Solstice baby is four weeks old as of yesterday, and I realize I haven’t been very active on here, neither reading nor posting! Taking care of a newborn and breastfeeding really is a full-time job! My partner has one more week left of vacation before going back to work, and after five weeks of having two pairs of hands, it’ll be interesting to do this by myself!
I have really enjoyed reading the birth stories of your lovely babies on here, so now it’s my turn!
Midsummer solstice baby was born on Saturday, June 21st at 11:36am. As I’d written numerous times before, I experienced continues painful contractions for the last seven weeks of my pregnancy. Despite most likely being Braxton-Hicks contractions, I have to say that the day I went into labor and was experiencing once again, regular, painful contractions, I wasn’t especially worried.
For several weeks before the birth, I had been trying all sorts of old wive’s methods of self-inducing labor, from acupressure to walking, from cleaning to eating spicy food..and pretty much anything I could think of. On Friday the 20th, however, I was determined to get this baby out. I started out the day as usual with breakfast and pressing some known acupressure points in my ankles. I was having my very typical semi-painful Braxton-Hicks about 20mins apart, but then again, I had been having them every day for seven weeks. After breakfast my beautiful wife and I had a lovely shower together. I won’t go into any details, but let’s just say orgasms definitely can bring on contractions. Sadly for me, there wasn’t any change in my contractions. I had heard that walking up hills or stairs could also help, so after lunch I started out on a quest: I walked up and down the 11 stories of stairs of our apartment building three times! On the last two times my partner accompanied me and we would run up one flight, then walk up the next. Definitely more intense contractions, but still not really any different than before.
Sidestep: over here in Northern Europe, Midsummer is a pretty big deal. Almost everyone in the city leaves to the countryside to their cottages, and many start their long 4-6 week summer vacations from Midsummer. Tourists are always shocked to find almost all businesses closed and a ghost town if they visit this time of year. We had been invited to few of our friends cottages, but considering my due date was just three days away, we decided staying in the city was our best option. My mother and her partner had invited us over for dinner and a sauna that evening, since they too wanted to be around in case baby decided to come.
On our way to my mom’s, we also stopped by our friends’ house for a short while. Since also champagne is known to help with inducing labor, I indulged in one glass. The contractions were seemed to be coming a little closer together now (maybe 15mins apart), but as usual, I paid no attention to them. After a nice chat with our friends, we continued over my mom’s. We had a a nice mild sauna (another labor inducer), where I thought I could have trickled some fluid, but I wasn’t sure. By the time we were eating around 9pm, my contractions were coming 8-9mins apart, and my partner felt like they seemed intense enough to start timing them. And yes, perhaps I agreed that there was something a tiny bit different about them, perhaps a bit more pressure than I had felt before. Still, I have had so many false alarms, that I really didn’t think much of it. At this point though, my partner was sure that this was it.. she thought I was reacting a bit differently to them. We had originally planned on staying overnight, but I had a strong feeling of needing to go home.
We were both feeling a bit restless after getting home, and maybe watched some tv, until I just declared we should just go to bed and try to get some sleep. I still wasn’t convinced there was anything different going on. Then after what felt like just falling asleep, at 01:50 I woke up to a feeling of a pop and I felt my water breaking. As I realized this, I turned to my partner telling her this, and the majority of the fluid ended up on her. She was pretty quickly roused from sleep, and I just sort of hovered there, dripping, not quite sure how to make it to the bathroom without ruining our parquet floors. (One thinks of really relevant things..) I had heard it could often take hours after the rupturing of the membranes before contractions started, so I showered and started to get things ready. But about five minutes later, BAM. Crazy intense contractions that had me bent over leaning on our fitness ball moaning. Again thinking things would start slow, I started doing the dishes (!) and making my partner some coffee (!), but none of which I was able to finish. I had my partner call the hospital to let them know we were coming, and she got the rest of our things together. At this point I had totally lost sense of time, but the first few contractions came about 5mins apart, and immediately escalated to 3mins apart lasting just over a minute each, with only about 1 minute and a half in between. I still foolishly thought I’d have plenty of time to wait things out at home, but I had no idea my contractions were coming that often, and was kind of annoyed at being rushed.
By the time we got to the hospital, the contractions were coming 1,5-2mins apart, lasting for over a minute, and I was in some pretty serious pain. I was still only 1,5cm dilated, but was almost completely effaced. They attached a monitor probe to the baby’s head so I could move around with more freedom, and I stood around contracting waiting for someone to bring me a fitness ball. And now this part is the only thing I regret… after I got the ball and only after a few contractions, the midwife pretty much insisted I get some pain relief. I tried refusing and saying I was doing just fine riding the contractions out with some prenatal yoga relaxation techniques but unable to read me in that condition, even my partner agreed that I could use some pain relief. So, I got a shot of petidine, a morphine-derived drug. After a while it started making me dizzy so I climbed in bed. For the next however long, I used laughing gas to get through the contractions.
Then suddenly I started feeling very nauseous…and started throwing up. Massively. Multiple times. From this point on things get a bit confused. I showered after each time I threw up, hung out in the shower for a bit… but the last time it happened I felt like my whole body just went into panic mode. I stopped being able to relax through the contractions and I was shaking, apparently not making any sense, and when the midwife suggested an epidural, I only felt relieved. After it started having an effect, I was 6cm dilated. Then for the next two hours as I was in pain-free bliss, I slept. Rested. Gathered strength. An hour and a half later I was fully dilated. Time for baby to descend into the birth canal and rotate into the birthing position.
For first time mothers our midwife said it could take two hours at the fastest, so we settled down to wait. I got down from the bed to sit on the ball, and we even tried watching some Netflix. But the contractions were starting to get more intense again, and very different, The most intense pressure I have ever felt. Not the urge to push, but just crazy intense pressure. About an hour and a half into it, the midwife came to check on me, but baby hadn’t budged! Worried that the descent might take many more hours, I asked for some added epidural. However, 20mins later… baby’s heart rate suddenly dropped below 70, and the midwife came rushing in. She checked, and baby was ready to come, it was time to push! I almost regret having that extra epidural, but it did allow me to be very present during the delivery of our daughter.
We had to get baby out pretty fast, so her heart rate would go back up.. so I had to push lying down, which was pretty much the one thing I didn’t want to do. Pushing seemed very natural, directing the pressure towards the pubis. I was able to push the head out further each time, but it just wouldn’t come out all the way, so our midwife called in for some help, just in case they needed to use a suction cup. My contractions faded, though I still felt the pressure, so the other midwife manually helped cause them by manipulating my abdomen. About 24 minutes into pushing, she snipped a small cut, and I was able to push baby out completely with the next contraction, in one relieving push. Instantly the burning sensation from the stretching stopped, everything stopped. Our baby cried as soon as her head was out. They announced it was a girl. She was rubbed down, placed on my chest, and we all just cried and stared at each other while I was being stitched up. Just one tiny minor tear, plus the partial episiotomy. Well, the baby didn’t cry, that was just my partner and I. And it was amazing.
Labor from when my waters broke was 9,5 hours. And then we had a daughter. Three days inpatient, getting to know eachother, learning about breast feeding, feeling bewildered and the happiest ever.
And that was that story 🙂 More to come soon!