Sorry this is so bloody long, but it's the only version with all of my thoughts attached. I'm not ready to share some parts with my midwife until I have the right words, and I'm not ready to share more intimate stuff with the blog/facebook world. I've tried to bold the portions that make up the "story" portion...
Birth Story of Genevieve Soleil, born 8:12pm on 12/12/12
*The evening of December 11 (I was 39w6d if using the same dating method as with the boys), I was so *done* being pregnant and just wanted to meet my baby girl. Dawud, the boys, and I went to SuperTarget so I could walk some laps. I was going to walk 12, but had some ligament pain (due, I’m sure, to sitting on my duff entirely too much for the 2nd and 3rd trimesters) and called it quits after 9 laps. I’d had semi-regular contractions through them, and they got a little more intense while power walking, but I never had to stop--though I did have to concentrate to breathe through them a few times. We came home, put the boys to bed, and did our own version of induction, too. That seemed to work pretty well on top of the walking, as I started having noticeably stronger and regular contractions after that.
Around 11pm on the 11th of December, I started having noticeably stronger contractions through which I couldn’t talk, and they were somewhat regular--averaging about 7min apart. I slept between them for a bit, and about 2am, they were steadily at 5 min apart and I could no longer sleep at all, so I woke Dawud up, we called the midwife (Amber) and my friend (Charlie) who was to entertain the boys and take photos of the birth and baby. After all, my previous labors were so fast--I had gone from 5 min apart to transition in less than an hour. Of course, we filled the birth pool, Amber and her assistant/apprentice (Cheryl) came, as did Charlie (It wasn’t until one of them said something about a 12-12-12 baby that I realized it was a possibility!) ...and my contractions spaced back out again. We all went to sleep around 4, I think (Dawud and I on the futon in the homeschool/birth room, and the 3 attendants on the couch in the living room). I was really disheartened, and everyone went home around 6 or 7. I went to my real bedroom and slept for a few more hours until I was awakened at 10:30 with the first of more strong, regular contractions.
*A couple of things I noted with this round were that my breasts started to feel more tender and sensitive than they had during the previous night. I also began the clearing-out of my, erm, digestive system. The previous night, I could snack through what I thought was labor (though I overdid it with the dried pineapple slices and tried unsuccessfully to throw up in the wee hours before everyone went home), but during the day on the 12th, I wanted nothing to eat, and was even nauseous for a good while.
These new contractions felt more pressure-y, and they got back to 3-4 min apart after a couple hours, so we called Cheryl since Amber had to be at a court proceeding (and wasn’t even reachable). She came over and spent the afternoon with Dawud and myself, trying to keep things going again. She suggested alternating activity with rest (but I swear, she was constantly telling me to lie down, even though I was getting good contractions when I was walking up and down the stairs). Things fizzled out AGAIN, and she went home around 3, suggesting I try a chiropractic adjustment (I had just had one 2 days prior) and/or acupuncture to get labor going in earnest. I called my friend’s mother-in-law who is an acupuncturist, but couldn’t reach her, then remembered my Naturopath is also an acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine practitioner. I called her office, virtually in tears, and they worked me in.
My ND suggested that my issue lay with an inadequately nourished body, that I needed a big boost of iron and my chronically low progesterone may also be at play and suggested I get a progesterone cream. (Even though progesterone is naturally pretty low at the end of pregnancy, it does need to be at a certain threshold for labor to run smoothly, apparently.) We proceeded with about an hour of acupuncture, with plans to go to Whole Foods on the way to pick up the boys from Charlie’s on our way home, since she had plans for the evening. An hour later, I rolled off the acupuncture table, and seriously started having way different, stronger, and closer contractions! I had to stop a couple times while at Whole Foods to sway and breathe through a contraction, and it was getting difficult to do. We were going to take the highway since we had to pick up the boys, and of course it was rush hour, but there were also accidents galore, and traffic was horrific. It was kind of blurry from there until we got home, where I promptly took a double shot of iron and double dose of progesterone cream.
I called Amber when we were in traffic (maybe around 6:30), telling her my contractions were stronger, necessitating me to hum/moan and sway through them, and they were about 5 minutes apart. She said she had never seen acupuncture work that quickly, and that it might be another day or so for it to kick in, and that she had plans for the evening and would come to my house around 9pm for membrane stripping if things were still going slow. (But I didn’t feel like they were going slow anymore...apparently I come off as way too calm in active labor for anyone to believe that I’m close to birthing!) Somewhere in there, the boys were fed and put to bed while I sat at the computer, contracting away--they had gotten down to 3 minutes apart.
Since Amber was busy, I called Cheryl, telling her my contractions had gotten closer together--to 3 min--and more intense, and by the way, I lost my mucous plug, and she suggested I take a bath or shower to see if they changed any, and to call her when they got to 2 minutes apart. (I remember thinking, “I don’t HAVE 2 minutes apart...I have a baby! but at that point, I decided I didn’t want her coming unless Amber was here anyway. It’s also worth noting that I thought she would be relaying my information to Amber. It became apparent later that she was not.) I had a feeling if I got in a bathtub, my baby was going to be born there, so instead of the bath or shower, I stripped off my clothes, put on my “birth bra” (for photo-friendliness), and got straight into the birth pool. It didn’t take long for my contractions to become very intense. Dawud took over Contraction Timer App duty on my phone, and they were less than 3 minutes apart anymore.
