So, my “due date” of December 18th came and went much to all of our surprise considering that Evalee came a week “early”. Plus, I was carrying MUCH bigger this time around, much more out front so to speak…
My mom had already been here for a week or so, helping me get some much needed rest, cleaning and preparing food for the freezer. Every morning we woke up wondering when this little life was going to arrive.
I had been having so called false labor, or at the very least some VERY intense Braxton Hicks, for three weeks or so. I had two false alarms where I really thought the time had come, but fortunately I kept it to myself and didn’t alarm my parents or my midwife. The only one in the loop was my dear, and oh so calm husband, Matt.
So, when the day finally did arrive, I was not 100% certain it was the real deal. Not to mention the fact that it was Christmas Eve and I didn’t want the birth of the baby to spoil my daughter’s Christmas. (Boy was I wrong…read on)
Around 2pm I had some “show” but no blood in it and no real contractions to speak of. I’d read enough to know that show didn’t always mean that the baby was coming. Some women lose their mucus plug days, if not weeks, before the baby comes.
I shot my midwife, Kathie, a quick email to let her know the progress and her reply was just what I thought…call me when the contractions come and organize.I should mention here that Kathie lives over 2 hours away, so keeping her super informed was very important.
Around 5pm the blood came, very little but enough to mention and the contractions were coming although they were scattered and more than tolerable. I still didn’t say anything to my family as I was still not sure if this was the real thing.
We decorated the tree, had a fabulous dinner and called it an early night, in bed by 8:30pm. Or, I should say my husband, daughter, mom and dad went to bed.
At this point the contractions were intense enough that I couldn’t sleep but still a decent amount of time apart. After everyone was asleep, I called Kathie and told her what was up.
She said she was going to try to get some sleep but to call her as soon as the contractions organized and showed a pattern.
I tried to lie down and rest with no luck, so I got to work preparing the birth room.
We had an Aqua Doula water birth tub all set up, minus the disposable liner so I put that in the tub, laid out the rugs and towels and any other stuff I thought would be helpful for Kathie.
At this point, the contractions were coming every 10 minutes or so and lasting about a minute. I was managing them just fine by swaying, rubbing my belly and doing some deep breathing but decided that it was time to call Kathie.
I felt bad calling her on Christmas Eve but she was thrilled at the prospect of a Christmas baby and told me not to give that a second thought, she was on her way and would call Joyce, our doula/midwife in training. At this point it was around 9:30pm.
I continued to labor by myself for the next hour and a half. I took a shower to help relax and to get myself in the zone for what was ahead of me. I also wanted to let my family sleep as much as they could before this amazing night was to get much more intense. I needed everyone around me as fresh as possible.
By 11pm I thought it was time to wake up Matt and ask him to start filling the tub. We discussed briefly if it was a good idea to wake my folks and decided to do wake them since they would most likely hear us getting the tub ready.
I walked into our guest bedroom and just barely touched my mom’s leg. She shot up out of bed like a jack in the box! Remember, she had already been here over a week in anticipation of the baby’s arrival.
She looked at me like “Really?!” with her mouth wide open and I said “It’s time mom.”
She then slapped my dad on the back and said, “Jim, get up. The baby is coming.” Which was immediately followed by “I am getting some coffee going.”
It all starts to move pretty fast from here. My contractions started to come every two minutes lasting around a minute or so. My mom was doing her best as my doula, rubbing my back and getting me as comfortable as possible, until Joyce arrived.
Joyce rolled in around midnight, as she lived around an hour and a half away. Jocelyn, Evalee’s sitter of the last 3 years, fmaily friend and RN arrived shortly after that and then finally Kathie at 12:45am.
I didn’t get in the tub yet since I wanted Kathie to check me and make sure I was past the 4cm mark. When using a birth tub, you want to avoid getting in too soon as it can stall labor.
But, fortunately when Kathie checked me I was already 6-7cm! Yahoo. We are on our way to having a baby real soon and I can get in the tub…thank god because at this point the contractions were coming fast and furious.
So, upstairs we went to the “birth room”, the spare bedroom we designated at the place for this little person to be born. The same room that would be his/her bedroom someday.
All this time, my Dad was on dog duty. We have two beautiful, but loud, German Shepherds who would certainly bark as each birth attendant arrived. So, dear ‘ol Dad was in charge of keeping them as quiet as possible so nothing would wake my daughter Evalee. Lets just say he did a great job, going so far as to put them both in the back of his Ford Explorer for a bit so they could bark with no worries of waking her.
I now know why they call birth tub the “natural epidural” because the minute I took off my nightgown and got into that warm water my body instantly relaxed.
I moved from hand and knees to floating on my back, whatever felt best at the moment and continued to labor like this for the next hour or so.
Kathie continued to check my blood pressure and the baby’s heart rate through out all of this and was just wonderful. She and Joyce both were talking me through it, telling me how great I was doing as I moaned and groaned through the waves of contractions.
At some point, not sure what time it was, I felt a pop and a gush of fluid. You guessed it, my water broke. This is when labor went into overdrive.
In no time I was experiencing “transition” as the baby was moving into the birth canal. The contraction were coming back to back with little or no break in between and it was all I could do to ride them out and keep telling myself I could do it.
Keep in mind here that at this point it is around 2:30am, I have been laboring for a good 5 hours or so on no sleep. I also had a really rough night, the night before suffering from typical 9 month pregnant insomnia.
This is remember clearly, the transition let up and I was floating on my back with a person on each limb helping me to relax when I contraction came and I pushed out of pure instinct. That was SO cool. My body was just doing what it needed to do.
This happened a few more times and Kathie suggested that I squat in the water since it appeared that I was trying to do just that but floating on my back. This was a great suggestion.
I repositioned into a squat and just let my body do its thing.
Kathie told me to tell her when I started to feel “the burn” as she could feel the baby’s head coming. Sure enough, just a few minutes later I felt that all too familiar “ring of fire” and told Kathie to get ready, here comes the head.
A few minutes later, the baby’s head was born and I continued to push to birth the shoulders, the next hard part…but Kathie was having a hard time getting to me and needed me to be lifted out of the tub so she could see better.
So, Kathie grabbed one leg, Matt grabbed to other, my mom took and arm and Joyce took the other. Up out of the tub I went and onto the little futon/chair thing I was placed.
Turns out, the problem was the baby’s shoulders were not in the best position and the cord was getting pinched. Kathie did her midwife thing and just a few minutes later, at 3:12 am Jeremiah Matthew was born.
Evalee has been amazing. She could care less about Christmas until about 12 o’clock. She eventually got into her presents and all but still kept coming back to coo over her baby brother.
We are truly blessed to have had such an amazing home birth and to have such a healthy baby.