G I V I N G _ B I R T H
pushing stage
About 30 minutes after I'd been given the epidural, I felt a pressure against my cervix and started feeling pushing urges, which was exactly what happened with my first birth as well. The first time round, I'd thought that I'm supposed to go with the flow, and had started pushing too early, and hadn't said anything to the midwife until I'd already pushed a few times. After telling her about the urges, she checked me and said I wasn't dilated enough, and NOT to push heaven forbid! The cervix must be 10 cm dilated before it's wide enough for the baby to come out. My first baby ended up with a conehead because of this. Well this time I knew what to do: fight those urges as best as I could by blowing out short little breaths and tightening my muscles. We were in the room alone, and once the urges became irresistible I asked Esa to summon the midwife with the beeper.

She came in and checked my cervix to find me 10 cm open! I was astounded since it was only a moment ago when I was a mere 4cm open when they did the epidural! Now I could push if I wanted to! This was it! We were excited as well as scared... in a few more moments there would be three of us, and the huge responsibility of keeping a brand new life alive and well. The midwife removed the belt and I got up off the bed to sit down on the birthing stool. I needed both Esa's and the midwifes help since I was very wobbly and weak in the legs. Esa asked if I was really going to do this on the stool, how would I have the strength?, and I said yes I was going to - definitely. The stool was beside the bed, and once I had sat down, I felt very comfortable. It wasn't any harder then sitting normally on any chair. It was just like sitting on a toilet. Esa pulled up his own chair behind me and supported my back with some pillows. It felt very special for him to be behind me, as if we were going to push out the baby together. The midwife told me to lean back and push when I felt a contraction. But for some reason the contractions pushing urges stopped as soon as I'd gotten onto the stool, and we started waiting for them to begin again - darn! just when I could have started pushing!

The midwife scurried around, getting things ready, putting some clean sheets under me and gathering equipment for sucking the amniotic fluid etc. Meanwhile we just waited and waited for something to happen, chatting about all sorts of things. The midwife says there was no hurry, and that the baby is ok. This comforted me and I told her about how I'd read some interesting facts on the internet about the pushing phase. It's actually quite silly that once the cervix is open 10 cm, the mother is told to push, push with all her might, with or without pushing urges. Sometimes the moms have the pushing urge which is ok, but many times they don't the body just isn't ready to push yet. It can take up to an hour until the mother gets the pushing urge. She agreed with what I'd read and we chuckled since thats what was probably happening to me. She suggested standing up for a moment, but I was so wobbly from the epidural that I couldn't. One thing that was sorta making me emotionally suppress the pushing was the way it felt sitting there. I kinda felt like I was sitting on a toilet, and didn't want my baby to plop into one. I was also scared of pushing the baby straight onto the floor by mistake before the midwife had time to catch. Esa asked if I was sure that I didn't want to return to the bed - I was sure alright! I guess he felt weird since his ex-wife had given birth all 3 times on the bed. I felt really great, but was worried how the baby was doing, since I couldn't hear his heartbeats any longer because the belt had been removed. I suggested that we put it back on, but the midwife said we couldn't, and not to worry since the monitor attached to his head showed no signs of stress.

My tummy a few days before birth

The midwife getting ready to catch baby

After a while we heard a baby cry it's first cries in the next room, and I thought to myself: "Thats it! It's time to get this show on the road!" So I tried pushing to see if the urges would come back with a little encouragement. Sure enough it worked, and my body started working with me to push the baby out. The midwife stopped her scurrying and got into position. I pushed quite carefully, and Esa asked if the baby was in sight. The midwife said he was, that she could see his head. I was shocked to hear this, since it didn't feel that way, and I thought "wow" with such little work, we're already so far and knew I wouldn't have to do much more than give it a couple of proper pushes until baby was out. So I pushed, roaring at the top of my lungs (this helped psychologically), once... twice... Then I started screaming for JUICE! I was hit with an enormous wave of thirst and truly felt like I couldn't see this to the end without something to drink! In a panic, Esa gave me a big glass of juice which I gulped down in a flash and then pushed once mooooooooorrre and baby's head ripped it's way out. I felt myself tear at the urethra. I could feel the hot little body wriggling in my vagina which felt very weird! My first baby hadn't moved at all, and all I'd felt was his heartbeat. This was different. The midwife frantically told me not to push anymore (I guess she was trying to make way for the shoulders) and I obeyed, until my body took control of things and pushed the rest of the baby out, while I shrieked: "I can't help it, it's coming!!!" The rest of the baby came out and into the midwifes experienced hands. The baby had been serving as a cork, since all of the amniotic fluid came out as well.

Read on to see what happened next...

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