I'm going to start this birth story on a Thursday, the Thursday before our baby would arrive. Thursday was a crazy day, my midwives had an appointment planned, a friend would be joining me, and another friend needed me to watch her daughter. At the end of this Thursday I was teaching a birth education class to some friends from our church. I had been preparing for their class for a few days, reading up on birth stuff, and watching Lamaze birth prep videos. The class was fun and I think we all enjoyed the content and discussions. I'm including this in my story because it will be part of the actual labor story.
We headed home and spent the evening at home, and got to go to our church on Sunday, which happened to be our first Sunday in our new building.
Monday we had preschool, and while Marin was at school I picked up some needed things for our home birth and her teacher appreciation gifts (I guess this is teacher appreciation month, its our first year at this school thing so I really have no idea what is going on). I picked Marin up at school and she and I went to the library and got her some books and she chose several ballet DVD's that I could not talk her out of. While we were at the library my friend Megan called and said she had some baby things for us, did we want to pick them up while we were near her house? I agreed and so by 3pm we were loading the car with some baby things. While I was there she said, "its a good thing you got this stuff now, you might have this baby soon." I informed her I still had almost two weeks before my actual due date. Marin and I got home, unloaded the car, did a quick house pick up, and the started dinner. During this time I had a few contractions but thought it was once again the baby moving and crowding me out. I kept saying, "baby give me room!" and Marin would say "yeah baby" or "mommy the baby in my tummy is moving a lot today".
By the time Todd got home around 5:30pm I was feeling crunchy. Not in labor, but hungry, and a little on edge. I was sure that my client was still going to have her baby first so there was no way I was in labor. However at dinner I told Todd he needed to take Marin to get some groceries after dinner. Whatever our dinner conversation was it led Todd to ask me is something felt different. I told him, no I was just feeling really tight today. As soon as they left I got in the bath and laid there watching my belly have contractions every ten minutes or so. Hmmm this might actually be labor. Around 7:30 I called my midwives to let them know I "MIGHT" be in labor but probably wasn't but just in case I wanted to give them a heads up. At 9pm I called my two girlfriends who were coming to the birth to help out, just to let them know something might be going on. I then laid down on the couch asked for my phone so I could time the contractions and fell asleep waking every 10 minutes. I saw the 12, 22, 32... and still didn't want to admit I was in actual labor, mainly because I can't go first. At midnight I decided to go to my bed and before I got in bed I had to go to the bathroom, ohhhhh big mistake, this really kicked labor in, those contractions started coming right on top of each other. They were still really short, but that's the way they were with Marin, strong and short. I never had a contraction over 35 seconds with Marin's birth, and so I never really thought I was very far along, only to arrive at the birth center to find out I was ready to push. I called back my midwife and asked if one of them come over and check me, tell me I was in labor or not and if so set up camp. When I got checked I was at at 5, I think it was then that I admitted I was going to have this baby tonight, but I probably knew all along.
As soon as my friend arrived at 1:20am I started shaking and said "Oh great this is the beginning of transition!" (I had just taught this on Thursday!) I got in the birth tub and labor really kicked in. If I stayed forward through each contraction the pressure on my lower back shifted to my belly and somehow that was better. Several times someone in the room would ask me if I wanted to stay in that position or move around and I said, it just seems to be working this way. I did try a few other positions hoping to decrease the pressure on my lower belly, but nothing felt right, just being upright.I remember everyone saying I was so calm, and all I could think about was what was happening next, like I was teaching a class as I was going through each "stage" of labor.
*Chills--check, done *Shakes--check, done *Nauseous--check, but not done *Baby really low--check!
As soon as I threw up I informed everyone I was going to get a long break and then start pushing. I hung there on the side of the pool enjoying my "long break" thinking, "I'm not really ready to push"
When I had Marin I wanted nothing to do with feeling my progress, my midwife tried to talk me into feeling her head after each series of pushing so that it would encourage me. But at the time that did not seem encouraging, I informed her "when that head is out of me then I'll touch it." This time was different, all I could think about was holding myself as I pushed the head out. My pushing contractions were coming in series of threes, push, push, push rest... The breaks were very strange in my memory, there was nothing happening, just waiting. This is the wonderful part about labor, while it is intense, the breaks can be really calm and painless if you really take advantage of your rests. I wasn't scared this time so my breaks were so peaceful. Every now and then Todd would ask me if I was OK, I don't think I had an answer. And Meredith kept laughing about how calm I was. And I asked the midwives if I need to be checked or not, they said that they would wait for me to tell them if I was needing something like that.
Each time I pushed I tried to focus on pushing down towards the bottom of the pool. I was also the only one guiding my pushing, no one was telling me how to push or how long to push I was guiding myself through it. In one series of pushes my water broke and burst through my fingers, and the whole contraction completely stopped and all the pressure immediately let up. I said something like, "Oh wow! My water just broke, that was so cool!" I don't know the time between my water breaking and the baby actually being born, but I did have my hand on his little head as it came out. My contractions were still coming in series of three and his head came out on number three, which meant that I had to wait through the rest period to finish pushing him out. This sort of freaked me out because I could feel his shoulders just there inside of me waiting and I said something to my midwife like "You need to get this baby out, I don't have any more pushes" she said to just wait. But I was sure that labor was over and the baby would just be stuck in me forever. But she was right and with the next series he came right out.
And there he was, in my arms at 3:12am. I asked Meredith to run and get Marin. Marin was already awake and waiting at the door, like she already knew he was here.
Marin and Todd took care of little Owen while I got out and cleaned up and dried. And that's the end! The little family was tucked in bed and put to sleep and we all got a little rest. Owen is really wonderful, he's just so tiny and cute (he was 6 pounds 11 ounces). Todd was a wonderful birth partner again. And Marin is learning to be a really great big sister. I'm sure once I'm not so paranoid about Owen getting kissed to death she will be an even better sister.
OK I'll write more about home birth and new babies and postpartum and all of those things as they pop into my blurry head. Thanks to everyone for your prayers and thoughts, thanks for the meals that have come or have been offered and will come.