Monday, September 15, 2014

The Birth, Part 2

When we returned to the birth center, we learned a new midwife would be taking over (I think we had four midwives during the time we were there, not to mention four nurses). She wanted me to take castor oil. We also made me a reflexology appointment, since we were willing to try just about anything, and that had given me contractions the last time I'd used it. And at that point, my mom arrived to be with us. We were so grateful for her presence and that she was relatively fresh, since we were both tired out. My mother drove me to McDonald's to buy a milk shake to drink with the castor oil (I'd heard drinking castor oil was terrible, but found it to be just about the most innocuous part of this whole process), and then drove me to my reflexology appointment at a pedicure place. This reflexology person wasn't very good and that was probably a waste. When we returned to the birth center, I was anxious to walk around to get things going, but the midwife insisted that Francisco and I sleep--she said with great confidence that we need to rest now because I'll be getting down to hard work later (she was right). So we napped for an hour and a half or so.

When we woke up we had only a couple of hours left until 5 p.m. I didn't think there was any way I could be in active labor by then. The midwife gave me my first internal exam and said that I was 4 and a half or 5 cm dilated, and we were encouraged by that. At that point, the castor oil, a strong laxative, was really kicking in. And it was ramping up my contractions. 5 p.m. came and went, so I figured that they were happy enough with my labor and they were letting me stay. And I wasn't going to ask any questions about that. Around 6 or 7, they asked me if I'd like to use the Jacuzzi, which they offer during transition. I was really excited to try it. I didn't like laboring laying down (my favorite position was standing up, leaning against the wall in the door frame), but the Jacuzzi was quite relaxing in between contractions, although it didn't really help too much with the pain of the contraction itself (and it was harder for Francisco to reach my back to give me counterpressure for the pain). So I stayed in there. At that point, the contractions were very strong and I wasn't with it very much at all (before that point, there were always points between contractions in which I was myself and could talk and joke, but in the Jacuzzi, my eyes were closed and I was moaning or yelling, and I couldn't even always catch my breath).

And then I was surprised--after not very long I started to feel my body contort and push. I asked the midwife what I was supposed to do when I had that feeling and she said I was doing just the right thing--not pushing at all, but not resisting, either. It wasn't every contraction at the beginning, but some of the stronger ones. She said when every contractions made me feel that way, it would probably be time to push. The contractions made my body involuntarily bend and move, wanting to get that baby out of there.

Soon, she suggested that she examine me and that if it were time, we would push and if not, I could return to the Jacuzzi. At that point, she said I was fully dilated and effaced and that we were ready to push. I had only been in the Jacuzzi for an hour or two: that was the one part of the whole process at which I felt like I'd caught a lucky break; it didn't drag on forever.

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