The Birth of Hannah Cassia
When I woke up around 3 am on September 23 feeling crampy, I figured it was just discomfort, or Braxton-Hicks. I decided a warm shower would help me get back to sleep. But, after getting back in bed, I still felt uncomfortable. I tried to sleep for about an hour, keeping an eye on the clock, and finally realizing that the cramps were wave-like and fairly regular.
Knowing I was two weeks from my due date, I thought I was just experiencing practice labor that my Midwife and Doula had told me about. So, another shower.Standing in the shower seemed to make the mild contractions more uncomfortable, so I ran a bath. I believe it was about 4:30 am. I sat in the bath breathing through contractions. I knew that they were getting closer together and stronger, but I still thought that this wasn't true labor.
I felt bad waking Jason up, he had worked 40+ hours the past three days. But I knew if the contractions were going to keep mounting, I needed help. So, I yelled at him from the bathtub (scared him a bit too, I think), and told him I thought I must be in labor. He started timing contractions and told me they were 5 minutes apart. Active labor! Jason then kicked it into "high-gear"! Putting the plastic sheet on the bed, getting out all the birthing supplies, turning on worship music, getting me water, and snacks - AND every 4-5 minutes running back to the bathtub to squeeze my hand through a contraction. We then tried lying on the bed, sitting on the bed, sitting on the toilet... anything but warm water made the contractions seem worse.
Around 5:45 am, with contractions still strong, I started feeling nauseous. We decided to call Gina, our Doula. She said wait an hour, see how I progressed and call back to update her. First birth = longer labor...right? As soon as Jason hung up with Gina, I started feeling really nauseous. Thankfully the toilet was right next to the tub! I threw-up twice, and told Jason he should probably call Gina back. He did and she said she was on her way. This was about the time I started to feel a little out-of-body, and lost sense of time, for the most part.
Gina arrived shortly, asked me how I was feeling, what the contractions felt like, etc, then said she wanted to check my dilation. I was at 7 cm. Already in transition!She called Christy to let her know my progress, and said Christy was on her way over. Then she and Jason took turns rubbing my back or holding my hands through contractions.
Christy, our Midwife, Kelli, our assistant Midwife and Heather, a Midwifery student, arrived around 7:30 am. Christy came in and checked me, and checked Hannah's heartbeat, and said we were both doing great! I wasn't supposed to pick up my rented birthing pool for another 2 days, so when Jason told me that Jamie, another Doula friend was on her way with a birth pool, I was more than thankful. Jason then followed the not so good news: I needed to move out of our tiny, cramped bathroom, so more than one person could get to me. Out of the frying pan, into the fire...heard that one? Yes. That was what I did.I was nearing full dilation and the end of transition. All I clearly remember was thinking over and over...just let me get into water, people! I started feeling the urge push and - thank you, Jesus - the birth pool was finally ready for me to get in. The warm water made pushing so much easier, and the pushing was definitely my favorite part.
Everyone was so encouraging, praising me and singing worship songs and praying over me! It was the most amazing time, knowing I would get to meet our sweet girl any minute! Hannah's heartbeat kept so strong, not slowing even a beat during pushing. Such a strong girl, Christy and Kelli kept telling me.
I pushed for 1 hour and 50 minutes, sitting most of the time, and standing near the end. Jason later told me he was surprised when Christy told him to get ready to catch Hannah. "I thought it was going to take all day, since it took 2 hours just to get her head out!" I pushed once more and out came our baby! Jason and I caught her, and couldn't stop staring at her! She's here! All I could think was how perfect and beautiful she was!