If you need to catch up, you can read the first two parts of our birth story here and here. As a refresher, I had started into early labor in the evening on Tuesday, spent the evening and night in and out of the bathroom (um, did I mention I used SEVEN rolls of toilet paper over the course of my labor?Um, yeah, at least I didn't have to worry about pooping during delivery.TMI? Sorry), resting between contractions and floating in the bathtub. Things progressed through the night and by 7 am I was around 5 cms and starting into active labor. I labored through the morning and when we left off in part two, it was 11 am, the midwives checked my dilation, found that I was sitting between 7 and 8 cms and broke my water.
Before doing so, they explained that breaking the water can often shorten labor by 30-45 minutes but is also quite likely to send the contractions to the next level in terms of intensity. They were right. I counted on my Dude during the transitional stage of labor so much. He was there with me through every single contraction - talking to me, hanging on to me, kissing me, breathing with me, and dancing with me (I'm talking a slow, steady rocking type dance - we weren't doing no macarana!)
The midwives suggested that I try getting back into the bathtub as many women find that the weightlessness of the water can help counteract the intensity of the contractions. We decided to give it a try. While in the water, things changed. It got hard. Super hard. After the fact, my mom and Katie said that they could hear me from the kitchen while I was in the tub and they knew that things were getting difficult for me. I needed much more direction in terms of keeping my pitch low and if the Dude didn't help me breath through each contraction, I had trouble getting on top of them. I remember saying to him a few times, "I need to own these contractions. Help me own them. I can't get control" and each time, he would tell me to keep my shoulders down, let out the tension through my bum and out my toes ... and it worked. I was able to get back on top of the contractions and take them one at a time. The most important thing, I found, was to never alow myself think about the contraction that had just passed and likewise, to never think about the next one coming. It was so crucial to focus on getting through the contraction I was having at the time, and that was it. I also remember feeling so though I needed to vomit a lot during this time, so we were carrying a bowl around with us, but I managed to get through without getting sick.
It was during this point in labor that people started to talk about my baby a lot. I heard many comments such as "these contractions are bringing your baby down", "help your baby move down", "your baby is coming". Those are the things that kept me going. I knew I was soon going to meet Eva (although I did not yet know that she would be Eva).
After a little while (I have no idea how long because my concept of time at this point was gone) I decided I didn't like the tub so thought I should go back to the exercise ball because I had liked it so much throughout the rest of my labour. But, I didn't. I only spent a small amount of time there and then said I needed to get to the toilet (roll of toilet paper #8?!?). The Dude helped me to the washroom and I had the urge to sit backwards. Colleen told me this is generally a very effective position for bringing the baby down and encouraged me to keep my feet flat on the floor. They assured me that no matter what, they would not let my baby fall out into the toilet. To be honest, that thought never crossed my mind.
They kept telling me that this was the hardest part, I was almost done, just a few more contractions. I remember feeling somewhat irrational at this point - in fact, I even asked "How many more?" once, knowing full well that no one could tell me. Colleen said, "Just a few more, you're almost done." I remember wanting to snap at her, and tell her that I knew I wasn't that close because they hadn't even called the second midwife yet.
While I was on the toilet, I lost my plug and got the bloody show, which I hadn't seen yet, so I knew that was a good sign. Shortly after, I started to feel an intense urge to push. They told me it was okay to do some "little practice grunts" so I started with that. It was not long, however, until I told them that "little grunts" were not enough and that I needed to PUSH! Carrie asked me to try to get through three more contractions on the toilet and then I could make my way back to the bedroom. I got through those last three and then the Dude took me under my arms and assisted me back to the room. I think I had about three very strong contractions in the 20 foot or so walk back to the room, where I remember bending my knees, bearing down and pushing a little. And, man ... did that feel good. I also remember noticing that during my time in the bathroom, the midwives had moved all of their equipment into our room and set everything up. Maybe I was almost done, afterall.
I got back to the bedroom, got situated on the bed and Colleen checked to see how close to complete I was...