I was exactly 39 weeks pregnant when I went into labor. Giving birth has always been one of my greatest fears. To my great surprise, the delivery of my first child went very well.
I didn't really feel anything until 10:30PM on may 31st. Now that I think back, I had some very mild discomfort from 5 to 10:30PM (sort of like when you eat something bad and you start to feel like you might soon get cramps). It was nothing serious, in fact, I didn't even notice. During that time we had dinner, went for a 2 hour walk (down and up hill) and took a nice warm bubble bath (because you know... it was Friday night and we wanted to relax before bed).
When we came out of the bath, bam, it hit me. Ouch, ouch, ouch! I was totally prancing around on my tip toes (it sounds funny but it helped a lot). I guess that's when I hit phase 2; active labor. I must have been about 5 cm dilated already. Contractions were about 50 seconds every 3 minutes... We honestly didn't know what to do, so we took the above picture thinking we had a few hours to spare... Ah! yea right. We called my mom and she told us to leave right away, so we did (good thing too).
It took us a half hour to drive to the hospital. It was the longest, most uncomfortable ride ever. We arrived at the hospital at around 11:30PM. Walking from the car to the hospital was seriously painful, I had to kneel down and put my head on the ground every 3 steps to deal with the pain. Thankfully a nearby man offered to help and went to get a wheelchair. Had he not been there I might have not made it.
We arrived at the birthing center, the nurse took one look at me and took me right in, no questions asked. We didn't have time to sign admission papers or anything. Thankfully my mom arrived at the same time. The nurse took me to the birthing room and she checked how far along I was... 7cm. Yup... Too late for drugs (not like I wanted them anyway, but still, a choice would have been nice). Oh well.
So I arrived just at the right time for phase 3; transitional labor. Wow that was painful, so very very painful. Every minute I had 60 second contractions; if you do the math, that's pretty much one big never ending contraction. I couldn't stand anymore, so I sat on a birthing ball and rolled big circles with my hips. I made really long low pitched moaning sounds (that was unbelievably helpful). My mom touched me to ask what she could do. Her hands were delightfully cold; it felt oh so good. Weird huh? Usually they say heat is best, but for me it was the opposite. So they went to get buckets of ice, ducked their hands in (my husband, mom and nurse) and massaged my hips and shoulders. Then they put cold compresses on my forehead and back. Thank goodness they were all there helping me, the support made things much more bearable. I was very lucid during the whole thing, they talked to me, I answered. I remember at one point, where I was losing control, the nurse grabbed my face firmly in her hands and snapped "that's enough!"... to her amusement, I replied "thank you! I needed that!" she thought it was pretty funny.
Then came the last phase; you know, where you have to push the baby out. It was seriously the weirdest feeling in the world. There wasn't anything I could do about it, my body just pushed by itself; whether I wanted to or not, the baby was coming out. To my pleasant surprise, I didn't feel pain anymore. It scared me a little, I was afraid that if I teared, it would hurt. I ended up going on four legs, and making very quick high pitched breathing patterns (to keep the little one in a bit longer, you know, to help the skin stretch slowly). I was also swaying back and forth which helped move the baby down. The doctor came in at 1:57AM, I turned onto my back, pushed 3 times, and out came the baby. Plus, no tear. Yay!
They put him on my stomach, and he did the breast crawl (where the baby crawls up to the breast and latches on its own). Within 45 minutes he was breastfeeding. I am so happy with the way everything happened; it's exactly how I had hoped it would go.
I would like to thank my husband, mom, and nurse... the delivery would have been much more difficult to handle without each of you. I would also like to thank my son, for bringing so much joy into my life; I love you more than you could ever imagine.