Sunday May 16th I was woken up around 4:30 AM with contractions. I was able to mostly sleep through them with the occasional stronger one bringing me to a more wakeful state. Around 6 AM I was woken by a stronger contraction I needed to breathe through, and decided to go to the bathroom and get everything set up for labor, including the camera I never ended up using.
By 6:30 AM my boys were awake and eating breakfast, and I was timing contractions. At this point they were right at 8-9 minutes apart, and all lasting almost 1 minute. I labored through the day resting, and eating everything in sight, thinking that they would speed up any minute. I did some spinning babies techniques, prayed for a speedy, safe delivery, and tried my best to help her work her way down into a prime position.
By bedtime Sunday night contractions were still only 8 minutes apart and I was having to quietly moan through them. Logan and I went to bed and slept between contractions with him comforting me through the slightly stronger ones. It was far from a restful sleep but I just knew I needed to rest anyway.
Monday morning I woke up around 6 AM again, mostly because I was tired of being woken up every few minutes. There was no change in contractions from the day prior, but I still labored through them and tried to do some stretching and relax a bit. We got the boys food, I made myself breakfast between contractions I was now squatting during and quietly moaning through but that had spaced out to 12 minutes apart. At this point I decided to completely stop timing because it was only frustrating me. I ate breakfast and relaxed best I could through contractions, took a small nap and then got up to keep busy.
By lunch time contractions seemed maybe slightly stronger but I couldn't tell if it was because I was tired from laboring so long or if they were just a little stronger. I casually noticed when making lunch that they were still 8 minutes apart and 1 minute long.
At this point I reached out to a wonderful friend to express my annoyance that it seemed I had made no progress and was starting to feel down about it. She helped bring some positivity, perspective, and encouraged me that I could in fact do this.
At 2 pm Monday my boys were going down for their nap, and I decided to labor alone for a bit as I was now moaning louder but contractions were still 8 minutes apart. I went where I wouldn't wake them, and started letting my frustration out in angry roaring with each contraction. It seemed excessive compared to the intensity of the contraction, but I was angry that I was still here at this point with no bloody show, and I couldn't even reach my cervix to check it. Plus, I had just gotten a notification on my phone that there was a Tornado Watch in effect for our area. Just every laboring mother's dream.
At this point my boys were waking, it was about 3 pm, and Logan came to check on me because he heard me angry screaming at the thunder coming closer. I expressed to him I was tired, angry, unsure what to do because of the weather, and whether I should just give up. We discussed it back and forth for about an hour, with him telling me he wasn't going to make a decision for me, and needed me to make up my mind so he could work out child care if we were going. I told him I'd think about it, as I was nearing 36 hours of laboring at 8 minutes apart and was just ready to be done.
Looking out the window after a few minutes of contemplating, I saw thunderheads rolling in with power and remembered one of my birth affirmations, "-You are a FIERCE woman WARRIOR-" immediately Lagertha came to my mind, and as the next contraction ripped through me with a new intensity I hadn't had before I warrior screamed at the sky. I WAS going to do this. I told Logan of the contraction change and asked him to just be near me, but did not want his touch or words, just his presence.
I had been laboring on hands and knees, but at this point I was kneeling and slowly sinking deeper to an almost sit as I roared at the sky. Still 8 minutes apart. 1 minute long.
I felt a sudden change in my body and finally had the tiniest amount of bloody show. I'm talking, pin prick. But it was enough to send me into tears of joy that my body wasn't failing me. I COULD do this. I texted my friend the great news and with renewed confidence and joy roared through a few more 8 minute apart contractions, thinking it was only just now getting to active labor. This was at almost 4 pm.
After that, time became nonexistent everything seemed to happen so fast, but my contractions were still far apart. After a particularly INTENSE contraction I decided to see if I could feel anything. I could feel my bag of waters bulging downward and made sure it wasn't the cord, before I realized "Duh Ellie, it couldn't be your cord, your waters haven't broken. " I told Logan I could feel the bag of waters, and had a few more intense contractions. Still not close enough to think I was on the verge of pushing yet, but maybe slightly closer. Logan was busy moving the few things around that were in the way of me getting in bed after, getting the boys snacks and their tablet to keep them occupied while he was with me full time.
Suddenly during a contraction I felt my whole body PUSH. I wasn't in control anymore, my body had taken over. I told Logan frantically that my body was pushing her out and he did his best to help me through the intensity.
At this point I felt so hot I wanted to be in an ice bath to cool down. He offered to help me into the bedroom where the fan could blow on me, but before I could answer I had another contraction pushing her down. This was only about 2 minutes from the last one so I knew it was time to move if I wanted to. I got a STRONG URGE to lie back for the next contraction.
Logan helped me move and started ripping the blankets off the bed making a place for me and laying out chux pads for me to lie on.
I had one contraction just outside our bedroom, and before I could make it the 15 feet to the bed another started and I just launched myself for the bed looking for the relief of lying down frantically. After this contraction I moved up more onto my pillows so I could grip my head board for the next one, but only got half way situated before the next one overtook me and my water broke All. Over. Everything. When it hit the hardwood my boys looked up for about 2 seconds from across the room to see what was going on but had little care to the fact Mommy was roaring and went back to their tablet. (Thanks Blippi for babysitting my kids through my labor)
After my water broke Logan threw a few towels on the floor, laughing that NONE of it ended up on the chux pads and instead went on anything else around, as I got myself, finally, positioned where I wanted to be. I could just sense that she was right there waiting to come out.
With the next contraction Logan excitedly tells me he can see her head and that she has so much hair, as I'm experiencing the ring of fire, I cry to him "I don't want to tear!" And begin panting to slow her descent helping guide her out with my hand, as 2 contractions that used every muscle in my body pushed her out of me, into Logan's hands. She immediately starts to scream and Logan brings her to my chest as I slowly sit up, and was proud to announce "I did it! And I didn't tear!!!"
My Willow Marie, little fighter, was born 4:40 pm Monday May 18th, completely all natural, at home, with just her family around.
Weighing only 6 pounds 9 ounces, and 20.5 inches long at exactly 42 weeks.
This has been the most empowering, and enlightening journey I've ever experienced in my life. I can proudly say I am Woman Warrior and after trying so hard with my boys to have a natural birth, I'm glad I can share this with my daughter to hopefully empower her to know she can do anything she sets her mind to as well.
The amount of studying, and research I did to make this a reality is unreal and I'm so proud to have a strong capable body, built for birth.