The day, Sunday, July 31, 2005, started quite like every other for the past three weeks. Insomnia in the early morning…changed my daughter’s pee-pee wet p.j.’s and sheets…woke up to the anxious question, “is today the day?”…tried to spend lots of QT with my daughter before she officially became “a sibling”…gathered a few more birth supplies, checked the list, and checked it twice…thought about how my feet should be higher than my heart at some point that day (yeah, right)…and, again, wondered if that night would be the night.
At about 9:30 pm on Sunday, July 31st, while my daughter (Dd) and husband (Dh) were upstairs in bed (both sick with an intestinal bug—diarrhea) I was frantically putting together an in-case-of-transfer-to-hospital folder. This included MapQuest directions to my first and second choice hospital, my skimpy prenatal records (only had a few visits with midwife), insurance info (at least a hospital birth is covered), and six copies of my birth plan mostly taken from the unhinderedliving.com website. I don’t know why I suddenly, now two days past my due date, decided I needed this, however, I figured it best to listen to my instincts and was determined to get it together before going to bed.
While sitting at the computer I had the usual “gearing-up/practice”, as I like to call them, contractions—nothing out of the ordinary.
At about 10:30 pm, my husband came down to tell me my daughter was awake. I was not quite done printing so I brought her back down with me to complete the task. After placing the folder in a conspicuous spot and getting Dd some water, I read her a book in bed and then tried to nurse her back to sleep.
Toward the end of the story and while nursing her I started to have some cramping. Before she was completely asleep I had to get up to go the bathroom. It felt a lot like intestinal cramps and I figured I had finally gotten the bug.
My Dd, being extremely clingy while sick (and for the last month, for that matter), felt she must give me an audience in the bathroom. I completely unloaded—it was a huge poop, yet no diarrhea. This took about half an hour. Hmmmm…but of course it didn’t dawn on me that I could be in labor.
So now it is about 12:00 midnight. I lay back down with Dd and nursed her again. I immediately started having uncomfortable contractions. After a couple minutes I realized it was not the bug but labor, and I could not nurse her anymore because it was getting too intense. I whispered to her that I though we might have the baby tonight and that, of course, was the end to any chance of her going to sleep. I woke up Dh to let him know I was probably going into labor or maybe was having intestinal cramps. I said the last part somewhat jokingly, but in his sleepy state he must have believed me because he fell back to sleep.
I then went into the bathroom to sit on the toilet again, as it seemed to be a very comfortable position. Dd followed.
The contractions were becoming quite intense and I rocked forward and back on the toilet while my Dd sat across from me growing quite upset as each minute passed. I was only aware that I was moaning and closing my eyes because Dh was starting to cry and I wondered why. Eventually she started to scream so I yelled for Dh to come get her. This all really got the adrenaline rushing and I felt the need to get away, relax, and slow things down. He came in and got her and I think got quite a shock to see me at this stage so suddenly (I had only just told him ten minutes earlier that I “thought” I was going into labor).
I left the bathroom and went downstairs with the thought of going outside to get some fresh air and get away from Dd’s screaming. It dawned on me that I should probably call my Mom as planned to help with my daughter. Just as my Mom answered the phone I was rocked with a huge contraction and told her to hold on. Once I could somewhat talk again I told her to come soon as I thought this might be a quick one and to bring some wine and a crock-pot. I hoped a glass might help me relax to slow things down a bit. She said she was on her way.
Things were going WAY to fast, I thought. Just as I went to turn to hang the (thankfully) portable phone up I had another strong contraction and I headed for the close downstairs bathroom. Just as I managed to get my underwear down, press my hand against my vulva and sit down, my water bag broke into the toilet. The baby’s head was right there, bulging through my skin in my hand.
I used the portable phone to call the upstairs phone where Dh was tending to Dd (still crying). I told him my water broke and to bring down some towels for the floor because I was not going to birth on the toilet. He was down in a flash and gone in a quicker one. I went down on all fours (or three rather, as I felt it necessary for some reason to hold the baby in). One or the other knee kept ending up on the hard floor and I became grossed out at the thought of birthing in that bathroom (the one upstairs was nice and clean and all the supplies were up there) so I called Dh on the phone again (this is the most the intercom feature has ever been used!). I told him to get the extra blow-up mattress ready/covered (luckily, I had just blown it up that day) and that I was going to make a run for it.
I dashed up the stairs holding the baby in with my hand and muscles (three cheers for Kegels). I got on hand and knees again as my body started to push out the baby. I was afraid I would tear because everything had progressed so quickly, so I held back only slightly as my body and baby were determined to finish the act.
My husband then called down the stairs (thinking I was still down there) to ask if he should fill up the blow-up fishy pool. I told him there wasn’t time then told him to fill the bathtub. Twenty seconds later I told him to forget that, too. Then Dd came crying into the darkened room where I was and sat down over by her pile of stuffed animals. Dh followed and was surprised to see me in there (he still has no idea how I made it up the stairs—neither do I, it is the only part that is foggy). As he tried to console her, my baby’s head came out into my hand. I was holding it and having trouble keeping my balance on the blow-up bed and was not able to kneel to catch the baby as I had hoped. I told him I needed him to catch the baby and he asked Dd if she wanted to see it. Once she saw his face sticking out of me she calmed right down.
Dh says that the baby was face up with all but his chin out. The chin then slipped out and then he saw a strange bulge and was a little freaked out because he couldn’t imagine what it was. Then the baby’s hand and arm shot out. The baby turned himself and slid into my husband’s waiting hands. The baby immediately let out a cry and my husband announced it was a boy (he wanted to announce it by saying his name but he forgot the name at that moment).
I flipped over the umbilical cord and held my beautiful boy, SOLAN GRADY FARMER. Born at 12:30 am after about a 1 1/2 hour labor. So much for the planned use of the birth pool, candles, music and some intimacy. The intensity and speed of the birth was quite amazing.
Just then we heard my Mom pull up. Dh and Dd went down to let her in. She asked, “O.K., so where are we at?” My husband replied, “Go up and meet your grandson.” “NO WAY.” And she swears (I believe her) it only took her 17 minutes from when she hung up the phone to when she pulled up. Sorry Mom!
After spending an hour and a half checking him out, nursing, birthing the placenta, getting me comfortable, debating what to use to tie cord, and then looking for the dental floss (to tie cord with in addition to beautiful knit-wool tie my friend AmyD made me) we finally tied and cut the cord. I put some breast milk on his stub and Dh took the placenta downstairs to cut some for me to eat and to refrigerate the rest to later make placenta smoothie.
Dd immediately started showering me with kisses and rubbing her brother. Then she fell asleep next to me. My Mom helped clean up and went home around 3am. Solan and I moved to our family bed in the bedroom and Dh slept with Dd on the birth bed in our playroom. Solan slept well, however, I was up all night. I guess I was so pumped full of adrenaline to last for a long labor, that after such a short one I was wired.
So here we are, doing very well. My midwife came the next evening and did the newborn-check. We figured he weighted about 9 lbs at birth and he was 21 inches long. Dd adores her little brother so much and smothers him (sometimes literally) with love. Dh and I are thrilled to have this little guy (despite admittedly hoping for another girl). He already looks wise as the Greek philosopher, Solan. I am really excited to get to know him.
Thanks for reading.