Alexander’s birth story really starts around week 35 of my pregnancy. On this day I was having some serious contractions that had me worried that he would be coming early. I spent the next 2 days laying on the couch and doing nothing. It was a nice vacation for the first few hours, but it wasn’t too long before I thought I was going to go crazy from not being able to do anything. Mamas who have been on bedrest, I give you mad props. The contractions stopped thankfully, but I did have Braxton Hicks daily from this point on of my pregnancy. I never had then with my previous pregnancies so this was a new experience for me.
The day of Alexander’s birth I had spent the morning and afternoon at Jack’s soccer playoff games. I had jokingly been saying that I hoped to go into labor that day so that I wouldn’t have to wake up super early to go to his other playoff game at 8 am the next day. I had plans to have a friend and her kiddos over that night. We hadn’t seen each other in a long while so we were all really looking forward to it. I got home from Jack’s games around 6 and was feeling a little off. Crystal and her kiddos came over around 6:30 and it was right around this time that my off feeling gave way to contractions. I knew these weren’t the braxton hicks ones because I could feel them moving. They would start on the top of my uterus and I could feel the tightness spread. Crystal noticed my discomfort but I told her not to worry about it. We were ordering dinner and I wanted to eat before I went into labor. We ordered pizza and I left the kids with her to go pick it up right down the road. It was around 7:00 pm now. At this point I had only had maybe 6 contractions, but they picked up speed on the way to the pizza shop (which is only a 4 minute drive from my house). I remember thinking I was dumb for not taking them seriously enough and driving. I had been fooling myself for so long, thinking that labor was starting only to have it not start, that I was trying to just go through things normally so as to not get my hopes up.
I got back home and ate half my eggplant parm sub (which was supposed to come with fries that I had paid for, but didn’t, so I was annoyed at that lol). I texted my family to let them know that this was it, the contractions were definitely real, and to get ready to go. I was timing my contractions on the app on my phone and they were still varying in duration and frequency. I called Kevin to tell him it was time, but that he could finish his shift at work. He was getting off work at 8:00 which was only another 45 minutes or so at this point. I called the birth center to see who was on call, but the answering machine told me to call the midwife who I knew was on a cruise. Luckily my handbook for the birth center has all the midwives’ numbers in it, so I picked one and called them. She wasn’t on call, but she did call the on-call one (Andrea) for me. Andrea called me and asked me what was going on, so I told her my contractions were real and it was definitely labor but that the frequency and duration of my contractions were still wonky. She asked if I wanted to come in, and given my history of quick labors I said I would feel much more comfortable coming in now. She said she’d meet us there and to call her when we were leaving the house.
I started packing up some last minute things while Crystal cleaned up dinner. I was getting anxious and couldn’t sit still between the contractions. Crystal was telling me to slow down and sit, and that she would take care of everything for me. I was way too anxious though. I should have taken her advice though, and took the time to sit and center myself and my emotions. I think it would have helped me during hard labor if I had done so. About 20 minutes after I called Andrea, the contractions started to pick up and get intense, and I wasn’t able to walk or talk through them anymore at this point. Kevin got home and started putting everything in the car. My parents were on their way to come pick up Kevin’s car so that somebody would have a way to bring the boys home after Alex was born. I knew we would have to take our time on the road because it was SUPER foggy outside; the kind of fog that makes it so that you can’t see more than 15 feet in front of your car. Crystal and her kiddos left around 8:30 and my parents arrived around 8:40. I had also texted the photographer and some of my closest friends to let them know it was time.
My mom drove her car to the birth center, my daddy drove Kevin’s car with Jack in it, and Kevin drove me and Sam in my car. Trying to work through contractions while buckled into a car is pure torture, especially when you have to drive slowly through foggy conditions. My mom was driving in front of us and my daddy was driving behind us, I mentioned to Kevin they were probably staying close in case we had to pull over and I gave birth on the side of the road. I told him if this happened to call the midwife and not an ambulance, ha ha. We got to the birth center around 9:30 and I jumped out of the car as soon as I could. Sitting down did not feel good on my back and I was definitely feeling a lot of pain in my back. I got on all fours and started doing some pelvic rocks. The midwife pulled in about 3 minutes after we did and I told her to start filling up the birth tub ASAP. We all got inside and settled. The midwife and birth assistants started filling up the tub and they checked me and the baby’s vitals. Andrea asked me if I wanted her to check how dialated I was but I told her no thanks. I didn’t want to be messed with down there.
