Dayen's Birth Story

Trigger warning: if you'd rather not read about things like my cervical dilation, this is the post to skip.
Another thing: It's very long. Because it was a really long labor. So if you get tired of reading it, just imagine being me and living it.
As most of you knew because of my loud complaining, I was due May 9th. I had foolishly expected him to come early, so for about a month I thought I was in labor every single day. It was pretty tiring.
Then on Tuesday night (10 days past my due date, mind you) I had just taken a Unisom and laid down in bed when I had a contraction. I had been having strong Braxton Hicks for weeks, but this one was like someone was stabbing me at the same time. I remember laying there with my eyes wide open thinking WHY did I just take a sleeping pill??? before finally deciding if this was really labor it was going to be awhile, so I might as well try to get some sleep.
I slept restlessly for a few hours and woke up again at 3:00 with my fist jammed into my back because it hurt so bad. It jolted me awake to remember I had fallen asleep thinking I was in labor, and I realized this was definitely it.
Most first time moms would probably be scared at this point, but I was so eager to be done being pregnant that waking up to strong contractions was like waking up on Christmas morning. It was going to be a good day.
So I went and took a bath, then laid on the couch for a few hours so I wouldn't wake up Caleb. I texted my cousin who miraculously happened to be awake, and she kept me sane for awhile while I waited for them to get stronger. I kept battling if I should wake up Caleb or not- they were getting bad enough that I wanted his support (or maybe just sympathy?) but I also had a feeling we were in for a long day, and I wanted him to get as much sleep as he could. I finally snuck in our room to get my robe and he woke up and knew something was up.
I don't remember much else about the rest of the morning except for texting my midwife to let her know what was happening, and her telling me to let her know when I was ready to come in.
At this point you have to know what I was planning on for this birth. I had done a lot of research and decided I really wanted to go unmedicated. I had been practicing hypnobirthing, and I felt really confident that I could do it. I also tried to keep an open mind in case things didn't go according to plan. (Spoiler alert: thank goodness for that.)
So I wanted to labor at home as long as possible. The dream was that I'd walk into the hospital at 10 centimeters, push for a minute or two, and voila I'm a mom. The problem was, my contractions weren't getting any more consistent. They'd be 2 minutes apart, then 8, then 4, then 6. I started to worry that this could go on for days.
It all would have been much more bearable if not for the back labor. I had known for a few weeks that Dayen was posterior (meaning he was face up) and my midwife warned me that could mean I'd have a lot more back labor. She worded it nicely, but I later googled it (because Google knows as much as doctors) and found out that the pain scale goes: 1- Regular Contractions 2- Pitocin Contractions 3- Back Labor. But I still wasn't prepared for how bad it could hurt. I don't really know the dynamics of what was actually going on in there, but I imagine with every contraction, his head was being rammed into my spine. The contractions themselves were painful, but the back labor felt like I was being shot every time.
Caleb and I finally decided we would start slowly packing things up, and head to the hospital in a few hours. I was still afraid I'd either be sent away for not really being in labor, or they'd somehow pin me down and force pitocin in my veins to get the baby here quicker, so my midwife suggested I just come to her office to be checked first.
By the time we left our house, I was really glad we weren't waiting any longer. On the way there I took out my chapstick and then had a contraction, so during the whole contraction I just clicked the lid of the chapstick on and off until it was over. It was a weirdly nice distraction, so I just kept it in my hand for awhile, waiting for the next contractions.
We got to the office around 4:00, and by then I was really struggling to hold still on the table. My midwife showed Caleb how they could push on my knees during contractions and it would relieve a lot of the pressure. It honestly made them feel a thousand times better, I could have hugged her. (Sidenote: I loved my midwife, Annie. She is one of those people who was born to do the job they're doing. Without her and Caleb this would have been a totally different birth for me!) She told me I was already 4 centimeters dilated, and my water bag was bulging, so this was definitely it! She said I could head straight to the hospital, go home and labor there until things progressed further, or even go walk around Wal Mart and see if we could get things going. The contractions were already so strong at this point that the last thing I wanted to do was get back in the car and drive home to Tremonton, and walking around Wal Mart with the idea that my water could break at any second didn't sound too appealing, so we decided to head to the hospital.
We checked in and I had to be on the bed strapped to the monitors for awhile, and I kept thinking I am so glad I'm going natural! It was so hard to sit there and hold still while you're having contractions. 
