospital and felt better when she told me that everything was fine and I didn’t have to go. Towards the end of my labor and pushing I was in the bathroom all the time. At one point I was in the bathroom for so long and the midwives needed to pee, so they went next door and asked my apartment neighbor to use the bathroom… I didn’t know this until the next day but I thought this was pretty funny
Eventually I started feeling this URGE TO PUSH! I couldn’t help but not push. Centimeter by centimeter, I felt his head coming down, and it felt like forever. During each contraction/push I had to hold onto Mike’s arm. During the dilating contractions I did not want to be touched, but during these pushing contractions I needed to touch. Later I found out I pushed for about 5 hours, but it seemed both long and short at the time. I felt like I needed to poop the whole time, but of course it was baby’s head.
Finally he came down much futher and was crowning! I felt the “ring of fire” as his head stretched me. It was a neat and an owwie feeling at the same time. I PUSHED!!!!!! I was so excited that the end was near and I would finally be meeting my baby. As his head was coming out I kept my hand on it. At this point I was kneeling in front of the tub, with Mike in the tub. Had a bunch of chux pads under me plus the bathmat under that. The midwives were sitting in the hallway behind me, just watching.
His head came out and with my hands I felt his nose and ears. With the next contraction I pushed again and his body turned and slid out. I helped him out with both hands and brought him up to my chest at once. While he was coming out and after he was on my chest I kept saying, “baby oh baby my baby” and it was totally without thinking. Jake was very vocal from the moment he came out! There was no question that he was breathing and doing fine. I looked at his face, so happy I was crying a bit. I checked his fingers and toes. Then I said to Mike, “what do we have?” The cord was covering his genitals. I moved the cord and said “we have a boy!” I was so surprised and happy. He was born on June 20th at 12:30am after an 18 hour labor.
I was helped up, still holding Jake and got back into the birth tub, which felt good. The cord was really short, so I had to keep Jake close, and I let the water wash him a bit. He was still vocal, and didn’t calm down until I handed him to Mike who wrapped him in a blanket. At this point I realized it was really over, and I had my baby. I looked at Pamela and said, “I did it!” I was so excited and relieved. We sat in bed for awhile, and I let him nuzzle my breasts, but he wasn’t interested in feeding. He had his eyes open and was taking in the world.
Two hours after Jake was born, my placenta came out very easily, and whole. We wrapped it in a cloth diaper and left it attached to Jake for the next 36 hours, after which Mike cut it.
Pamela and Lennon weighed Jake at 7 pounds, 14 ounces. We oiled his bottom with baby oil and put a purple hemp diaper and sage green sleeper on him. Pamela checked me and I had just a small “skid mark” tear that wasn’t worth touching. Mike fell asleep in bed long before mama did! Mama and Jake finally got some sleep at 3am, right after Pamela and Lennon left. I did have to wake Mike up at 5am for a smoothie because I was starving!!! I called my parents at 7am and they came over by 8am.
The next day my vocal cords were SORE from moaning. Jake didn’t start to work on latching on to nurse until the afternoon of the 20th.
That afternoon I looked at Mike and said “we need to name this baby”. Mike looked at the baby and said “humm… something with a ‘J’”. I thought for a second and said “Jake?” and Mike immediately said “that’s it!!”. His middle name comes from my side of the family – his great-great grandfather’s first name and grandfather’s middle name is Carl. Thus he became Jake Carl.
I was excited when my water broke and I knew I would finally be meeting my baby. Excited to finally experience labor and birth, after reading and thinking about it for 5+ years. I knew I had it in me to do it, and I had no fear. During the labor process it just felt like hard work to me. There was no feeling of it being too painful or too hard. I was grateful to be experiencing my labor and grateful for my husband and midwives to be with me.