I just finished this up and got the pictures from my friend.
After feeling pretty bummed to see my estimated due date come and go, I was pleased to wake up around 4am on Friday, October 14th with some pretty consistent contractions. I lay in bed and timed them for a while. They were coming about 4 minutes apart but weren’t overly intense. I got up and called my midwife, Kate, to give her a heads up that I thought it could be baby day. This was around 5am. I figured then I should probably try to get some rest, so I headed back to bed. The boys woke up shortly after and I asked Damian to please take them to my mom’s because I was pretty sure we were going to have a baby.
After leaving the boys with my mom, we went for a rainy, chilly walk. The contractions still weren’t too much to speak of but I could tell something was happening.
Eventually, the contractions slowed to every 10 minutes. Upon speaking to my midwife, we both agreed that maybe my body was telling me that I needed to rest before labor would really start. I had a pretty restless night the night before. Before lying down, Kate came and checked Calliope’s heartbeat and also checked my cervix. Baby girl sounded just fine and I was about 50% effaced and 3cm dilated.
After the midwife left, I lay down in bed and eventually dozed off. I’m not sure how long I slept for, but I was so very disappointed to realize, upon waking, that I had not had a single noticeable contraction that whole time. It was so discouraging. From there it was just a holding pattern. The boys came home and had a nap.
Around the time they started waking up, between maybe 2 and 3pm, the contractions returned to about every 10 minutes apart. It was very shortly after those that they started to get much more intense. Around 4 I called Kate and let her know I thought it would be good for her to head over. I was really feeling the pain and was looking forward to trying out the birth pool. I was concentrating on breathing through my contractions. By the time the midwife showed up, around 4:30, things were definitely picking up and were much more intense. The contractions were about 5-6 minutes apart. Kate guessed that I was probably in transition at that time, though my cervix wasn’t checked again throughout the rest of my labor.
Kate set about getting her supplies ready and setting up the birth pool. Damian had brought the boys back to my mom’s and gotten back and set up covering the couch. I sat and breathed through a couple contractions and then decided to get into the pool. We had forgotten to turn up our water heater so the water was warm, but not as warm or full as it should be. It felt pretty good anyway. I was sitting in the pool, breathing and moaning quietly through contractions and watching HGTV in between contractions (it was on my whole labor. Ha!)
While I was in the pool the second midwife, Cindy, showed up to assist in the birth. After being in the pool for a little bit I started feeling a little chilly and like I just wanted to lie down and rest. I got out, used the restroom, and lay down on the couch. Things were so intense and strong at that point. I lay on the couch while Damian rubbed my back through contractions. It felt so good and was so nice to have something to distract me from the contractions a little bit.
Sometime after laying on the couch for a bit, my friend, Jen, showed up to take some pictures of the birth for me. I remember lying on the couch wondering how long this was going to take, and I also remember worrying about my water breaking and making a huge mess. The contractions got even stronger at this point. I had to vocalize loudly through them, while grabbing onto the back on the couch.
I had a couple contractions that felt a little different – like she was moving down lower. I started to feel the pressure in my bottom instead of up front. I felt like it would probably be pretty soon that I would start feeling like I had to push. As advised by Kate, I got up from my spot on the couch and somehow made it to the bathroom to pee. I thought I would pee and then go back to the couch, and Calliope would probably be born shortly after.
I got to the bathroom, sat on the toilet and something changed. Damian was outside the bathroom door, and both midwives were sitting in the dining room right off the bathroom. I sat up very straight and said as loudly as I could, which was probably very quietly, ‘I feel like I need to push…’ I felt like I needed to say it without too much effort or I would just start pushing. Damian told Kate and Cindy what I had said.
Kate got her gloves on and crouched down in front of me. She told me to go with my body and to push when I felt the strong urge to. Well, not even a minute later, the urge hit, and strong. Kate said, ‘tell me if you feel a head down there.’ I shook my head yes and she said, ‘yes, you feel a head?!’
I pushed. I felt the water bag break. Kate put her hand down there and I felt Calliope moving down fast. I heard someone, Kate or Cindy say, ‘Can you get up? You can’t have your baby on the toilet!’ I grabbed Damian’s outstretched hand and tried to stand. I was caught half standing but there was no way that I could get up. I felt her head moving down fast. I heard Kate say, ‘Crowning.’ Push. ‘Head is out and we have a loose cord.’ Push. Her body came flying out. Kate just barely caught her before she went into the toilet and hit the water. Calliope was born at 6:28 pm on October 14th, 2011.
Kate pulled her up and placed her against my belly and wrapped her up in a towel. I remember saying, ‘oh my god. I’m so tired.’ I just kept saying it. I was exhausted and just so overwhelmed that it was over. It all happened so fast. Kate told me to look down and talk to her, trying to focus me and keep me from freaking out. I had a drink of water and made my way back to the couch. I lay down with Calliope wrapped up against me and delivered the placenta.
Calliope nursed like a little champ right away. We checked her out, made our announcement phone calls and the midwives started cleaning up and preparing my placenta for smoothies. When everything was cleaned up, Kate did the newborn exam. Calliope was just perfect. She weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces and was 21 inches long, and she was just beautiful with a fuzzy round head and long, slender fingers.