On the day of Kristiana's birth, Thursday, December 4th, I woke up at 4:15 a.m. with a contraction. This was not unusual, because for the last week I had been waking up around the same time each morning with a few contractions and then I would fall back asleep. After a couple more contractions than I expected, I went the bathroom. There was quite a bit of blood, etc. I thought, this could be it. But, this was not unexpected either considering my midwife stripped my membranes (I think she has a good technique to stimulate labor) followed by a little "marital union" (as Fr. Tim refers to IT), at the midwife's recommendation. The contractions continued every five minutes for an hour. So, I said to myself, I am sure this is it. I took a hot bath to calm things down, since it seemed to be happening fast. After my bath the contractions were still coming every five minutes and were lasting 30 seconds. I said to myself, at this rate I'll have a baby by noon. So, I called Andrew, who was at work (FedEx Shipping), and said that I was in labor and he should come home, because I don't know how what to expect, we might need to go soon.
I kept waiting for longer more intense contractions, but they didn't come. We all (my mom, Andrew, Alexander and myself) had some breakfast at Whataburger (wonderful Texan fast food burger joint). Then we chatted awhile. Around 10:30 a.m. the contractions had slowed down quite a bit. They almost weren't there. I started to panic that this could be false labor, but I knew that even if it stopped today, it would surely start again tomorrow. I decided to take a walk at 11:30 a.m., because every time I walked around I had more contractions. With my mom and Alexander in the stroller, we strolled. My midwife called around noon and asked how it was going, I said I was walking because the contractions slowed. And I told her I might have a slow leak. She asked me a few questions about it and then said, probably not. She said go home and take a nap, because I would be sorry later that I used all my energy walking. I hung up the phone, and uh oh, my water broke. So I walked back slightly wet.
At home my mom and Andrew really wanted me to call back and go in to the doctor's office. I said, no, I'm tired now and I am go to take a nap. So I did, sorta. I laid down and immediately started to doze, but every 25 minutes I had an intense and long contraction that threw me out of bed. That's right kicked my butt right out of bed. Finally, I decided I could not sleep and went back downstairs to see how everyone was doing. Again, they all wanted me to call the office. I did not want to immediately, because I needed to put Alexander down for a nap and the contractions were not that close together, although they were beginning to pick up speed and intensity.
Finally, I called the office around 1:45 p.m. and said that I think it's time to be check and I think my water broke. I arrived at the office at 2:00 p.m. She said I was 7 cm (a lot farther along than I thought). My water had broke and she was going to cancel the rest of her appointments and meet me at the hospital. By 2:45 p.m. I was all checked in and ready to go. Andrew and I sat to play some gin. We did not get far in the game. He and the nurse took bets on when they thought the baby would be born. Andrew said by 5:00 and the nurse said by 5:30. I was shocked by both guesses. So soon! But, Andrew was right. By the time the midwife arrived things moved swiftly. She had me lean over the birth ball on my chest and rock back and forth through contractions as she and Andrew rubbed my back. That scenario worked well. After a half hour she check me again and said that if I wanted to start pushing we'd have a baby in a jiffy. Okay, what ever you say. It was at this point my brain started to go numb and I was just trying to take orders.
Here's where I spare you gory details and skip to the part that's slightly amusing and why Andrew can't look at me the same anymore. As our little baby was being born I screamed; I screamed bloody murder (as my dad would say); I screamed my head off; Andrew said it sounded like someone was tearing my arms off (well, it's sort of like that, dear); After the first two screams, the nurses and midwife started saying "NO, Renee, guttural, lower! The screams aren't helping." Bull! what do you know. "Push!" and I replied as I pushed, "Noooo!!!" But, in my head I kept thinking just do it, or you will be here (Here=baby half born, in excruciating pain) all day. My attempts to not scream turned into pursing my lips, which caused me to spit (like a sputter) all over the nurses and midwife. Oops, didn't mean to do that, but whatever, it's working. Andrew tells me from the looks of every one's faces they had never heard a woman scream like that before. Except the midwife, who was trying not to laugh. (I think they are all partially deaf now.) Andrew was half way across the room at this point (good, where I want him to be). Andrew was traumatized by the screaming. I think he has told everyone we know about it ( if he didn't tell you I just did). After months of telling me I could do it without an epidural, he is now saying next time you get one. Ha, ha, ha.
The actual birth part was the worst pain ever. However, it all happened very quickly and I have ALREADY forgotten how bad the pain was. I remember thinking in the middle of it, "Oh no, put it back. I don't want to do this now. Do-over, do-over." I now know why women get fully dilated and then ask for the epidural and by that point it's too late. It's because up until that point, it was all fine and totally manageable pain. I know that it goes a lot differently for some women and they have more intense contractions earlier. It was not like that. In other words, it was a good birthing experience. I feel like recovery has been faster. Although, we all have the sniffles now and Alexander has decided he needs to sleep in our bed. Grr. He is stealing sleep from us all.
Anyway, that's pretty much it. Praise be to God! I know a lot of prayers were prayed for us. They were answered.
And Joelle, I still haven't heard from you. Surely, you have given birth and have some pictures to share.