Hi All - I finally got a chance to write down her story from last Sunday. Here comes Baby M!
The Supermoon Birth Story of Baby M
Born Sunday, June 23rd, 4:41pm. 7lbs 13oz. 20 inches long.
Baby M's due date was June 17th and I had been having Braxton-Hicks for weeks. The week prior to Baby M's arrival there were two nights when I thought I was actually in labor. Contractions had begun shortly after the boys were in bed. I timed them and even once texted our midwife about them because they seemed to be 5-6 minutes apart and pretty regular. Her advice is always to drink lots of water and lay down. Both nights when I actually laid down in bed the contractions would peter out.
I was getting frustrated. Even though I know a due date is a "guess date" there's something about it that sticks in your head and is hard to let go of. I was starting to feel like I would just be pregnant for a couple more weeks. I started making plans for the coming week, arranging childcare, planning on attending a conference for school.
Sunday the 23rd was a full moon and a supermoon (the month of the year when the moon is closest to the earth). I had a thought in the back of my head that maybe she would come with the supermoon.
At 1:30am that morning I woke up with a very strong contraction. This had been happening periodically so I ignored it and kept sleeping. Strong waves came about every 15-30 minutes (not really sure because I was trying to sleep through them). They would wake me, I would breathe through them and then I'd try to doze back off. I had some weird dreams during these little bouts of sleep. Around 6am I dozed after one and dreamed that my baby had been born. Her hand was in my hand and mirrored its movements and I was photographing our hands moving together. I woke up at 6:30 excited that I might actually be in labor. I started moving around and eating breakfast but then the contractions once again disappeared. Another false alarm.
We went about our day, did some chores in the morning, and then planned on going swimming with the kids at a nearby lake. We were at the lake for about two hours in which I mostly just floated around and chatted with the boys and let DH do any child-lifting or splashing. I was feeling really tired from not getting good rest the previous night.
A little after noon I was floating in the lake and felt a very strong contraction. I had to ask DH to keep the boys away from me because I couldn't talk or focus on anything. Fifteen minutes later I felt another one and had to focus intensely. Everyone was getting hungry so we decided to leave the lake and go to a sandwich shop for lunch. As we were preparing to leave I had another contraction. And while walking with the two-year-old I had another. They were becoming increasingly hard to deal with while moving around and being responsible for other things. We finally reached the car where I had another contraction, super strong, and I told DH we needed to just go home immediately because I couldn't go to any sandwich shop comfortably right now. "Is this it?" he asked. I told him I still wasn't sure but I just wanted to be home.
I had several more contractions in the car which were awful because of the car's motion. We got home and I stayed in the car moaning through a strong contraction. Our upstairs neighbor asked DH why I was hanging out in the car alone and he explained that I was probably in labor so she got really excited and wished me luck while we went upstairs together. (Luckily they are very nice because I'm sure they hear our homebirths).
At home, this is around 1:30pm or so, I wanted to shower immediately to get the sand and pond off me. DH asked if he should call people now and I told him yes. I was finally ready to admit that this might be it. He called his parents to come get the boys and his sister to come and take photos at the birth. I was getting a little scared because of how intense the contractions were so soon. I was thinking that if I had many more hours of this I wouldn't be able to take it. In the shower, I washed myself and then would pause and vocalize between contractions.
Around 2pm I called our midwife. She spoke to me calmly and I was able to actually speak through a contraction and I told her I didn't want her to come too soon and have her hanging around for 12 hours at our house. She asked about the timing of the contractions and I told her they were 5-6 minutes apart and 1 minute or longer in duration so she said she would start getting things ready but to call immediately if they picked up or my water broke.
DH started filling our waterbirth tub with the boys and I closed myself in our bedroom to labor. I could hear them being loud and doing things and it was actually very comforting to have them all near me but not too near me. I rocked in the rocking chair and started singing "Go tell it on the mountain" which is weird because I'm not very religious but it felt like exactly the right thing. It made me cry out of gratitude for such an amazing husband and family and cry out of joy to finally be able to meet our baby. DH came in at one point to get something and I told him I loved him so terribly much and cried. That time laboring alone was actually really important and I think it was the right thing to do to be with myself and my baby.
