I realize that it's been quite some time- over a month- since I've written anything. My readers will have to excuse our somewhat long blogging vacation. What can I say; it's hard work making a new person! Since I last left off, several overwhelming events have occurred from Jonah's being diagnosed with several various disorders and syndromes to the birth of our baby girl. I think we'll rejoin with the latter, and come back to Jonah's diagnosis another day.
***Disclaimer (I make a lot of these, don't I?) The following is a detailed and somewhat graphic account of labor and birth. If you don't want to be exposed to these descriptions then STOP READING NOW***
I began having contractions on Wednesday June 2nd. I was pretty convinced that "this was it." We called the midwife, and told her I felt some changes. Daryl set up the tub. We let "the grandmas" know that we thought it was it. But the contractions never got stronger or more regular. Thursday afternoon I called the midwife to let her know that things hadn't changed much, and she told me to just go about my day and not worry about it, but get plenty of rest too. The worst thing about this part of labor is that I had really bad leg cramps during most of the contractions.
So my mom and I went to Babies R Us to make a return and pick up a water thermometer (boy did that come in handy!!!) We went to a book store and perused the books; I had a few contractions with some leg cramps, but still no changes. Thursday night I actually slept through the night waking up only a few times with severe leg cramps. Friday morning I was very frustrated. My legs hurt and the contractions were just getting annoying. We went out for coffee/bagels with some friends of mine and my mom was bragging to everyone that she just knew the baby would wait until midnight to share her birthday. Her birthday was on Saturday, and my family has an uncanny knack for sharing birthdays.
While we were out with my friends they reminded me that our town has a little festival downtown on the first friday of every month in the summer, and this week was the first one. So I told my mom that I was still pretty comfortable, there had been no change in the contractions, and walking would make my legs feel better, so maybe we should go and have dinner and look at what vendors are downtown.
While I was driving and looking for a parking space, I felt the change in contractions. But I kind of ignored it because we had so many previous "false alarms." Parallel parking a mini van while having a contraction and trying not to let on (also didn't want to freak out my mom) is not very easy! We decided before going to the restaurant, we would look and see what tents were up. I stopped and talked to my old co-workers from the science center, because they had a little activities booth set up, and we looked at some homemade soaps and other little crafts booths.
We stopped at a booth that was selling tutus and hair bows, and of course gawking over them, when I realized the contractions were coming on pretty quickly and I really needed to think about them. I leaned over and whispered this to my husband, and we kind of hurried my mom along saying we were going to take Jonah to see the fire trucks and life flight helicopter. The firefighters were in their full gear and I want Jonah to get to know that they are nice men, so they aren't as scary in an emergency.
Then we went to the restaurant/bar for dinner. This place is one of my favorites because they make all of their hot dogs, sausages, and dressings in-house. I usually don't like hot dogs, but these are seriously amazing. There was live music there, and Jonah was just having a blast dancing to the guitar. I really didn't want to leave because it made me so happy to see him happy, but I had my phone out and was timing contractions through dinner and they were less than five minutes apart. (Anyone who is pregnant and has a droid phone- I highly recommend downloading the contraction timer app!) We got the bill and left; we still hadn't told my mom that I was having these contractions.
On the way back to the car, we realized that the life flight helicopter was about to take off. Of course we had to stop to watch that excitement! It took about 20 minutes to take off though, and the whole time I was just thinking "I need to get home..." So once the helicopter was gone, I told my mom she needed to drive. We had met Daryl there after he got off work, so he had to drive his own car. My mom understood immediately what I was telling her.
We hurried home and put Jonah to bed. It was now 8:30pm. I sat down on our couch and chatted with my mom for about an hour. At 9:30 I went to lay down on the bed and I told Daryl to call the midwife. We told her there was a definite change, the contractions were getting very strong very quickly but were not in a consitent pattern. She told me to get some rest and either call her if we felt overwhelmed or if they started to progress into a pattern.
