I wrote this to my new daughter, given DD1's interest in her own birth story. The birth was wonderful and FAST. So the story may be a bit longer than necessary.
As I write this, little bird, you are taking your first walk to the grocery store with your daddy, snuggled in close. You are not quite 4 days old.
I am not ashamed to say that I was impatient to meet you last friday. Your sister burst into the world a little early so I was expecting you to be earlier still. But your due date came and went, and June arrived. On Friday June 3rd I went to your sisters school for a parent coffee and smiled at everyone who was surprised I was still pregnant. But you had plans.
I went for a walk after the coffee, just needing to move and I could feel you nestling a little lower than you had before. Afterwards, your Daddy (who had taken the day off from work) picked me up and we had lunch and spent some time together. We went to the chiropractor as my hips were hurting, and then afterward stopped by the baby store at the hospital to discuss a sling for your daddy. On the way in, about 4PM. I felt something odd and wondered if my water had broken. It had not, as far as I could tell. We looked at the sling and I felt it again. I had a few irregular contractions. We got back into the car, and called V, one of our midwives, we decided the water was not broken but some things might be changing.
We drove home and I was having very light short contractions every 2.5 minutes. We agreed that we would go home and start to make dinner and I would lie down and drink water and see if they stopped. We cooked a bit (making cabbage apples and sausage) and I lay down and the contractions spaced out to 15 minutes or more irregularly. Eventually, your sister and Oma came home from your sister's swim lesson and we all ate dinner. Sometime after 6 PM the contractions started to move again to every 2 or 3 minutes and I lay down again around 6:15. At 6:45 or so they were still coming very lightly despite my laying down, so I called the midwife again to let her know we had a regular pattern. She asked me which student I preferred to be there and reminded me that it would take them about 45 minutes to come after I called them again and to call with changes.
I told your daddy and Oma that I was going for a walk around to the pond to see if these got going and taking my phone. I walked for about half an hour, called your Baba and a few friends, then came into use the bathroom and get a popsicle. I let your Daddy and Oma know that this really seemed to be happening and they worked on putting your sister to bed and preparing for a long night. I had a hunch it wasn't going to be as long as they thought but I didn't say anything, not wanting to jinx it. Each time around the pond I would get about 4 contractions, every 1.5 to 2 minutes, I think. By the time I came back in a little after 8, they were 40 seconds long or more and starting to require more attention. I told your Daddy and Oma that this was really happening and we needed to get the tub set up. I called the midwives back around 8:20 or 8:30 and said things were picking up. V said it sounded like I wanted them to come and I said yes, please.
From here timing gets a little fuzzier for me. I went upstairs and asked your sister if she wanted to be woken up if you were born that night and she said she did. I helped your daddy inflate the tub a little more and he got the hose connected and going to fill it. Your Oma and your daddy found the music I asked for and set it up and we picked up the bedroom a bit. I know I was less and less help with this as time went on because by this point I was needing to kneel on the bed every time I had a contraction and work with it. I moved around in the bedroom and bathroom while the tub filled. Your daddy suggested that I use the other bathroom and I said no. I noticed some water on the floor and couldn't figure out where it came from. We still can't. It's possible it was your water but I don't think so because I probably would have noticed and the midwife said later it didn't smell like it.
The hot water ran out and the water in the tub was colder than we wanted. We turned off the hose and your daddy stared heating water on the stove. I knelt on the outside of the tub and leaned on the side and after about 4 contractions this way, I decided that I didn't care if it was cold and got in the tub. Even cold it felt better. I tried my best to focus through the contractions. Your daddy thinks I got in the tub around 9:15, and I remember he and your Oma coming up with hot water a few times. After a while I heard the midwives come in and start coming up the stairs. This was probably between 9:30 and 9:40. By this point I needed someone with me and I asked your daddy to stay. He held my hands while I moaned during contractions and told me that I was doing great and I knew how to do this. Eventually he took his ring off because it was hurting when I squeezed his hands. C, the student midwife came, and listened to your heartbeat during a contraction and you were doing great moving from the 130s to the 150s. I knew you were OK too because I felt you kicking me between contractions and I remember it hurt. Maybe you were protesting, maybe you were getting yourself turned around and into position, maybe you were trying to help. I don't know, but I knew you were fine. I was beginning to feel this was beginning to hurt too much and was too hard, but part of me remembered that that was how I had felt just before your sister was born, so I reminded myself I was probably close. We had thought you would probably come fast and you were.
