Sunday we went out to Garden of the Gods and did quite a bit of walking. At 3 AM Monday morning, I woke up to potty and discovered I was losing my mucus plug. I roused Corey briefly and told him the baby would be coming soon, maybe a few days. I then went downstairs for a drink. Malinda woke up, and we went over the birth plans. During our conversation I had to potty again and had a loose bowel movement. I came out and told her "The baby is coming today." We finished up, and I went back upstairs.
As I said goodnight to Malinda on the staircase, I felt the first light contraction. I laid down in bed and tried to sleep, but I couldn't. The contractions weren't strong enough to keep me awake, but I was so excited. Corbin rolled over into my arms, and I lay there holding him for the longest time. I watched him dreaming, thinking how it might be my last chance to do so for a while.
Corey went on in to work, and I got up for some breakfast. When it was time to take Johnathan (Corey's brother who lives with us) to work, I was too tired to do it, and the contractions were just strong enough that I didn't want to drive through them. Malinda took him to work, and I went back up to bed. I snoozed a bit, but Malinda kept calling for directions because she'd gotten herself all turned around.
Eventually Corbin and I went downstairs, and I tidied up before Helen and Clio arrived. (We participated in the filming of a documentary on freebirth that will air in England sometime next year, and they were producing it.) I called Corey and asked him to come home as soon as he could. When he did, he and Malinda worked on setting up the birth pool while Helen & Clio filmed and set up some equipment. I just sort of stayed out of the way!
Corbin and I got in our swim wear, and we stopped to take some pictures before heading up to the pool. The water was warm, but not nearly enough for me. We tried hooking up a valve we'd bought to quickly empty and refill the pool but couldn't get it to work, even after Corey went to the store for a sink adaptor. Corey and Malinda worked really hard repeatedly filling and dumping a large plastic container so we could put warmer water into the pool. The water slowly warmed up, and it felt so good. As they worked I tried to just relax through the contractions, while Corbin splashed about, threw in toys, hopped in and out, and had a blast.
Around then I asked Helen & Clio to leave, because I felt like the labor was going to get strong enough soon that I'd want to be alone with my family. Sitting in the birth pool not only helped me cope with the strengthening contractions, it slowed them down. I got out and wrapped myself up in a warm robe, and they changed Corbin into dry clothes. We went for a walk outside, and then I did some housework downstairs. That sped the contractions up and strengthened them again.
I got back in the birth pool, but this time Corbin didn't join me. Once again Malinda and Corey had to warm up the pool. The contractions were getting stronger, but they were still irregular. I'd have one five minutes after another, then the next would come 10 minutes later. One would be strong, the next sort of weak. I hadn't been sitting there long when I started to feel the first tingling of pressure. I gave gentle pushes with the next two or three contractions just to see if it made a difference. The results were a bit embarrassing...
The water was getting cool again, and I didn't want to stick around in the birth pool. I got in the bath tub. Within minutes I felt the baby moving down. I knew he was coming and that it was time. Before, I'd thought about not pushing--letting my body do the work on its own. Now, though, I wanted it to be over as soon as possible. I tried pushing with two or three contractions, but it was too difficult. I couldn't focus on breathing, coping with the contractions, holding myself up, and pushing all at once. I knew to do it I would have to go lie down.
Laying down was the last position I thought I'd want to be in, given that I knew squatting opens your pelvis wider. Nevertheless, I felt so much better as I lay on my side in the bed. Corey supported my leg. My mood changed suddenly. I felt myself beginning to lose control to the power of the labor. I need to feel in control, but at the same time, I think I needed to lose control just a bit. Corey kept letting my leg droop, and it was getting tired. I kept telling him to support it and finally snapped at him to please support my leg! I began to doubt myself, and I had to regain control of my thoughts. I told myself, out loud, something like "Remember how it felt SO good when Corbin's head was out, and then his little body wriggled right out with one more little push!" That gave me what I needed to finish the work.
With the next contraction, I started to push. My memory is a little foggy, but I think with that first one, I didn't accomplish much. I think I remember telling everyone the baby was coming. Corey was ready to play catch, and Malinda was filming. Corbin was sitting about two feet away watching with interest. With the next contraction, I began pushing. It was so intense. I wanted to stop, but everyone told me to keep going. I heard Corey's voice telling me to keep pushing, that he could see the head, that "she" was coming, that the head was almost out. I believed him, and it gave me the motivation I needed to keep going.
I told him "Support it!" as the head start coming, and I felt his hands on my perinneum! That was a good guess on his part, but it wasn't what I'd meant. I said something like "No, the head, the head!" I was very sore down there, and he has long fingernails. I kept feeling his hands down there and telling him "Don't put your hands in me!" Everytime his fingers would slip, it'd hurt so bad. At one point I even cursed at him to move his fingers. I had to stop halfway to pant and catch my breath, but everyone kept encouraging me. I pushed some more, and his head came out the rest of the way.
