Labor Stats: About 33 hours. Labor started at 12:30 am on November 3rd, and was continuous until her birth at 9:37 am on November 4th.
Pain management: I listened to Esme's heartbeat on the monitor, when it was on, to help ride contractions. I also used repetitious movements of my hands and feet, humming and, in the last hour, growling (yes, growling... it surprised me too) to manage the pain of the contractions. They gave me one shot in the middle of the night so I could sleep for an hour and a half as I had been awake for 24 hrs+ at that point.
So, How was Childbirth? : My best friend from high school called me the other night and asked this question. What am I supposed to say to that? The first words that came to mind was 'I loved it. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.' It was a transition - and it meant keeping Esme safe and bringing her into the world. I didn't enjoy the pain, but it was purposeful and every step was something unknown to be passed through on the way to our little girl's birth. I think I disappointed my friend -- she expected me to complain to her maybe? I can't - things went beautifully well - unexpectedly well, and I am grateful for that for both of our sakes (Esme and I).
My first words as Esme came out (delivery): 'That was SO cool!...' I felt like a surfer dude saying that, but really, it was an amazingly strange feeling. The pressure was instantly gone, and I felt Esme unfold all her limbs on the way out with lots of liquid all around her. It was like a squid came out of me! All of my fears of not knowing what my baby would look like subsided immediately - she couldn't look like anything but what she is, which is perfect.
My first interaction with Esme: They laid her on my chest after Mark cut the cord. She was screaming her head off because they had just cleaned her up at the delivery station. I started singing her song to her as I looked at her and tapped the rhythym out on her back. She quieted immediately and started staring at me with this 'Wow' look.
Post-delivery: I was up 65 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight when we left for the hospital. The day we got home I had already lost 18 lbs (baby, fluid, placenta etc.), and today I've reached nearly 30 lbs. lost! That is kind of crazy, as the doctor only wanted me to gain 30 lbs. maximum during the entire pregnancy. I'm so super-hungry and thirsty these past few days I don't think I would have survived without this extra weight on me ;)
I had a super-woman high (human biology, ain't it neat?) for several days after we arrived home but it has begun to diminish and I'm having to make sure I don't overwork myself because Esme can feel that. She didn't let me sleep at all last night fussing every time I put her down and wanting to eat every few hours. That made ME want to cry this morning because I was overtired. She did sleep this afternoon for quite a while though, and Mark and I took that nap with her which helped both of us ;)