So after that post on Thursday the 24th, real things started happening. Your labour vibes were felt here.
We decided to watch a movie, Away We Go, one of my favs. During the movie contractions were happening regularly, and I wasn't lying down in bed. This was promising. I watched the movie on a stool propped over the couch to make sure baby's back was against my stomach, good non back labour birthing position. After the movie I went to bed.
It was 9:30.
Almost the second I lay down the intense wave of pain that can only be contractions overtook me. They were long, they were less then 10 mins apart, they required some breathing techniques to make it through them. I lasted till 10 on my own then quickly realized this was happening and I needed some support. So I ran to the basement and got Keith up in the room with me. Unfortunately the contractions alternated from front ones to back ones. Ugly, horrible back labour, ohh I wish we never meet again.
By midnight things were intense in here. I was beginning to moan to get through the pain. I was worried that Ivy being just a few feet away from our bedroom would wake up from the commotion. So Keith got my mom up to listen out for Ivy and to swap rubbing my back with each contraction. It wasn't long after that, with Keith timing and writing down each contraction we decided it was ok to call the midwives. Their rule is 4-1-1, contractions that are 4 mins apart, one min long that have been happening for over a hour. We were pretty much there and I needed some help.
Around 1 am ish or so Jane arrived. She measured me at 4cm dilated. A task that took me 44 hours to achieve with Ivy, and it had only taken me 3 1/2 - 4 hours this time (I am sure the 3 days of early labour also had some play in this!).
She asked about my pain. I said the back stuff is just INSANE. She had a solution. She stabbed little needles in my back filled with a saline water solution. The needles felt like tattooing needles but filled with acid, no jokes. Those were some CRAZY painful needles. But HALLELUJAH it took away the back pain. Sadly for only 30 mins or so, but the level of pain relief was near epidural strength.
She got me doing stairs and when a contraction hit I was to put my left leg up one stair and rock my hips with the pain. This was to bring the baby down, she was still too high up there. I did this for what seemed like forever, but was probably only an hour and in the meantime Naomi, the student midwife who I LOVE, arrived. She helped me through some more stair contractions and then I begged for the bath.
Stepping into that bath was pure heaven. Again the pain relief almost epidural strength, but short lived. Another 30 mins or so. They were worried my labour would slow down in the tub. I was confident it wouldn't, don't ask me why, maybe because as soon as I got the epidural with Ivy my labour went into hyper speed, or because I had been preparing myself and my body for this bath tub, for this labour tool for sooo long...but I was right. Labour picked up in the tub. The pain once again became almost too intense. By this point the only thing getting me through each contraction was a LOUD moaning sound. They taught me to make my moans in a low voice, because a low voice brings energy down where we need energy to be. A high screaming moan is out of control and not productive to labour. It was actually amazing to see how the midwives knew when to step in, as soon as my moaning got shrilly or I started screaming HELP ME or I can't do this or some profanity I will not type here...they would jump in with support and new techniques.
Midwives are so cool. They basically would leave Keith, my mom and me alone doing our thing until it was clear I needed them. Then they would jump in with a new position a new sound to make a new spot to rub or encouraging word. Their timing was perfect, I felt the whole time they were keeping things in control, in check, even though I honestly was praying for death at some points.
Things started to escalate. I was doing lots of positions on the bed, but I couldn't stay on top of the pain. It would take over, control me, scare me and destroy me. I was weeping and screaming and clawing people. Nothing was working. They measured me, 8cm. I think this was around 3 or 4ish in the morning. Not sure.
I went back in the tub and got some relief but the pain was coming on so quick, so intense it felt like I could barely breathe in between. I tried sitting on the toilet, a technique that often brings the baby down just being on a place where pushing is normal! My cervix was melting away but that babe would not drop and the back labour was killing me. I was moaning so loudly so strongly I am shocked the police were not called.
The midwives never gave up on me, Keith and my mom never faltered. They would rub, massage, do pressure points, let their hands be clawed to shreds all to keep me focused, to get me through this.
Sometime in the morning it was clear things needed to change. I was losing grip. The back pain was unreal, I felt like I was being ripped to shreds, knives and chainsaws tearing up my insides and outside with each contraction. This is when Claire arrived. My saviour midwife.
She looked me in the eye and said Alicia we have to flip this baby. You will not progress and will not be able to push with this kind of back pain, we have to flip it. You have to trust me. This is going to suck.
