My little girl arrived at home as planned on Sunday, September 15th, at 1:50pm. She was six days early, which is a darn good thing because she weighed in at 10 pounds, 5 ounces! Here's our birth story.
Some of you may recall my mom was flying in to help us. She arrived on Saturday, when I was exactly 39 weeks. We had to drive two hours to pick her up at the airport, which made my midwives a bit nervous so I brought my hospital bag just in case. Nothing unusual happened, though, and we made it back home several hours later uneventfully. That evening, I lost a bit of my mucous plug and we all joked that the baby had great timing! I went to bed with no other signs of labor, but hoping things were getting started.
Pains woke me up at 2:20am. I laid in bed and started keeping track of them coming and going. They defintiely felt like contractions, and were about five or so minutes apart and pretty regular. I stayed in bed till 4:00am, and then decided to get up and start timing them more precisely using the Contraction Master app on my computer. They remained about five minutes apart and 30-40 seconds long for an hour. I decided to go back to bed to lie down. Things slowed down a bit at that point, but I was pretty sure I'd be seeing my baby later that day. I decided to let everyone sleep a while longer so they'd at least be rested. No way could I go back to sleep!
I woke my husband at 6:00am or so, and told him what was going on. We got up and started to move around the furniture in the room to set up for the birth. (The bed needed to move to one side so the pool could fit.) He finished inflating the pool and got the liner in, and so on. It wasn't too much later, and Mom and my boys were awake and I told her what was going on. She was quite excited that the baby wasn't going to keep her waiting after all!
Contractions came and went, but they ramped back up to four to five minutes apart and lasting 40-50 seconds. After that went on for a good hour again, I decided it was time to page the midwife on call. My last birth went pretty fast and I ended up calling kind of late, so this time I had been told to call earlier. She agreed it sounded like things were definitely happening so she'd come on over. She arrived around 10:00am. Meanwhile, my husband had been filling the pool and I decided to get in, so that's where I was when the midwife arrived.
Unfortunately, the pool slowed everything down and my contractions became irregular and not as strong. I guess I had it in my head that this labor was going very much the same way as my last, so I followed the same procedure. Sadly, I really wasn't nearly as far along as I had hoped. I got out of the tub, the midwife checked on baby's heartrate (which was fine), and then she checked me. Only 3 cm! Ugh. I was so bummed, and also embarassed for having called her out so early. But she said I did the right thing and she would stay for another hour or so to see what happened. She suggested a walk to get things going again, so I got dressed and my husband and I went outside.
Very quickly, the contractions came, strong and very close together. It worked like a charm! We walked one way and then another, and came back to the house. The midwife was waiting outside and said there was still twenty minutes left in the hour she wanted to wait before checking me again. We went back out and walked some more. Came back and things were definitely happening, she could tell. She decided to stay without a check up, and called the back-up midwife to come.
I was really hurting through the contractions at that point, and really wanted to get back in that darn pool. But I was also afraid to get in it at the same time. A shower was suggested instead, to get the warm water relief but hopefully not slow things down. So I put my wet bra back on and hopped in the shower with my husband. I held onto him through quite a few contractions. They were getting more painful and intense. He was so good, standing there getting cold for me. We stayed in for quite a while, maybe twenty minutes or a half hour. Then I got out and back into the pool.
This time I was ready. Nothing slowed down, things just got more intense. I'm not sure what time it was, but probably about 11:30am. I was definitely vocalizing loudly through the contractions at this point, and really hoping it was all going to be over soon. When I had gotten to this point in the last birth, I was pushing probably ten minutes later. Alas, this was a different experience.
The midwife decided to check my progress again, and sadly, I was only at 5 cm. I was so discouraged by that! I cried a bit. She offered a stretch and sweep to open me up more, so we did that. Ouch! But it got me another centimetre. Still, I was at a lousy 6 cm, and getting really tired. The contractions were very close together and very intense at that point. I was whining and moaning in between that I couldn't go on much longer, and the midwife tried to encourage me that I was dilating at a rate of a centimetre an hour and that was good. All I heard was that this was going to take another four hours! No way could I do that, and that's what I told her. I'm such a wimp. :P It was suggested to come out of the pool, but I was actually afraid because the contractions were so close and I was needing those birthing pool handles to get through them! But they insisted I should get out to pee at least, and so I did.
