My back started hurting a little around 7pm on Wednesday night (2/8/06). I was very tired, so I soon went to bed. However, I found myself unable to sleep because the pain kept getting worse. It felt like I needed to use the bathroom but I went so many times that there was nothing left in my bladder to empty. Around midnight, Ben finally asked if contractions came with the pain. This was the first I had considered such a thing. I tried to time contractions but it was difficult because the pain never really stopped, which made it hard to figure out when the contraction stopped. The pain just piled on, rather than being present for a time and then going away for a time. By 2am Thursday morning, we were finally at the hospital (University of Utah Hospital). They still had to do an exam and monitor me for an hour before they would admit me. I was at 2cm for 3-4 weeks already. Now I progressed from 4-8cm in a mere 20 minutes!They rushed to get the epidural! That was a lifesaver... the back labor had been so constant and intense that I had been in quiet tears for about half an hour, but had been overly uncomfortable for probably 4 hours already.
Once the epidural took effect, I felt GREAT! I laughed and joked with Beth Tyrell (our Bishop's wife), Penny Johnson (my good friend who lived in our apartment building), Ben, and the nurses. It wasn't long before they told me I was going to start pushing though. My doctor had to be in surgery at 7:30am and they wanted to allow me time to push. They broke my water and I began pushing. The doctor left to go check on some cancer patients but was nearly immediately called back as the baby's head was showing! She said for me to stop pushing until she could get there in 15 minutes. I couldn't believe it! STOP PUSHING?! This baby felt like he was climbing his way out anyway! Dr. Laine arrived in 10 minutes and I pushed just a few more times. Ben held a mirror so I could watch. It was unvelievably amazing! After just less than an hour since I had started pushing, Keith was born at 6:43am and was very hungry. He nursed for around 3 hours, excluding the time he spent getting checked out and bathed. Back labor was harsh, but I would do it again!
Wednesday the 18th - 12:30am and I woke up with these crazy gas-like pains in my back. I immediately started timing it, just to be sure. 13 minutes. 9 minutes. 7 minutes. 5 minutes. 3 minutes. 2 minutes. The contractions weren't steady and regular, but increasing quickly. At about 1:15am, I called Briana to come on over. Then I called my friend, Penny, to come over to help with Keith, if he should wake up, or me, if I should need it. Briana was there no later than 1:45am. She said I was doing well dealing with the pain... I rocked back and forth and told her how that epidural with Keith was amazingly wonderful. Then a contraction would end and I would wonder if I was just exaggerating or being overly dramatic. Then another would start, NOPE! Not exaggerating or being dramatic at all, that was real PAIN! I put on some water to boil and made some red raspberry leaf tea after taking some more blue cohosh. I hardly took two drinks of my tea before I finally agreed to let Briana check me to see how far I was progressing. The pain was bad enough that I wanted to know that it was actually doing something. She assured me it would only be a few more hours, to which I thought "HOURS!?!?!!" Anyway, so then she checked and said I was about 6cm. I had been at 2.5 cm since early January, then the last week I went up to 3cm and then 3.5 cm, but stayed there. With Keith, when I hit 4cm, I went pretty fast and was hoping for a repeat. So, once she determined that the contractions were actually doing something useful, I decided to go to the bathroom again. As I sat there, the tub looked appealing. I got in and had the hot water run over my lower back. Eventually, I had Ben and Briana both pouring it over my back as I was on my hands and knees in the tub begging for more and hotter water a little more quickly. Penny got there just as I was crowning and Briana cut off my water supply because a tiny face was showing and ready to take his first breath. The time was 2:16am. Not even two hours after I woke up with contractions. She passed the baby through to me, and he was amazingly slippery so I was a little nervous trying to hold onto him. They helped me flip over into the bathtub, and then brought me a pillow (it had on a nice little water-proofed cover). I held onto the new baby for a while, waiting for the placenta to let go. Briana gave me some Angelica (another herb) to help encourage it to release. It took a while, but finally it was out, too. Once it was, I was helped out of the tub and into my bed. The placenta and cord were still attached to the baby, who had not yet been named.
I laid in bed for a while, just snuggling up with my baby and my sweet husband. After a while, I decided to get up and go shower off, so I passed the baby to Ben. While I showered, Briana asked if it was okay to start on her newborn exam, or if I wanted her to wait for me to get out. I asked her to wait, so she did. I got cleaned up, dressed, and back into bed. By then, the tiny boy was on a towel wrapped heating pad where she examined him and then measured him. Ben held him up in a sling so Briana could get his weight. 8lbs on the dot... ironic since Keith was 7lbs even!
Around now, or maybe it was just before I showered, I honestly don't recall, Keith had awaken and Penny had been watching him in his room for a while. Ben finally went in to let them know he could come in. (He hadn't woken up until after the birth, so he needed to stay out of the way of the 4 of us trying to make our way through a tiny bathroom and hallway.) So, Keith came in, kissed the baby's head and said, "Love you Baby Brother!" as sweetly as he could. He wasn't told what to say or do, he just did it and it was amazingly wonderful! As the three of us looked on at the new member of our family, I knew it was a moment that could have never taken place in a hospital. It was sweet and tender and just perfect. Now, don't get me wrong, it hurt like you would never believe (unless you too have had a natural birth), but I'd do it at home again without thinking about it. I was never rushed to give up my baby. I was never hurried to do anything. I was immediately with my other sweet boy, and the whole family could cuddle together without nurses getting in the way. Plus, it was so nice to be at home, and have a care provider come to ME instead of having to sit in a car through those awful contractions. Since I managed my pain by rocking, sitting would not have allowed me to manage the pain. Plus, that hot water was amazing! Can't get that in a car, and not in all hospital rooms either. Also, the cord and placenta stayed attached until it was done pulsing, that way he could continue to sort out which nutrients he wanted/needed until he had everything necessary. Only then was the cord clamped and cut. This also cuts back on the incidence and severity of jaundice. Interesting, huh?! The pain sucked, but the overall experience was amazing!! I would totally encourage everyone to give a homebirth a try... it's so much more calm and peaceful and at YOUR pace rather than the hospital staff's. It was just perfect.