For Part 1, click here! Part one lasted about 2 1/2 – 3 hours, and in that time, I went through the entire first phase of labor…at home!
Part 2 is all about the pushing (not to mention my amazing support system).
12:15am – When we arrived at the hospital and the midwife told me I was at a 10, complete, and ready to push, I just remember thinking I was SO GRATEFUL to not be told I was at a 3, because this shit was intense.
The rushed me up to the family center, got me into the room, and I spent one pressure wave on the toilet because I had to pee (not to mention it just felt better to be sitting on the toilet!). I think I was trying to poop too, just in case it was really poop and not baby I was feeling. LOL
By the time my next pressure wave hit, I was on the bed on my hands and knees and just went with it and pushed, which made my water break. Holy SHIT it was a lot of water, and it felt SO GOOD to push. I’m guessing this is when Stella finally dropped.
As good at it felt to push, my back was still killing me. I had my “Pushing Baby Out” track playing on the iPad (totally missed listening to “Easy First Stage Labor”), and Charlie was next to me, supporting me through every PW. I kept telling Shawna that my back hurt BADLY, so she decided to check me quick, because she was thinking the baby was probably sunny side up. Turns out Miss Stella was completely sideways in there. SIDEWAYS. As in, it’s physically impossible to deliver kiddos sideways, and that generally means Mommas of sideways babies are headed for a c-section. Thankfully, Shawna didn’t tell me any of this until afterwards – instead she just calmly told me that we were going to have to do a lot of switching positions to get this baby out, and I needed to listen to her.
Honestly, I am so blessed that Shawna was my midwife that night. My nurse Alisa (who was also AWESOME) told me later that with an OB, I’d have been in a c-section at that point. Instead, I had these two wonderful, supportive women that were helping me turn, checking baby’s heart rate, keeping things calm, reassuring Charlie, etc. It was awesome.
Every second pressure wave they would have me turn, so I’d push for two waves on my back, two on my left side, two on my hands and knees, two on my right side, repeat. Charlie would help hold my top leg up and back when I was on my sides, and I’d pull back on my legs while I was on my back. Being on all fours generally felt the best for my back, but I wasn’t making as much progress when I couldn’t see what was going on. Actually switching positions was the most painful part (because of my back pain), so often Charlie was physically helping to push me into the next position. That was actually great, because I was focusing on the hypnobabies track playing in the background and on taking deep, slow breaths between pressure waves. They also had a huge floor mirror rolled over to the foot of the bed for the whole pushing phase. I know that freaks some people out, but I found it SO helpful to be able to see what was working and effective. You really do just have to push like you’re taking a shit. 🙂
For most of the two hours of pushing, Stella’s heartbeat was staying nice and steady (I think in the 130s? I can’t remember for sure.). They had an external monitor that Alisa would stick on my belly whenever I switched positions to check the baby’s heart rate before, during, and after the contraction to make sure the new position wasn’t affecting her. It was kind of annoying at the time, but she was good about being as unobtrusive as possible, and since that was the only monitoring they did on me the entire time, I couldn’t really complain. Thanks to me getting there at a 10, they never even put a hep-lock in or anything!
The final 45 minutes we could SEE the top of her head, but since she was still pretty sideways, it was slow going, though they said that was good because it was hopefully giving me time to stretch. Every time I’d push around the world though, I could tell that she was turning a little and getting closer to coming out. The final 20 minutes or so they had the oxygen going, so between pressure waves Charlie would place that on my face and I’d have to concentrate on taking in all the oxygen I could for me and for the baby. Then when I tossed it off, that signaled to them that the next pressure wave was starting. It was actually pretty helpful to have the enforced rest time where Shawna kept telling me to RELAX and breathe. Since “relax” is a big cue in hypnobabies training and I was still listening to tracks in the background, it was a great reminder to bring it all back to center and concentrate on allowing my body to open and get the baby out. The final few pushes I was on my back the whole time, but the bed was tilted up so that I was working with gravity instead of against it. When Stella started having heart rate decelerations, Shawna told me it was time to do some serious pushing and get the baby out.
Okay. No pressure there, like I wasn’t seriously pushing before?! What?
Each time a pressure wave would start, she’d have me take a deep breath in, RELEASE it, and then take another deep breath in so that I’d start pushing at the height of the wave and be utilizing the strength of the PW with my push. I’d tuck my chin and usually push to 7 (the number I felt comfortable with), take a quick breath, push, quick breath, push. I’d push 3-4 times with each contraction. Every once in awhile she’d also have me do a little push between pressure waves to help with the stretching/burning and to keep her down there.
I cannot describe how crazy it was to see her starting to come out.
At that point the midwife asked Charlie if he wanted to catch her (he answered something along the lines of “um, NO” and stayed up by my head, though he did watch the whole thing in the mirror), so then Shawna told me to get ready to grab my baby. She calmly said that she needed to come out now, so the next push I was going to push with EVERYTHING I HAD and get her head out, then just grab her and pull her up.
I non-coherently mumbled something like “but I don’t know how” and she just laughed and said you just PUSH and then pull her up!
2:12am I got her head out the next push, grabbed her head, pushed her body out, and pulled her up onto my chest, all in one quick moment. A moment I will never forget. She was screaming, Charlie and I were in shock, and I just remember thinking how WET and absolutely perfect she was.
Honestly, neither of us cried (and oddly still haven’t). I’m such a crier – for some reason I assumed I’d be bawling, but it was just such a happy, surreal, “calm after the storm” type feeling that washed over us. We were just… HAPPY.
At that point, Shawna turned to Charlie and “so what do we have Daddy?” – and after a split second (and a second glance at the still attached umbilical cord), he exclaimed, “it’s a… GIRL!” with the biggest smile on his face.
OH MY GOSH, I was so happy she was a girl. My little Stella. 🙂
As it was, it was just under two hours of pushing at a 10. Hard work for sure, but totally doable thanks to my hypnobabies training, my awesomely supportive husband, and the amazing midwife and nurse I had at my side for the entire time.