It's hard to believe that 4 weeks have already gone by since my daughter (DD) was born. Before I tell you how things are now, let me go backwards a bit and summarize how the birth was. I would like to share it because it easily was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
I don't know if it was the beautiful, sunny and unseasonably warm spring day, or the fact that it was our anniversary, but there was something in the air as we drove to my 10:30am doctor's appointment. I was 10 days "overdue" and I was scheduled to go in for a non-stress test (NST) and an ultrasound (US) before going to see the midwife. Between the nurse not really knowing how to work the baby-monitoring machine and waiting for two separate tests, that easily took over an hour. The bottom line when it was done was that the baby was happy right where she was.
So then there was the small matter to discuss with the midwife of when she was going to come out. I was easily 3 cm dilated and she felt very strongly that after a membrane sweep that started causing contractions, I was going to have the baby either that day or the next. So then we had a choice. We could wait and see if the labor kept going on its own and have a fallback plan of scheduling an induction for the next day, or I could go in that day, they could break my water, and get things rolling that way. Given that the midwife that I saw for the majority of my appointments was on call, and would welcome what would technically be an "induction" (breaking my water) in the Alternative Birthing Center (ABC, one room in the hospital -- even though it's called a "center"), we decided to go for it.
In the haze of surreality on that bright day we went home to get my things ("See you later Mom, we're going to have a baby..."), and then out to get some lunch -- a lunch that was supposed to be an anniversary lunch of sorts, so we went to one of our favorite spots. We enjoyed our last little bit of time as couple for a while in the midst of some great food and some consistently strengthening contractions.
It's a little funny to show up to the hospital and when asked why you are there say "I'm here to have a baby." We checked in at triage and then were shown up to the ABC. It's also a bit funny to "get ready" for birth in the sense of getting changed and putting your stuff away, especially after all the preparation you do for the fact that it's an unexpected event.
They broke my water around 2:30 pm. In reality it's just a tiny little pin prick. That was enough to really get things rolling. DH and I walked the sunny hallways outside the ABC to develop a "good strong labor". I started using Hypnobabies, which is the at-home course we used to prepare. I could probably write a whole post about exactly how it worked and singing its praises, but perhaps the biggest illustration of the endorsement I would give it is a couple of snippets from my labor.
The first is that at one point I took a break from wondering the halls and lied down to listen to one of the tracks. They actually thought that I was sleeping, and one of the nurses even fell asleep herself! Well, I was most definitely not sleeping - in fact I was in really active labor and transitioned to the final stage of labor before pushing just after that little "nap".
The second is that I got into the jacuzzi for what was to be the last part of my labor, and not only did they not realize that I was 10cm dilated, but that I was feeling like I wanted to push. After the fact it was a bit comical/dramatic that they had to rush to get me out of the tub so I *didn't* have the baby in the tub. A handful of pushes later and she was out. The whole thing was 4 hours from start to finish and DD was born at 6:35 pm.
There are obviously plenty of details that I am skipping over, and if anyone wants to know more, I'm happy to share (comment or send me an email). I couldn't be happier with the way things went. It was an incredible experience to give birth drug-free.
After DD was born, it was early enough that DH went home to bring my parents and DS to the hospital to come see us. He brought us flowers (all by himself!). We went home about 24 hours later. And now here we are trying to figure out life with two kids :-)