November 29th, 2011 marked 40 weeks of pregnancy for me. I was expecting to not birth until several days afterward at least, based on my other two pregnancies. I did not have prodromal labor like I did with my 2nd child, and I had checked my cervix that morning: maybe 2-3cm, thick, and still posterior, and though I thought the baby was engaged, it turns out that he wasn’t. Anyway, my due date was pretty uneventful until the evening. In the early afternoon, I took the kids into town for my chiropractor’s appointment while Joel stayed home to edit a wedding video. On the way home I talked to my doula, Mica and she shared with me how one of her clients was having constant prelabor contractions and we talked about how we both hoped we wouldn't be in labor at the same time, though I assured her that I guessed it would be some days still for me.
That afternoon, I had maybe 5 contractions an hour, which was normal for me, though they seemed to be slightly more uncomfortable than just Braxton Hicks, but absolutely nothing made me think labor was imminent. Around 6pm, Joel and Tor left for chess club (Tor was so glad he got to go- the whole week before he kept on saying that Enoch could be born after he got to go to chess club!). My friend Krista and her two young kids came over; we usually hang out on Tuesday nights while the boys are in town.
I started making mac and cheese dinner for everyone around 7PM. About that time, I had a few random contractions that were much more intense. I think I started timing them around 7:30PM. They were under 5 minutes apart. Soon I was breathing through them. I distractedly tried to feed the kids dinner and told Krista that these contractions were getting pretty tough. I texted my doula Mica around 8PM just saying a “heads up but don’t come yet because it might not be the real thing”. I texted my husband saying “you don’t have to run home, but I’m, having breathe-thru-them contractions.” Knowing my labors, he left rather quickly.
I checked my cervix and to my delight found it to be very thin and loose, about 5cm. So it was real labor! About 10 minutes later I asked Mica to come and I called my midwife Vicky to give her a heads up call too but since she was at home (2 miles from my house) and her supplies were in the car already, I told her she could wait to come. I heated up my rice sock and started feeling in labor-land about then. Contractions were 2-3 minutes apart.
I asked Krista and her kids to please leave then. Krista was coming back to be at the birth, but I was starting to be bothered by the kids in the house - I was definitely entering a labor mindset at this point. I started moaning through the contractions right as Krista was driving away. I tried to vaguely clean up the house and get Zion ready for bed. Luckily, Joel came home at this point and we put Zion in bed around 9PM. Then I think we asked Vicky to come. She came along with the second midwife, Sarah. Tor wanted to stay up for the birth so he alternated between playing chess on the computer and encouraging me.
I sat down in the rocking chair with a rice sock and said, “Ahhhh” through a lot of contractions at this point. I was very focused during this birth on the sounds I was making. I concentrated on controlling the “Ahhh” to almost a song-noise, low and steady, making sure that when I had to take a breath, I went right back into it at the same level of control. It really really helped. I felt very in-control during this birth, more than either of my others. I was aware of what my body was doing, too. After Mica got there, I started feeling more pain in my back and that concerned me. So I got on hands and knees leaning on the birth ball; that position felt much worse than the chair (I even moaned at one int “I hate this position..”) but I think I needed to do it. Mica helped me hold the rice sock in place at this time.
After that, I had Vicky check me as I was feeling shaky and nauseous. I was 8cm and thinned but Enoch was still high at -2 station. This was discouraging to me and surprising, as my other two kids had engaged prior to labor and I though he had too. I had a flitting thought if What if he just doesn’t descend? as had occurred in one of my friend’s labors two weeks prior. I decided to use the restroom.
In my prior two labors, I hated sitting on the toilet. This labor, it was the right place to be. I was by myself and that was fine. I took my rice sock and sang my “labor song” but it started changing. It was getting louder and not quite as steady- still controlled but a lot more “Ahhs” to one breath: I knew I was feeling pushy then. I did one last cervical check on myself to see if the baby had dropped and he had. Yay what a relief! So I pushed a bit, just slight pushes and that helped relieve the pressure.
I came out of the bathroom at 11:30PM and asked if Vicky could do one last check because I felt pushy. She did and I was complete and ready to go! I went into the birthing room and prepared to get into the pool. I was irritated at my husband briefly because the pool wasn’t as filled up as I had thought it was- as it turns out, he had filled it completely earlier but needed to drain some of the water because it had become cold. I had a real pushing contraction holding onto the edge of the tub, then I got in.
As soon as I was in the tub, I started pushing in ernest, just like Zion’s birth, turned on my knees leaning over the side. I felt the bag of waters break and Enoch start to crown. But instead of coming right out like Zion had done, he was stuck in the middle of his forehead and his head was partly out of the water so the midwives had me stand up more to make sure his head didn’t go back in the water. And I think they got a bit concerned because they were telling me to push real hard and get the baby out, I think he got stuck at the shoulders a bit too. So the very last few minutes of crowning and getting his body out was real intense and I bit Joel’s arm at one point and yelled some too. I completely felt like I had torn a ton.
But then he was out and I flipped around for them to hand him to me. He was born at 11:45PM, only 15 minutes before the end of his due date! He was crying pretty good soon enough and got suctioned just a bit. Krista had gone to get Tor from the other room and he came in right after Enoch was born; he was such an excited older brother. He just leaned over the edge of the rub and grinned at his baby brother. It was so sweet.
Enoch was wrinkly and his face looked somewhat like a little old man. His cord was extremely long. I delivered the placenta with no problems; it was the biggest placenta I’ve seen yet (and yielded a lot of capsules when I encapsulated it a few days later). We got out of the tub and into the bed. After an examination, we discovered that I had not torn whatsoever- so glad. Enoch tried to nurse a bit, then we got him weighed and measured: he was 8 lbs 7 oz and 21.25 inches long. I felt pretty good afterwards, no dizziness or anything. The midwives, our doula, and Krista left after a bit. Tor had fallen asleep watching Enoch on our bed (Zion had slept through the entire thing!); Joel put him in his room and we all went to sleep.
1 week old: