I had already had one bout of prodromal labor Sunday night, December 8th, and contractions were 3-5 minutes apart for about four hours. Some were pretty intense, but not all and they never progressed enough for me to alert anyone, nor did they do anything to change my cervix that I could tell.
I went to the chiropractor the next day, since Zephyr’s positioning in the womb was fluctuating between posterior and transverse. I felt much better after the adjustment, and at my prenatal appointment she was confirmed back in anterior (LOA, the “preferred” position).
After the chiropractic adjustment, I actually had less warm up contractions than the previous weeks, even months. That week was pretty normal.
The evening of her due date, I kept thinking I might go into labor, but for no real reason. Started having contractions around 11:30 or so, when Joel (my husband) was gone (luckily in the neighborhood) playing chess with some friends. They felt like the pre-labor contractions I had Sunday night, not intense, so I took no notice. Got a bath with epsom salts, lavender and clary sage. Around 12:45am, I went to bed, as I had a feeling I couldn’t sleep through the contractions. After I lay down, I had two contractions that were suddenly very different than the others; I immediately had to moan through them. I got up to go to the bathroom and checked my cervix. It was hard to tell dilation because all I could feel was a bulging bag of water, so maybe 6 cm? Not sure. Another contraction like this. I started trying to gather my supplies and I called Joel slightly after 1am to come home.
After Joel came home, he helped me do lots of things like call the birth photographer and doula, heat my rice socks, help me put on my TENS machine, get me water, etc. I called my midwife Vicky and told her my progress. She was at another birth at the birth center with a mama in later active labor, but she had the other midwife Sarah stay with that mom while she came over to our house. I settled in the rocking chair to labor. The TENS machine really helped I felt, and I listened to Misty Edwards on my iPad. The birth photographer, Ashley, and my doula, Erin showed up at one point.
Around 2:30 or so, Vicky checked me and I was 8cm, 100% effaced. Baby was still somewhat high, likely due to the water bag that was still very low. I went to go labor in the bathroom. I started feeling slightly pushy in there, but not much. After a bit, I checked and felt like I was complete, and Vicky confirmed it when I came out. The birth tub was ready, but I was feeling more intense feelings when I tried to push, or even just when I didn’t but just moaned through the contractions. Vicky and Erin did the double hip squeeze on me from here on out and it was amazing.
I got in the tub and tried pushing but it just wasn’t doing anything and the urge wasn’t overwhelming yet; it hurt to push and to not push (which didn’t happen the last two births). Vicky thought it might help to break my water, and I agreed. I was on my hands and knees. After she did that, it wasn’t very long before I could reach in and feel her head about two centimeters away from the outside world. Joel gave me a washcloth to bite on (after being bit the last time, we were prepared in advance, lol)
Then suddenly she was crowning and as I reached down to support her head, I was screaming and then her head was out and I was yelling to Vicky “Help me!” because no one seemed to realize she was being born except me! I flipped over to a more sitting/squatting position so I could catch her body, which I did with my midwife’s help, after another really forceful push that made me feel like I tore, a lot (but I didn’t). The only one of my kids I was able to help catch! She was born at 4:55am. The older kids slept right through the entire thing!
Vicky helped me lift her out of the water and we stared at each other, my Zephyr Haven Verity. She was precious and looked like a mix of all her siblings. She was very quiet and alert, but had some fluid in her lungs that my midwife had to help get out a bit. Birthed the placenta with no issues and we got out of the tub. We got dried off, I got checked for tears (none to repair), and she got worked on a bit to get the fluid out of her. After that she nursed (latched first try like a champ) and then did the newborn exam. She was 8 lbs 11 oz, 19 3/4 inches long with a 14” head and chest. Dark hair with a slight wave to it. Precious in every way.
Zephyr is now two weeks old. She has already been to her first movie, The Hobbit, where she either slept or nursed through the entire thing. Zeph is still very sleepy. She eats well, poops well, sleeps well, and spits up almost as much as her oldest brother did. Next week she will have her check with the midwife and we’ll get to find out how much she has grown. She gets fussy occasionally but not much. At night she sometimes sleeps 4-6 hour stretches, sometimes with a wakeful period until 11or so, sometimes not. Zephyr is adored by her older siblings, each one loves kissing on her and helping out with her. She is a blessing.
I felt okay overall about the labor/birth experience. It was harder than my last two during the second stage for sure. Up til then I felt “in-control” and I tried to relax and stay focused during pushing too, but it was just tough since it wasn't effective for a lot of it. I remember thinking/saying “I don’t ever want to do this again!” But I am SO glad to not be pregnant right now, so glad that the worst of the pregnancy issues I had (hip pain, restless leg syndrome, heartburn) are over. And at two weeks postpartum, most of the unpleasant postpartum issues are over too like the afterpains, engorged breasts before milk production regulates, and body aches. Maybe a bit TMI, but I have been using mama cloth for my postpartum lochia and it’s made a huge difference in how I feel and my comfort and maybe my bleeding duration. Totally recommend trying it. I am consuming my placenta in capsules and sticking with the anti-depressant supplements I took while pregnant, so I’m feeling relatively decent emotionally. I’m going through somewhat of a post-pregnancy nesting phase right now, or maybe it’s just because its the end of the year, or maybe it’s because I realize I have four children in a smaller home... in any case, I’m desiring to declutter, organize, and redecorate “all the things!” lol. Can’t decide if I want to donate a lot or have another garage sale.
I feel very much complete as far as having babies goes. I love having two boys and two girls; I love that in two years or less my two “Z” girls will be sharing a room and the boys will be sharing one. With two small kid’s bedrooms in our house, this is a perfect set up. I love the spacing between them all as well 2-2.5 years. I can’t imagine some days homeschooling all of them but it can’t really be much harder than homeschooling two (like I do now) and having a toddler and a newborn, lol.
Anyway, we are blessed by the Lord in this time.
(Birth photos taken & shared with permission by Ashly Wright Photography.)