Here is a picture of her this morning; she's so happy after feedings... it really makes getting little to less-than-no sleep at night more worth it.
We are moved to "the big room" (LDR 2) where they have a tub. It was the most amazing tub I have ever been in. Looking at it wouldn't do it justice, but it was a game changer. I waddled my way to the room as Katie was drawing me a fancy bath in the amaze-a-pool. I immediately disrobed with just the heart rate monitor hanging on me, and let me tell you something: if you're going to have a natural birth, find a tub, with jets. Now I don't have experience with non-back labor, but if those jets were not in there I would not have been able to do it. Since "lying down" wasn't an option through the entire ordeal, just having some hot water would not have cut the mustard.
6:01 am - 9:00am
We had determined the "secret" to dealing with the back pain in a mix between Charlie vigorously rubbing my lower back and sitting in the tub with jets. I went from tub to leaning over the back of the bed with Charlie rubbing my back for 3 hours. At this point we had called our doula Kandace and she said she was on her way to help the cause.
** I should mention Charlie should be knighted for his effort the entire time. I was apparently a COMPLETELY different person; I was even bossy, so that even when Charlie was trying to be sweet and sing to me ("Fly Me to the Moon," by Frank Sinatra), I told him to shut it and just rub my back... again.**
Charlie went to find Jualeah because I wanted to be checked to see if I'd dilated. Last time i'd been checked I was 3-cm, so I thought... maybe 5 if I was lucky. She reported I was a whole 7-cm and that she didn't think it would be much longer, (which in retrospect, she should have told me if I was 4-cm...) but it was the push I needed to keep going. I did ask her in very cryptic language something to the effect of "at what point could I get the thing I'm not supposed to talk about?" (Read: Epidural) She told me I could get it at any point before pushing. In my mind that meant I had time to think about it. So I held off.
Right after Jualeah left, I told Charlie I thought I was going to throw up, but before he could find anything to catch it, I threw up ALL over the left side of the room. And what was the only thing I had had in my stomach? Red Jello. Perfect. We just left it there too, since there were more important things going on. (Jualeah later told me, as she was cleaning the mess up, that it was part of transition. Makes sense)
Our doula Kandace showed up JUST in the nick of time. Charlie was spent, his poor hands and wrists had been working over time. And she had all sorts of tricks and tools to help: a warming thing that Charlie stuck in the microwave which she laid on my back and her real value, her training in massage therapy, etc. So she worked on my back for about 30 mins before I told her I needed to use the bathroom. Apparently I didn't need to but sitting on the toilet with her weaving herself around the wall to be able to still work on my back. She had me moan LOUD and deep through the next 4 or 5 contractions that all came right after another.
Jualeah came back in and checked me out, informing me that I hadn't broken my water yet, and that my cervix was "paper thin"... which really meant nothing to me (I only speak in dilated and centimeters terms). She asks me if I'd like her to break my water which I, of course, say I do. Once that is done there is a some water but not a flood like you'd think, BUT it was dark and tinged. That means sweet little angel has taken her first poop on the inside of me. Thrilling. All this really means is that she has to be checked by the peds group before I can hold her. I wanted to have her on my chest first thing, but whatever... that was not going to be an issue right now (and looking back it would have been REALLY gross).
I'm going to be honest here and say that the "urge to push" wasn't as obvious as I would have liked. It might have been because of the never-faltering back pain, but I was really just thinking, I want this crap to end, so I'm going to start pushing, OK?
I pushed for what seemed like 15-20 minutes, but apparent was more like 45. Here comes some truth. I was grunting and what-not for the last hour, but when she came out of my lady parts, it was more than a "ring of fire" that some women talk about. It was excruciating! I made sounds that I know I've never made before and probably won't make again until spawn #2 comes around. But... that part was so minute compared to the whole thing, that it shouldn't scare... although leading up to labor I was terrified of it.
11:45 am (on the dot)
Mary Margaret McCants made her grand entrance!!! And almost as important, the pain is GONE! All of it. Charlie will attest that like a Disney movie, I turned from the monster that was yelling and screaming back into his sweet wife in a instant. It was such a relief in every sense of the word, and all I could think, other than thank God the pain in gone... was "Shit... I did it, with no drugs! No way! That was insane!"
After Charlie cut the chord and stumbled around light-headed for a few seconds he went to see her with the peds people while I was being (as he said) "patched up." To put it frankly, I had a second degree tear, which isn't that bad, but did need some "patching" so Jualeah came in with her surgical light and fish-hook looking thing (And lidocaine... I didn't wanna feel the needle, as I was DONE with self inflicted pain-feeling for the day) and cleaned everything up down there. Apparently I wasn't as mauled as it seemed.
Less than 5 minutes later I was holding my sweet girl (this is the REAL post-labor picture... not the one with my hair blow-dried and what-not)
That hair is something to be admired and yes, I'm still naked