Anyway, all that to say that, despite my best efforts, I had a few expectations about what this birth would be like. And I was so so utterly completely insanely wrong. :-)
I woke up at 1:30 Wednesday morning with some moderately painful cramping. I've been cramping regularly for quite some time now so it wasn't all that unusual, it's just that it wasn't usually that ouchy. I went to the bathroom, drank some water and tried to go back to sleep.
No luck. I went to the bathroom again and there was blood in the toilet and on the paper and all that. I was kind of alarmed. I'd had blood tinged mucus about a week prior but since I was 3 cm. dilated I figured it was normal. This was a lot more blood than that so I woke Kenneth up and asked him what I should do. He suggested getting online to see how much blood is normal. After assuring us that blood was normal I wondered if I might be in labor. The cramping hadn't subsided like it normally does and though I didn't have any tightening sensations, there did seem to be somewhat of a pattern to it. The cramping would get stronger every five minutes or so though with the constant cramping it was hard to know how to "time it".
Kenneth urged me to call our midwife, though I hated the thought of waking her up. Seriously, I'd been having anxiety dreams about waking her up in the middle of the night for a false alarm.
Anyway, I called Alice around 3:30 and she said it sounded like I might be in labor and she'd be over in a bit to check on me.
Of course this happened on a night that I hadn't cleaned so we frantically cleaned the house and then sat back to relax. Kenneth insisted on taking some final "belly pictures". I just love having my picture taken...
Especially when I look like a whale...
Alice arrived about an hour later and checked me out and said it looked like I was in labor. *phew* So thankful I didn't wake her up and make her venture out in the snowy blackness for nothing!
We started getting out the birth supplies...
Don't worry... we didn't use those vice-grips on the baby...
Kenneth began setting up the pool. He wanted to set it up right after we called Alice but I wouldn't let him 'cause I didn't really think I was in labor.
Then we started filling up the pool. First we hooked the hose up to the water heater, Kenneth had already done that before to make sure it would work. Well when we turned it on it started spewing gritty dirty water into the pool. Not real sanitary.
Kenneth and Alice removed the liner and took it into the bathroom to wash it out in the tub. I disconnected our water filter so we could hook the hose up to the kitchen sink. Didn't work. I reconnected the water filter and Kenneth pulled the washer and dryer out a bit and hooked the hose up back there. *Success!*
The pool began filling up with fabulously hot water. We checked the temp often to make sure it stayed that way.
At some point we ran out of hot water and began pumping really cold water into the pool. We caught it, but not before it had turned the fabulously hot water into not so fabulously tepid water.
At this point those contractions were definitely headed into more painful territory and I had some lovely back labor going on. Still, not anything near as bad as I expected. I'd had much much worse menstrual cramps.
Also, I still wasn't feeling that tightening sensation, though Alice assured me my uterus was definitely contracting and I was definitely dilating. She agreed though, that I was not experiencing "normal" contractions as they didn't actually have a start and stop point. I was constantly cramping with noticeably more crampage for about two minutes every three minutes or so.
So... to fix our tepid water situation... we started boiling water. Thing is... we only have one pot. One stockpot, one cast iron skillet, one cast iron flat skillet and a butt-load of cake pans... And two crock pots. And now I want to sing the Twelve Days of Christmas song for some really odd reason.
So we filled up our lone stockpot and the tea kettle and got them going. Oh and we utilized the coffee maker as well.
Creative, maybe, but not so effective.
Kenneth needed to take our girls (a golden retriever and golden retriever/black lab mix) to my parents' house anyway so he said he'd grab their stockpots while he was there.
There we go... much better.
After several rounds of boiling water we got the pool to a suitable temperature and I thankfully got in.
The relief was instantaneous. I was seriously shocked. I knew the water would make the contractions less painful but I had no idea it would be so effective and sudden. It was insanely awesome.
At this point things got much more relaxed. We weren't constantly monitoring pans and adding and subtracting water. Kenneth turned on some music pulled a chair up to the pool and we talked. It was seriously amazing. If I'd been in the hospital I'd so have been hyperventilating at this point. Just walking in the Doctor's office makes my blood pressure go up. (not kidding, it's uncanny) I am just blown away with how wonderful that part of the experience was. I was definitely in pain, no getting around that, but it was manageable. Even if we hadn't been able to get the pool working it would have been a relaxing environment... I just would have been more uncomfortable.
