I woke up around 7am on Dec 6th, 2007 feeling crampy and as if things were just not right. I laid around for a while and around 9am my contractions started. They were not regular but already very uncomfortable so I decided to take a shower, thinking the hot water would give me some relief. My mom was in town for the birth and needed to pick up some things from the grocery store but wanted me to stay home. I insisted on going, knowing that walking around would be good for me and hopefully help me dilate. So off to the store we went and by the time we were done shopping, the contractions were a lot stronger and more frequent.

When we got home I used an exercise ball to lean on and do pelvic rocks, which helped my lower back pain a lot. Mom and I started to time contractions and they were about 5 mins apart so I called my husband Tony to come home from work. Knowing that he wouldn’t be home right away, I decided to get in the bathtub, which relaxed me a lot as my contractions continued to get stronger. By the time he was home about 45 mins later, the contractions were 2-3 mins apart so we called the birth center and were told to come in.

The 45 minute drive from our house in Oceanside to the birth center in San Diego was the worst car ride ever!! California traffic, bumpy highways, and bad contractions does not equal fun!! Once we got to the birth center around 3pm I was checked by one of the midwives and was pleased to find out I had already progressed to 5 cm! By that time I was having horrible back labor so I got in the shower for a while and let Tony run hot water from the shower head over my back. Once I was given permission, I got in the labor tub.

Laboring in the tub was very relaxing, and I really don’t know how I would have handled a natural birth without it! Tony was an excellent coach from the side of the tub, and also once he got in with me. Mom and the midwives did an excellent job making sure I kept hydrated with water and orange juice and made sure I had anything else I wanted or needed. I used several different positions to push while in the tub, my favorite being squatting using a bar by the tub for support. All and all, I labored in the tub for about 4 hours total, including a lot of hard pushing. The most frustrating part was getting the baby’s head to come from under my pelvic bone, which took a lot of time, concentration, and very hard pushes. After a while I didn’t feel like my pushes were as effective so I decided to get out of the tub and finish laboring on the bed, which was suggested by one of the birth assistants.

Once I was on the bed, I felt a renewed strength and desire to see my baby! I think the change from getting out of the water, walking into another room, and climbing onto the bed was just what I needed to finally deliver my baby. On the bed, I pushed in the classic laboring position with my legs pulled back. The whole time I was cheered on by my husband, my mom, Kel my midwife, and three other birth assistants. Finally, after another 30 mins of pushing, Irelyn Lorraine Luck was born at 9:08 pm and weighed in at 8lbs 15oz (1oz shy of 9lbs!!) and was 19.5 inches long. I didn’t need an episiotomy and didn’t even tear! She also started breast feeding right away. All in all, I had a 12 hour labor, 3 hours of which was hard pushing. Thanks to the birth center, my midwives and assistants, and my husband and mom, I was able to achieve the natural delivery that I wanted. I received no medication whatsoever and I couldn’t be more proud of myself! It was the hardest but most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life and my husband and I couldn’t be any more in love!!

I took a shower about an hour after delivery while Tony and my mom went and got us some much needed food! We stayed at the birth center for the required minimum of 4 hours after the birth and then went home. Once we were home, Irelyn fed again and slept for about 4 hours straight, woke up, fed again, then back to sleep. And I did very well after the delivery; I took it easy but could have never imagined feeling so good after all that hard work!! My muscles are what ached the most, but hey, that’s not much to complain about for such a wonderful gift!!

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