It was 10:25 in the morning on July 9, 2015 when my water broke. My mom was sleeping on our couch, in town for the week, waiting anxiously for me to go into labor. David had been at work already since 8 am. The moment my water broke I started having contractions. They were fairly strong and close together but I wasn't sure if I was in actual labor yet. About twenty minutes passed before I felt like it was time to tell my mom to start calling people and to tell David to come home from work. By then my contractions were two minutes apart and lasting thirty seconds each. David came home quickly and seemed calm to me. I had been planning on laboring at home for as long as possible, so he wanted to make sure to keep me relaxed and focused on the Hypnobabies techniques I had been practicing. At 11:15am I had another gush of water. David gave me a blessing for peace and comfort. While he was giving me the blessing, I felt this sort of wave of calm rush through my body. It was nice for us to have this moment together.
At 11:57am the Doula arrived. We tried different positions around the house to keep me comfortable. They worked for a few contractions and then I wanted to change positions. My contractions felt like really severe period cramps. I never felt them high on my belly like everyone told me I would. They were always very low. They weren't super painful, just felt like a lot of pressure. The thing I wasn't prepared for was not having a rest time at all once labor started. I thought my contractions would start out slow and easy and I would have time to relax in between them.
We left for the hospital at 12:22pm. My contractions were so powerful I thought, I must be at like 7 cm, we need to go or I'll have this baby at home. David called our midwife and told her we were on our way. The car ride to the hospital was hard because at this point the only position I felt comfortable in was standing up bending over something and rocking my hips.
At 1:03pm the midwife checked me. I was at 5cm and 90% effaced and baby was at -1 station. I remember being upset about this because I was sure I was farther along. At 1:42pm I got into the tub and stayed in there for an hour and a half. There were five of us in the little tub room, all eyes on me. I remember worrying if I was taking too long and if I was boring them. I got out of the tub and had three contractions on the way back to my room.
I layed in the bed in various positions while David and my Doula said positive affirmations and rubbed my back and force fed me snacks and water. I did not want to eat but they could tell I was running low on energy. The midwife told me to drink the water or they would have to give me a IV. At 3:10pm she checked me again, 6 cm and 100% effaced. I walked around the room and bounced on the birthing ball to speed things up. 4:52pm another check, 8cm 100% effaced. This time the midwife told me that the baby might be posterior. She asked me to get into the shower and do lunges to get her to turn. I didn't want to. I remember thinking, I don't think I can do this anymore. I'm too tired. Maybe if I take a nap I will feel better.
David told me I would feel better if I got into the shower. I think I remember cursing at him. I had one leg up on the bench in the shower and David ran the shower sprayer across my lower back and on my belly. He kept telling me how amazing I was doing and how he was so proud of me. And you know what? That shower was the most magical, blissful, gift-straight-from-heaven shower ever. My body became calm and rejuvenated. And suddenly I felt the urge to push.Not just the urge but I was actually pushing in the shower. I yelled out to the midwife, "I can't help it, I'm just pushing, I don't know why!"
I got out and into the bed and wanted to be on my hands and knees. She told me I would definitely tear if I pushed like that, so I moved into a side-lying position. She checked me and my water broke the rest of the way and I felt like I lost ten pounds of warm, gushing water. She said I was complete and that baby was at 0 station. Ready to push. Suddenly I had all the energy in the world. I was so excited to meet my little baby girl!
Pushing was amazing. I felt her moving down. I felt my body opening up. I had the nurses set up a mirror so I could see what I was doing. It helped me push harder. I could hear David say, "there she is! Can you see her hair?!" I couldn't. My eyes were closed while I pushed and when I stopped pushing she would go back in. I pushed for 23 minutes until she crowned and I touched her head. I pushed one more time and she was out to her shoulders.
The midwife told me to reach down and pull my baby the rest of the way out. She was born at 5:49pm 8 lbs and 13 oz, 20 1/2 inches long. She was tiny and warm and slippery and cone-headed and ours. I couldn't believe she was finally here! I held her on my chest completely unaware of anything else in the world. David cut the cord after it stopped pulsing and kissed me and told me how much he loved me.
In my mind, the whole thing went by so quickly. I had no idea that it took seven and a half hours. If you told me it was three hours from my water breaking to holding her in my arms, I would have believed you. Carrying and giving birth to Eleanor was the most incredible experience of my life and I loved every minute of it.