Close to 10, I felt my self start to push a little. I said to the midwives "I think I am pushing," around the time I heard V say, "that sounded a little pushy." They told me to go ahead and push. I began to push hard and I reached down in some disbelief to see if I could feel you. Part of me was afraid I was pushing to soon. As I pushed, I felt something small and hard coming closer to my hand, I had trouble believing it was your head but as I pushed more I could tell that it was. I held your little head in my hand as I pushed it out. All this must have been over 1 contraction because I never felt it go away. When your head was born, the midwives said "there's the head" and asked me to turn over, and I did. They checked you and said I would push again, and with one more push, your body was out. They helped me lift you up into my arms and you started to cry. It was 9:59 PM. Pushing you out had taken less than 3 minutes.
About the time she first hear one of us say "pushing," your Oma ran down the hall to get your sister. But you came very fast and your sister was very sleepy. Oma carried her into the room just as you were born and she even stood up a little and opened her eyes but she was not awake. So Oma took her back to bed.
You were pink and beautiful and your head was covered in vernix so much that the hat we later put on you stuck to it. I held you close to me in the water, saw you were a girl, and welcomed you into the world and our family. After a few minutes, because the water was cold, V suggested we cut your cord and let your daddy warm you up. They clamped the cord and your Daddy cut it. They dried you off and handed you to him to hold close against him. He held you, and sang Heart of My Heart to you and you settled down hearing his voice. He looked at me with a look of intense love for you.
After a few more minutes, the placenta still didn't seem ready to come, so C helped me out the tub and she and Vl dried me off and helped me put a robe on and get into bed. We checked the placenta again, and after a bit they handed you to me to nurse. You latched on immediately and hungrily ant the placenta came a bit later I think, easily this time. They checked it and said that that it was all there but had an extra lobe which was unusual and that all the vessels were intact.
I had very little bleeding and everything went well. I had no tears (my big fear), and one little spit that needed no stitches. V said later she was thinking as I was pushing that there was no way she could get to my to support you and my perineum as you came out, though we had discussed this. She congratulated me on doing an excellent job of doing this myself, even though I did not realize that was what I was doing at the time.
After you were done eating (about half an hour) the midwives asked to take you to the other end of the bed to check you out. They checked your ears and eyes, nose, and all you limbs fingers and other parts. They weighed you and I was stunned to find that you were 8 pounds even! Much bigger than I expected. You were 20 inches. They and your daddy put oil on your bottom and a diaper and wrapped you up and handed you back to me. You nursed some more and Val gave you a shot of Vitamin K in your leg. You did not seem to feel it. Then the 3 of us snuggled up in bed as the midwives cleaned up the tub and the room. They left around midnight, and I had my new little love, Ardis Clare in my arms.
The next morning I was changing your diaper in the hallway around 6 when your big sister K heard you crying. She stumbled sleepily into the hallway, looking confused, then suddenly happy and excited when she realized you were born. I told her that she had a baby sister and her name was Ardis Clare. I also told her that she was now 4 and 3/4 and she began to hop up and down happily. Later in the weekend we gave her a present from you and she gave you a little polar bear. She and Oma made a cake to celebrate you Birth Day with a zero on top. Your sister decorated it herself. And she, Oma, and i had some. I ate your piece because you were too small.
Welcome to the family, little girl!