2 steps forward, 1 step back

After Julia checked me, the next time a contraction came on I got to push. I don't remember much about what that was like at first or what position I pushed in at first. I pushed in SOOOO many different positions I just can'remember what I did when.

Basically for the next 10+ hours I pushed off and on.  My contractions came inconsistently the whole time!! At least once I took a 30 minute nap because I would sometimes go that long without having a contraction. It was difficult because a contraction would come, would be super strong, I would work really hard, make some good progress and then by the time the next contraction came it seemed like all my hard work was undone. Two steps forward, one step back.  

I spent a lot of time during the pushing stage walking back and forth upstairs and up and down the stairs trying to get the contractions to come on more. We used the breast pump too a lot to up my oxytocin. I would even walk through the contractions if Julia advised me to. It was such an active, exhausting time. And as Levi would get further down the birth canal the walking got more difficult.  There was just so much pressure with that big head of his.  I would slowly(VERY slowly) waddle back and forth trying as hard as I could to walk as fast as I could.  It was exhausting.

I remember drinking tons of water, apple juice, and gatorade, and taking spoonfulls of agave to keep me going. I can still remember how amazing a straight spoonful of agave tasted at that time, and what a great kick it would give me! 

I pushed with one leg up on the bed, on the birth stool(which I hated...it increased the "oh my gosh I'm going to rip in two sensation" by 10,000!), on the stairs, and maybe even on the toilet? BUT, my favorite position and the one I made the most progress with was a VERY low squat while holding on to the corner of the bed. I pushed in this position the most at the end. 

When the sun rose on the 23rd I remember thinking that it was a new day and we must be getting close to the end. I was wrong, but I didn't know that. I was just so thankful for a new day and that the Lord had made the sun to rise and set.  It was beautiful streaming in the stairwell window while Tristan and I were walking up and down the stairs.

Speaking of Tristan, I can't even begin to describe what a huge blessing he was to me during this whole thing.  He was right with me the whole time.  He provided just the right type and amount of encouragement. He was so supportive and calm and some how managed to be so strong yet very gentle. He was everything I needed.  He would walk up and down the stairs with me when I was utterly exhausted and put a pad underneath me when I pushed and clean up all my mess ...if you know what I mean!  It was the most romantic experience with him to date(I'm being totally serious..no sarcasm here!). I've never felt so appropriately loved by him.  It was such a bonding experience. I cry just thinking about it.  I love that man. He is a REAL man!  He's MY man!  Working with him during labor is something I am already looking forward to with the next one.  I'm so thankful we took our Bradley birth class...I think the education he received helped immensely. He really knew how to coach me to get the work done! I couldn't have done what I did without him.    

One point in labor(maybe around 10am on the 23rd), I had my arms around Julia's neck and was swaying my hips back and forth and she asked me if there was anything bothering me, or anything I thought might be hindering my progress. I told her I couldn't think of anything..really...at first..I couldn't. But, as I thought about it for a moment I realized that I REALLY wanted to have this baby at home and I didn't want to go to the hospital...and after being in labor SO long I was worried it was going to come to that.  So I told Julia my fear. She listened well..and I am sure replied with some encouraging words but I don't remember.  And now speaking of Julia.....

She was perfect...her and her assistant Nina were just what I needed. I am so thankful God brought me to her. She was calm, quietly did her job, and helped me to do mine in just the right way.  She guided me in what I needed to do and her and Nina were wonderful cheerleaders. Everytime we checked Levi's heart rate it was just right and she always got excited about that.  She would help me get my noises "down low" so they were helping me and giving me strength rather than letting them get high and out of control (uhhh uhhh uhh..ohh.ohh ohh verses ah..ahh..ahh). I was making my sounds purposeful.
 One thing she did was tell me to "reach down and touch your babies head." Which I did and it was quite an amazing feeling so EVERY time I got discouraged I would reach down and touch his head. It was awesome when I would feel his head getting lower and lower...closer and closer. Julia gave me lots of homeopathic pills of all kids during labor too..which I thought was so cool.  She also applied pressure with warm washcloths towards the end when Levi's head was crowning and I LOVED that. She also helped me to know where and how to push...it was painful when she did that but it REALLY helped.  She was so committed to helping Tristan and I safely and joyfully bring our baby into the world at home. She pulled out so many tricks it seemed.  The craziest of them all being her Robozo Scarf/wrap.  It was this huge piece of fabric she placed under my hips. She then stood over me and held the fabric and rotated my hips back and forth VERY forcefully.  This maneuver was SOO painful but really helped bring on strong contractions.

Pushing seemed really painful to me especially from crowning to the end. I had heard people say it's like a ring of fire...NOPE...not for me! It felt more like I was ripping apart..ripping in two. Or as my midwife described one of her births it was like, "giving birth to a dry brick." One time in my sheer exhaustion I said,"I don't think I am ever doing this again."

 I remember being surprised by the pain of it all yet at the same time it was pain with purpose and even though there were times I felt like quitting and even said "I can't do this." When I said I couldn't do it my birth team(Julia, Nina, Tristan, and my mom) quickly replied "yes you can, you ARE doing it." I loved hearing, "you are doing it." Because sure enough I was.  I was determined and the Lord was giving me strength.I just kept praising Him that I was still at home and that Levi was doing so great through it all.

I also want to mention my mom in this whole process. I loved having her there. Her mere presence helped me so much.  She kind of stayed in the background most of the time but just knowing she was there helped me to know everything was going to be ok...I mean..she's my momma and she is the most patient and calm person I have ever met. I hope she can be around for all my births.

Ok..Back to pushing.  You know that saying, "the sun is rise, the sun is set and we is still in Texas yet." Well for me it was, "The sun is rise(and rise again) and we is still a laboring yet."  Ha ha. I was exhausted but towards the last few hours things really picked up. We were really getting somewhere.

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