I thought for sure I was going to have this baby early, feeling so many more symptoms than I did with my two boys. I never felt Braxton Hicks contractions before, so this was new. But, knowing this is the last baby; I was also just enjoying the last few days of being pregnant.
On Monday Jan. 31st, I was having some Braxton hicks contractions, and just feeling a little off. My husband decided to work from home. With a 45-minute commute and my history of speedy labors, he’s always a little nervous that I will be delivering at home- alone.
Feb. 1 My husband Nuno took a vacation day and I had NO symptoms all day. I was getting a little grumpy. In the morning we hung Nuno's paintings at a new show. When Diogo got home from school, we took a walk in the woods with the boys. I felt a little detached from everything. Called my midwife and started taking blue and black cohash to see if I couldn’t get things rolling. I was feeling anxious; I just can’t stand the idea of going past my due date! Diogo was born on his due date – which seemed as it should be to me. Cruz being 4 days late drove me a little batty. Where else in our lives do we know something this significant is about to happen, but we don’t exactly know when? At 7:30 pm I put a post on Facebook “hmmm”, since I was having NO symptoms.
10:00 pm. Of course, after making that post, I started having some contractions. They were short and inconsistent so I didn’t think much of it. I attributed them to the cohoshes, but they were different from the Braxton Hicks. Nuno was at his art studio and I decided to go to bed.
Feb 2 - 1:00 am (My due date). Woke up and was still having some contractions. Rather mild, but after going to the washroom, I saw I was losing my mucus plug. I called my amazing midwife Nancy at 2:00. It was still too early to know whether this was going to progress or not, although Nancy and her ass’t Joann decided to come to the house (Nancy lives 40 minutes away). After calling Nancy I went up to wake Nuno. I told him I had called Nancy, but to stay in bed and to make sure Cruz stayed asleep in bed.
3:00 Midwives arrived and after checking blood pressure, etc, said there wasn’t much to do until things either stalled out or progressed. I told them I was fine by myself, so the midwives went up to the spare room to sleep. I was still having the occasional contraction, but they didn’t hurt and they weren’t regular. I envied all the sleepers in the house who were all the types who could sleep any time and anywhere – but that isn’t me. I picked up the downstairs, swept, did 2 loads of laundry, ran the dishwasher, make my favorite cranberry lemon scones from SmittenKitchen, and brewed a pot of coffee.
6:00 am Cruz, our alarm clock, had everyone up. We all enjoyed breakfast. I was still having contractions every once-in-a-while, although sometimes I would feel like it had been a while and I wondered if they had stopped.
7:30 am Diogo went to school, and I still hadn’t started active labor. Nancy had a first time mom in labor in Apex, about 40 minutes away. She was debating about where she needed to be. Usually Nancy wouldn’t check, but given the decision she needed to make she asked if I wouldn’t mind. I was 5 centimeters dilated, and she could tell our little girl had a head of hair! At 5 centimeters Nancy said I wasn’t yet in active labor and she was going to go to Apex and would come back for me. She was hesitant though. She knew if I started that it would be quick, and that I’m a super fast pusher. I, of course, was feeling panicky about the possibility of her leaving! I was telling my body to get a move on!!
8:30 am Nancy talked to her ass't Joann for a little while and started to get ready to leave. My body was finally starting to listen. I had in my head that I liked 2/2/11 for a birthday, and I felt like a baby born in the year of the Tiger would fit better in our family than the year of the Rabbit. Today was the LAST day for year of the Tiger. Ridiculous, I know virtually nothing about horoscopes or the Chinese New Year- I had read about it the day before and it stuck in my head. I’ll also admit a certain attraction to delivering again on my due date. It’s a DUE DATE, a deadline of sorts, the best day to deliver your baby! I’m so anal! Thankfully my body decided to listen and I went into active labor very quickly – Nancy was on the phone with the other midwife, she took one look at me and said, “looks like I’ll be staying here”!
8:30 am I called my parents and told them it was time to drive over to get the boys. My dad asked if I was serious and I assured him that I was as sure as I could be. Nuno took Cruz over to our AMAZING friends Chris and Claire, who watched Cruz until my parents arrived in town.
