At this point, the last bits of the morphine were wearing off and I was starting to feel some intense pain. I tried sitting on a birthing ball but it did not make things better and was just making me tired from balancing. The only thing that helped with the contractions was the laughing gas. Oh, how I love the laughing gas! It did not take the pain away, but it made me high enough to not care as much. I stayed on the laughing gas for too long though, because after a while it was making me so drowsy that I was basically asleep between each contraction and all I was consciously experiencing was the pain.
This is where things got rough. First, they broke my water because somehow after a full day of contractions it was still intact. The contractions got even more intense after that, and I was using the gas less and less so there was even less pain relief.
When the midwife checked me I was allllllmost fully dilated so the midwife did this trick where she goes in and pushes the remaining bit of cervix past the baby's head. She did it in just a few seconds and it did not hurt at all = mad skills.
I hadn't peed in a really long time and the midwife suggested a catheter to empty my bladder to make more room for the baby to exit. I knew it would be uncomfortable but I had no idea how insanely painful it would be when coupled with the pain of transition. Holy crap, that was the worst pain I have ever felt in my life and I was crying hysterically. Fortunately, as soon as they took out the catheter I felt so much better.
At that point I started feeling the urge to push so we tried a few pushes. They kept telling me to wait until the next contraction to push, but by this time I was 30 hours into this ordeal and I just wanted the baby OUT so I totally cheated and pushed almost non-stop. The dreaded "ring of fire" was felt, but it was not as painful for me as the previous days of labour pains. It only took 40 minutes or so of pushing for her to come out screaming.
They put her right on my chest and she calmed down while they patched me up. I did tear but not where you'd expect. My perineum was totally fine, but I needed one stitch on each side of the vajayjay. It has now completely healed and you would never guess this baby's head came through that hole.
After dad cut the cord, they quickly cleaned her up and returned to me for her first feed. She found the food source right away and has been an eating champ ever since. I had some pain from her latching on at the wrong angle (nipple not high/far enough into her mouth), but we've been able to fix that problem by shoving my boob aggressively into her face, mwahahaha.
Since baby was perfect and I was doing well and did not have to thaw from an epidural, they let us go home that night. It was definitely nice to sleep in our own bed, especially since I hadn't actually slept the two previous nights. But in retrospect, we should have stayed the night just to get more breastfeeding support for the first few times. I think it would have made it a lot easier and less painful afterwards.
So that's how it happened. I know I am now seeing things through rose coloured glasses, but I feel like my labour was a very positive experience considering everything. All I really wanted was to have a vaginal birth with minimal tearing, and I got that, plus it was almost entirely drug-free except for the morphine shot in early labour. I am so thankful to have had such a great birth experience after a very difficult road to a viable pregnancy.