This is where the night starts to get blurry in my memory. The contractions were intense, WAY more intense than with my previous labors, and it took a lot out of me to work through them. I remember being in the living room area and my friend Lisa arriving with someone else, my oldest sister showed up with her friend (who was just dropping her off), all while I was leaning on the yoga ball or on all fours. I did not want to stand up at all and my back was killing me. I got into the tub and it helped so much, but eventually the contractions started getting the best of me and I recognized that I was in transition. Around 10:50- 11 I told them that something was coming out. They asked me to reach down there and feel so I did and there was something bulging out. I thought for sure it was a head, which got me excited because I really want to have a baby born in the caul and my water hadn’t broken yet. The birth assistant felt it too and said it was my bag of water bulging and they ruptured on the next contraction. I was not being quiet during this labor. The pain was a lot to handle, especially in my back, and I remember contorting into a million positions to try and relieve some of the pressure on my back. Kevin was squeezing my hips together and that was helping some, he was also doing some counter pressure on my back and that helped too. Jackson and Samuel kept coming in and out of the tub room, checking on me. Samuel wanted very badly to get in the tub but I couldn’t let him because I knew he’d ask to nurse and that wasn’t something I would be able to handle at this point. Jackson kept asking if the baby was coming yet. It was very sweet. Jack saw the blood in the water and was telling everyone to not worry because it was supposed to be there. Samuel was rubbing my head and holding my hand. Having them there was amazing. I was a lot more verbal about the pain with this labor in comparison to my others. I did say, “Get the fuck out of me!” and “I really hope this is almost over.” Those are the only specific statements I can remember saying.
Around 11:05ish I really felt the need to push. I couldn’t have stopped my body from doing it if I had wanted to. Even at this point, I wasn’t checked to see how dialated I was. My body said to push, so we knew it was time to push. I remember thinking how confident they were in my body that it knew what it was doing and that I needed to feel confident too. Throughout the labor I had been getting caught up in my head about how painful it was, how much I wanted it to be over, etc. Not the positive mindset I had when I birthed Samuel and I know it effected how well I was managing the pain. Thinking back, my inner voice is the one thing I would change about this labor. Hearing everyone’s words of encouragement was a much needed boost of confidence. Pushing Alexander out was hard work. I thought for sure I was tearing. When he was crowning I screamed in a way I don’t think I ever had before. I’m hoping someone snapped a photo of my in the middle of my warrior screech =) His head crowned and I breathed through a contraction before I pushed the rest of him out. I needed time to recuperate. His head hurt me something fierce!
Alexander was born at 11:19. Kevin caught him and held him under while I reached and pulled him onto my chest. I leaned back onto Kevin and held my new little squish close. I could have sat there holding him to me forever and seeing his gender was the last thing on my mind. Eventually someone said, “Well, what is it?!” so I looked and announced he was a boy. I was thrilled to have another boy to raise into a remarkable man. His cord took a good while to finish pulsing. Jack was checking out the cord and I asked Kevin if he cared if Jack cut it. He said no, so the midwives told Jack what to do. He was really nervous but we reassured him that it wouldn’t hurt, it was just like cutting hair or fingernails, and me and the baby wouldn’t feel anything. Jack cut the cord, my Mom took Lex, and Kevin made a beeline for the shower =) The rest of the evening was spent in bed holding and nursing Lex (who nursed for a very long time). It also took a considerable amount of time to name him. Alexander wasn’t even on my list of possibilities. It was a leftover name from Samuel’s list of possibilities. My parents took Jack and Sam home. Kevin and I left the birth center around 3:30 am.