Thursday morning my midwife came over. Although I was only 4 days over the due date, I was over being pregnant. Nights were uncomfortable, my hips were sore and I would get random weird numbness. Not to mention the heat was out of control, but it was getting cooler and there was relief from the heat wave that swept across the City. And not being at work doing my daily routine was driving me bananas. When she came over I asked her to sweep my membranes in hope of getting things going. She checked me out, made the sweep said that my cervix was pretty far back the chances that I would have gone in to labor that weekend were unlikely, all we could do was wait and see if it worked. I was also lining up acupuncture for Friday.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, went grocery shopping, made and ate dinner, cleaned more in the bathroom. After all that I headed to bed and thought, well maybe tonight will be the night.
Around 5:45am I started to feel contractions. I stayed in bed until I felt at least two and then got up to get my phone to start timing them. My first recorded entry of the contractions was at 6am with 43 second contractions 4 min apart. Immediately they went up to 1 minute 5 seconds long with 3-5 minutes apart. This is how it hits me. No gradual increase no "Hey I'm starting labor, lets take this nice and easy and relax to save my energy for later." Instead it's like "BAM!!!!! Go have this baby now!" I woke josh up at 6, I wanted to wait longer and give him more sleep, but I couldn't. I needed him to get started on the birthing pool.
Because I was only in labor with JHM for a little over 5 hours, my midwife, Karen, was really worried she would not make it in time this time and made me promise I would call her as soon as I felt anything. I called her at 6:14am and she said she would be right over. I then called my doula, Colleen, at 6:22am and she also said she would head right over. Called the photographer, Kylie, at 7:09am and left a message!
By this time I was in the bathtub and josh was making sure everything was getting set-up in the living room - the pool, the time-lapse camera and his camera.
I sat in the bath tub and tried to work through each contraction with concentration and breathing. Josh brought me some toast with honey and after a few bites I wanted nothing to do with food. After every contraction I felt like I was going to throw up.
Once Karen and her assistant Jill, arrived, I left the comfort of the tub so they could check my vitals on dry land. Big mistake, the contractions were way worse sitting on sofa rather in the water. As soon as I got the green light i headed back to the comfort of my bathtub. Colleen arrived and as she was putting a cool cloth on my neck and holding my hand I told her all I wanted was an epidural. She said I had every right to say that because labor was hard and painful. Even though I really would not have gotten the epidural if possible, I felt better saying it out loud and having that feeling validated by a woman I have great birthing respect for.
She went to check on the pool and said that although it wasn't full, it was full enough for me to get in if I wanted more room to stretch out in. She helped me make the transition. Once I got to the pool, it was ON! The breaks of reality and painlessness were few and far in between. I remember just praying for a break long enough to look up, catch my breath and have a chance to talk if I needed to. It was then that I was able to first say hi to Kylie. She arrived a few minutes before and jumped right in taking pictures. It was her first live birth and I felt so bad that she came in during such a HARD part. I introduced myself between vocalizations.
My water still hadn't broken and when I asked Karen to check me out, she said the bag was still strong and keeping the baby from coming down. She asked me to change positions and be ready for the next contraction to push extra long and hard and down to break the water. I hated being in that position and only wanted to be back on my hands and knees. I knew it was important though and would bring me closer to the end, so I took a deep breath when I felt it coming and PUSHED. The water broke and I immediately went back to where I was..er... comfortable? By this point, I just wanted the end to come. I asked if I had 30 min or 5 min left and was told maybe less. I was hating child birth by this point. The next push was HARD and long and almost got the baby out. Head and ears were out and I only needed to do it one more time. JUST ONE MORE TIME AND I WOULD BE DONE. That is a lot of motivation. I gathered up all I had, I knew I could do it and it had to be done, I had no choice. I went for it and then she was out. Such a weird feeling when the baby actually goes down and out. It was 9:08am. Did you do the math? Just three hours!?!? Three hours of intense, intense labor.
They pulled her out of the water placed her on my chest and put a towel on her. I asked girl or boy? Karen said she wasn't going to look or tell me so we all peaked and GIRL.
Then it was time to get out of the water and check me and baby. Baby was great. I fared ok too. Just a slight tear requiring just a few stitches.
You might be wondering where JHM was during all this. Well, he was in his room. Sleeping. We has planned for our friends to come pick him up when needed. When labor started josh carried him from our room to his, turned on the fan, closed the door and left. We tried our friends - multiple people and no one was answering. We prayed he would just sleep till the end, and you know what time he woke up? 9:15am. Yep, just in time. He came out and was so happy to see his new sister. He kissed her and told her "Thank you for coming".
Colleen sent me her version of the birth and it is a lot more beautiful. I suppose when you are on the outside looking in and appreciating what is really happening it is very beautiful and special and even somewhat magical. JHM met her for the first time in the very place he was born almost three years earlier. Our family was happy that day and the room was filled with love for each other, for her and for all the people that got to witness and help our family transition from 3 to 4.
Welcome to the world and our family 7lb 10oz. 19 1/3" tall Cat Squirrel.
Josh set up a gopro in the living room and created a really cool time lapse video of the whole thing. Don't worry, there are no crotch shots. Check it out: