When we arrived at the birth center, I went straight upstairs to one of the bedrooms/birth rooms. I immediately wanted to lie down on the bed and rest. I had a few contractions in bed, and then my midwife gently reminded me that if I could keep my body in an upright position for a while longer, it would make my contractions more effective and efficient. Gravity would be able to help bring the baby a little faster. So I sat on a birthing ball (basically a giant exercise ball), and labored for a while sitting on the ball. I think I was in that room for about an hour, and then moved to the bathtub. As Austin mentioned in an earlier blog post, we had a water birth.* This freaks many people out, but I can attest that it was an incredible experience.
When I first sat down in the tub, my entire body seemed to say “thank you.” My muscles were able to relax a bit and the contractions didn’t feel as terrible. Then things got real.
I felt the need to use the restroom, and the toilet was across the hall. I walked to the toilet, sat down to use the restroom, and immediately had a contraction that made me think my insides were falling out of my body. I literally fell off the toilet, onto my hands and knees and into the hallway of the birth center. I could no longer support my own weight. At this point, I thought there was a real chance that I was having my baby in the hallway. I didn’t think I was going to be able to move. However, Donnellyn was able to convince me to get back in the tub. I literally crawled on all fours back to the tub, and made it in time for the serious pushing stage of labor.
At some point during the pushing stage, Denver’s heart rate began to drop a little. The midwives decided that the best course of action would be to have me wear an oxygen mask. This pretty much did the trick. I just had to keep taking deep breaths of oxygen, and Denver’s heart rate stayed within a healthy range.
It seemed like a lifetime, but the entire pushing stage was just under an hour long. With about twenty minutes to go, one more element of pain was added to the equation. The muscles on the left side of my rear-end/hip area began to charley horse. But then a contraction would come and I had to focus all my energy on pushing. The contraction would stop, and I’d immediately freak out and writhe in pain because of the charley horse. Then came a contraction. Charley horse. Contraction. Charley horse. Contraction. For about twenty minutes. It is almost funny now, looking back on how pathetic and crazy I must have looked, but at the time, it was certainly not funny.
The best part of the story will be the last, because that is when I got to meet Denver…
*See above picture. My experience was a lot like this. Very glamorous.