She made me get through 3 contractions while doing lunges up the stairs 2 at a time. I KNOW!!! I think I will let you just imagine this pain because no written word can do it justice.
Then I had to do 3 contractions basically on my stomach with my butt in the air.
Then 3 contractions on my hands and knees.
On the 2nd contraction on my hands and knees, with the pain so debilitating, so intense, so just disgusting Claire says to me "If we can't flip this baby now we will take you to the hospital, get some pain relief so you can get this kid out." With those words something clicked in my head, not what you would think either. It was an option, a way out of this hell and it wasn't me begging for it. I felt like if I begged for the hospital I would be letting everyone down (sooo not true, but the mind thinks crazy things) but with Claire saying she was ok with having to use the hospital, I wasn't disappointing anyone, that is was a true real option, I let go of something. Some fear, some stress, some hold up and in that instant baby flipped.
Jane reached up inside, declared baby to be flipped and screamed PUSH!
I had wanted a water birth, but after all I just went through to get to this stage we didn't want to lose any second transferring or moving or anything, just get this baby out.
I pushed with each contraction, I pushed hard. I was on my back with my mom and Keith behind me. Claire was holding my right leg up and my left leg was on the bed. I pushed like a freakin mother!
Craziest thing....baby TURNED while in the vaginal canal. Friends there is nothing quite like feeling this. The baby moving and turning inside there, it was so weird and so painful and the midwives could not believe it was happening.
This added some new fun to the pushing game, but I was so near the end. I was not giving up. I pushed and pushed and pushed that kid. The ring of fire burned sooo bad that it nearly prevented me from pushing into it.
And that old episiotomy scar reared its ugly head. The scar tissue was very hard. It would not stretch. They flipped me onto my hands and knees and Jane did a thing that she will never forget and hopefully never have to do again to another women...she put her hands in there and pulled my little old vagina right over the baby's head.
Ahh the relief. That sweet moment of success. The baby's head is free. The work is done. The rest of babe just slipped right out. Since I was on my hands and knees I basically caught her. I sweeped her up from between my legs, glanced down and declared to the world....
"IT'S A GIRL!"
A moment I will never forget. I got to tell the world this long awaited for baby was a girl. She was mine. She was here. She was perfect.
I held her so tight. I kissed her so hard. I cried all over her little itty bitty body. I breathed her scent in. I absorbed the moment. The moment once again our world will forever be changed. She was here. She was here. She was here.
They helped me get to a lying position. I cradled my sweet babe. Keith and I looked at each other....Ayla.
"Oh my sweet Ayla, ohhh I love you." Declaring her name to the world.
Keith cut the cord. I birthed a placenta. The midwives scared for the next step, seeing the damage the pulling and wrenching had done, braced themselevs as they exaimned me. Not one tare. Not one little wound. INSANE.
Claire shouted "Vagina of steel!! I am making you a tee-shirt!"
The cleaned me up a bit, they propped me up and little Ayla routing like a champ latched on with out any hesitation and trouble and stayed there chowing down for over 30 mins.
No one could believe what I just went through. No one could believe how perfect she came out, perfect head, perfect skin, perfect new little person. No one could believe my vagina! No one could believe how easily we were breast feeding. Awe inspiring all around.
I sat there. Trying to let it all sink in. 11 hours of hell, hell with no medications. I just did that. I was holding the treasure I had waited soo long for. She was amazing. Everything was amazing. The world seemed to glow with a halo of light. It was surreal. It still is.
Ivy SLEPT through it all. She was up at 7am her normal time and my aunt and sister swept her to the basement for the last hour and half of my labouring. She got to meet Ayla right away. She was so happy to see the baby. She could not stop stroking her, kissing her, snuggling her. They bonded immediately. They were sisters and in love and it brought tears to this mamas eyes.
After some bonding time Ayla was weighed and measured. 7lbs. 20 1/2 inches long. She was dressed in the little outfit Ivy picked out for her.
She was handed back to me and our life as a family of four began.
It was quite the day. It was quite the experience. I am quite proud. Proud of Ayla for being born, no easy thing for a little person, of Ivy for loving Ayla with all her heart, of Keith and my mom for getting me through the hardest day of my life but mostly I am proud of myself. I have never been too such a hard, scary, obviously painful place and I conquered it. I did it. I found something within me, some deep inner strength I did not know was there and I tapped into that. And the greatest thing, I know me better now. And I like what I learnt. And it brought me her. Ayla.