Three days past my due date I went to bed resigned to the fact that baby was going to hold out and not arrive until after my mom arrived to help in a day and a half. Not that having her here for the birth would have been an awful thing but given that she was coming down to help while I (theoretically) recovered from having a baby so that Lawrence wouldn’t have to take a lot of time off from his brand spankin’ new job. So, with my luck, this meant that baby would likely hold off being born until after she left. Because that is how my life typically works.
In the depths of the night I was vaguely aware that I was having a contraction but as my braxton hicks contractions had been steadily increasing in intensity to the point where they were actually uncomfortable I ignored it and didn’t bother waking up enough to look at the clock. Then it happened again. And again.
After the third contraction I figured that I should probably start paying attention to these just in case they were the real deal so I timed the next couple of contractions. By “timed” I mean that after having one I’d rouse myself to enough wakefulness to peer around Lawrence to the glowing red numbers on the alarm clock (4:32 am). After half an hour (and three more contractions, all nicely spaced ten minutes apart) I got up to pee bladder the size of a pea being used as a trampoline and all of that. While I was up Lawrence’s spidey sense went off and I came back to find him watching me intently.
“Are you in labor?”
I shrugged. “Not sure. Contractions are about 10 minutes apart. I’ll keep timing them.”
After another half hour I was reasonably satisfied that this was the real deal, though I didn’t call my midwife yet because the contractions were still 9-10 minutes apart and it was 5:30 in the morning. If she was still asleep then good for her! (She was, by the way, and later mentioned being grateful that I put off calling her and allowing her another couple hours of sleep, lol).
Lawrence moved the bed a little to make room for the birth pool in our bedroom and set it up while I forced myself to eat a small bowl of cereal. Not exactly an energy providing food but it was the only thing that sounded even remotely palatable.
While the pool was being set up the boys got up and Lawrence got them dressed. David was adorable and helpful, holding the hose so that it wouldn’t “fall out” of the pool:
Daniel wanted to help too, so he found his own hose:
“Hmmm… how do I make water come out?”
By this time (around 7:30am) contractions had moved to being about 4-6 minutes apart so I called Lucy (midwife) and gave her a heads up. I still didn’t think there was any need for her to hurry, contractions were fairly intense but completely manageable and I had no problems moving around, talking, laughing, and even playing/snuggling a bit with David and Daniel in between them. So she said she’d get ready and be on over in about an hour or so but to call her if I needed her.
When Lucy arrived I had her do a quick internal check. I really dislike internal checks but I also really like knowing kind of where I am in the progression of things. It helps me focus. She found that I was at an 8 (yay!) so she was definitely sticking around.
I had a very relaxed laboring experience for the next two hours. Contractions still came and went every five minutes or so and I found that they were easiest to bear and felt most effective if I remained standing upright and just rocked side to side. In between contractions I chatted with Lucy and Dana (her apprentice) and occasionally paused to swoop David or Daniel up into a reassuring hug.
Around 10:30 I started feeling like I wanted to get into the water, but I also didn’t want to slow labor down. Given that remaining upright was what felt the most productive I felt it was a valid concern so I had Lucy check me again. I was pretty much at a 10 so I went ahead and got into the water.
Contractions got a little more intense at that point. In fact there was an hour, before I managed to get a hold of myself (mentally), where I found myself thinking “Three kids are enough, right?” (The answer, at least for us, is “No. Three isn’t.” just in case you guys were wondering…) I had Dana break my water hoping that it would speed things up a little bit, but nada.
Thankfully after an hour or so of very unpleasant contractions I managed to get my mental state under control and slipped into a lovely hypnotic state. With transition, not-quite-pushing, contractions coming every few minutes I was falling asleep between them and serenely detached from them while they were happening. Dana asked if I wanted her to take any pictures of me laboring. I don’t particularly want any pictures of me laboring so I said no. Apparently she asked though because I was one of those women who was “just beautiful to watch” given my state of calm and focus inward.
After not quite another hour I had them check to see what might be holding things up. Two discoveries were made:
1) the cervical lip (scarring from David’s birth) that had shown up with Daniel’s birth was in fact present again. Sigh. Odds are good that it will forever show up and need to be manually held back during birth. Not going to lie, that hurts worse than all of the rest of birth combined.
2) They really hadn’t broken my water. They had just broken the outer layer. Apparently I build industrial strength amniotic sacks because it took some serious effort to break the inner layer.
After both of those things had been taken care of baby moved down rather quickly. Not as fast as Daniel, thank heavens, but quickly. Baby crowned and I focused on breathing baby down gently. My big goal for this birth was to not tear, or at least not tear badly… a big deal given that both of previous births had caused 3rd degree tears.
At 12:59pm baby slipped out into the pool and was immediately placed on my chest. Lawrence poked his head in and asked “Boy or girl?” I checked really quick and announced that we had another bouncy baby boy:
Brand spankin’ new
Lawrence went and got David and Daniel. David was thrilled to discover that mommy shutting herself away for a good portion of the day had resulted in another baby for him:
A baby? For me?
Daniel was still a little unsure about what was going on:
Uh… what is going on?
After about half an hour we cut the cord and Dana and Lucy helped me out of the pool and to the bed to wait for the placenta to be delivered. While waiting Alan was weighed and measured:
The placenta took its sweet time (grumble, grumble) but after it was delivered Alan and I got to climb into a nice herbal bath to soak a little while Dana and Lucy looked over the placenta next to the tub. I know it is not for everyone but I really love getting to look at the placenta.
Relaxing in the herbal bath
By 4pm Alan and I were tucked snuggling in our bed and I was pleased to learn that I had made it through delivering him with only a very minor, not worthy of stitches, tear. With everything pretty much tidied up and pizza delivered (food suddenly sounded very good!!) Lucy and Dana took their leave.
Alan is almost three weeks old now and we are enjoying him very much. I’m particularly fond of his chubby round cheeks and cute pointy chin…
Being loved on by David and Grandma