So as we approached the 41st week, it became apparent that one of two things would play out: I would go into labor on my own but it would be quick because I was already dialated to 5 cm. If it was quick I wouldn’t be able to do a water birth. Mainly because I am in India.
This hospital is the only one in Delhi that does water births. They order bottled water from a company here, since tap water us not safe enough for people let alone a newborn to be born into. But they don’t order it till you are heading into labor, then they heat it up and so you need at least a few hours notice to get this accomplished. In which case I may not have and wouldn’t want to be stuck with the bill if I couldn’t use it.
Or I would reach week 41 and the Dr. would want to induce me and that would reduce my chances of being able to have a water birth, depending on how invasive of an induction I had to have. So basically I needed to have my water break or go into labor soon and not have a fast moving labor to have the opportunity for this.
Closer to the former ended up happening. Tuesday I went in and was dialated to a 5. I had started having some cramping in my lower abdomen the night before in addition to my contractions coming every so often and a little stronger. I decided to get stripped at the appointment, hoping that I would go into labor sooner that later. And so I did.
That night I continued to have cramping, more contractions and some show. We finished organizing the house, packed my hospital bag, cleaned up and took this last prego belly shot.
I went to bed at 10:30, but was having contractions every hour on the hour since 9:30. I woke at each one and was getting pretty tired. At 2:30 I had a strong one that woke me and made me think EPIDURAL was in my future. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I got up, went to the bathroom, lost my mucus plug and went out to the living room and kept track of the contractions. In an hour they they went from 20 minutes apart to 5-6 minutes apart. I called my doula, below, and asked her if I should call our babysitters, since it might be hard to find a rickshaw at at 3:30 in the morning, and J and I both couldn’t leave for the hospital till they arrived to watch the kids.
She said yes, and she headed to pick me up and we planned for J to catch Devon and Steve’s Rickshaw to the hospital if they arrived after Divya took me. Well they arrived at the same time. We quickly gave instructions, especially for Malachi who was still spiking fevers and needed extra TLC, and we left.
5 minutes later we were at the hospital and in the triage room, where I would actually have to deliver because all the rooms were full. Shortly after they checked me and I was still at a 5, my labor slowed down.
This time I wasn’t strapped to the bed so I walked, rocked, and bounced around on the excersise ball as my contractions grew into the morning. We lit candels put on worship music, and stocked up on bottled water for me to drink throughout labor. I don’t know what I would have done without being able to drink (wich I could never do in the states) cause I groaned and moaned out the pain with each contraction and dried my throat out doing so. Divya was great with new ideas and hands of endurance as she would rub my back as I swayed and bounced on the ball with each contraction. As labor grew on, back labor became intense and she started squeezing my lower back bone between her palms with firm pressure and it really took the edge off. Her and J took turns helping me, sometimes both of them at once.
A few hours into it I had the nurse check my progress and I hadn’t dialated at all. At this point I was sitting on the fence about the epidural. I was coping well with the pain but was getting really tired and shaky, from not getting good rest the night before. I really wanted to do it without meds since my experience with Malachi (which is actually portrayed realatively positively here…but in reality quite the opposite), although traumatic at labor, was GREAT for recovery. I am convinced not getting pitocen and narcotics made a HUGE difference in my recovery. Divya helped encourage me to not cave just yet.
I turned a corner and at 8 am the Dr., who lives with her family on the top floor, came into work and checked on me. She said I was at a 7 and if I had her break my water I could have him in 30-45 minutes. J and I talked about it and I was ready to get the show on the road. I had coped so well with the pain compared to my time with Chi but I was getting really tired and weak from all my focusing and moving around. I was clearly past the opportunity for an epidural and I could only handle a little more of this. I had been in labor for 4 and half hours, moving around.
She came in and broke my water and within minutes I was in very active labor and transition. It was so intense but I was still able to keep a hold on my pain with breathing down the baby and groaning out the pain. The ball was amazing also. Every time I had to get on my back on the table the contractions were paralyzing. Boy was there a difference in being able to cope when I could be mobile.
The last 15 minutes I started to lose control of my pain and I got louder and more desperate to have him. Josiah said he thought I was in transition cause there was a clear difference in my pain and response. I decided to get on the table and start to transition. I wasn’t even sure if the baby was ready, if I was fully dialated, my body was deciding, it was time.
It took me a few minutes to get on the table. As soon as I stood up from the ball and walked over to the table I had 3 contractions back to back that were about 1 minute and half each. I finally got up and I heard Divya tell Josiah they needed to get the doctor cause I was ready to finish. The pain was out of control at this point. The Dr. came in and confrimed I was fully dialated and baby’s head was right there.
I had decided to do Mother directed pushing, instead of Dr. directed, because of the bad hemoriods I had after the other three. And I liked the idea of listening more to my body about what it needed to do than forcing anything. After all we were created to do this.
It was really wierd not having anyone tell me what to do next. I had crazy big contractions, where it felt like someone was sitting on my chest and I couldn’t breath and twisting up my uterus at the same time. Again I was loud these last moments. I remember saying a few “untypable” words and questions like “what was I thinking?!”, then I just was pleading for God to help me finish strong.
I had a few minutes in between these that were nice breaks, like a calm before another storm. I felt the Dr. tugging on me and at one point asked “what in the world was she doing?!” At another point point I felt hopeless, it seemed like so long and I needed to know the end was in sight. I asked what was going on, and she said that the baby was crowning. I remembered to only push when my body felt the urge to push so I continued to tough out the pain till I felt ready to push. Even though I wanted it out and fast, I only pushed when I felt that uncontrollable urge. I really didn’t have any energy for more than that.
Baby’s head finally came out, but pushing out the shoulders was much more difficult. I heard the Dr. exclaim that the shoulders were big and I had to agree. When the other three came out, after the head everything else just kinda “slurped” on after. I found why soon after delivery…
There was tremendous relief when I felt the body out. My body just collapsed on the table and I asked what it was. When they said it was a boy, in my head I thought ” Yeah, I knew that”. They put him on my lower abdomen and waited for him to breath his first breath. It took a few minutes but I wasn’t concerned because he still had oxygen coming through the cord. Since he had a nuchal cord, they took that off right away. It was only wrapped once, so it had come partially unwrapped in the last 2 weeks. He started crying and I lifted him up on my chest. It was so great to see him and hear him, and feel him against me.
After the cord finished pulsing, J cut it. The doctor checked me out and gave the surprising news that I had no tearing at all. The very first time ever for me. That’s what was going on when she was tugging away during the last leg. She would push baby’s head in at points and let it come forward at others, keeping it a slow and gradual process for my body to adjust to. I must have instinctively known this cause my pushing rythms went in conjunction with her work. She knew what she was doing. I am so excited and blessed to experience a recovery with no tearing or stitches. What a dfference! This is also why she said since baby was doing good, and I had no tearing or excessive bleeding, I could leave whenever I wanted. So after we experienced the hilarious cultural differences of giving birth in India (to be written about another time) we decided to head home,just over 12 hours after I was admitted!
I put baby in my Maya wrap and we hitched a taxi, both crawling into the back we headed back to our other chilluns who were eagerly anticipating Taron’s homecoming.
In hind sight I am so thankful that I didn’t have the water birth. The Dr. wouldn’t have been able to assist me so much in not tearing if I had been in the water. And I would have been much more exausted having to squat down in the tub on my already shaky legs. God knew I needed a relatively painless recovery more than the experience of a water birth. And I am so grateful. I was excited to try it but not so committed to it that I was disappointed that it didn’t happen. This was the best birth ever, out of my 4 experiences, and who would have thought, in India?!