Christine's Birth Story: Part I
Christine Millie Anne February 11th 2018 - 4:17am
9lbs 2oz – 21 in.
After a full six weeks of prodromal labor and two and a half weeks of serious contractions, my body finally decided to finish the job. And about time too! I had already had one false alarm with my labor, and that was weeks ago. I was past my due date (February 6th) and I was so sore from all the contractions that much of the last few days of the pregnancy I spent holding on to walls to walk. Needless to say, I was quite done being pregnant.
We had been trying to coax the baby out for most of the week. We started on Wednesday with a primrose oil regimen. I added the ginger/peppermint essential oil foot rub, and peppermint/red raspberry leaf tea and a really good long walk. As usual the contractions obligingly picked up, only to peter out again by the end of the day.
My midwife also gave us the go-ahead to schedule an acupuncture induction, so we tried that on Friday. Friday morning I went in and got some acupuncture done, this was very new to me and a little strange, but it did seem to help me relax and I had lots of good contractions that day. The acupuncturist said that the spots she was poking were responding really well and I had very good chi. That all sounded good, although I’m still not exactly sure what it meant…
She sent me home with a moxa stick (something like a mix between an herb cigar and a stick of incense I guess?) and showed my mom how to stimulate the acupuncture spots with it over the weekend. She told us to do it every morning and every evening. Friday came and went. No labor.
By Saturday morning we had resigned ourselves to the fact that acupuncture had not worked either. I asked my mom if she even thought we should keep up with the moxa stick routine and we decided we had better do it just so we can say for sure that it didn’t work and it wasn’t just us being lazy. The moxa stick did seem to stimulate the contractions (like everything else I had tried) but not enough to cause any substantive progress. Mom suggested we try doing it more often than twice a day and see if that helped, so we went to every couple of hours.
Around noon we decided we would probably need to get more aggressive if we wanted to induce labor. I called my midwife and asked her if it was alright for us to try castor oil. She was fine with the castor oil, but hesitant about us starting it that day because it was snowing and the roads were not good at all. She asked us to wait until the next morning after the plows had all been through and the roads weren’t so icy. I may have quibbled and tried to bargain my way out of that a little bit…
While I was texting my midwife about options (or compromises… ) Iakabos and I went to the store to find the castor oil, which I figured at least we would have on hand for tomorrow if I couldn’t convince my dear midwife to consent to trying a dose that afternoon. We also picked up everything we needed to make Kyrie’s birthday cake, so we spent a good amount of time walking around. I had to stop quite frequently for contractions, and between them was walking rather slow due to the soreness.
This made Iakabos quite anxious and he was ready to get me home almost as soon as we got there. But we had a birthday coming up, so I was determined. I sent Jake to the pharmacy area to find castor oil. The manager he asked ended up seeing us walking out later and gave us a huge smile (she hadn’t seen the humongously pregnant lady the first time lol!) Another staff member asked us if we were going to have the baby in the store (seeing how uncomfortable I was); I assured her that I had been having these contractions for weeks so probably not…
We got home and did one last moxa stick before giving up for the day. After the last administration I felt a tiny bit different, but totally ignored it. (Easy to ignore things when you have 1-2 minute regular contractions teasing you for a week.) Later mom also said that she thought it had been more effective than the other times. Whether it helped send me into labor or not we will probably never know!
Iakabos and I debated that evening whether to go to liturgy first and then come home and start castor oil or whether to skip church and start first thing in the morning. After some back and forth we finally ended up with starting first thing, not thinking it would be wise to get tired out at church and then come home and try to have a baby.
Mom made some delicious stuffed mini peppers (those were for meatfare potluck, sorry everyone at church – they were really delicious!!) and we had a nice big meal. We made an unsuccessful attempt to go to bed early, and mentally prepared ourselves to get up and clean and set up the house for labor the next day.
The kiddos were sleeping well, so I got a few good hours in before I woke up at 2:30am for the routine super-pregnant-mama bathroom break. After laying back down I had a sharp pain that felt more like stomach pain than contraction pain, but my uterus was definitely contracting a little bit. It wasn’t strong and it probably only lasted 30 seconds or so – but it was completely different than any of my other contractions.
I sat up and had another one exactly like it a few minutes later. Iakabos had woken up with all my moving around and asked me what was wrong and then we did the weeks long mandatory conversation that went:
“Oh it’s just contractions.”
“Are you in labor?”
“I don’t know… They’re contractions...”
After those two really unusual contractions I had a more normal feeling contraction where the pain was lower and more like labor pain. The contractions were much less intense (as far as amount of pressure and length) than they had been, but there was more pain to them. They were only lasting 45 seconds each, but they felt much more productive than the ones I had been having all week.
I figured either this was the start of labor… for real… or just another change in how the contractions felt that was going to annoy me and steal my sleep before it decided to go away again. I also considered texting the midwife and letting her know… but it was not even 3am and I really didn’t want to wake her up unnecessarily. I decided to wait it out and see.
Iakabos and I were both wide awake at this point, Kyrie was stirring (she still sleeps in our room) so I put her back to sleep and then I got up to wait and see if the contractions were going to stop. Iakabos asked me if I was going to text our midwife and I told him not yet.
(FYI this picture is not from the actual labor. We don't have a picture from the labor! But this is our bedroom where Kyrie sleeps, where the baby was born and you can see our little corner of gifts set up for Baby.)
Then he asked if he should go wake up mom and I told him we didn’t need her yet. Cue Kyrie waking up again… I could feel another contraction coming on when Jake brought her out to me to hold her. I was leaning on a chair in the living room and told him I couldn’t, “which is why we need your mom…” he said. To which I conceded that yes he should go get her up.
He took Kyrie downstairs to mom’s room, and mom kept her for a while down there. After that contraction I decided they were strong enough that I should text the midwife. (There had only been four contractions at this point.) I told her I had woken up with painful contractions that I wasn’t talking much through and told her how long they were. She told me to keep her posted. The time was 3:19am.