I woke at 4:30am to pee, and couldn’t go back to sleep because I was so crampy. So I got up, thinking "Maybe. Probably." At 5am I started having some bloody show, losing my plug. I knew this would be the day, although things were still very slow. By 5:30 I was having regular contractions. I spent a few on the exercise ball at the computer, a few in a squat, a few on my knees leaning on the ball, a few leaning on kitchen counter. Between contractions, I ate breakfast, ran a load of laundry, straightened up a bit, and laid out stuff to prepare for the birth.
Eric got up at 6am as I was running a bath. When I told him we’d be having a baby today, he grinned, then calmly said to call him if I needed anything and went back to bed. I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction from him!
I soaked in the bath for awhile, surprised that things weren’t moving along quicker, but still excited and calm at the same time. When I got out of the bath, I went to see if Eric was awake. He’d been lying in bed wide awake the whole time and popped straight up in bed as soon as I opened the door. I told him to go ahead and get up to watch a movie or something if he wanted. I spent a few contractions in the living room with him, but then wanted to be alone so I went to my office/nook. From the start, I’d felt incredibly antsy between contractions and spent a lot of time pacing around, changing positions, and trying new things. Nothing felt right and I had a hard time relaxing between contractions, though I was doing fine during the contractions themselves.
Marian woke about 7:30am or so (early for her). She followed me from the office to the bathroom and hung out for a couple of contractions, until I sent her back to the living room with Eric. She was sweet and supportive and not worried at all. I spent the rest of labor in our very small bathroom, since I felt a desperate need to be alone which outweighed my need for space to move around.
About 8, things started getting more intense and it got harder to stay on top of the contractions. I did pretty well, though, keeping my hands and mouth relaxed, low-pitched vocalizing. I kept hoping for an urge to push. I stayed in the tub for 30-45 minutes or so, then got too hot and needed more room so I got out. Too often, my thoughts went to my labor with Leo and I wondered why things were taking longer.
By 9, I felt like I’d been in labor forever. I rode the contractions on my knees in front of the tub, looking down into the few inches of remaining water. I’d support my front half with my hands or elbows on the side of the tub. Spent two contractions in a squat. Contractions hurt a lot, but I still had breaks between them. There was so little room, and it took so much effort to change position, so I just stayed on my knees, with my hands or elbows on the side of the tub both during and between most contractions. At one point, I felt inside and felt my waters bulging. That was really cool and something I’d never felt before. A few contractions later, my water finally broke and blobs of gunk came out. I tossed them in the water in front of me and rinsed my fingers. I started feeling very mild pushing urges with some of the contractions before my water broke. After it broke, the urges came stronger and I followed them. OMG, it hurt! I felt like I was splitting apart and knew the head was on its way. My low moans turned into louder moaning shouts which summoned Eric, who stood in the doorway. I vaguely remember him asking if I needed anything and I think I said, "Yeah, to get this baby OUT!" and then he asked if he should stay or go and I told him I didn’t care. (He went and checked on the kids and then came back, watching unobtrusively from the doorway.) I could feel my pelvis and lower back spreading and the bones moving. Her head came out slowly, with several little grunty pushes. Then relief. Ahhh…. I felt between my legs and felt a hard little head, then looked in the mirror and saw it. "The head’s out" I said to Eric, relieved. My body just rested for what seemed like a long time with no contractions and no pain. I welcomed the break. Then another few short grunty pushes, and the body eased out. I kept my hands on the head, then eased the body in front of me. She was covered in very thick vernix, and lots of mucus and blood, and her cord was wrapped around her chest and leg, tight. Took me a minute to unwind it, and in the process I saw we had a baby girl. Eric saw at the same time.
She was pretty juicy, so after a quick hug, I laid her on my lap with her head downhill and she drained some goop, then started snuffling and pinking up real well. I never had a moment’s worry. She has brown hair and blue eyes and delicate features and is the prettiest (least squashed, molded, red, monkey-lookin’) of our newborns. Shortly after she was born, I turned to Eric and said, "Yeah, I think I’m okay with this being the last time doing this."
Eric went out and brought the kids in to meet their new sister. Both were in awe, but Marian recovered quickly and immediately asked if she could hug her and hold her. She was satisfied with a kiss and some touches. Leo tentatively touched her hair, then watched wide-eyed.
I moved to the nook bed, where baby nursed and we studied our new addition. We cut the limp, white cord about an hour after the birth and then weighed our baby daughter by placing her in a sling hanging from a fish scale. I birthed the placenta into the toilet at a little after 11, just over an hour and a half after the birth. Somehow, none of the names we thought we liked the most suited our new addition, so she was nameless for the first several hours of her life.
Eric went out and got hamburgers and we all enjoyed a nice lunch at our dining table. Then Eric held the baby (still nameless at this point) while I put Leo down for his nap (snuggling him to sleep, as usual). Eric and Marian brought the baby in to me and Leo when she woke and we all hung out in the family bed for awhile. Marian and Leo both held her a couple of times and they both adore her and argue with each other over who gets to hold her next. While we held her and gazed at her, we talked about baby names. When I mentioned "Sophie", Eric and Marian both nodded and it felt right to all of us. So Sophie Jane, she is.
She is mellow, sweet, content, and easily soothed. She smiles already and nurses around the clock. I think she likes this world so far.
Sophie Jane was born at home into her Momma’s hands on November 2 at 9:20am after about four hours of labor.
Welcome to the world, Sophie Jane!
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