About 15 minutes later the contractions had picked up to 3-4 minutes and were getting so hard to manage. I called our midwife again and told her that. She said she would make her way over.
Around 3:15 the grandparents arrived to whisk the boys away. I heard them leaving but at that point I needed to vocalize and moan through every contraction. DH came in and sat with me for awhile and then we moved to the boys' room where the tub was set up. He got me water and juice. I rocked and moaned and rocked. I asked him to text the midwife as to whether I could get into the tub yet (I wasn't sure if you should wait until a certain point in your labor?) She responded that anytime is fine. I got in but it was really cold. DH helped me get out and held me while I had a huge contraction. That felt good, to be held. He added more hot water but it wasn't long before the water heater gave out again. I didn't care if it was cold - I needed the water. I got in and positioned myself on all fours with my chin on the side of the tub. As a wave came I would put my forehead down and moan, vocalize, try to relax everything. Although I had gone through labor twice already, I was scared of these contractions at this point. They felt so difficult and I felt so sure that I had many more hours of them. I asked DH at one point for reassurance, to tell me that I could do it, I could get through it.
The midwives and DH's sister arrived a little after 4pm. As she entered, my midwife heard me vocalizing and said "Hm, are you feeling sort of pushy?" I moaned "I don't knoooow". But then after it stopped, I asked her if it were possible to feel like pushing already. She told me to just listen to my body. The midwives then started having a conversation because the water in the tub was too cold. They felt like the baby might get shocked into breathing in so it would be best to either warm the water or get me out of the tub for birth. They started boiling large pots of water to add in and also preparing the bed next to the tub for me getting out.
The next couple of contractions in the tub I could really start to feel my body begin to bear down. But I still sort of didn't believe it could be pushing time so fast. They heard my noises changing and started moving much faster. I heard them say there wasn't time to boil the water and then I got really excited that I indeed could push and that the end was coming really, really soon. With the next contraction I really tried pushing and man, that felt good. One of the midwives reached down to see if she could feel the head inside of me. I asked if she could - she said "it's not right there but she's low". I asked her to really verify that her head was really that low so she tried again and said "yeah, she's really right there". Until that point I was thinking to myself that maybe I was only 5cm, maybe I had many more hours, maybe this or that. But that last check was all I needed to really push. With the next contraction I gave it my all and really felt her bulging down there - I was going to do it! I was going to meet my baby so soon!
The midwives were adamant about getting me out of the tub immediately. With DH's help I got over the edge of the tub and wobbled to the bed on hands and knees. The next couple contractions were a blur but I don't think I was like that for more than 10 minutes or so. With one of the last contractions I felt the ring of fire and was surprised to hear that her head actually hadn't been born yet - ug! I think at one point they said "She's really coming - she'll be here so soon" and I yelled "I want her out of me!!" And then I think they laughed :)
In the final contraction I heard the midwife say her head was out up to the lips. Thank god. I paused between contractions and tried not to get her out too fast. They were applying compresses to my perineum and butt. With the next one I gave it everything and out she came, wriggling and then yelling. The midwife said her first impression of Baby M was "This is a strong baby".
I cried and laughed and yelled a little bit more just because I was happy to see her and so, so happy to be done with such an intense labor. DH and I held hands and kissed. They helped me turn over on the bed and brought her up as far as the cord would permit. I snuggled in with her near my tummy. What an amazing gift, an amazing relief.
We waited until the cord stopped pulsating and then DH cut it. Baby M came up to my breast and immediately latched on and started nursing like she had always known how. It was pretty impressive given that the other two kids took much longer to get the hang of it. The only issue was that I was having terrible back pain and wasn't sure why. They thought it might be my position so they changed my legs. But it persisted. Finally I had a big cramp and birthed the placenta - that was a HUGE relief. They said maybe it was just sitting in there on my tailbone.
It turned out I had a very small "skidmark" but no tears which I am very happy for.
At that point I was just glowing. I was out of pain, our baby was born, I had been in a lake a couple hours before. Everything was perfect. I felt thankful, blessed, and so joyous to be able to welcome Baby M to our family in this way.