Ooo... side note. I'm definitely eating next time around. Both Alice and Kenneth were urging me to eat early on but I wasn't hungry so I just ate a grapefruit. *stupid stupid stupid* By the time I got hungry I was about twenty minutes away from the "pushing stage" and the contractions would have made me throw it up anyway.
Okay... so at about noon I was fully dilated and ready to push. No problem... this is the easy part, right?
So, Alice told me next time I feel the contraction coming on take two deep breaths, hold the third and push like I'm doing the biggest poo in the world. (These were definitely not her exact words, she says things like "bowel movement"... much more refined...)
Okay... I do this.... and it hurts like crazy and I don't feel like I've made any progress. We continue this routine for a while. Poor Kenneth. I'm squatting in the pool (getting gravity to help me out) and he's holding me up so I can put all my pushing power into the correct muscles and not have to expend extra energy holding my own (considerable) weight. I weigh like 210 lbs. by now... yeah... beached whale, remember?
Anyway. We keep this up for I don't know how long and I feel like I'm getting absolutely nowhere despite Alice's reassurances to the contrary. The only thing I feel like I'm pushing out are my intestines... they feel like they're going out my bum.
Alice suggests trying a few contractions outside of the pool so I get out. (Mega ouch, those contractions were much nicer in the water... still... they were infinitely preferable over the whole pushing bit)
We go in the bedroom so I have the option of the bed or floor. We had gone ahead and bought the supplies for a "normal" birth... plastic sheeting to protect the mattress and floor and such... but both Alice and Kenneth were too busy helping me and didn't have time to get the plastic on the bed. We just put plastic on the floor at the end of the bed and I leaned back against Kenneth and did the whole squatting thing. I tried several different positions but it seemed to work the best.
Finally I start getting the actual "urge to push" thing. Up 'til now my body is not helping me out one bit, silly thing. Alice asks me if I where I want to deliver this thing and I decided on the bed. I'm tired and I want to lay down. We make a mad scramble for the bed, and Alice says she'll be coming out with this next contraction. (thank goodness) Kenneth says she just kinda blooped out but to me it was agonizingly slow not so bloopy... more like rrrrrip. I'm going ow ow ow.
Ninja is half-way out and she starts kicking. OW. I was like screw this next contraction, this kid is coming out NOW so I push her out, ask Kenneth what she is, (human female) and the whole aftermath cleanup begins. Alice gets her cleaned up while we wait for the cord to finish transferring all its goodies then she cuts it and all that good stuff and hands her off to Kenneth so she can take care of me.
I'm having blood sugar issues 'cause I forgot to eat, remember? So they start giving me honey and juice cubes and such. We get me feeling slightly better but Jadyn did a number on me and despite our months of preparations I needed to be stitched up. I'm all nervous about this needle thing... but we get me turned around, which makes me all nauseated again and Alice starts stitching. (ow ow ow ow ow) I tell them I'm really feeling like I'm going to throw up. (after four months of vomiting every hour or so I know the feeling well) Kenneth tells me not to. ha. So I promptly start throwing up. And apologizing. Ugh. I feel like such a wimp.
So now we have a bigger mess to clean up. We finally get me sewn up and cleaned up as much as possible and the fun stuff happens.
Cuddling and eating and looking adorable... (Jadyn, not me... I was not looking adorable in the slightest.)
And Kenneth got to go bury the placenta. (No, we didn't eat it... and I'm kicking myself for not taking pictures of it...)
So that's pretty much the way it went. I'm astonished at how slow I'm recovering. I thought for sure I'd be back to milking goats and such after a couple days. (Alice thought that was funny) And I definitely felt like a huge wimp. I thought I'd be able to handle the pain thing better. I wasn't screaming or cursing or anything, but I was wondering if I'd be able to do this again. (after seeing Jadyn, the answer is definitely yes I can ;-) Hopefully it's not going to take three years to make the next one. Until then we are enjoying every second with our gorgeous girl.
Oh... and if anyone would like to take my hemorrhoids off my hands... er... bum... I'd really appreciate it.