Waiting for Baby
At my 37 week appointment on May 3rd, my fundal height measured 31 cm. Baby had definitely dropped! I don’t recall a baby dropping so early, but I know babies can drop several weeks before they are born so I didn‘t think too much of it.
On Sunday, May 8th and Monday, May 9th, I was having contractions every once in a while that kind of made me take notice of them. I didn’t think too much of them though as I was just 38 weeks on Sunday. Brett was born at 40 weeks and 4 days and Leah was born at 41 weeks, so I was expecting to have at least 2 more weeks. I was telling myself that baby would arrive by June 1st. I do remember feeling extra cranky on Sunday though.
On Monday, I woke up to a slight bit of bloody show, but again, I didn’t think anything of it. I had it at least a week before Leah was born. At the same time, I knew that I was getting closer to my due date of May 22nd and was very focused on nesting. The carpet cleaners were coming on Wednesday, May 11th, so I was trying to get all of my rooms in the house prepared for that. I had a rather lengthy list of things that I wanted to accomplish before my due date and I was eager to check the items off. We were waiting to blow up the birth pool until after the carpet cleaners came so that there would be less for them to work around.
Monday night, I decided to stay home from the La Leche League meeting because I wanted to mop my kitchen floor and do other cleaning tasks. After all the cleaning, I had a hot bath for about an hour until 11pm, when I thought that I really should get some rest.
The Beginning of Labor
Tuesday, May 10th, I woke up at 2 am to some strong contractions. I had them every ten minutes or so. I would have a contraction, then go back to sleep, then another one. I also had a few nights of this before Leah was born, so I figured it was the same thing where I would have contractions for several hours and then they would go away when the sun came up and I had to mother my children. I looked at the clock wondering when the contractions would end so that I could sleep better and be better rested to start my day.
In this day and age of texting, it’s fun to look back over texts surrounding the birth. I texted a friend at 2:45 am saying that I didn’t know that this little one would wait until the carpets were cleaned to arrive. At 5 am or so, I went downstairs to get the birth ball. I would lean on the ball when I would have a contraction. At 6 am, I decided to take a hot bath.
I sent my mom an email telling her of my labor signs. We then talked on the phone about how maybe my body was just warming up. She had school that day, but said that she would check her phone messages at noon. I texted her saying maybe she should put her phone on vibrate/silence instead of off.
Finally at 8 am, I texted my midwife, Robyn, saying that I was hesitant to call it labor given my previous birth histories, but that I was having contractions and bloody show. She said to let her know if anything changed. Sometime right after that, I told Chuck that he needed to start blowing up the birth pool. He couldn’t believe it at first since I was only 38 weeks and 2 days. Once he saw how I was acting and that I was nauseous, I think he knew that I was serious. He asked if he even had time to get the birth pool blown up and filled, but I was adamant that I have the pool.
At 8:20, I let Robyn know that I was feeling lots of pressure and that I thought she should come soon. Also during this time, I let my birth photographer know that things were happening and that she should head this way. I texted my mom and let her know that things were happening today. She wondered if she should head my way and I replied with an emphatic Yes!
I leaned over the birth ball for contractions as Chuck and one of the kids were still working to get the pool set up. I think Robyn arrived around 9 am, then shortly after that my mom and sister, Robyn’s assistant, and the birth photographer. When Robyn arrived, I wanted her to check me and see how far dilated I was. Good news – I was 9 cm with a bulgy bag of waters. I think that once I heard this, I knew for sure that birth was happening today. I expressed to Robyn that I wasn’t ready for it to happen. I thought I had more time to get my nest ready and to mentally prepare for birth. I had to accept that this was happening today. There was no turning around.
I continued leaning over the birth ball and had Robyn applied lots of counter pressure on my back. “Harder,” I would say. Meanwhile, Chuck was finally filling up the pool with hot water. He, my mom, and sister were also boiling pots of hot water to add to get it warmer and filled quicker. To me, the filling of the birth pool seemed to be taking a long time. I just wanted to be in the water. Finally, the moment came when it was declared that the water in the pool was deep enough for me to get in to. I was very happy to hear this. Because everything seemed even more intense laboring on land.
They continued to add pots of boiling water to get it deeper. Robyn and her assistant continued applying counter pressure on my back during contractions. At some point, I needed my husband’s shoulders to hold on to. I think this was around the time that I felt like pushing. Some people like pushing, but I am not one of them. I made up my mind that I was going to do this instead of backing away from it.
Robyn asked me if I wanted her to break my bag of waters. She said it would cause things to move quicker. I said that I didn’t know what I wanted, so she didn‘t. Shortly after that, my water broke on its own. It didn’t take too many contractions after that before the head crowned. I was surprised by how quickly it happened. The head was out and with another push the body was out. 10:16 a.m.
Robyn reminded me to reach down to get my baby. She knows that I like to catch my babies myself. I was in awe that this sweet little one was here already and fairly quickly. This baby looked so little in comparison to my other babies, but baby was also 3 weeks earlier. I spent a few minutes marveling at this little new life and then checked the gender – a boy! My kids all stood around the birth pool marveling along with me at their new baby brother.
The After Math
A little bit later, the placenta emerged. Due to losing a lot of blood, I felt like I was going to pass out. Robyn and her assistant quickly lifted me out of the pool and on to my couch. They started me on IV fluids and I perked up. I drank a lot of grape juice. While I was on the couch, my mom had the honor of cutting the cord. She said that was the first time that she’s ever cut an umbilical cord, so that was special for her.
Baby was weighed. 6 lbs and 5 oz. No wonder he looked so little and the pushing was easier and quicker. He was my littlest baby by a pound and 5 oz. My last 2 babies were 9 lbs, so he seemed really small in comparison to them. After looking at the placenta, Robyn said that it was a lot smaller than most placentas. She also thought that it didn’t looked as healthy. She said that he probably came earlier because he wasn’t getting all that he needed from the placenta.
He is such a sweet little guy and is so content. Since he doesn’t have much fat, I’ve been doing skin-to-skin with him to keep him warm. I have been loving this so much. I am grateful to God that he is healthy and for such an empowering birth experience. We are all so in love with him.