At almost 1:00 am on May 20, 2012, I woke from a dream about surfing waves because of a pop in my belly. Dazed and slow to wake up, I realized what was happening when I felt a gush starting. I got out of the bed to walk to the toilet, and left Felix and Matt sleeping in our bed. I left the bathroom after sitting on the toilet a bit, leaving the light on to change my underwear and nightgown. Matt wakes up and starts signing the baby sign for "light" frantically. The light is bugging him and he's worried it's going to wake Felix up. I waddle over to his side of the bed, lean down and say "My water broke." His eyes opened from a barely open squint, to bulging out of his head very slowly in a span of about 30 seconds. (This always makes me giggle when I think of it.)
He gets up, and we head into the living room to start packing up for the 45 minute drive to the birth center across the state line into Texas. I call my midwife and let her know my water has broken, but no regular contractions have started yet. I tell her I will call back when labor has progressed and contractions are close and more regular.
I know I need to eat, and a peanut butter and honey sandwich with a glass of orange juice sounds good. While I eat, I call my mom and text everyone else that the baby is coming. My poor mom had just driven back to Texas the evening before after being at our house for days to help me with the third trimester crazies. I had made myself nuts for the last month and a half thinking labor was starting. I had contractions and strong pressure constantly for the last month. It was maddening.
After packing everything up, Matt asks if he would be a jerk to go back to bed. I tell him no, go ahead. That lasted maybe around 30 minutes before I went and asked him to come back. My contractions were getting stronger and I was having trouble cleaning myself up as the membranes were still releasing an hour or so later.
Labor becomes more intense and contractions are coming closer together. I call the midwife and tell her we'll be heading out of Shreveport (where she also lives) to head to the birth center soon, and we'll let her know when we're leaving. My mom will be at our house soon and my in-laws are en route to take care of Felix. The contractions intensify and I ask Matt to ask everyone to be quiet when they arrive.
My mom and in-laws are all there, there's movement and low talking around me as I breath a sing-song of "Jeeesus, thank you Jeeesus..." low and quietly to myself. (At least I think it was.) I tried making others sounds and nothing soothed me the way saying that did.
I say a couple of times that we need to get going because I don't think it's going to be long. Sometime maybe a little before 5:00 am, we hear Felix on the monitor. Matt goes and brings him to me on the couch. He's groggy and out of it. I tell him his little brother or sister is coming and that it's time for mama and dada to go the birth center in Marshall. He starts to cry. It's amazing how I was able to be with him and how my body slowed labor so I could take care of him. His grandparents ask if him if he would like to go to their house in Tyler. He perks up and becomes excited at that idea. It's still dark outside and he can't believe he gets to go to Tyler "in the middle of the night!"
With the relief that my little boy is happy and taken care of, labor picks back up full force. I decide I better empty my bladder before we get into the car. I remember sitting on the toilet and the word "transition" coming into head loudly and clearly. At this point I was in the stage where you are pretty much on another planet. Felix and my in-laws head out the door, with me, Matt and my mom following behind. I remember being on our porch at the top of the steps waving good bye to Felix and telling him that I love him, and feeling excited and sad at the same time knowing that our family was about to change forever.
Once they drive off, I am vocalizing LOUDLY. I've seen so many birth videos with the women birthing so quietly, or even silently. I am the opposite, I am pretty sure I have never heard a birthing woman as loud as me. I can hear the neighbors dogs howling and barking along with me.
I make it down the steps and around to the front seat of my car. I can't seem to figure out how to get into the car. I tell Matt and somehow he gets me in. I immediately start clawing at the door handle to get out. I can not possibly be in that car. No way. I get back out and tell them "I think it's coming now!" to which Matt responds with "Are you serious!?!?" and my mother makes some sort of gasping sound. I am wearing a short nightgown, and he gets down and shines a flashlight up my nightgown to look. (I find out later that he had a flashlight because he had dropped the keys somewhere in the bushes on the way out and had to find them.) He sees what he knows is the precursor to crowning. I say "I don't want to have this baby in the driveway!!" Then pray out loud "PLEASE Jesus, help me get back into the house!!!" He did, somehow I made back into the living room and dropped down on all fours and started pushing. My mom told Matt to call the midwife. He does. She's still in Shreveport waiting on our call to say we're heading to the birth center. She can hear me in the background and knows she probably won't make it in time, she tells Matt this. He didn't hear anything she said after that.
I am on all fours using every ounce of my strength and screaming "Jesus!!! Jesus help me!!!" I am not afraid. I know that He is there, and that He will give me the strength. My whole body shakes with the pushing and contractions. I say "Get towels!" sometime shortly after hitting the floor. (Sometime during all of this, Matt realizes, this is going to happen, and knows it will be messy. He is wearing his favorite shoes, so he takes them off and flings them across the room. He tells me this much later and we have laughed about it since.) During the pushing, I am overwhelmed with thirst. I push that thought aside and tell myself to ignore it. The thirst comes back, and I HAVE to have water. "Water!" I say. Matt brings me a glass. I can't lift it because I am using my hands to support myself and every fiber of my being to push. "Straw!" They run around trying to find one. I remember the water bottle in my purse with a built in straw. "Purple cup!! Purse!!" I say. He brings it to me, and I suck it down. I don't know how many contractions were between that point, and her head coming out. Her head is out and they are telling me to "Push!" I tell them "I can't!" I have to wait for the next contraction. Then the rest of her starts to slide out. I try to turn and catch her myself, which scares my mother and she says "Let him do that!!" Matt catches her and I turn around, sit on the floor and take her in my arms. "You look just like your brother!" Is the first thing I say to her. Then realizing, we haven't looked at the sex yet, I pull her legs apart and exclaim "You're a girl!! I knew it!!" I had known it as soon as I knew I was pregnant.
I am holding her for maybe two minutes before the midwife gets there and starts checking her vitals. She says she looks great and everything is fine. I nursed her for the first time sitting there on the cord and the mess on the floor.
From the time I hit the floor to the time she came out was a total of about ten minutes. My in-laws had not even made it out the city limits with Felix. Lula Ileene Breedlove was born at 5:46 am in the spring, on a Sunday as the sun came up. She weighed 9 pounds 12 ounces and was 22 inches long.
Her birth was amazing, and I would not change a single thing about it. Well...except maybe that she was born in Louisiana instead of Texas.