The last few weeks of this pregnancy, my hands and feet were swollen, something that had never really happened to me before. So my wedding ring didn’t fit my finger and my feet hurt All. The. Time. I was getting tired of being pregnant, but still just a little bit nervous about how I would handle labor this time. 4 days before my due date, we went to the zoo. Where I waddled around forever and had no results. 3 days before my due date, we walked a mile into town, and a mile back, and nothing happened.
My due date dawned rainy and blah, and I was down. This baby was NEVER coming. The day dragged, I was so tired that I kept falling asleep on the couch sitting up, and I let the kids totally trash the house. I felt crampy all day, and was so emotional that I snapped at the kids several times and even burst into tears once or twice. I managed to make dinner, and when we sat down to eat, I was able to fit a whole serving of food inside for once. Just as I finished eating, (around 6:45 PM) I had a contraction. I moved to sit on the couch and got another one. They were fairly short, but they were the “real” kind. They were 6-8 minutes apart. At first I didn’t think it was the real thing, I had never had labor start at night before. My husband was pretty sure this was it, so he put on a cartoon for the kids and began picking up the disaster of a house.
By 7:15, they were coming consistently 5 minutes apart and I was pretty sure this was it. So we began wondering whether or not we should put the kids to bed, or call the church lady who had agreed to take them during the day and see if she was comfortable taking them for the night. Since we were not to confidant in their ability to go to sleep during an event like this, we decided on an overnight trip. At 7:30 I called my midwife and told her to come on over and then called the church family and told them the situation and she was more than willing to take them overnight, I told her to take her time coming over, since I had nothing ready. All this time my husband was still trying to get control of the disaster (seriously, you have no idea how messy the house was, and it had just been cleaned 2 days before!) so I began throwing some pajama’s, blankies and favourite stuffed animals into a box.
I stopped to breath through the contractions, and made a few stops in the bathroom with diarrhea. I was also feeling a ton of pressure on my bladder, so it felt like I needed to pee constantly, when in reality there was never more than a few drops there. I sat on the couch and talked with the girls for a bit, explaining that they were going to stay with the church family for the night, and the girls got all excited remembering how much fun they had at their house a few weeks before when we had gotten together. I felt at ease sending them for the night, they would be together, I trusted this couple, and their 4 school aged kids are sweet and love having “little sisters” for the day.
My midwife arrived at 8:30, around the same time as the church family. My husband bundled the kids outside and helped switch 3 car seats into the families van (later we discovered the sippy cups and blankies sitting on the counter, apparently they slept just fine without them), and I chatted with the midwife as she brought in her things. At 8:45 I was 100% effaced and 5 cm dilated, confirming that I was indeed in labour. My midwife also noticed that there seemed to be a lot of water between the babies head and the cervix, so much in fact, that the babies head wasn’t even engaged in the pelvis. The bulging bag could explain why I was feeling so much pressure on my bladder. I felt so much better just taking off my yoga pants, the waistband had been pressing to tightly onto my bladder! So I abandoned them, and wondered around the house in my shirt and underwear, finishing off my first bottle of Gatorade and opening my second one.
My husband began filling the pool (he never got around to getting the connector for the hose, so he was holding it in place under the faucet) I wanted to be near him, so I mostly hung out in the kitchen. I fretted a bit about how I had eaten an entire meal, since I was sure to throw it up during transition.We wondered if the baby would be born before midnight. I remember asking my husband if he felt like we were ready for this, but mostly I just felt peaceful and relaxed. My midwife had called her partner, telling her to be on standby since I was in early labour, but about 15 minutes later when she noticed that I was leaning forward to put my hands on the counter and rolling my hips through each contraction, she called her back and told her to head on over.
By 9:30 my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, I was still feeling incredible pressure on my bladder, but I had given up on trying to pee. I was still walking and talking in between contractions, and asked my husband to place his hand on my lower back when ever a contraction hit. The second midwife arrived, and by 9:45, I was starting to feel a bit shaky, and after hearing me moan a little at the height of one contraction, my husband suggested that I get into the pool, since it was almost full. I said I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get in unless I was far enough that my labour wouldn’t stall, and my midwife said that since I was past 4 cm, I should have no problems there. So I changed into the shirt that I have worn for every birth so far, and slipped into the pool close to 10 o’clock.
