Slightly edited from what I originally wrote in 2004….
On Saturday, April 24th, 2004, I was joking with the Jellyman how great it would be to go into labor that weekend. My official due date was one week away, and I was starting to get uncomfortable. Besides, I had wrapped everything up at work and was now stuck with projects no one else had time or desire to do (projects such that Elephant Crap Management was starting to look good to me).
I had steeled myself for an overdue baby, so I was pretty surprised Sunday morning when I noticed some light spotting. Sure enough, though, I started feeling some painless contractions. They remained steady throughout the early morning, so I called the clinic. The “midhusband” was the CNM on call. He told us that we might as well stay at home as long as we were comfortable, since my water hadn’t broken.
We spent a quiet morning together playing games, even though we were both getting more excited by the minute. After lunch, we went for a short walk because I wasn’t feeling the contractions as much and I didn’t want them to stop. It must’ve worked, because the intensity of the contractions really started to pick up in the afternoon. They never got closer than about 5 minutes apart, however.
At about 3 p.m., I took a bath, and by the time I was done I was starting to have trouble talking through contractions. I called the midhusband again, and he said we could come to the hospital any time. We were already packed, so we just loaded up the car and headed out. The hospital is only about 15 minutes from our house. There wasn’t even any traffic, so we didn’t need any of the Jellyman’s alternate route plans. We got checked in, and I lay down to wait for Mr. Midwife to get there for my first exam. He said I was 3 centimeters dilated and that everything seemed to be going well. We planned to start my antibiotic IV (for group B strep) when I got to about 5 cm, and to talk about any pain relief I wanted at about that point, too.
For the next couple of hours I tried a few different positions, but I was really only comfortable propped up in the bed. Fortunately this didn’t seem to slow my progress — the contractions kept coming, and when the midwife came back, I was 5 cm dilated. Although I had not really planned on medication, I decided (with my husband’s urging) to have intrathecal morphine. I didn’t want an epidural, because I wanted the option of getting out of bed, and I wanted to be able to feel when it was time to push. Anyway, the nurse gave me an IV of fluid, then the antibiotic. By the time both IVs went in, the anesthesiologist was there to give me the ITM. I was nervous, but it wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable as I thought it would be, and I felt much better afterwards. I could feel pressure with each contraction, but no pain. I didn’t really have much itching, either, which was lucky.
We continued to pass time by watching movies and talking, and I was even able to take a short nap. At about 10:30 or 11 p.m., the ITM started to wear off, the contractions got painful again, and I started to shiver. (As a brief aside, the ITM was awesome, and I highly recommend it — except that I vomited a couple of times after the delivery, which may have been a reaction to the morphine.) The midwife examined me and said I was entering transition. My water still hadn’t broken, so he ruptured my amniotic sac, which felt really weird. I started to push about 11:45. After maybe 4-5 pushes on my back, they had me lie on my left side for a while, and that worked really well. I lost track of time; all I could do was focus on the nurse and the Jellyman urging me on.
It turns out, though, that I didn’t really push that long — only about 45 minutes. In fact, the midwife wasn’t quite ready when Raisin made her appearance. He was still getting his gloves on when her head started to come out. The nurse had to put his second glove on for him while he held the baby’s head with the other hand!
Raisin was born at 12:28 a.m., 4/26/04. She was 7 lbs 8 oz, 20 inches long, with a very full head of beautiful auburn hair.