The last few days have been such an overwhelming mix of emotions and experiences, it is hard to know where to begin... so, I will start in the obvious place and stop if I have to feed my little eating machine sometime in the middle:
R and I were sitting on the couch Wed. night after his basketball game. We were complaining about our neighbors when all of a sudden I heard a pop and something very weird started happening in my cervix. I told R, but figured the baby had just moved her head over it as she often did. We talked for a few more minutes and then I went up to go to the bathroom. Suddenly there was water everywhere. My first thought was the mucuc plug, but then it occurred to me that my water had broken. I started freaking out and called to R who was very calm and excited. He got my phone and I called my midwife who said after the membranes rupture, it usually takes about 24 hours for labor to kick in. If it did not, they would induce me. So for the next 24 hours, my charge was to try to sleep, distract myself and call their office at 9 a.m. My body had other plans.
I ran to work to tie up lose ends because my maternity leave would be starting two weeks earlier than anticipated. My work is four flights up and on the way up, I started getting pretty intense contractions. They continued on the drive back home and then into the night. We watched some TV and then tried to go to bed. But once I laid down, the contractions became so intense, I was (literally) clawing at the walls. There was no sleeping at that point. Finally around 2:30 a.m. I called my midwife and said I could no longer take it and we wanted to go to the hospital. I grabbed my ipod with my hypnobirthing scripts and we packed the car up, pausing only to have a crying fit about Rocky and how his life was about to change.
All the way to the hospital, I listened to my scripts. By the time we were at the hospital, I was completely in a zone. They checked me. I was 3 centimeters dilated. They said we could drive home, but she was not completely comfortable with it. Good thing we decided to stay because the exam kicked me right into active labor. 20 minutes later, my contractions were becoming relentless and more intense. I realized why people get the epidural. But I decided to stick with it, using my breathing and my hypnosis, plus my midwife was AMAZING. There are no words. We used the stool, the birthing ball and the bathtub. By the time I started transitioning (the last part of labor, from 8-10 centimeters), we had moved around so much, but I was never actually in the bed. Transition was intense, like nothing I have ever experienced. There were a lot of times I thought I was incapable of doing it. But my midwife never even suggested painkiller. She continued her support but never wavered on her confidence in my ability. The word "pain" does nothing to describe what it was like. I am so glad I did it naturally though because I experienced each stage of it and, as I originally believed, I think I needed that to become a mother.
Around 7:45, they brought me out of the whirpool tub and I got on the birthing stool (a squatting device) with R behind me. I pushed Samara out with R holding me from behind as I gripped his hands. The midwife coached from below. I was definitely really scared when it started to burn, but they kept saying how close I was and it was as if my body was possessed by a force stronger than anything I'd before felt. The next thing I knew, she was out and screaming. They handed her up to us. I'd expected to be so emotional in that moment, but I was strangely just calm and relieved. It took about a half hour for the emotion to catch up with the physical part. Later when I was holding her and R and I were alone, I finally let go and we were all a family. It was 8:15 a.m.
She is the most amazing thing in the world. I love her more with each passing second. I'd once heard someone describe having children as being like wearing your heart on the outside of your body. It is so true. Since she was born, I have felt a vulnerability in the world I never felt before. If anything happened to her, I know I would have to die. That is the scariest, most overwhelming kind of love I have ever felt. It is indescribable.