[Background: I was due on Sunday February 7. I was expecting to go a few days later than this, but as the date approached I started to think it might be sooner. At my 39 week appt I got checked and was already 3 cm dilated. Then we got through two huge snowstorms that week – we were nervous about labor starting during these and asked our baby to stay put for a few days longer. Thankfully he obliged! Saturday Feb 13th, I was 6 days overdue…The street had been plowed and we were feeling ready for this to finally happen!]
I woke up around 7 am already feeling some contractions. They didn’t feel like BH, they were painful, but I could still talk through them, or just walk them off. Josephine (DD, 22 months) came into our room to nurse, and I had a feeling we’d be sending her to Grandma’s today and I just wanted to enjoy this snuggly family time together. We had breakfast and MIL came over to pick her up. The contractions weren’t very intense at this point, so I started to have doubts that this might not be the day, but I felt that J would be ok spending the day with her Grandma – she was very excited about it. (She had never spent a whole night without us before this.)
My friend H came over around noon and gave me a massage and worked on some pressure points on my feet. I only had a few contractions while she was doing this, and sill I was talking through them – not incredibly intense. She left around 1. I was going to take a nap, but had to get up to pee; shortly after that I had a few about 10 minutes apart, but one seemed to last more than 5 minutes. Very intense. Tom had gone to the store; he came home with lunch and I told him I was ready to call our MWs. He hesitated; the instructions were to call if a) water broke, b) bloody show/mucus plug or c) contractions following a definite pattern, getting increasingly close and intense. So up until then he thought it was too soon. When Pam called back I explained that they weren’t really regular yet but some were intense and I mentioned that 5 minute contraction. This threw her off – she said contractions don’t usually last that long, but Braxton Hicks do; so maybe that’s what it was. I felt discouraged. Was this just false labor? I was going to rest through them, so I watched a little bit of speed skating and tried to lay down. The contractions started becoming more intense, but still seemed to be an irregular pattern – sometimes as much as 20 minutes between them.
Between 5 and 6 they seemed to become more regular and much more intense. I was still confused as to the pattern, trying to keep track was hard. Around 6:45 during an intense contraction I tried giving a grunty push – I remember my mw telling me to try that during Josephine’s birth, to try to break the water. After that I felt the need to poop, and noticed some blood – it was the mucus plug! Finally, something real. So Tom called Pam back. Funny: he didn’t know how to describe the bloody show. I had told him at first I wasn’t sure if I just busted a ‘roid, so he was trying to describe to her that it wasn’t that: she had some blood coming from her, uh…I was like “it’s bloody mucus! Just say that!”
She said she’d be there in ½ hour. That was around 7. I told Tom he should start filling the birth tub. We had put that off, since I didn’t want to be tempted into getting in too soon. I spent a lot of time in the water for J’s birth and I think it slowed things down. He was downstairs getting some dinner together. I went down, but didn’t want to sit on the hard chair and suddenly felt nauseous. The contractions were very regular then, 5 minutes or less. My legs were shaking. I was having some very negative thoughts. I must have been going through transition at this point, but didn’t realize it. I thought I still had hours to go and really didn’t know how I’d get through it. I wasn’t talking through contractions now, I was screaming through them. Tom wanted me to eat some food, but it suddenly was not appealing. I sounded like Josephine: “No! No food!” get me a bucket! Not that bucket, that one’s gross.
I started to get that feeling that I had to poop just after the next contractions. I knew that these had happened shortly before Josephine was born, but I didn’t think I could be that close this time. So then I found myself on the toilet, pooping and puking at the same time. Yuck. I was just glad I hadn’t eaten more at that point. Pam got there a few minutes later; it was about 7:45 – she had passed the house, then went to the house across the street. As soon as she came they started setting up equipment; I was kneeling on the floor through the next contractions. She said they sounded pretty intense. I was surprised that they were setting up so soon – I was sure we had hours left. She noticed that the tub only had a few inches of water in it and said we won’t have time for that – that I had to be close. After a few contractions she checked me – I had a bit of a cervical lip but I could push if I felt like it. Really? Already? So that means I already went through transition? Yes. That was such a relief. So I asked if I could lay down on my side for a few contractions and Tom could hold my leg – I remembered that worked when I had a cervical lip the first time. We did that once or twice, and I heard a pop! And gush. I said I thought the water broke but no one else thought so –not much came out, maybe it was just more mucus. But the chux felt wet beneath me, I was sure that was it. After that I didn’t want to lay down, I got on hands and knees on the bed. Suddenly I had an incredible urge to push – I couldn’t believe that was happening this soon. I was dry heaving at the same time, so Allison, the student midwife, held the bucket next to me. Then Pam saw the head very close and said the water must have broken after all and there must not have been much water in front of the head since not much came out (same thing happened with J’s birth). After a few more pushes the baby actually started to crown. Immense burning! I reached down to feel the head, and kept it there because it really felt like I was going to tear up front. I think it took a few pushes for the head, then a few more for the shoulders. Then, the baby was out! Tom was taking some video, so he wasn’t catching, Pam reached through and handed the baby over – I saw a bright red scrotum on his bluish body. A boy! I have a boy! WE have a boy! (I felt so bad for stealing this moment from Tom….but he said he didn’t notice as quickly as I did…) 8:32 pm. He was so wet and slippery and warm. Then I somehow got from my knees into a laying position. After the placenta came out I wanted to know if I tore – just a tiny bit, but it didn’t need a stitch. That was a relief too!
He nursed after about 20 minutes – he did so well, great latch. The midwives went downstairs and gave us some family time…we dimmed the lights and he seemed to like that, opening his eyes a bit, and I ate some dinner. Then they came back to do his exam. 8 lb, 12 oz and 21 inches. They were here for 3 hours total. Amazing. With Josephine’s birth they were here for about 17 hours. What a difference. I think that I felt such a relief when Pam showed up, and when she told me I was fully dilated, that I was so eager to get it over with. Also knowing what pushing felt like from the first time, I think I was less afraid of the sensation, so maybe that is why it went so quickly. Pam said she was impressed with the way I had a controlled birth of his head; she said I basically caught him (though she really did catch his body) and that being on hands and knees gives them a good view of the baby’s face being born.
We waited until the morning to decide on a name; we chose Nicholas Thomas. He looks a lot like his sister did as a newborn, but with shorter and darker hair. I think his eyes might be darker too and he might look a little more like his Dad.
Baby NicholasBig sister