Our plan was for a Bradley style natural birth in a hospital with a CNM. What I got was even better!This was not my first rodeo seeing as Scarlett was my 5th baby. However, I hadn't ever had pre-labor with any of my previous children, so after 3 weeks of fairly intense contractions I was doubting my ability to know when it was the real thing. I woke up at 5am on Tuesday the 16th feeling a little crampy. It wasn't anything serious so I went back to sleep. Waking up again at 6am I realized that the cramps were still there, but a bit stronger. I laid there and analyzed them for a few minutes and came to the conclusion that they were starting in my back, rolling around to my front, and my entire stomach hardened with each one. This was the start of the internal dialog/argument with myself that would last until the baby was crowning. The front skeptical part of my brain said this was no way labor and I should just forget it, the back instinct part of my brain said to wake up Ryan and start timing. I did the latter of the 2. He immediately grabbed my phone and started up the contraction app.
The first 20 minutes they were coming about every 4 minutes and lasting about 30 seconds. We figured they weren't long enough to make to much of a fuss, but considering how much more painful they had become in that short amount of time I thought it would be a good idea to get up and get a shower, maybe tidy up the house. Once out of bed they started coming every 2 minutes, but had shortened to only 20 seconds long. They were also even more painful, but I was still able to (barely) walk and talk through them, so I tried not to think to much. After an even more intense and almost unbearable shower, I got out and was unable to move during each wave. This was about the time the back of my mind told me I was never going to make it if the pain didn't let up, and I definitely couldn't do this for another 12 hours like my other labors had been. Quickly dismissing the thought with a "suck it up, they're only 30 seconds long and you're just being a baby" I got dressed between contractions and told Ryan we needed to call my parents to come watch the kids, and the midwives to see what they thought about my labor. This was a little after 7am. He jumped in the shower first and I laid down on the bed, taking over the task of timing.
Not long after laying down I started to shake and I had the "wanting to crawl out of my skin" feeling kick in. I also involuntarily started to make very loud noises with each rush, now coming every minute and a half. My body had started to take over everything I had been fighting. At 7:15 Ryan was out of the shower and making calls. After hearing me on the other end of the line, my parents jumped in the car to race through their 30 minute drive, and the midwives said to come in NOW. At some point after, I told Ryan that everything I was feeling was transition, but it couldn't be that soon and I couldn't do this for the amount of time I thought I had left. Every contraction was ripping me in half. He said he was going to get the kids out of bed and have my parents meet us at the hospital. He also at some point tried to help me by applying counter pressure on my back which made me scream out in agony. Poor man, he was trying to help me by doing what we learned in our classes. It was then I realized I needed heat for the pain, and he ran to put a wet towel in the oven for the drive there. Yep, even though I knew I was never going to make it to the hospital, I was still in denial enough to keep moving forward with the plan.
With towel in the oven and kids getting ready, I begged him to run a bath while he threw the last of my hospital stuff in a bag. Looking back, I am amazed at his ability to keep switching tasks/plans at my whim without missing a beat. Ryan was my rock through the whole thing. I was really starting to lose it at this point and I jumped in as soon as the tub was full enough. I think it was about 7:30. I was internally panicking trying to figure out how I was going to get out of this tub which seemed like the only thing keeping me sane, all the while still screaming at every splitting contraction. It's at that point my body took over once more. I felt an immense amount of pressure and realized my body was pushing. I reached down and I could feel her head starting to crown. That was all it took for my mind to stop the panic. A determined calm took over and I realized Ryan and I were going to be delivering our little girl. I had him get on the phone with 911 while I pulled myself up to a squat in the tub and gently started to guide her head out. Her head was out with one contraction, before the 911 operator picked up. I leaned back to a sitting position while feeling if the cord was around her neck. It wasn't, so I tried to relax and breath, waiting for the next contraction and making sure she stayed underwater. Not long after, the next one started and the rest of her body was born. I pulled her up and laid her on my chest as we tried to get her to take her first breath. Her face was blue and I could feel that Ryan was stressed about it like I was. This is when he remembered babies born in the water take longer to pink up, and that she was breathing but very calm and content. She soon started to get her beautiful completion, and even let out several little squeaks. I'm so thankful he also had the good sense to ignore the operator's demand to cut off her oxygen supply (her cord) and take her out of the warm water and away from me, so she "didn't get cold."
Time lost all value to me, but I'm sure very soon after we heard sirens and knew the ambulance was coming. Ryan ran to get the kids so they could see that, even in all confusion and with paramedics about to burst through the door, I was just fine and they had a baby sister! Moments later my fairly small bathroom was swarmed by about 7 EMTs and firemen, all prepared to deliver an already delivered baby ;). Instead they got me up and out of the tub to assess how we were doing. Scarlett scored an 8 on her APGAR, and I was put on the gurney to head to the hospital. My husband had to briefly stay behind with the kids as my parents who were flying down the road hadn't quite made it yet.
The first 10 minutes of the ambulance ride was sheer torture as the contractions had kicked back up in order to deliver the placenta. Thank goodness that process is easier then a whole baby, considering the amount of pot holes between our house and the freeway :). Once that was over I had instant relief. I was able to hold my newborn baby and enjoy the rest of my ride.
My husband arrived at the same time we did and we were greeted by the on call midwife. After telling the story a few times, Scarlett was weighed in at 7 lbs 10oz and 19in long. It was determined I had zero tearing which surprised me considering how fast she came out, plus she was my biggest baby yet! We stayed in the hospital for one night, and we were more then ready to go home the next day!