Henry Robert Quick arrived Wednesday May 2nd 2007. He was 9 lbs and 21.5 inches long with a 14.5 inch head.
I woke up to leaking water a little before 7am. I kept a pillow between my legs and waddled to the bathroom, where a little gushed in the toilet and I peed (could tell the difference between the two, so I was pretty confident it wasn't pee - I also have had no incontinence with either of my pregnancies). I told Ryan my water was leaking. I went and stood in the bathtub for several minutes until it seemed like it was mostly done. Delia woke up, which was about two hours earlier than usual for her, and was upset I hadn't been in the bedroom so I held her for a few minutes, told her what was happening, then Ryan got her situated on the couch in front of some TV. She was so cute. I told her my water was leaking and then asked Ryan to bring my computer power cord into the bathroom so I could plug my laptop in. She said "Mom, when the water is done coming out of your baby, I'll get you your power cord." I put a pad and underwear on and ate a pb&j sandwich and some Floradix (a liquid iron supplement) and waited for contractions to start. They did around 8 am.
I planned to labor at home as long as possible, and I had never really known how long that would be – I would just play it by ear and head over when it seemed about time to head over. The hospital is across the street from our house, so we would walk. Ryan had washed/dried the old towels I'd gathered, and we threw those with the baby clothes I had pulled out the night before in a bag by the front door. We called the hospital around 9 am to tell them I was in labor, to see if the one L&D room was available (it was), and to ask about them calling my doctor, which is normal procedure for this hospital. A while later we found out that my doctor wasn't available to come in, so I would have the on-call doctor. I had seen this other doctor once and liked him fine, but had not discussed anything with him at all. This made me REALLY nervous. He had NO idea, other than what was written on my one page birth plan (it was pretty clear, but still!), what I wanted. I had talked for hours with my doctor and I had never even considered having to deal with a different doctor unexpectedly, so it definitely threw me for a loop.
From 8-10 AM I walked around house with contractions that I told Ryan about and he timed. They were 2-4 minutes apart, lasting about a minute or so. I would just say "contraction" when one was starting, and Delia thought I was saying "contraption." I tried to explain the difference. She said "When you're done with your uterus, you can build anything you want to build."
From 10 AM on, I was in the bathroom by myself. I went in there and told Ryan I was going to hang out in there and I didn't want to tell him when I was having contractions anymore, I just wanted to concentrate.
It was around this time I yelled out to Ryan that he could email and txt our families and tell them I was in labor, and not to call, we would call them. My dad txt'ed back "Love."
I got in the shower around 11 AM for about an hour, turning the water off when I could to save hot water. It felt good, I turned all different ways and leaned over with the water on my back sometimes even though I was having no back labor or pain in my back.
I asked Ryan to bring in two towels from the bag we had packed for the hospital. He folded them in half so I had four layers of towel and put them down outside the tub, which makes a corner with the sink cabinet. I settled there on my knees for a while, leaning my elbows on the edge of the tub. I got very tired and felt "done," but still didn't feel like I was in transition. I had transition milestoned in my head as when I would throw up. I had been feeling nauseous, but I never did throw up.
I started pushing here and there sometime around 1 PM. I had what felt like long breaks between contractions, but each one was powerful. I felt like the only way to handle them was to push, and it did make them more comfortable. But I didn't want to be pushing at the same time.... Hard to explain. I didn't feel like my body was telling me to push - I felt like it was my mind wanting to push. I thought "Well, if I push too soon and swell up my cervix, I'll just to go the hospital." I was so tired by this time, and my knees and ankles and feet were hurting from being down on the hard floor and in the tub. I sat down, leaned back against the cabinet, and dozed between contractions. I just really wanted a break. Ryan called through the door and came in a few times to ask if I needed anything, but somehow he always came in during a contraction and I would sort of yell at him to get out! I didn't want to be watched at all. I did make sure to tell him if/when I was feeling the baby move, because I knew that reassured him a lot (and it did me too).
He told me later that around 1:30 he was "seeing the writing on the wall" and opened up the copy of Emergency Childbirth I'd given him to read through it again to refresh his memory! That is so amazing to me, that this is what he chose to do, instead of freak out or call 911 or just drag me out the door! I think he did come in the bathroom once and ask me when I would be ready to head over, and I'm not sure what I answered but I was very thankful that he wasn't pestering me or freaking out at all.
Delia had been watching TV and playing in the living room this whole time. Before noon, she had been coming into the bathroom to give me presents every once in a while, but after several times of me telling her I couldn't take them, she stayed out of the bathroom. (Her presents consist of whatever she finds lying around, rolled up in a piece of paper with two hairties or barrettes holding the ends closed.) I could hear them playing video games together and I suggested they make the birthday cake for the baby, but I could also tell Ryan was not about to turn on the oven when at any minute I would finally decide I was ready to go to the hospital!