I checked myself while in the pool and realized I was feeling baby’s head (and hair!) through the amniotic sac. Dawud went upstairs to see if the boys wanted to come down for the birth, but they were already fast asleep and did NOT want to wake up! Then he asked if I wanted to call Cheryl, but I said I’d rather it just be me and him or me, him, and Amber. We decided to call Amber at that point (about 8:05 pm...My contractions were 2:15 apart just then, incidentally). She listened to me moan through a contraction and said she’d be right over--The one she heard, I felt a little bit pushy for a couple seconds of, so I knew she wasn’t going to make it. He made a quick call to Charlie to tell her to come over. (The homeschool meeting she was at is also my homeschool group, so they were all happy to see her leave!) I had another, shorter contraction, got on my knees and leaned over the side of the birth pool (after tearing in the front with Khalil because of my funky positioning, I was determined to birth in the All-Fours position in hopes of avoiding tears altogether)--and then told Dawud I needed him to get a washcloth from the supply bin, get behind me, and support my perineum with it. Within a few seconds of him doing so, I had another contraction during which my body was pushing despite my valiant effort not to push, and I said, “Her head’s coming now!” I had maybe a minute before the next push (again, against my will, lol!), and she was out. Dawud started to pick her up, and I just said, “No, just push her through my legs, so I can pick her up.” Again, he’s a good listener when it’s necessary, and I picked her up, sat back (which was much easier than I had envisioned, by the way), and he and I stared at our sweet baby girl. (Yes, I totally double-checked to make sure she was a she, lol!) I asked Dawud to tell me what time it was. 8:12pm on December 12, 2012. She hardly had any vernix left on her (just on her back and in folds of skin), but she was hairy--lots of dark, fluffy hair at her shoulders and prominent eyebrows already to match the dark hair on her head. Her feet and toes, hands and fingers, were really long and lithe. She looked a lot like Khary when he was born. I latched her on to my right breast, and she began nursing away immediately.
After a few (no idea how many) minutes of bliss, we decided we should call Amber letting them know that Genevieve had arrived. Charlie was the first person through the door, and Dawud told her Nevie was here before she came back to the birth room, and she was already in happy tears. Amber came a few minutes later, and Cheryl some time after that. Genevieve was showing some impressive head control and rooting, so we let her try to find her own way to my other breast and sure enough, she found it and latched all on her own--that was pretty amazing. I stayed in the pool for apparently a really long time (it didn’t feel like more than an hour!) while Nevie nursed like crazy, waiting for the placenta to come. Eventually, we did get out of the water, me holding Genevieve, since we hadn’t cut the cord yet, and moved to the futon/bed. Within minutes, the birth pool was emptied, cleaned, dismantled, and moved out of the room.
Somewhere along the lines, we got a few blurry pictures after babe had arrived, everyone went home, and we got some sleep. (Dawud slept on an air mattress next to us on the (too small) futon.) When the boys awoke and came downstairs, they proceeded to ooh and ahh over their baby sister and began their abject adoration of her straightaway.
*The placenta was fully detached, but I hadn’t had any contractions to push it out yet. A couple hours after Nevie was born, I had to squat over a bowl and some Chux pads and push it out on my own. Dawud went upstairs again to see if the boys would wake up and give them a chance to cut the cord, but they declined and went back to sleep again. When I was in the water, I kept waiting for it to turn bloody from me bleeding too much like I had with both boys, but it never did. Not sure what was different about this birth in that respect, but I’m so glad I didn’t have to worry about hemorrhage, even my “slight” ones. I was in disbelief when Amber declared I hadn’t torn at all, and insisted I check myself. I don’t know that I’ll ever birth another baby, but if I do, I’ll definitely be in All Fours again--the recovery has been way easier than with either of the boys (I had a slight perineal tear with Khary, and the clitoral tear with Khalil). While Amber was checking me in the bathroom, Cheryl weighed the baby without me, and even read the scale wrong. Genevieve was actually 8lb1oz, but she read the scale as 8lb7oz when she moved it, and that’s what I told everyone initially. hmph.
**I’m still processing some of the negative aspects of my labor and birth--mainly that I didn’t feel like I really had access to my midwife both during the day (totally out of her control, as she was under subpoena and was testifying) and in the evening (she had explained that her husband was taking a final exam until 7:30, and her kids had company over for Hanukkah and she didn’t want to leave her teenagers unsupervised...that one seems a little iffy to me). I’m not bitter about the actual birth or anything--it was kind of perfect to just have myself and DH welcome our baby girl on our own, and we were comfortable in the situation, too. I’m irritated that my communications and feelings of urgency were shrugged off a bit (presumably) because my labor had fizzled out a couple times prior--as if I were crying wolf. What I was, was concerned that my labor would become precipitously fast and wanted to make sure everyone who was supposed to be in attendance was there and in enough time for things to not feel rushed.