My due date was November 1. I had Braxton Hicks contractions from around 12 weeks on, but they picked up in frequency as I got farther along, but not more than 15 minutes apart. On September 29 they increased to only 3-5 minutes apart, and I called the midwife to check in. She said that as long as I wasn't feeling cramps as well I was probably fine, so I went home and relaxed. The frequent contractions continued, getting as close as two minutes apart, until his birth day.
I woke up on October 10 feeling pretty normal. I took my two older kids to the homeschool program they attend, and brought along a sweater I was working on knitting for the new baby, rather anxious to get it finished as soon as possible. I sat with a friend while the girls had classes. I started to notice some crampiness accompanying the contractions around lunchtime. It wasn't painful, just different from what I had been feeling for the past few weeks. The crampiness increased a bit in intensity as the afternoon, and I joked to my friend during the fire drill at 2pm that I felt like if I took a long walk that I would go into labor at that point. We were at the school for another hour and a half after that, and I started to zone out during contractions, even if they were in the middle of a conversation. Other parents remarked that I looked different, and they thought I was in labor. Because my early labor with Liberty had been so long, I wasn't convinced it was true labor yet, but I went ahead and gave the midwife a call on my way home at 3:45 to give her a heads up. I had messaged Wes an hour or so earlier, and he seemed to be in a state of disbelief that it was actually happening.
When I got home I desperately wanted things completely clean, so I picked up my bedroom and set the girls to cleaning up the house, which they did a wonderful job with. A friend offered to have them come over for the evening, and anticipating a long night, I decided that taking it easy was a good idea, and she came to pick them up around 5. Wes got home from work shortly after that, and I was having to cope through contractions. We took a final pregnancy picture, and after timing contractions for 20 minutes or so (all 2-3 minutes apart), decided to call the midwife and let her know this seemed to be the real thing. I also texted the doula to let her know how things were progressing.
Our midwife, Cindie, arrived around 6:45pm. She checked me after her arrival, and I was at 4cm, 90% effaced, and at a -1 station. I texted Lauren, our doula, and asked her to come. Cindie started bringing her things in from her vehicle to get set up, and Wes went upstairs to get the birth tub filled. My contractions increased quite a bit and I found kneeling over the birthing ball to be the most comfortable position. At around 7:30 a friend came by to keep me company, but I was much farther along than I had expected to be only a few hours into labor. As she arrived at the house with the bag of ice we had requested I was throwing up, and in the throes of transition, even though I wasn't convinced of it at the time. I remember having those common thoughts of not being able to handle it anymore, and recognizing that those thoughts and my nausea were common signs of transition, but it seemed too early. As the nausea resolved, my contractions slowed down just a bit, and I again had the thought recognizing the signs of where I was in labor as the break between transition and pushing, but didn't really believe that was where I was. Wes texted our friend who had dropped by right after she left, asking her to go get the girls as soon as possible, as the birth seemed like it would be happening soon. The midwife suggested that I might want to move upstairs to where the birthing tub was, and I lay down on my bed up there while they finished getting it ready. The doula arrived around 7:45, as well as the midwife's birthing assistant, and they helped me into the tub.
I had a few contractions in the tub, and Cindie told me to let her know if I felt like pushing. It didn't take long for me to start feeling pushy. That was apparently the one time during labor when I expressed anything about pain, telling Wes once that it hurt as I was coping with the pushing contractions. I was kneeling over the side of the tub, with our doula holding my hand, and Wes farther down so that he could catch the baby. I pushed three times. The first moved him down into position. With the second push his head was born, and with the last push, his body was born the rest of the way at 8:17 pm. Liberty heard them saying that his head had been born as they got home, and ran back down the stairs to get her sister. They came into the room just as Wes handed him up to me.
He was completely covered in vernix, with quite a bit of lanugo as well. He didn't cry right away, but looked at us very seriously. Wes had said right after he came out that it was a boy, but we took a minute to unwrap his blanket and confirm that was indeed the case. His cord was rather short. We waited 10 or 15 minutes for it to stop pulsing, then Arcadia cut it. I handed our son off to Wes and quickly pushed out the placenta.
The birth attendants helped me out of the tub and to my bed a few feet away, helping to dry me off with a few towels. We finally then all got to come on the bed as a family to admire him. We tried putting him to the breast after a few minutes, but he wasn't very interested yet. We did get him latched well on a bit later. After a good bit of snuggle time, the midwife suggested that we could do his newborn exam whenever we were ready. She weighed him in at 6 pounds, 14 ounces, and he was 19 inches long. Cindie checked all his reflexes, explaining to his big sisters exactly what she was doing throughout the whole process. After she was done, Arcadia put his first diaper on him, and he went to snuggle with his daddy. My birth assistants helped me to the shower to clean up, waiting patiently nearby so that they could help to towel me off when I got out a few minutes later. Each of the big sisters took a turn holding him before going to bed well past their usual bedtimes. The midwife and doula took care of all the cleanup- starting laundry and doing the dishes in the sink, and helping Wes to get the birth tub drained. They finally went home around midnight. After we were along with our new son, Wes and I decided on his name- Pacific Michael. We loved the meaning of Pacific, and it took on special significance to our family with our new home in the Pacific Northwest. Michael was after his uncle, who passed away almost six years before his birth. It took another week before we finalized what his last name would be. Our family took the new name O'Seadna, a derivative of the Gaelic word for traveler.
Pacific, or Pax as we call him, has settled in well in his role as the youngest member of the family. I have found that on an emotional level, I still identified him as an extension of myself, and it took close to three weeks before he was set down for more than a few minutes at a stretch. With two sisters eager to dote on him, this was not hard to accomplish. At this writing, he is five and a half weeks old and has already gained almost two and a half pounds, as well as close to three inches. He has maintained his serious demeanor that was evident only moments after he was born, and physically, looks more and more like his daddy every day.
Just now getting around to posting his story here. Haven't really been on mothering in a while. It can be found at http://livingavibrantlife.blogspot.com/2012/11/pacifics-birth-story.html
Life has changed pretty dramatically since then, and I now blog about Pacific and his special needs at http://pacificnights.org/