Finished a painting Thursday night. (Yes, this painting was intended as an invocation of birth - it seems to have worked.)
Went into labor early Friday morning. This continued for two days with no progress whatsoever, no dilation, nothing, and painful beyond anything I could ever measure or describe. (Subsequent research by my midwife has revealed that this was probably a rare pregnancy complication called hypertonia gravidarum - and also apparently one of the most painful complications possible.) I was admitted to Group Health Hospital in Seattle Saturday morning, and late Saturday night I finally accepted an epidural. There was nothing else.
Practically the minute that the epidural took effect, my water broke and I began dilating. My contractions regularized to 1 minute every 3 minutes (as opposed to 4-5 minutes long, nearly continuously, where they had been before). And I was human again.
It took a second epidural when the first wore off early, but by 4am Sunday I was fully dilated and started pushing. The second epidural wore off very soon into that, but the pain of pushing was not as bad, and I could control what was happening to some extent, which helped immeasurably. And at 6:20am, Aiden Christopher Freeman was born. The sight and feel of him coming out of me was the most amazing thing I've ever experienced.
Tearing was minimal, and I seem to be healing well. The worst pain I have coming out of all this is a killer spinal headache from the epidural, but as long as I lie down it's okay, and it should be gone in another day or two. My milk is in, and after a day or two of extreme frustration Aiden seems to be latching and feeding reliably (*crosses fingers*).
And now we have an amazingly beautiful son.
(aiden_freeman is where the pictures are.)
Gratitude beyond measure goes out to damiana_swan, who stayed with us through the entire ordeal and was a pillar of strength and sanity to both of us. And to lazuli93, who kept Andrei sane when I was at my worst. And all the rest of you who have brought us food, sent well wishes, offered help - there are too many of you to name.
As should probably be obvious, I am not keeping up with LJ :)