So, exactly 12 hours after class ended on Thursday night, we had our precious Mabel Rose in our arms. She was born at 9:15 am on September 2, weighed in at 7 pounds, 1 ounce, and is 20 inches long. We are absolutely smitten.
When I got home from class on Thursday night, I drank a glass of wine and took a bath to help me relax before bed and hopefully get some sleep. When a strong contraction woke me up at 1:15 am, I continued to try and doze off between contractions. At 3, I woke up to a strong contraction and felt a pop sensation, which I think was at least some of my water breaking. I tried to lie down and doze more, but the contractions were too strong at this point and needed my full concentration. It was helpful at first for Jeremy to rhythmically rub my back (though after a while, I didn’t want to be touched), and it was especially helpful for him to count my exhales and breathe with me. I labored on my hands and knees in a warm shower, leaned over the birth ball, and sat backwards in a chair during different phases of the labor at home – it helped to have a number of positions to choose from and these were all effective for us. I also vocalized my exhales and that helped. Jeremy’s verbal support and words of encouragement were the most helpful throughout the entire process. When the intensity started to increase, our midwife suggested I get in the bath for an hour and then call her. In the bath, I started feeling more pressure, so once the hour was over, we called a car to take us to the birth center. When the driver saw me emerge from the apartment building, I think he regretted taking our call, but we made it to the hospital quickly:)
By the time they checked me in at the hospital and gave me an exam, I was 10 cm dilated and fully effaced. At this point, I started feeling a strong urge to push while still in the triage unit. Our midwife had not arrived yet, so we could not go the birth center at that point. They wheeled me into labor and delivery and I did my first few pushing sessions there. At that point my midwife arrived, so they wheeled me down to the birth center to have the baby. Once in the birth center, the environment was much more calm, as Jeremy and I were there with just the midwife and one nurse (as opposed to the 8 or so personnel that were present in labor and delivery). The pushing stage was a huge relief to me because I had a breaks between contractions and could rest a little between pushes. After about 45 minutes of pushing and excellent coaching from my midwife and the nurse, I moved to the side-lying position to finish pushing so Jeremy could catch Mabel. This position was more comfortable once she’d crowned because it relieved some of the pressure. The midwife guided her out straight into Jeremy’s hands and he handed her to me. While we were enraptured with Mabel, the placenta came out and my midwife stitched me up, as I had a slight vaginal tear.
Jeremy and I have not been able to stop talking about our experience and are so grateful that we were equipped to be able to give birth to her naturally and experience all the emotions that come with welcoming a new and precious gift. We can’t wait to hear from everyone else as well!
Emily, Jeremy and Mabel