If you missed part one, go here first!
"I bet we have a baby by noon!" Teresa said as Alice Ann filled the tub and Daniel helped me undress and get in. Teresa told me to try hands and knees because discomfort probably meant Edie was moving down and putting pressure on my bottom through each contraction. I stayed in the tub as long as I could stand the heat. Daniel wiped cold towels along my neck and rubbed my back with lavender oil, and pretty soon I felt the urge to poop, which was what we were waiting on. That sensation means your body is ready to push, and when you can't help but give in, it's go time. Even though I'd learned this, I was pretty tired by this point from staying up all night with diarrhea and contractions two minutes apart. I told them I thought it could be the castor oil coming back to get me, so I got out of the tub and sat on the toilet. Nothing came out--I figured it was time to bring this babe into the world.
I told them I'd planned to try squatting, so they brought me a birth stool so I could rest my legs for the first bit of pushing while in the squat position. I began pushing three to four times with each contraction. I asked Teresa how I could know if I was doing it right, and she told me to use the same muscles I would during a bowel movement. Alice Ann placed a hand mirror under me so I could see how things were opening up. I stayed on the stool for a while, and my contractions started to space out. We talked a lot in between them until I realized things were stalling. I asked what I could do to "get her out faster," and Teresa told me to walk around the room to see if that helped like it did earlier that morning. I took two steps and a contraction came on strong, so I hurried back into my squat on the stool and pushed. I ended up doing this little get up, take two steps and sit back down to push dance for the next hour. After no signs of progress, Alice Ann suggested I stay standing and slow dance with Daniel. He supported me through contractions as I stood in a wide-legged squat and leaned into him.
At this point I started to feel a little discouraged, like I wasn't doing it right. Teresa offered to check baby's position. I got on the bed and she waited for a contraction to feel for Edie's head. This is when we found out she was stuck behind my pubic bone, which wasn't moving for her the way it was supposed to. Teresa told me to turn on my side and push for two contractions and then roll over and push for two more to see if we could wiggle her down. Side lying made me feel like crawling into a hole to die, and I remember asking if they could just pull her out. They kept telling me I was going to bring her down and each push moved muscles and made progress. I asked if they could see her head and they said no, but that didn't dictate whether or not I was moving her.
It was two or three o'clock by this point, and I was really starting to doubt their encouragement. I was mostly starting to doubt myself, and I began saying things like, "I can't do this." I had never felt so exhausted, and we still couldn't see Eden's head. I thought she might not even be real--we weren't getting anywhere. I asked if I could just go to sleep and start over tomorrow, but I knew that wasn't possible with the pain I was in. I begged them to let me take a break and get in the shower so Daniel could rub my back.
We stood in the shower for an hour or two and I squatted and tried to push with each contraction. I was crying again and Alice Ann brought me the birth stool to sit on under the water. I told her I couldn't do it. "And I'm not just saying that--ask Daniel, I'm an incredibly determined person but I really have nothing left. I can't push anymore--my body is done." She kept telling me to say, "I can do this" out loud, but I wouldn't. I crawled off the stool and onto the floor, where I stayed in the hands and knees position for a few minutes before collapsing against the wall. I couldn't see straight. "I'm going to pass out. I'm passing out," I told them, and Alice Ann asked me if I would drink tea if she made me some. I said, "I don't know," and Daniel started forcing me to take sips of water.
I asked if this is what it felt like to be dehydrated because I'd never been before. I realized I'd had less water in the past 24 hours than I usually drink over the course of an hour any given day, and I'd been up all night having diarrhea. "I have nothing left," I told them again. By this point it was past six. Teresa suggested I get back on the bed and push on my side again and she'd check to see if I was using the right muscles. Daniel helped me across the room and I got on the bed, but I couldn't get myself to really push. "I know we're doing this all naturally, but would you be up for an IV of sugar water? It's not a medical intervention--you just need some energy." Teresa asked. I told her I didn't care at this point and that they could send me over to the hospital and cut me open. "It's been over 24 hours, isn't my time up?" She told me that since I was progressing we could stay there. I didn't think I was progressing.
I got hooked up to an IV while Daniel rubbed my back, and I soon found myself starting to talk and joke around again. I asked Daniel to take my top leg and hold it, and I began pushing on my own. Alice Ann said, "Yes, Jordan! Good!" and Teresa said she was going to use her fingers to push against the muscles I should be using. It hurt REALLY badly and kind of made me mad, so I pushed back as hard as I could. She said I was moving the muscles around my pubic bone so it could move out of baby girl's way. I alternated sides and pushed for a while, but her head still wasn't coming down. I moved to all fours--nothing. My contractions started to space out again, and after a while they were over ten minutes apart. I had more energy, but my body was over it.
"Why are they slowing down?" I asked Teresa. She said my uterus was tired--I'd been pushing since 10 a.m. and in labor since yesterday--most women don't last that long. After a long stretch of very few contractions, she brought in an herbal tincture to put under my tongue and an electric breast pump (nipple stimulation can bring on strong contractions). After hooking me up for twenty minutes, my contractions were back and stronger than ever. I pushed, and as soon as each contraction was over, they'd hook me back up to the pump. Suddenly I didn't feel any relief--they were coming one on top of another. Baby's head was still nowhere to be seen, though. I asked at what point we would give up and I'd get transferred, and Teresa said we'd evaluate in an hour, but we could have a baby by then.
