D's Grand Entrance

J and I had our baby, D,  at 9:43 am July 10th 2009. She was 6lbs 9oz, 19 1/4 inches. We had her at home after about 10 hours of active labor with two midwives, our doula, and both of my parents. After 15 hours of contractions when I was about 37 weeks along, my labor stalled at minute long contractions about 4 minutes apart. Baby seemed content to stay in there after that and her due date (July 4th) passed us by without any hint she might be ready. July 7th, the night of the full moon, I started having light contractions on and off and that kept up without progressing until I started to lose my bloody show on the afternoon of July 9th. The contractions didn't need my attention for a while so J and I just hung out and he played video games and I made a big pot of spaghetti. We ate dinner and watched TV until my contractions seemed to be getting fairly close and regular. We called our doula, Priscilla, who came over about 2:30 when my contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart and still really easy to handle. She left for a while at 3:30 to get her kids taken care of so she could stay with us, and my contractions started to progress very rapidly. Within an hour, my contractions were less than three minutes apart and taking all of my concentration. Priscilla's back-up doula, Kate, came to sit with us until Priscilla could get back and helped us find some positions that seemed to help us work with the rushes. By 5, our midwife Faith, my parents, and Priscilla were all here. As things got more intense we moved to let me labor in the bathtub and spent the next few hours there with Priscilla putting pressure on my back and J holding my hands until Faith eventually checked my cervix and I was almost fully dilated. There was a lip of cervix holding back Baby so J helped me to the toilet so I could sink into contractions and get the baby down into the birth canal. I spent the rest of transition there, which was not too long at all, and then at what seemed like my first longer than 30 second break between contractions in hours, J and Priscilla got me into the bed. Our second midwife, Christy, was here by then and I started feeling my body push with the contractions. After a few contractions, I remembered from practicing how to really push effectively and really gave into the rushes. I didn't have more than a minute between any of my pushing contractions, and I was very tired and shaking all over. Baby's head was turned kind of sideways with her hand (we would find out later) up to her face and her cord over her shoulder. Her heart tones started to weaken as she tried to come past the pubic bone because the cord was getting compressed and the midwives called 911 to be safe and had to be given oxygen anytime I wasn't actively pushing. Three or four pushes later, before the EMTs even got there, the fetal heart tones were back up to normal, but we knew it was important now to get Baby out as quickly as possible. Faith told me she wanted to do an episiotomy and I said go for it. On the next push Faith cut me and in another couple of pushes, the hardest work I've ever done, D came out crying with her eyes wide open. The pushing took between 30 and 40 minutes in all and she had an apgar score of 8-9. D was immediately placed on me and was nursing within 15 minutes. She stayed with me until J took her so Faith could get ready to stitch me. Faith numbed me with lidocaine for the suturing and when it was done, D and I got into an herb bath and J cut her cord. After that J, D, and I got into our bed, and D was weighed and measured and all checked out and then got to nurse again, which she did like a champ. Despite the rocky period during pushing, it was the greatest experience ever and more than I could have ever hoped for and I feel so lucky to have done it all in my own home with my friends and family and people I really trust around me to support me and J while I birthed our baby girl.