On Thursday the 22nd I began having contractions at 9:30pm. At first I didn’t think anything of it– I’d been having them off and on for days– but these were a little different. They were crampier and sometimes extended into my lower back. I drank some water, took a hot shower, and got in bed. My husband fell asleep right away, but I lay awake for a long time. I kept trying to time the contractions. They were irregular, between two and six minutes apart, and about 45 seconds long. Finally I fell asleep, around midnight or so. At 3:30am I couldn’t sleep through them anymore. I called my doula and she suggested we head towards the town where the birth center is located (about an hour away). I woke up my husband and it took us a little while to get everything together. By the time we loaded up the car my contractions were strong enough that I had to focus on them, but still irregular at three to four minutes apart… Always closer together than the “five minute rule”!

We got to town around 5am and checked into a hotel room near the birth center. I called my doula and asked her to come in an hour. Right before she arrived, around 6am, I had a really intense contraction. It made me jump up from the bed. Thank goodness I did, because I felt a gush as my water broke, soaking my yoga pants and the towel that I quickly shoved in between my legs! I spent the next few hours mostly in the shower. The water helped SO MUCH. By this point I was moaning and rocking through each contraction. I had to stand up through every contraction so I was exhausted from exertion and lack of sleep. At about 9am I couldn’t take it anymore and we went to the birth center. They wanted to check my blood pressure, since I had issues with high bp late in my pregnancy. Unfortunately my bp was high so they decided to admit me to the hospital for the birth instead of the birth center. At this point I was like, “I don’t care, just let me push her out!” They checked me and everyone was shocked that I was 8cm… Baby’s head was right there!

We rushed across the street and into a labor and delivery room and I was pushing by 10:20. The pushing seemed to last forever and was easily the worst pain I have ever felt. I didn’t want to push, but I knew I had to or be in pain forever! I remember them telling me how close I was and thinking that they were lying to me. It burned and felt like I was being torn in two, but then there was a gush of fluid and a slippery feeling as my daughter was finally born!

Madeleine was born after just 40 minutes of pushing, a mere 14 hours after my first contraction! Even though we ended up in the hospital, I was able to give birth without medication or intervention (though I now completely understand why people choose to get an epidural). I was able to do skin to skin and nurse immediately.

I had a couple of minor labia tears, but no perineal tearing or episiotomy. They did give me a shot of pitocin to help my uterus clamp down, but there were no complications. My blood pressure returned to normal in 24 hours and we were able to leave the hospital the next afternoon.

Maddie lost more weight in the first 48 hours than they’d like, and struggled to latch on the breast. As a result we have been supplementing with formula and pumped colostrum. We saw a lactation specialist on Wednesday, and she helped a lot. Since then Maddie has been successfully breastfeeding most of the time, and my milk has come in. She has nearly reached her birth-weight again, and the pediatrician is very happy with her progress.

We are sleep deprived and learning this whole parenting thing as we go, but completely, unabashedly in love with this tiny person!

Today marks one week since she arrived!