I told Daryl to get some sleep on the couch, and I went into the bedroom again. By 10:00 the contractions were very intense. By 10:30 I could no longer just hum through them and I could tell that I was getting more vocal and louder. 11:40 I told Daryl to fill up the pool. The contractions were still at random intervals, but I was sure that in an hour I would want the relief of the water. Boy did I hit the nail on the head! 12:40 the pool was filled and I was begging to get in. I was starting to feel a little pushy, but because the contractions were still pretty random I thought it was all in my head that I felt a small urge to push. Humming wasn't cutting it anymore, I was trying to keep my voice in low "O" tones like I had been practicing, but the contractions would really catch me off guard with how quickly and strong they were coming. I really needed the water, but the thermometer said it was 106F!!! Daryl started baling the water into the sink and adding ice. That got it down to 104F. In the meantime he called the midwife and she asked to talk to me. I had a contraction and gave the phone back to Daryl and she said she was on her way, and her assistant would be there before her. He kept bailing and ran cold water through the hose. When it hit 101F, I knew it was still too hot but I couldn't stand it any more, I needed to get in. I got in and INSTANTLY felt better. I could hum again and manage the pain. I'm a little fuzzy on the time after this, so this may be inaccurate as far as times go from here on out. The midwife's assistant arrived around 2:00am, and the midwife shortly after. They unloaded their things from the cars, and just as they finished, the contractions got more intense again, really quickly. Again I felt a tiny urge to push, but denied it because I thought it was happening way to fast. The midwife came over and said it sounded like I needed to push, and maybe I should try with the next contraction. Daryl was surprised too, but accepted that it was "go time" and came to sit on the couch next to the pool. With the next contraction I started to push, but I just wasn't emotionally prepared for how quickly it was going. I started to get a little panicky. With the next contraction, I felt the baby flip and move through the pelvis, and I really panicked. I reached my hand down and could feel the bag of waters. I remember saying the dorkiest thing at this moment "There's a lot happening down there!" I had said something dorky when Jonah was crowning as well: The doctor asked me if I wanted to touch the babies hair and I said "not now, I'm busy!" So there must be something about that moment that makes me not care how stupid I sound.
The next contraction I didn't do anything and I felt her crown. This hurt much worse than when Jonah crowned, and I was still panicking because I wasn't prepared for such a fast delivery. I was still on my hands and knees in the tub and the midwife couldn't reach to deliver the baby. She was still in her bag of waters but her head was out. I hate how negative I was during this part of the delivery; I had wanted it to be serene and peaceful but I was panicked and screaming. The midwife tried to move my leg up on the side of the tub, but that didn't work so she told me I had to get into squating or come out of the water because my legs were too close together for the baby to come out. I worked it up as much as I could to get to the side of the pool and hang onto Daryl while I squatted and I literally screamed that baby out. I really didn't push at all, my body did that. I felt her come out and I turned just in time to see the midwife bringing her up out of the water. Again, not what I had planned (I wanted me or Daryl to bring her out of the water) but I was so panicky that I couldn't and Daryl was focused 100% on me. I sat in the tub holding her for a few minutes and then realized that we didn't know for sure that "she" was a she! I asked the midwife and she said "We didn't look, that's for you!" so I looked between her legs and she was indeed a girl.
They helped me out of the tub and to our couch so that I could nurse. She latched on like a pro and nursed for an hour! I delivered the placenta while she nursed, which is the part that scared me the most because of how Jonah's hospital birth went from this point on. If there was a time we would be transferring to the hospital, this would be it. But it delivered smoothly and I lost very little blood.
I had lost track of the time at that point so I asked what time the baby had been born. 2:38 am on June 5th (my mother's birthday!) We weighed her and she was 8 lbs 15 oz, 21 inches long. The midwife cut the cord (DH is squeemish) and the grandma's came down to make sure everything was okay. We got to see the placenta, which they thought was amazing. Then I was taken to the bathroom, cleaned up, and tucked into bed with my princess and a glass of water.
I'm still trying to figure out why I panicked so much, and why I was so negative while pushing her out (screaming "No, no, just get her out!") I really feel badly about this and it bothers me. I did not want her born into such negativity, and it bothers me that I was screaming no, as if I didn't want her when in fact all I wanted in the world at that moment was her. The way I reacted makes no sense to me, even from a psychologist's stand point. Especially since with my first child, I didn't make a peep while pushing. In fact, I told the doctors to get out because they were making too much noise. I suppose that every birth is unique, and therefor we react in unique ways to each one. With Jonah, I pushed for two and a half hours. He came out very gently, and the moment was much anticipated. With this birth, I had only three or four pushing contractions and she came out much faster than Jonah. That is the only thing that I can attribute my being panicked to.
I can't imagine having gone to the hospital. This seemed like such a natural part of the day. Go to coffee with some friends, spend the day with my mom, have a family dinner out, have a baby, call it a night. It really was the perfect way to bring a baby to the outside world.
Evelyn Clare, born 2:38am June 5th
8lbs 15 oz, 21 inches long