I felt such relief as the contraction abruptly ended! Corey started encouraging me to push again to get the shoulders out, but I told him I had to rest. I don't remember how long it was before the next contraction, but it was long enough for me to gather the strength I needed. He encouraged me to keep pushing. Meanwhile, I was trying to tell him to help the baby turn but not to force it, to let "her" guide him. It felt like we were working together, each of us doing our part. The shoulders seemed to take as long as the head to emerge, but finally it was over.
Orin started screaming right away. I immediately exclaimed "Where's my baby?!" I looked down and Corey had the baby on his back. The first thing I noticed was the gender. "Oh! You're a boy!" I exclaimed with amusement, and I held him up against my chest. Those first few minutes are a blur. I remember smiling, laughing, talking to him. I apologized for having been so loud and not maintaining as much control as I'd wanted. I'd yelled out during the birth, something I had wanted not to do, and I told him I was sorry. I'd wanted a very peaceful experience for him.
He calmed down after a bit enough to nurse and then fell asleep. I took some Motherwort, which I'd heard can prevent hemorrhage. I gave a few little pushes, and Corey caught the amniotic sac in a bowl. I pushed a bit more hoping for the placenta, but nothing happened. Malinda was concerned I might be bleeding too much, though the amount seemed the same to me as it was with Corbin. I took some Shepherd's purse nevertheless, and the bleeding slowed a few minutes later. Malinda was watching me for signs of shock. (She's an LPN.) I was shivering a bit and feeling a little weak, which happened after Corbin, too and also seemed normal to me. But, just in case, I took a caplet of rescue remedy, and I think that made me feel a bit better.
Malinda laid down by me, and Corey took pictures. Johnathan called needing a ride home, and Corey had to run up the road to get him. Corbin came over to see Orin. I had Orin on one arm, Corbin on the other. I asked Malinda to take a picture of me and my babies. As I said "babies" my voice cracked, and I started crying as I looked back and forth from one to the other. I couldn't believe that suddenly I had two children. I wept for a few minutes. I could feel my heart doubling in size.
I decided to take a bath, thinking walking around, standing, might make the placenta come out. Corbin watched as Malinda helped me. After a quick dip I sat over the toilet and gave a few pushes, but no placenta. Corbin pointed at me and said "mama," then he babbled something while pointing at Orin. Then he pointed down and said "Poof!" We were amazed. He was retelling the story of what had happened in his own little way. I couldn't believe he remembered that. Every now and then he still calls Orin 'poof!'
While I was in the tub, a guy from our mortgage company called; we were to close on a loan that day. I told him that I'd just given birth and that we'd have to do it tomorrow. He insisted we really had to get it done today, so I grudgingly agreed to send Corey along alone. When Corey got home with Johnathan, he hung around for a bit, then he left to go sign the loan paperwork. It turns out that the guy had thought I'd given birth on Saturday and was just getting home from the hospital. I didn't do a good job of explaining that I had JUST given birth!
Malinda helped me get dressed, which was tricky with Orin still attached by the cord! I went downstairs to sit on the couch. Soon Helen & Clio arrived, and Corey got home. Our neighbors came over unexpectedly and got to meet Orin. I gave Orin to Corey for a bit as we sat on the couch. Then Corbin sat on the couch with me and Corey, and we carefully handed Orin to him. He smiled so bright as he looked at and held his bro, and he was so gentle. It was such a sweet moment.
By then we figured the placenta wasn't going to come on its own, so we decided to cut the cord. We had wanted to wait a while longer, but it was difficult to do much with Orin attached to me. Corey tied it with shoestrings, and Malinda wiped it with an alcohol pad. Corey cut the cord, and we put a bandaid over Orin's end just to try and keep out bacteria. Corey then got to really hold Orin for the first time. We measured him with the tape they once measured Corbin with at the hospital. He was 19".
Eventually everyone left, and it was just family there again. We hung out for a bit longer then got ready to head to the hospital about the placenta. I had originally planned on leaving the baby behind, but I changed my mind. We left Corbin with Johnathan. The hospital visit wasn't fun but could have been worse; I consider that a seperate story. It's kind of a drive out to the military hospital, and Corey and I both missed our exit on the way back. So our 'misadventure' took about 3 hours, but I was only at the hospital for an hour or so.
Corey ran by Sonic on his way home, and after dinner, we finally went to bed. When Corbin and Orin were both asleep I remember saying to Corey "Look, both our sons are sleeping!" As I lay there in bed with my family, I remember thinking how unbelievable and wonderful it was that we were all falling asleep in the same bed Orin had been born in just hours before. I feel like our bed and our home have a whole new history now, and I have more confidence in myself than ever before. After the most amazing day of my life, I fell asleep with my husband and sons, counting my blessings.
Heather, 25, single mom to Corbin, 5, and Orin, 3 Oh how I miss the days of