At some point Annie came in and she lets you labor in the tub, so I decided to try that. I should mention that this whole time I was having contractions 1-2 minutes apart, and for every single contraction Caleb pushed on my knees like Annie showed him. I was so grateful for that! He even sat at the side of the tub and did it every time he saw I was having another one.
When I got out Annie suggested I sit on my knees on the bed and lay on the birthing ball to try to get the baby to turn the right way. For some reason this position made the contractions hurt so much but once you start having one you are not moving until it's over. Then she suggested this technique she had learned where you put like a big cloth around your belly and they shake it back and forth to get the baby to flip. Dayen must have heard them and decided he didn't want to be shaken like that, because suddenly he flipped on his own! The labor was more intense, but so much less painful after that!
At some point she suggested we break my water. I was planning on not having my water broken, but when she said it usually speeds up labor by about an hour I was on board! I was at 6 cm, and immediately after she broke my water I was at 7. I started getting really excited because everything I had read said the worst part of labor is transition, which is when you dilate from 7-10 cm. Things were definitely getting intense, but I felt in control. This makes me sound like a crazy hippie, but I felt like the contractions would hit you like waves, and you could either get on top of them and ride them to the end, or you could let them crash over you and drown you. There were a couple contractions I let drown me, and once they were over I realized that panicking and getting upset only made them worse.
So for the next two hours or so (I was in kind of a weird time warp and I don't really know how long things were taking at this point) I felt like I was doing great. I remember at one point asking Annie, "I'ts too late to get an epidural now, right?" not because I wanted one, but because I wanted to know that I had already done it and there was no turning back. She said, "I'm going to say yes..." but I could tell the option was still there if I wanted it. But I didn't! I was doing great. I was tackling every contraction, and I was actually getting really excited that my baby was so close. They were the strongest contractions ever, so I kept thinking, This is it! He's almost here! I even started feeling like I wanted to push a little, so Annie checked me and that's when things turned around. I was still only 7 cm, and the baby had turned posterior again. 
It was a huge blow to my psyche. I suddenly realized that this could go on for hours, and although I was handling it well now, I couldn't keep having contractions like this forever. She tried to turn him and it hurt a lot, and I kept crying. (I was really afraid I'd be one of those girls who is mean and yells at everyone during labor. Turns out I'm a crier.) After awhile I asked what we could do for the pain besides an epidural. They gave me some drug in my IV that didn't seem to help the pain, but made me feel really loopy and out of it. I asked Annie if an epidural would be smart at this point. She nicely asked me why I didn't want one in the first place. and I laughed and said I couldn't remember anymore. Then I had a really bad contraction and during it I said, "Ok I want the epidural!" For some reason I kept thinking Caleb would be disappointed in me, but he later told me that he had felt like the epidural was the right decision at that time. 
I finally got it around 9:00 pm, and I was proud of myself for making it so long without it. It helped immensely, but one of the hardest parts of the whole day was sitting still, crouched over with a needle in my back during a 7 cm contraction. That wasn't fun! 
It was amazing how fast things changed once I got the epidural. Obviously I could no longer take a bath, sit on the birthing ball, or get up and move around. But suddenly I was connected to all these wires and tubes, and I couldn't even move in the bed without two nurses lifting me. That was when I thought, "Oh yeah. This was why I didn't want the epidural."
But thank goodness I got it, because Annie had to turn my stubborn little child two more times, and I won't go into detail about how she turned him, but let's just say that would not have been comfortable if I hadn't been numb from the waist down.
After that things were back and forth for awhile. His heart rate kept dropping, and they thought it might be that the cord was constricted somewhere. So they hooked me up to fluids that would go right into my womb and hopefully help the cord float and not be constricted. I thought that was kind of silly since we had broken my water.
Then they hooked me up to Pitocin to get me to dilate, but he didn't respond well to that. The epidural started to wear off my left side because I was laying on my right, so they tried to turn me and he didn't respond well to that either. For not even being born yet, he was kind of being a diva. 
Annie had told us both to take a nap, but it was impossible with all those wires and tubes connected to me, the stupid blood pressure cuff cutting off my circulation every ten seconds, and the contractions starting to come back on just the left side of my body. Not to mention a nurse would run in with a worried look on her face every few minutes to watch his heart rate.
At one point I heard a nurse come in and throw Caleb some scrubs, and told him to put them on in case they had to wheel me to the OR in an emergency. That made me so mad, because they hadn't even discussed that possibility with me. I felt like I was being kept in the dark about what was really going on with me and my baby.
When Annie came back she assured me that we were still far away from considering a csection, and we just had to wait to see if I'd dilate on my own. Finally, the next time she checked me, I was 10 cm and it was time to push!