I labored sitting backwards on the toilet for a few contractions, as they told me that could help move things quicker. Then the offer came that she could break my water if I wanted to get things going even more. I agreed, so we headed back to my bed to do so. She did it, and then I labored through a few more contractions on the bed. That kind of sucked, because I couldn't get a good grip like I had with the pool handles. I wanted back in that pool!
I got back in and started pushing through the contractions. I wasn't really feeing the need to yet, but I was so damn desperate to be done! I was reminded that is not a good idea, so I just tried to get through them for a while after that. I was very loud and screamy, though I tried to rememebr to keep my noises low-pitched and productive as best I could. I ended up vomiting twice, luckily in the bowl we had ready. And then FINALLY, the pushing urge came! I was checked again and there was a bit of cervix left. The midwife kind of pushed things aside as I pushed through a couple more contractions, and then the baby's head was coming. Finally! At that pont, I was still exhausted and having a hard time, but I knew it was going to be over soon. That always helps. It was also at this time that the student midwife showed up. She had just gone back on duty and called the regular midwife to check in, and was told her if she came right over she might make it in time for my birth. Good timing!
It took a few more contractions to get that head through. I tried to keep pushing, but again, was reminded that doing so while not contracting was not a good idea, and that I needed to try to relax to open up more. That was hard, through that "burning ring of fire", but surprisingly, it really did hurt less when I relaxed. Finally her head was coming! I reached down to feel it, and also to try and help prevent tearing as I pushed. Didn't quite work; I could feel it happen, but her head was out! Yay! But the body didn't follow easily, like in my previous briths. I went through another couple of contractions, trying to push her out, but to no avail.
The midwife was quickly all business and told me I had to stand up now so they could get her out. I stood up out of the water and pushed again as they helped guide her out. So, in the end it was a "half water birth" since she was born half in water and half out. :P She was handed to me and I was asked if I wanted to step out or sit back down. I sat back down and held her while we waited for the placenta. The cord was clamped and Daddy cut it. The placenta also took longer to come out and was more painful than my previous births, but it got done, and I was just so happy to have my baby.
Everyone was shocked at how big she was. We couldn't wait to weigh her and see just how much. My midwife guessed she might be ten pounds. Ten, plus five ounces! Almost exactly two pounds more than my last baby, who was bigger than the first. Definitely NOT expected, and no wonder it was hard to get her out! I was measuring right on for fundal height each week, my weight gain was less than twenty pounds and I had been losing in the final weeks, I didn't look any bigger than in my other pregnancies, I didn't have GD... There was just no clue to expect such a big baby. All I can say is I'm glad she came at 39 weeks, 1 day and not any later!
I tried nursing her pretty much right away, and she latched right on. We're still working on a GOOD latch that isn't painful, but she's a nursing champ. I was told to watch for signs of hypoglycemia in her due to her high birth weight, but we luckily didn't have any. I was also told to nurse her as much as possible, and have been doing so. She eats a lot! She seems to be having issues pooping, as we haven't had anything after the meconium a few days ago. So, that's a concern we're working on that will hopefully be resolved soon. Other than that, everthing is going really well, with her and me too. I had two tiny tears, but nothing needing stitches. I'm feeling pretty good and almost back to normal. The boys are smitten with her, and like to talk to her and have her hold their fingers. Or they just go about their business like she's not here. No jealousy or problems to speak of, at least not yet. I'll take it!
And now for some pictures!
Breathing through contractions
Baby heart rate check
Between contractions in the pool
Baby is here! (That look on my face is pure relief!)
My BIG girl!
The boys meeting their new baby sister
One with Mommy
One with Daddy
And one with her brothers.