I'm not sure of the time, but after a while of sitting down and halfway pushing, I was starting to get annoyed and a little worried. I felt like I had been pushing too long, that I should be feeling the baby lower by now, and began having thoughts that maybe it wasn't head first and that's why it wasn't coming. I got up on my knees and leaned over the edge of the tub again and pushed for a few contractions. I got very noisy for these, roaring. It didn't seem to make much of a difference. Either Ryan came in, or I called him in and told him to get me a robe and a bra so we could go to the hospital. While he was upstairs, I felt pressure. Ryan came down with my robe, and four bras that were all wrong. I knew it was probably too late now, but I wasn't sure what to do. I sent him back up for the RIGHT bra, and then felt the baby coming down fast. I rearranged the towels to try to get a cleaner area. My birth supplies - tons of chux pads and plastic-backed sheets, were in the bathroom on the other end of the counter, out of my reach! I felt what was coming out with my hand, and it felt mushy.
I yelled to Ryan, and as he came in I said "What is that that's coming out?!" He said "the baby" with a pale voice. I asked "What part!!!?" and when he said "the head" I was so relieved. I told him to call Delia in, he said "Really?" I said "Yes!" and she came in. I gave a push, and asked if the head was out. He said no, it was halfway. I gave another push and asked if now it was. He said yes. I gave another push and asked if he could see the neck. He said no, an arm came out. I gave another push and asked if "it was out." He said no, the body was half way out, so I gave another push and asked again and finally he said yes! So much for one push for the head, and one for the body! During this, he had knelt down and supported the baby as it came out. The man who kept telling me "I will NOT catch this baby" (and me telling him "You won't have to! I will!") had just caught our baby. And Delia had watched too!
At some point, he had gotten more towels out of the bag by the front door, and then we had Delia bring in more after that as well. He set the baby down on the towels, and I turned around and sat down and put it over my leg sideways, leaning forwards and down to let any mucus drain. Ryan asked if I wanted to look to see what it was and I said something like "I think I saw some balls." It was breathing OK, doing little cries, but just a little snuffly. I realized I didn't know what time it was, so I stopped the screensaver on my computer and saw 2:37, so we think it was about 2:35 he was actually born. Delia headed out at this point. (Later in the day she said to me: "You know when you have a baby, it's all dirty.") Sometime during this, I lifted the towel and saw for sure it was a boy. A boy?!!? Completely unexpected! We didn't say anything about it being a boy, I think we were just speechless. Ryan and I talked about how pink he was, if he was getting purple again, back and forth for a while.
After probably about 30-45 minutes, I was really ready to get the placenta out and I decided to cut the cord so Ryan could hold the baby more easily and I could kneel or squat and get it out. Ryan and Delia got the braided ties we'd made, and Ryan found some scissors clean in the dishwasher and held them over the flame on the stove, then cooled them with water. Delia tied the cord on the baby's side like she had practiced, and Ryan tied it on the placenta side and then he cut through the cord. (Again! Something he did not do at Delia's birth and was adamant he would not do!) As soon as he could hold the baby, I was able to lean forward and pushed the placenta out right away.
Ryan put chux pads on the couch for me and used some of those plastic backed sheets to make a walkway across the rug. I settled in on the couch, nursing and relaxing for the rest of the afternoon. We called our parents to tell them the news. We called the hospital so they could come off "red alert" expecting us. Then we called our closest friends and asked them to bring us Dairy Queen! We hadn't eaten lunch and were starving!
Over the next day or two, I kept having Ryan bring me supplies from that box on the counter in the bathroom. I think he was impressed with what I had gathered (really mostly just a bunch of chux pads! - oh and some of those mesh underwear) and was slightly annoyed that I had put so much thought into a homebirth to order all this stuff. I had eldon cards in there to type the baby's blood, and we almost tried to use blood from Henry's cord, but we figured we wouldn't bother - I would just get the rhogham shot. I called the hospital to ask how soon I needed it, and they said to come in any time Thursday. Thursday morning they called back and said I could wait up to 72 hours, so I could wait until Friday when we were already coming in for the baby's PKU test. This way, they could also type the baby's blood and see if I even NEEDED the shot. Turns out this boy is rh negative and I don't need the shot afterall! Yay!
Wednesday night we discovered that Delia, who sleeps in a twin bed in our bedroom, sleeps through Henry's night wakings. Yay! Thursday our babysitter/assistant came and played with Delia, and packed orders for my store, and then I sat and held Henry while I printed out labels for her to put on the boxes and packages. Ryan took them all to the post office, as he's been doing more often later in my pregnancy. It was exhilarating seeing several days' worth of orders get out the door about 24 hours after I had given birth!! My friend Brianna came by to see Henry, and she held him while we all sat around talking. We realized we still hadn't weighed him, so Ryan brought the postage scale down and weighed him - 9 lbs exactly. So, he was probably a little more than that at birth but our official number is 9 lbs.
I think the fact that Henry had one hand tucked in by his neck was good for the delivery - it brought out first one shoulder, then the other. Ryan said that arm was COMPLETELY white when it came out. Henry still keeps his right hand up by his neck/face whenever he can.
Friday the 4th, my due date, we went to the hospital and clinic for the PKU test, blood typing, and what was going to be my 40 week prenatal which got switched to Henry's first well-child visit. His weight there was 8 lbs 13 and 3/4 ounces. Everything is great, nursing's going well, my milk is in, and we're catching some pees and poops in potties!