[part 4: finally, labor begins]
Unlike Elijah's birth, this time my contractions never were super close together--in fact, Susie was encouraging me to go for a walk to get them going more frequently. I paced through the house a bit, but mostly I just wanted to be leaning over. And though the contractions weren't coming fast, they were long, and strong. But WOW--having a break between them made all the difference in the world! I was so much more able to cope!
Then between 10:30-11, Susie told me they had another client in labor. After some discussion, it was like my body decided, “You better get serious or you're going to lose your midwife!” I said I wanted to get in the tub, NOW. And the water felt SOOOO good—I wished I had gotten in sooner! I'd been afraid to get in too early because I had heard that if you do, it could actually slow things down—and I guess since my contractions weren't super close together, I was extra cautious about stalling labor. Anyway, I leaned over the side of the tub and just LOVED how good it felt.
Then, the very first contraction I had in the water, I found myself involuntarily pushing! I think everyone was surprised when the contraction ended and I said, “Um, I'm feeling pushy. Those changes in my voice as I moaned through that contraction? That was me bearing down.”
The next thing I knew, they were telling me that the water was too hot and I needed to get out. But there was NO WAY I was getting out of that glorious water. I sort of shifted so my belly was partially out of the water, and ignored them...I couldn't stand the thought of getting out. Steve added cold water and eventually they stopped bugging me :)
I was feeling more and more pushy, and more anxious about the pain. During one contraction, Dee read the lyrics of “Begone, Unbelief”--I could hardly hear or understand her over my own groans, but still it was a comfort. And my noises were *much* more controlled this time; no screaming hysterically like I'd done the last time.
It felt best to me to be on my knees, leaning over the side of the tub. Soon my water broke, and the pain got really intense. Plus my legs kept cramping, which was so horrible! But the best part was that I never felt alone. The pain was still scary, but I felt so much more supported. I'd grip Steve's and Dee's hands. I kept needing to make eye contact with someone—usually Dee or Susie—to avoid losing it. Toward the end, Steve was praying continually, right close to my ear. His calm, low, steady voice was so comforting and helped keep me grounded.
[part 6: pain, peace, joy]