Now in every birth story I've read, this is the beginning of the end. It seems like everyone says they pushed three times and there they were! So before we started I asked Annie about how long this would actually take. She told me most first time moms push for about an hour. I looked at the clock, and it was midnight. So I told myself ok, you're tired, but you can push for one hour and then your baby will be here.
The problem is, it's really hard to push when you can't feel the lower half of your body. It took several pushes to figure out what I was doing, and even then I was really distracted by how much it hurt my ribs to crunch up like that. Dayen had been in my ribs for months, to the point that I was actually bruised, but this was the worst. It felt like every time I pushed, I was mere seconds away from them all snapping like dominoes.
They didn't.
After maybe half an hour, they brought in a mirror so I could see what was going on. When I was pushing, you could see the top of his head. But after several strong pushes, I realized he wasn't budging. I closed my eyes through a few, and every time I looked again I could tell I wasn't making any progress. I kept seeing Annie and the nurses watch his heart rate on the monitors, and I was getting worried I couldn't do it. Through each contraction they'd tell me to push harder and longer, but by the end I was still in the same place. I started getting frustrated and saying, "It's not working! What am I doing wrong?"
After an hour, I started getting really exhausted. I had been awake and in labor for almost 24 hours now. My body was exhausted, and my mind couldn't handle much more. I had been putting the oxygen mask on between pushes, but I got so tired I couldn't even reach over to grab it. Caleb started putting it on for me, and through a few pushes I stared at him and tried to just focus on him. That helped a lot, because I felt like no one was listening to me that I couldn't do it, and I knew Caleb would understand somehow.
Finally I just lost it. I was so out of it, and I honestly had no idea it was possible to be that tired. I kept falling asleep and having weird dreams, then waking up and realizing where I was. I remember falling asleep once and thinking, "Ok, I did my part. It's Annie's job now. She'll figure it out."
They ended up calling Dr. Ferguson to use the forceps. He told me I was only about 20 minutes away from him coming out on his own, but he might as well have said I'd have to push that way for two years. I just didn't have it in me anymore. I figured he would try the forceps, then end up having to do a csection, and by this point I was completely fine with that.
I remember Annie telling me there would be a guy standing in the corner just in case, and I think she called him a resuscitator, although The Resuscitator sounds like some weird hospital superhero. I think she was trying to keep me informed so I wouldn't be afraid, but I was so out of it that the entire cast of How I Met Your Mother could have been standing in the room and I wouldn't have cared. 
So Dr. Ferguson got his giant salad tongs and got to work. I could feel a lot of weird pressure, and I remember thinking this would hurt without an epidural. I just laid there and thought Good Luck, Doc. This kid isn't going anywhere, trust me, I've tried. It took awhile to get the forceps in the right place, and then they told me, "Ok, next contraction we need you to push again!" I almost started crying. Actually I probably did cry. But I figured ok, just humor them, they'll see that it's not going to work.
So I pushed, and there was this huge suction (strangest feeling ever) and apparently his head came out. I still had no idea what was going on. Annie rushed over and unwound the cord from his neck (courtesy of all the gymnastics he'd been doing in there for months) and then I pushed again and out came the shoulders. I would have had no clue what was going on had it not been for Caleb saying, "Oh...oh, wow." next to me. They sat my big, cone-headed baby on my chest for a minute and let Caleb cut the cord. He was all purple and I could tell he had been through as much of an ordeal as I had.
So The Resuscitator did his work, which seemed to be a lot of slapping and rolling my baby around to get him to cry and breathe. 
Everyone kept saying what a big baby he was, but it wasn't until we weighed him a few hours later and realized he was 9 lbs 6 oz that I realized exactly why the labor had been so hard! At about 35 weeks Annie guessed he'd be a small baby, maybe 6 lbs. On Monday at my appointment, she had guessed a solid 7 and a half. But none of us expected him to be that big! I don't know where he was hiding in there, but it made me feel a lot more justified in how miserable I had been those last couple weeks. 
My labor was nothing like I had planned, but I'm still so glad I was informed and there was really nothing that shocked me. That whole first day I kept thinking, "I better enjoy this, because there is no way I'm ever going through that again. He will have to be an only child." But by the next morning, I was already thinking, "I could do that again..." Because as hard as it was, he has been so worth it! I'm so proud to be his mom.

The Waiting Game

Something I have learned about myself recently is that I like to be in control. Not necessarily in an I-have-to-be-the-boss, leader of the pack kind of way. Just that when I find myself in situations where I have no control, I start to go a little crazy.
