Dash's Arrival - Part One

Writing our birth story seems like a rather impossible task, as the experience was so profound that putting it into words seems so banal. But in the words of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, "I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is... more than living, for it is being conscious of living." I want to be conscious of this life that God created, that DH and I made together, and that I birthed into the world.

We prepared for this birth with as much sincerity as possible. We hired a doula, read books, did a workshop, exercised, ate (sort of) right, got lots of support, etc. I am so glad we did ALL of it. I will have to do more posts about all we learned about natural/gentle birth because the education process really positively affected the outcome for us.

In the weeks before my "guess date" I actually felt pretty relaxed. I was fortunate not to be too big and uncomfortable, actually got decent sleep, and generally savoured my time with DH, knowing that it was the last time it would be just the two of us in that way. I repeated the affirmation "babies are born when THEY are ready" and reminded myself that due dates are really just a guess. I also firmly believed that the baby would wait until my mom arrived.

My mom arrived on Thursday, 18 July and my waters broke that night at 1:00 am. At least I thought it was my water - I didn't know enough about hindwater to be able to tell at the time. I opted not to phone the midwives as I wasn't having contractions. We went about life as normal Friday and Saturday, taking walks and trying to rest. I was starting to get frustrated that nothing happened when finally at 5:30 pm Saturday I had what we determined to be regular contractions, about 15 minutes apart. At 8:00 pm I had a big gush of water and at that point phoned the midwives.

The midwife on call came over to check me and said all looked well. She was so confident I would progress quickly that she said we'd probably see her again in the morning. She was nice but rather loud and didn't exactly fit my peaceful birth plan. Eric set up the birth pool and I took a shower, put on the TENS machine, and slept until the contractions were too uncomfortable.

They'd slowed down a bit so I tried to get them going again by bouncing on the pregnancy ball and other various measures. Mom and I watched a few movies on Netflix and the sun came up. Contractions weren't much closer together. My doula said things probably wouldn't get going until the sun went down again - which was unfortunate as in the summer it's after 10 pm. I don't remember much about Sunday, except going for walks down the alley and back, and generally being extremely bored and stir crazy but feeling trapped.

By the evening, contractions were quite intense but not close enough together. Staying active, singing, and Natal Hypnotherapy helped me through the contractions. We called our doula to come over that evening for support, and the midwife came late in the night to check me. I was only 2 cm, after all that! The only time I got any rest was trying to sleep between contractions, propped up on my side on the couch, listening to the Natal Hypnotherapy CD, and squeezing my mom's hand when the contractions woke me up.

The midwife came back at 7:30 am Monday morning to check me again, and I had not progressed at all, despite a sleepless night of intense and regular contractions. In Britain, the hospitals have a policy that 36 hours after your waters go, you have to be induced b/c of risk of infection. I really thought I would avoid that, but I couldn't put it off anymore. So Monday morning we got in the car and set for the hospital. I was completely devastated, asking for an epidural, and hoping for a c-section as I had not slept but about 4 hours over 2 days.

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