I had been feeling kind of crampy the whole week leading up to labor, so on 40 weeks, 5 days pregnant, I was used to the feeling. My two dogs were extra cuddly that night (they must have known!), and my husband and I decided to take them for a walk. The whole walk, I was more crampy/sore but I also thought maybe I was being dramatic, like it probably wasn’t anything. We got home, ate and I got a more painful cramp after lying down around 11pm.
I got another cramp (contraction) 15 minutes later so my husband began timing them. The next was 12 minutes later, then 8, etc. Pretty quickly, some contractions lasted 1-2 minutes. They got more intense each time, but I still didn’t believe they were contractions because they were different than what I was expecting. I just couldn’t believe it was happening! Every time I got a contraction, my teeth chattered and my knees shook the entire labor and delivery.
I did a few more positions- bounced on the exercise ball, which felt better because I felt like I was actively helping the pain. After that, I knelt over the bed (my favorite position). Time went by so fast. After contractions got to 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute for a while, my husband called the on call midwife. I told him to say it was just cramps (which sounds so silly now!) The midwife on call told me to take a bath and see if contractions subsided. They did. I got out of the bath, and contractions came back fast and more intense. Sometime after that, I got back in the bath for some relief and this time the contractions didn’t subside. My husband called the midwife back and she said to come in.
When we got there at 5am, my cervix was checked and I was dilated to 5cm. The contractions were real and working! First, I got into the bath but that didn’t help the pain anymore. Then, I bounced on an exercise ball, that didn’t help. Kneeling over the couch didn’t help. No position felt good, and every time I got a contraction, I quickly tried to change positions to be more comfortable. I think I spent the most time laboring in the shower. I didn’t notice anyone else in the room, it was just my husband and me breathing through it. I couldn’t help becoming loud with high pitched moaning. They kept telling me to save my energy and make low groaning sounds, which really helped.
Between each contraction, I was pleading to leave, that I couldn’t do it, it was too painful, my contractions were one after another and I wasn’t getting a break. No one would reply to my pleading. Several times I got super serious with my husband and said NO, I HAD to go! And I would’ve if they let me, it didn’t matter anymore. I knew it would’ve taken probably a half hour to get to a hospital and I’d still be in pain. So even though I knew that, and knew I didn’t want to go to a hospital, I couldn’t help asking to leave.
At one point, I laid down and fell asleep for a couple minutes, I was so exhausted. But I quickly woke up from a contraction and had to get right out of bed. Soon after, my husband and I were swaying and I got a contraction and to try and make it better, I dropped into a squat which forcefully made my water break on our feet. Seeing it and feeling it happen at the same time was so shocking! For a split second, I had no idea what happened.
Eventually, I felt like I had to push, and started to while squatting and using the birth stool. Then, I got back into the tub. I didn’t want to push, it hurt. Contractions while pushing lasted super long and there were long breaks in between where I was falling asleep. I was able to push many times during each contraction, but it didn’t feel like I could push hard enough, and I was exhausted. I think I pushed in the tub for an hour.
Finally, January Jade was born into the water at 11:15am, after about 12 hours of labor. I grabbed her out of the water and repeated “oh my god” while staring at my crying husband. I was in shock. It was and is the most surreal and amazing moment of my life! I did it! I was and will always be so proud of myself. I’m so glad I got photos and video of it, because the details are kind of hazy now.