On Tuesday I started getting very crampy. I went to a LLL fundraiser, and then came home to rest. By Tuesday night the cramps were worse and Wednesday Derek stayed home from work because he thought I was in labor. I still figured it was more ‘prep’ and not the ‘real thing.’ I took Ellyanna to a play group then came home until my appointment with Mary. She checked me and said I was 2 cm dilated and baby was very low. My contractions were 9 minutes apart. We thought I might be in early labor. It might still fade off and stop. My appointment ended at 6pm. We came home and had a snack and watched The Vow. I joked with Derek that Channing Tatum was the reason the baby got in, and would be the reason the baby came out. Around 9 pm we went to bed.
I was nursing Ellyanna to sleep and had a very strong contraction. I thought it was due to nursing stimulation. Contractions continued and were very uncomfortable. I had trouble focusing during them. I couldn’t lay there and we all got out of bed. Derek started unpacking the birth pool but there was no air pump. I texted Hailey that I thought I was in labor and a few minutes later Derek called her. She spoke to me for a minute and said she was going to come by and see how I was. Derek texted Mary and told her I was in labor. I was still denying it. A little after 10 pm Mary and Hailey got to my house.
Mary checked my cervix and I was 6 cm dilated. Mary got the IV antibiotics ready and I was given them in the bathroom. Derek and Hailey were setting up the birth pool (she brought an air pump). At 11:40 I nursed Ellyanna to sleep in the recliner and lay her down in the bed. Contractions were getting even stronger and I posted a picture on Facebook and read a couple posts to distract me. Derek, Hailey, and Mary each helped me through contractions as they continued setting things up. I was on my knees leaning onto the recliner. Mary suggested it was time to get into the birth pool and Derek helped me walk there. I had a contraction as I was walking and had to stop. Derek helped me get into a supported squat and Hailey and Mary talked to me through the contraction. Getting into the pool offered some relief, but the contractions were getting stronger.
Derek and Mary were talking about how different this was from a hospital birth. Mary said you experience so much less at a hospital and I said “yeah, so much less pain” and everybody laughed. After that the contractions got very strong. I began feeling like I couldn’t do it anymore. Each contraction felt like it was beating me. I looked forward to the breaks in between. I was afraid I was too tired to go on and felt very overwhelmed. I tried to remind myself that these contractions were bringing my baby to me. I moved onto my side and lay against Derek in the pool. Samantha came then and Kali got upset and was barking. I was very worried it would wake Ellyanna (as if my moaning and yelling wasn’t loud hahaha). Derek got out of the water and I lay on my back. It was NOT a good position and when another contraction came I NEEDED to move. I asked for help, but when Derek tried to help I couldn’t bear to move and yelled for him to stop. He got back in the pool and I got on my knees and held onto his neck. I started thinking of going to the hospital and then a voice in my head said ‘you can still go to the hospital.’ A very calm voice over rode it and said “what? You’re going to go all the way there just to push?”
After that I started feeling an urge to push. I pushed and pushed and it felt like it would never end. I yelled ‘get out get out get out’. I leaned back and pushed more. Mary told me I could put one leg up if I wanted to, and I tried but could not get my leg to move. I yelled “I can’t!” but when I was able to move my leg, it helped. A break came and I felt calm and relaxed. Then another urge to push came. I pushed and her head came out. I felt that she had hair and said so out loud. I wanted to push more because it hurt and when I did she came out, right into Derek’s hands.
Mary and Derek seemed concerned, and I found out later that it was because the cord was wrapped around her neck. I got out of the pool and lay on the bed. I delivered the placenta and Derek cut the cord. She had some difficulty clearing her lungs and had to be suctioned several times. She lay on my chest for a while, and then had skin to skin time with Derek while I took a shower. When I was done, I nursed her for the first time. After that she was weighed and measured. Shiloh Amani Blackford was 7 lb 5 oz and 19 & ¾ inches born at 1:26 am on Thursday July 18, 2013.