Alice Ann had been checking Edie's heart rate with a doppler every 15 minutes, and baby girl wasn't phased at all by the long labor or crazy contractions. Teresa kept telling me it was completely due to my rigorous exercise routine throughout my pregnancy, and Alice Ann told me most women would have been transferred for a c section hours ago due to the baby getting stressed out. As the night went on, they would laugh each time they listened to her heart beat. "She's just hanging out in there," Teresa would say.
Sometime around nine, she said, "Okay, I hate even suggesting this and you're going to hate it, too. But this is our last resort. We're going to do hospital position for a couple of contractions--just a couple, okay? Get on your back and pull your legs wide."
I did as I was told. I pushed and made all kinds of crazy low Tarzan woman noises. It was uncomfortable. Teresa asked me if I could hold my breath while pushing, and I tried it. Daniel was rubbing my arms and shoulders when she yelled, "Yes--a full head of dark hair!" And Daniel jumped up to stand behind her. I pushed again, and he exclaimed, "I see her, babe! She has a full head of hair! I see her!" I asked him if he really saw her and he was so excited, I had to believe him. That was all I needed--she existed and her daddy could see her--I had to get her out so we could meet her.
I stayed in that position for a while before getting up on my own accord. I crawled off the bed and all of a sudden being upright forced me to push harder--I felt like baby girl was trying to crawl out of my bottom. I squatted beside the bed and gave it everything I had, and I guess based on how I looked and sounded, Alice Ann knew it was time to grab the mirror and put gloves on. Joy, a birth center nurse, came into the room at some point to assist in caring for us post-birth.
"I had planned on catching her, but babe, do you want to catch her? Can Daniel catch her?" I asked while trying to breathe. Alice Ann explained to him that she would back him up but he could catch her, and to let her turn her head.
Teresa told me to look down at the mirror with my next push if I could keep my eyes open. I yelled something like, "My baby! I see my baby!" and I felt her head move. "Is there anything I need to know about this whole 'ring of fire' business?" I asked. Alice Ann told me it would be any minute, and Teresa said she could talk me through it but I'd really have to listen to her instructions. I asked what I needed to know and she said to let her crown and then let off--let her rock back so she could stretch me gradually, and then push her to crowning again and hold her there. Then I could do little grunt-pushes and ease her head out. "But I can talk you through it when we get there," she said. I guess I wasn't up for waiting, because I held the next push as long as I could until she crowned, sucked in a big breath, and pushed again, then did as I was told with the little pushes. I heard Alice Ann and Teresa both saying, "Good! Good, Jordan!" so I figured we were doing okay. Daniel asked if it burned and I said, "It burns, but it's not that bad." I felt more calm than I'd felt all day--I was working to bring my baby out.
And suddenly, her cone head was between my legs and I noticed how much bigger it was than I expected. I put my hands on her hair and listened to Alice Ann explain to Daniel to let her turn and throw up, and then she would probably be out with my next push. Daniel tells me she did just that--I could only see the back of her head--and then Teresa said I could bring her out whenever I was ready.
At 11:08 p.m., 31 hours after my water broke, I took a deep breath and held it. I don't remember what that last push felt like, but I do remember standing up and turning around so my husband could hand my daughter to me.
"It's a boy!" I yelled as he passed her to me backward and I felt between her legs before I could see her. Everyone burst out laughing as I realized it was just the umbilical cord and I was more tired than I thought.
Eden let out a big cry and I asked if I could do skin to skin. Alice Ann helped me onto the bed and put a blanket over the beautiful baby girl on my chest. Edie latched fairly quickly as the birth team wiped blood off of us. When the cord stopped pulsing, Daniel cut it and I delivered the placenta. Alice Ann was checking our latch when I suddenly felt a strong, warm flow of liquid between my legs. "I think I'm bleeding," I told her and Teresa checked me and said I needed a shot to stop it immediately. They ended up giving me two shots--my body wanted to get rid of everything after 30 plus hours of labor, I guess. They cleaned me up and informed me I didn't tear (hooray!).
Joy checked our vitals as Eden nursed, and when everything looked good, the three of us were left alone to bond for a little bit. We stared at our girl and picked apart her little features. We decided she looks like her mommy (which we've been told by everyone who has met her since then) but has her daddy's feet, for sure. Daniel told me he was so proud of me. I told him I couldn't believe we did it after all of that--I really didn't think I was going to be able to.
Alice Ann and Joy came back in to check our vitals again and record all of Edie's measurements. She weighed seven pounds, four ounces and was nineteen inches long. Joy helped me up and told me they wanted me to try to pee, which I was able to do just fine. She cleaned the blood off of my legs and asked if I could wipe the blood out of my butt crack because she wanted to leave me with "a little dignity," which I found funny considering I'd been naked in every position imaginable in front of the birth team all day long.
Alice Ann brought me my clothes and I got dressed before getting back in bed. Joy went over postpartum care for both baby and me and then left us to get our stuff together and get Edie dressed. She checked our vitals one more time, then watched us put the babe in her carseat, and we were headed home just before the sun came up.
Although my labor was long, I wouldn't change a thing. My husband was not only by my side the whole time, he played an active role in keeping me relaxed and recognizing where I was in labor based on how I was acting. The care and encouragement I received at the birth center pushed me to do the most challenging, most beautiful thing I've ever done, and we are forever indebted to Kameron, Teresa, Alice Ann and Joy for helping us bring our baby girl into the world.
Also, the recovery has been AMAZING--I was able to get up and walk immediately and I felt like myself the next day. It's been awesome not having any pain distracting me from catering to little lady. :)