The word “push” was all he needed to hear, so he called the midwife into the bedroom and told her what I had just said. She told me it would probably be awhile yet, since my water hadn’t broken. I was reminding her that so far my water has never broken until my babies are practically crowning, and right as the words were out of my mouth, my next contraction hit, and my water broke at 10:10. I was shocked, I hadn’t even vomited yet. I hadn’t reached the transition “I can’t do this anymore” feeling. The midwife called her partner into the room, and we all kind of laughed a little about how we had just been talking about waiting for the water to break. There was a ton of amniotic fluid, it was still gushing even after the contraction was over!
About a minute later I had what I think was 3 contractions right in a row, to me it felt like one really long contraction with 3 peaks. I was having so much pressure that I felt as though I couldn’t sit anymore and I moved into a squatting position. In between peaks, I was panting and asking why it was so intense all of a sudden? My midwife reminded me that typically the first couple contractions after the water breaks are much stronger. During the peaks I got that familiar feeling of being unable to NOT push, so I pushed through each one. I had about a minute of rest, and then the next contraction hit and I put my hand against the swelling perineum. My midwife asked if I could feel the head. I replied that I could feel “something” (Which she told me later kind of freaked her out, since that made her wonder if the baby could somehow be breech). I was unsure of what was going on, I could feel something coming out, but it felt slick and slippery, not like the hairy skin of a head. I was kind of freaked out for a moment wondering if my body was losing an organ or something, but it turned out that the baby still had the amniotic sack over his head, and that was why his head was so slick. At the end of that contraction I changed position and leaned back against the side of the pool and my husband gasped “Oh, there’s the head!” I guess he hadn’t realized that I had been pushing out the head with that last contraction. The next contraction hit what felt like seconds later and the rest of the baby slipped out and into the water at 10:17. I reached down and pulled him up against my chest, hardly able to believe that he was out already, and suspecting that he was a boy based on my glimpse of what looked like more than just a cord between his legs. My husband double checked and made the official “It’s a boy” announcement!
We just sat there for a few minutes, laughing and hardly able to believe it was all ready over. Baby Boy looked around and squeaked once or twice, but then settled against me and looked back into my eyes. Amniotic fluid was still gushing into the pool, and strangely enough, no blood at all. The pool still looked completely clean. After like 10 minutes I was feeling uncomfortable sitting and wanted to change position. I suggested giving the baby to my husband so that I could get out, but then the midwife reminded me that we had not cut the cord yet, which made us all giggle again. The cord was still pulsing, so we left it and they helped me get out of the pool and lay down on the bed with the baby. I nursed him for a bit, while the midwife checked to see if there was any tearing. I was completely tear free! The cord finally stopped pulsing almost half an hour after the birth so we cut it and then since the placenta hadn’t made it’s appearance yet, my midwife asked if I minded getting a small shot of pitocin. I moved into the bathroom and after the pitocin and a couple of squats later, the midwife’s partner suggested I try coughing and then the placenta finally came out, followed by a couple of large clots (the first blood we had seen this entire birth). The cord was very long and quite knobby and lumpy, much weirder looking than my other baby’s. But everything was done now, so I moved back to the bed with the baby and nursed him some more and held him skin to skin to help regulate his temperature.
So, Baby Boy was born at 10:17 PM on a Tuesday night, after 3 ½ hours of labour. He was 9 pounds 4 ounces, 21 inches long, 14 ½ inch head. He has a little bit of dark hair that sticks up, and grayish eyes that look like they are going to be hazel like mine. He has dramatic eyebrows and adorable little feet. My milk was coming in by Thursday afternoon which made him very content. This was our first birth where we recovered all by ourselves (since none of our family came out) and I must say I was proud of how well we did. In fact I didn’t overdo it at all until my in-laws came up to visit 2+ weeks later. For all my nervousness about how I would handle childbirth this time, this was my best birth ever.