8:30 – 11:20 am
This labor seemed very similar to my labor with Cruz. It was not intense, very manageable. Once in a while I would have an intense contraction, but most seemed to go by without much notice. I meandered throughout the house picking up, straightening.
Nuno and Joann were on a mission to fill the birthing tub. With our outdated water heater, that involved a lot of pots on the stove, multiple thermometer readings, and heavy blankets over the tub. I remember watching the hub-bub with detached interest. They were both really focused on their job!
I picked up around the house, told stories, and took a quick shower. Staying hydrated was a huge goal of mine this labor. I tried to drink tons of coconut water and water to see if I could avoid the long and scary recovery from Cruz’s birth. I’m not sure what time it was, but at one point I was sitting at the kitchen table and I felt a small bubble pop. Nancy said that maybe I had a high break in my water. About 5 minutes later I stood up and there was a gush of water. She was rightJ
Standing at the piano was my favorite spot for both deliveries. The top of the piano is the perfect height to stand up and lean.
11:20 I found a spot and didn’t want to move. I was standing inbetween our two couches, which make an “L”, one hand on each couch. Even though Nancy asked a few times, and I felt a little guilty, I didn’t have any desire to get into that birthing tub. All the hard work from Nuno, Joann, and our aging hot water heater, and I just didn’t feel like moving.
I was starting to have more intense contractions, but they weren’t on top of each other and not every contraction was intense. Around 11:30 I was starting to feel like I could push, but it didn’t feel like I was in transition. Before I felt like I was barely coherent in transition, this time I was still thinking! I’ve never asked to be checked before, but I asked if Nancy could tell me if I was fully dilated. I started to lie down on the couch, had another contraction and hopped back up (how the hell do when lay down during labor!). Laid down again quick for her to tell me I was 8 centimeters and the baby’s head was turned slightly toward my leg. It was 11:35 am.
Nancy recommended on the next contraction that I squat and sway my hips to see if the baby would rotate. I did as she suggested. Then I started to push. I was standing back at my position between the two couches. Labor was intense. Nuno has kneeling in front of me, Nancy was behind me. I pushed once. Nancy told me to stop pushing and gave me this funky breathing sound to imitate (I can’t recall at the moment). I had to push again and the baby came out in one-fell-swoop. Nuno said one minute he was getting ready for the pushing phase, and the next the midwife was holding the baby in her hands. She was born 12 minutes after being told I was 8 centimeters, pushed for 8 minutes, born at 11:47 am.
She was gorgeous. Dark hair covering her head. Chunky, chunky cheeks, and feeling wonderfully solid. Nancy was so surprised how big she was. She estimated that she was only 71/2 pounds, but was actually 8 lbs. 11 ounces. Diogo was 8lbs 3 oz, while Cruz was 9 lbs 4 ounces.
As promised, I called the school first and had Diogo pulled out of class to be told that his baby sister was born. The second phone call was to Cruz. My parents had just arrived to the Giordano’s. We promised Diogo and Cruz they would be the first to know the baby was born and the first to be told her name. We waited until the kids met their sister before announcing her name.
We named her Beatriz Frances Gomes. My husband I debated over the name for months. This was the first baby where we knew the gender from an ultrasound, and we STILL couldn't come up with a name. We knew we wanted to stick with a Portuguese name. Although we had the same girls "backup" name for our first two babies- it wasn't speaking to me this time. I heard the name Beatriz and it just stuck! I usually don’t like names that might be shortened to a nickname, and yet every time I spoke to the baby or thought about the baby, I called her Beatriz in my head. I also really like how the name means “Bringer of Joy, and Happiness”. We didn’t definitively decide on the name until a few days before she was born. We have used our grandparents names for all the kids middle names, and my dads mom’s name Frances seemed like the right choice for Beatriz.
She is 1 month old today; and I gifted with a huge gummy smile! Here are some updated pics of our little love: http://web.me.com/ng0/Beatriz/Posts/Posts.html