When we got our positive pregnancy test in July, I calculated our due date to be April 1, 2013. It seems SO FAR away!
The anxiety about who we would choose to be our midwife started right away. My first inclination was Ann Olson who had been Toni’s student when Rheannon was born but when I contacted her she said she wasn’t taking clients on around that date because she was going to be out of the country. We are so blessed in this area to have a number of homebirth midwives available but none of the ones I knew seems like they would be a particularly good fit for the birth I hoped to have. Finding someone to take Toni’s place wasn’t going to be easy; she left some pretty big shoes to fill.
We ended up scheduling a meet-n-greet with Audrey and thought that she seemed like she’d be a good fit.
At 7 weeks I was anxious to tell the kids and then everyone else about our new addition so we scheduled an ultrasound to confirm that everything looked on track. Everything was absolutely perfect but the due date was changed to March 29th. I decided to continue to tell people we were due at the beginning on April since all the girls had either been born on time or late so I doubted that this new baby would come early and I’d rather not have any negativity about being “late” from friends and family if this little one didn’t show up “on time”.
The pregnancy went beautifully, very little discomfort over all even in the last months. I’m sure a lot of that has to do with the mild weather we’ve had and a “spring” baby instead of Meridith who was born in the hottest July we’ve had in years!
Since all of the girls had been born “post-dates” I had done a good job of not allowing myself to expect baby would come early, so as we neared the end of March I was overall content to still be pregnant. The only point of contention was that nearly our entire birth team was scheduled to leave town starting April 1st for the Midwifery Today conference in OR. I had to come to terms with the reality that if I went post-dates with this baby, that at least some of my ideal team wouldn’t be available and potentially the only one who *would* be here is the Midwife’s student, Lisa, everyone else would be a back up.
My mom and I had joked that going into labor on Easter Sunday (March 31st) would be perfect schedule-wise for the shop, the girls would all be on spring break and that April 1st would be a great birthday for a little boy.
Leading up our due date I had almost no signs that labor was eminent and even declined to be checked at my 40 week appointment since I wasn’t dilated at all the previous week and felt that things were pretty much the same.
Michael and I spent Saturday trying to finish up last minute items on our to-do list that were priority before the baby arrived as well as getting the Easter goodies together for the girls. Michael even went on a late night run to the store for chocolate bunnies because the Easter Bunny forgot to pick them up!
Sunday morning was lovely – the weather was so beautiful! The girls had a great time with their baskets & egg hunting. We had cinnamon rolls for breakfast before heading over to Michael’s parent’s house to celebrate. The family was noticeably disappointed that we’d arrived without a baby but they weren’t overly annoying about it, thank goodness!!
Within a couple of hours I was feeling the need to be in my own home and we decided to head out as soon as it was acceptable to do so, much to the disappointment of the kiddos. I lost part of my mucus plug and had a few random contractions and felt that they might actually turn into something, though I wasn’t ready to admit that to anyone, not even myself!
As the night progressed the contractions continued though they were randomly spaced out and totally manageable. I sat on my birth ball in my bedroom and watched TV, relaxed while Michael took care of the kids and a few more random things. The contractions were getting stronger but still random. I talked to my mom and told her I didn’t think I’d be going to work the next day though I didn’t think we’d be having a baby just yet and told her we’d call if anything changed.
Around midnight (which is my normal bedtime) we decided to call our midwife just to give her a heads up just in case things did pickup and then we went to bed. The contractions had spaced out to about 10 – 20 minutes apart and I was able to sleep through many of them but woke often throughout the night.
The pattern continued throughout the day on Monday (the 1st), getting closer together for a few hours and then spacing out again. I took another shower (with nipple stimulation and squatting) and also changed positions often. Around 4:00 I decided I needed to get out of the house. The contractions had spaced out a little bit (averaging closer to 12 min apart) so we decided to go for a drive and get some dinner and supplies for fruit salad. We drove around a bit and finally decided on IHOP for dinner. The contractions had picked up a bit in the car and I had a strong (but not painful) one as we walked into the restaurant – you should have seen the look on the servers face!! He asked me if I was ok and I said “yes, I’m fine.” He said, “No, really, are you sure you’re ok?” “Yes, really, I’m fine.” He then offered to put a rush in on our order ;)
We ate our food – I had “New York Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes” and they were divine! So tasty! I was pleasantly surprised that the contractions had stayed pretty constantly less than 10 minutes apart during dinner so on the way home I got in touch with Liz, my doula’s apprentice, and decided that she would come over and help with some rotation techniques since we all were still pretty sure he wasn’t lined up quite right.
When Liz arrived I was on the phone with my midwife. I told her what our plans were and how the contractions were coming along. We decided that I should try the homeopathic cohoshes to see if they would regulate the contractions or taper them off so I could sleep for the night. Michael ran up the street to SuperSupplements because we thought they were open until 10:00 – he got there at 9:03 and they were closed and wouldn’t let him in! After trying a couple more stores he headed back home to try plan B instead. While he was gone Liz and I did some relaxation techniques. The contractions were getting stronger now and though I was still about to stay on top of them, I was grateful for her physical support – sacrum pressure and the “double hip squeeze” were extremely helpful. I spent most of that time sitting on my birth ball leaning over the bed but I was up every 15 minutes (or so it seemed) to go to the bathroom! This of course would bring on a series of contractions.