Usually, when I feel like something is out of my control, I start to clean. When I'm frustrated with something, when I feel like my patience is running thin,  I do the dishes. Then I vacuum, reorganize some closets, and maybe scrub the baseboards. (Although that last one has been solved due to the fact I can no longer lean over.) There are a million things going on around me that I have no control over, but I can make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink, and you better bet I do.
Which brings us to my current conundrum: my very large, very overdue, making-me-very-uncomfortable, unborn child.
In the last month, I can't count the number of times I thought I was in labor. It's scary, exciting, then scary some more. And then nothing happens. I can sniff essential oils, eat spicy food, and bounce on my yoga ball until the cows come home, but this baby is not coming out.
The other day, after a long sleepless night that ended in (surprise) no baby, I sort of lost it. I suddenly noticed the overgrown grass in the backyard, and I'm sure my eye started doing that creepy twitch reminiscent of the insane, and suddenly I could think of nothing else besides getting that lawn mowed.
Of course, Caleb was willing to do it. Because what man is going to make his 40+ week pregnant wife go mow the lawn? But I was adamant. I begged, I pleaded, I bargained. I had to mow the lawn, or I was going to lose my mind. Cue another eye twitch. Mowing is just walking behind a lawnmower, and walking is good for you. I need the fresh air. What's the worst that could happen, it would put me into labor? HA!
I think I made a pretty convincing argument until I won, then had to ask Caleb to tie my shoes for me.
But anyway.
I can't tell you how great I thought I was out there mowing the lawn like some sort of superhero. I bet I'm the only pregnant woman ever who has mowed the lawn. With each blade of grass that had to bow to my whims, I felt more and more victorious. I distinctly remember thinking, "Yeah, we'll see if you make a fool out of me, labor!" I think I thought if I just pretended I wasn't pregnant, then maybe it wouldn't be so hard to deal with the fact that I'M STILL PREGNANT.
There also may have been a brief moment of true insanity where I walked through a swarm of bees and, rather than running for my life in what would be typical-Anndee fashion, I thought, "I wonder if bee stings could induce labor...?"
Turns out mowing actually is a little more than just "walking behind the mower", especially when it's been raining for weeks and the grass had started to resemble a small, overgrown jungle. Every few steps, the mower would clog and stop and I'd have to pull-start it again. During one of these silent lulls, I heard my neighbor frantically shouting my name from her backyard. "Do you need some help?" she asked in what I'm sure was a nice way. I told her no, I was fine, then almost burst into an explanation about how Caleb was inside (probably watching me through a window, waiting for me to pass out or drop dead or just have the baby right there in the back yard) and how I was insisting on mowing the lawn, this wasn't some desperate plea for help, and how I wasn't a control freak or anything, the yard wasn't really a top priority right now, and that this small act of mowing the lawn was making me feel pretty awesome and strong and that I was only clinging to my last shred of sanity.
But I didn't say any of that, because the whole neighborhood would have heard and probably come over to start weeding or something, and I might have to save those weeds to make it through this next week.
Then I looked over to the other side and saw the little neighbor boy watching me through the fence. Just before the lawnmower roared back to life, I heard him yell to his grandma, "That girl? She pregnant...and she doin stuff!"
That's right little boy. I might have a possibly-15 pound baby strapped to my stomach 24/7, but I'm doin stuff!!! (Eye twitch.)
The point of this story is not to get anyone's sympathy or words of encouragement. I tell you this because, for some reason, going past my due date is the one thing I truly was not prepared for. I read every baby book I could get my hands on. I can tell you anything you want to know about labor, or the 9 months leading up to it. I can tell you what to do about morning sickness, or insomnia, what you should and shouldn't eat and what wives tales will help you induce labor. (Or the fact that none of them actually work.) But I had no idea what to do when I hit and then passed my due date, and just kept sailing along. I wasn't expecting it to be such an emotional blow. I figured I could keep smiling, keep waiting, because all babies are born eventually, right? (RIGHT? I'm really asking.) and I am in the home stretch. It's almost over.
But in the mean time, I wake up every morning and think, "You are SERIOUSLY still in there???" As much as I wish I could do something, anything about it, it's out of my control. As silly as it sounds, I have to trust my baby that he will get here when he's ready. I think the problem is that he is already just like his dad... mellow, easygoing, and he will get here when he wants to. My only hope at this point is that someday I will have a daughter as high strung as me, and you can bet she will be here ON TIME.