It was February 18th, the day before your father’s 30th birthday, that we found out I was pregnant.
The pregnancy progressed very normally. In fact, it was a very easy pregnancy. There was no morning sickness, no massive mood swings, no gestational diabetes. Your due date was October 27th. I pushed your father to see a midwife instead of an OB, wanting a natural childbirth. He was hesitant so we agreed to an unmedicated hospital birth. We enrolled in Bradley classes to learn how to deal with the pain and challenges of childbirth at the end of June. Then we took a tour of the hospital, but when we saw how it wasn’t set up to support our goals, your father agreed to go talk to a midwife. On August 1st we went and met with the midwives at Labor of Love. The pre-screening revealed that I was able to transfer into their care if we so desired. After some thought and discussion, we ended our care with the OB and decided to move over to the midwives.
I woke up around 4:00 am on October 23rd and went to the bathroom. I lost my mucus plug and noticed I was starting to have contractions. They were far apart and not unbearably strong. I laid down on the couch and tried to rest just in case you were coming that day. When your father and I both got up for the day, we decided to enjoy the day together (it was our wedding anniversary) and also get some grocery shopping done. Nothing quite says, “we’re having a baby soon, like going on a Publix run.” The contractions spaced out and eventually subsided.
On Monday, October 24th I awoke again to contractions. This morning I spent cooking. I made applesauce and muffins and generally a huge mess of the kitchen. When your dad woke up it was clear to him that if I wasn’t in labor already, I would be soon. I had an appointment with the midwives that day at 11:00am. I called in the morning to ask if I should go in or stay home and rest. We were advised to come in and that way we would at least talk to the midwife and see how things were going. Your father and I timed the contractions using our iPhones from about 5:00am till my appointment. We saw Andrea that day. She looked over the times and also checked me. I was 2-3 cm dilated, 100% effaced and had a bulging bag of waters. She told us to stop timing the contractions and enjoy the day. Do something we might not be able to do with a newborn and not obsess over the contractions. In her words, “You’ll know when the time is right to start timing them again.” It was exciting – it meant that we were having a baby – and SOON!
We left the appointment and called a friend to see about having some maternity pictures taken. We had talked about having her do them for a while, but it seemed like it was a now-or-never situation. I was having horrible hot flashes at sporadic times. Around 3:00 pm we arrived at at the photographer’s house, took pictures and we left around 5:00 pm. While we were there I only had one incredibly strong contraction that bothered me. She mentioned that she was able to see when I was having a contraction by watching my belly.
On the car ride home, the contractions started getting stronger. We started to time them. We got home around 5:30 pm and I laid down in bed. Your father started to put bags in the car and take care of stuff around the house. The contractions were hard but not unbearable. I would breathe through them and let them go. At 6:00 pm we called Labor of Love. Bea was the midwife on duty that night. Your dad called Bea and let her know that my contractions were strong and about 6 minutes apart. She asked us to meet her at the birth center at 7:00 pm.
Living 45 minutes away meant we needed to leave almost immediately. Dad checked to make sure we had everything and then we left. The car ride was hard and we continued to time contractions. Your dad would put his hand on my belly and tell me to visualize sending the pain out of me and to him. It helped – a lot actually.
We arrived at almost the same time Bea did. I had a contraction in the parking lot before going into the birth center. I hadn’t eaten since lunch time, so your dad fixed me a turkey sandwich. While your dad unloaded the car, I talked to Bea and told her what was going on through the day. She asked if I had a contraction while we were talking. I told her no. I was afraid she would check me and tell me that I was only 5 or 6 cm and we still had a while to go.
She told us to finish eating our sandwiches and to let her know when we were done; she would check me afterward. We ate, I lamented to your dad that this was going to be the longest night in all of history and called Bea back over. We went into one of the bedrooms and she checked my blood pressure, temperature and pulse. Then we learned I was 9 cm dilated. She couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. She said, “You’re 9 centimeters! I guess we should fill up the tub!” Turns out that while we were getting the pictures taken and the hot flashes I was feeling were all me going through transition.
Bea went to fill up the tub and asked if we wanted Peppermint or Lavender essential oil. We chose Peppermint for a bit of an energy bump. We got into the tub and relaxed. The water felt really good and it was the perfect temperature. Contractions were weird in the water. Not tensing in the water and not having anything to brace against left a very weird, floating, flailing type feeling. Angela, the birth assistant, arrived shortly there after.
I started feeling like I needed to push, and started to give small pushes with the contractions. I remember hearing Angela say to Bea, “I think she’s starting to push.” Bea asked how I wanted to push. I got onto all fours with your father cradling my head. It was easy to push this way. My water still hadn’t broken yet. Bea was starting to think about how difficult it would be to break your water after you were born in the tub so she decided it would be best to break it before you got here. I asked her, “Will it hurt?” and looking back realize how silly of a question that was in light of the fact I was about to push you out. She said, “no” and then there was a gush.
Apparently there was concern that there wouldn’t be enough space to keep you underwater and deliver your body. We got into a “C” shape and continued to push. It felt like I was going to rip apart, but at the same time there was a sense of it being temporary and a sign of you being here. Bea told me to reach down, and I could feel your head. It was a surreal feeling – and kinda slimy.
A few strong pushes later and you were in my arms. You were born October 24th at 9:51pm. You didn’t cry right away, you just looked around. We wrapped you in warm blankets and towels. We let your cord pulse until it stopped before your dad cut it. You were 7 pounds 13 ounces and 20 inches long. Angela helped me rinse off and get out of the tub. We went into the bedroom where we all cuddled and relaxed for a bit. You went with Dad for a bit and Bea stitched me up. The stitches hurt more than giving birth to you. I tried to convince her that I would never have sex again and therefore the stitches were entirely unnecessary. I think she called me a liar!!
She commented on how awesome your Dad was a coach and partner. “I don’t know if you remember this but he kept saying, ‘I love you.’” she said. He was a pretty awesome coach even if he swears he didn’t do much to help.
And that, little man, is how you entered into the world in the most loving and caring environment we could have hoped for.
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