When Michael got back home we tried the “Ramos Technique” (or what I will now refer to as “Patti’s Magic Maneuver”) which involves lying on your side opposite of where you think baby is – for me, I knew baby’s back was on my right side, so I laid on my left, as far onto my belly as I could with my left arm near my back. You extend your bottom leg straight and your support people do this maneuver where one person presses in on your sacrum essentially doing a “passive pelvic tilt” while the other person supports your top leg and brings your knee in as close to your chest (above your belly) as you can comfortably go. In essence combining “Exaggerated Sims,” a pelvic tilt, a lunge and a belly lift into one maneuver. We did two or three “sets” of this between a couple of contractions. Then I had a really good strong contraction and decided lying down was no longer a good idea.
Afterwards I got into the shower to relax a little, did a few more squats (which felt really good with the hot water on my back) and then when I got out Liz gave me a lovely massage and we sent Michael to go take a nap. Originally we’d decided that if the contractions slowed down or were the same after the shower and massage that she would run home to get her camera but it was becoming obvious that they were getting stronger and closer together now instead. (Hurray!!)
Liz checked in with my back up doula to get her opinion on how things were going and she strongly encouraged us to call my mw to check in. Since Audrey and Lisa lived about an hour away, I was extremely hesitant to call them too early as I knew all too well how long labors can be and I didn’t want them to get here too early and have nothing to do by sit and stare at me. At just after midnight I begrudgingly called her and told her I’d like to be checked to get an idea of where things were at. She asked me what had changed since the last time we’d talked (about 3 hours prior) and I said that the contractions were definitely stronger, generally closer together though we hadn’t been timing them during the shower or massage and that I thought that in the hour it would take them to get here things would probably continue to pick up. She asked if we’d set up the pool yet and I said no because I didn’t want to jinx anything by setting it up too soon. She reminded me that if we were ready for them to come out, we should be ready enough to have the pool filled.
When I got off the phone with her I woke up Michael and he got to work getting the pool blown up and started filling while Liz continued to help me through the contractions. He also called my mom to let her know how things were going and that she should probably head out. We figured we had several hours to go but since it would take her about an hour to get here as well, we wanted to give her plenty of time. It was a good thing we called when we did!
The midwives arrived at about 1:30 and when they checked me I was 6cm, 90% and baby was at a 0 station!! Woohoo!! I was so relieved! I had been trying not to get my hopes up that I was very far in case I wasn’t – I had allowed myself to expect to be about 4 but would have been ok with anything other than a 2! Hearing I was 6 and baby was so low was incredible! She also said that baby had a big bulge of water in front of his head.
The rest of the contractions were really tough and took everything I had to work through them. Michael kept working on getting the pool filled up with hot enough water and Audrey got her supplies set up. Liz and Lisa kept helping me try to cope. I tried a few standing up – that was miserable! I didn’t know where the birth ball had gone so I tried a few on my knees leaning on the bed – that was better than standing but they were getting so overwhelming. I was starting to get shaky and even involuntarily pushed a bit with a couple of contractions. I couldn’t form the words to say anything but I was afraid of pushing – it hadn’t even been an hour since I was checked! I couldn’t possibly be ready to push yet!!
A little before 2:30 Audrey decided that if Michael were to get in the water with me, it would probably raise the water level enough that it would be ok for me to get in. Hallelujah! I popped into the pool and melted into Michael, so relieving! The next contraction came quickly and was strong and I couldn’t do anything besides push! Lisa called out “ok, she’s pushing!” and part of the bag emerged – with meconium.
I had the wherewithal to remember the kids were still sleeping and called out “Oh no!! The kids!” So Liz ran upstairs to wake up the big girls and went and got Meridith off the couch where she was sleeping. The bag was still intact and with the next contraction his head was born! Lisa popped the bag because he didn’t seem to be rotating appropriately and the mec clouded the water. With the next contraction I pushed again, hard, but he still wasn’t quite coming. Audrey and Lisa told me I needed to stand up and I had a bit of a meltdown (for all of about 5 seconds – it went so fast!!) They each grabbed an arm and helped me up a bit – almost into a squat – and he slid right out!! Thank goodness!! He was earth-side at 2:47 am – just over an hour to go from 6cm to birth – AMAZING!!
He was fairly blue when he came out and obviously a little shocked by the quick transition himself so Audrey held up the oxygen to give him a little bit of help but he started to pink up and was responsive pretty quick. Meridith wasn’t interested and before anyone knew it she was already back out on the couch and back to sleep. The big girls were over the moon excited though and so glad we remembered to get them up!
Just a few minutes later, the placenta was on its way out as well! Everything about this little guy’s arrival was quick once he decided he was ready! We put it in a big bowl and it just floated near us in the water
Once things had settled down a bit, we repositioned a bit and Lisa clamped the cord so Michael could cut it and then we handed baby to Bridgitt so we could get out of the pool. She was so excited!
My mom arrived about 20 minutes after he was born – none of us expected him to arrive so soon!
After nursing for a bit, we did his assessment – 8lb 14oz (bigger than his two oldest sisters, but smaller than our youngest!) and 20.5” long with a 14” head!
Everyone headed out around 5:30am once we were all settled in. Griffin slept and nursed like a champ that first morning and I woke up feeling great. No tears (not even a skid mark!!) and overall I just feel so content with how everything went! That last hour of contractions was so intense but it was amazing! I couldn’t have asked for anything better.