Here it is everyone. I apologize in advance for the length. I'm pretty wordy . . . . There are some pics at http://www.thetechnologystore.net/baby/index.htm
After having our first son in the hospital and finding it impossible to relax and tune into my body in that environment, we knew that our other children would be born at home. When we became pregnant with our second baby, we looked forward to a home water birth and I enjoyed feeling relaxed and confident throughout a very easy, awesome pregnancy.
My due date was January 18 and when that date came and went I was really enjoying the anticipation of when labor would start. Griffin was eight days early and his labor started with my water breaking, so I never experienced the 'is this it?' range of emotions. I was looking forward to really tuning into my body and letting my body do its work this time, and that's exactly what happened.
I woke up on January 19 feeling much different than the previous day . . . lots of pressure and having to pee a lot! I would feel a lot of pressure build up, go to the bathroom, and then the pressure would subside. I really thought that today could be the day, but I didn't want to send out false alarms, so I kept it to myself and decided to stay busy. My mom and I took Griffin to a mall with an indoor playground and just played all day. We were gone for several hours and my contractions were off and on all day, although nothing consistent and I still wasn't letting myself believe that they were 'real' contractions. We had a great lunch and headed home.
When we got home I immediately started having contractions that were about five minutes apart. They weren't painful but were consistent for the first time. This lasted for about an hour. It was about 6:00 p.m. and we decided to give our doula (Monica) a heads up. Of course the contractions completely stopped as soon as I hung up the telephone with her. My mom decided to spend the night anyway since she would be taking care of Griffin during the birth. At 9:00 we called Monica to tell her that nothing was happening so she could go to bed. Even though Griffin was really sleepy, he could not go to sleep. He really sensed that something was going on, so we let him stay up and play. I was feeling very emotional during the last days of him being my only baby, so I was happy to have more time with him. The four of us were playing a game with him and we all started laughing when 'swoosh' my water broke! It was so funny because my mom looked at me and said 'did your water just break?', but I was laughing so hard I couldn't really answer. Then I looked at Griffin who had just taken a drink from my water bottle and was laughing so hard that he started spitting water everywhere. Steve never heard my mom ask me about my water, so he didn't understand why we were just all laughing and sort of momentarily paralyzed. When he finally realized what was going on, he jumped up in total excitement -- we were going to have a baby -- and soon!!!
My contractions started within 30 minutes and were five minutes apart for quite a while. We let Monica and our midwife (Sharon) know what was going on and headed for bed. I slept for a little while, but Griffin kept waking up with a stuffy nose and I was starting to really worry that he wouldn't get any sleep and that he was getting sick. We ended up giving him some cold medicine and by 12:30 he was in a pretty deep sleep and breathing clearly. I prayed all night that he would be comfortable and sleep well and that he would welcome waking up to my mom and not me (I assumed I'd be in pretty active labor by morning.)
I slept off and on for a little while longer, but wasn't able to sleep after about 2:30. By 3:30 I decided to get up. I really enjoyed laboring by myself and walking around the house, straightening things and packing a bag for Griffin to spend the day out with my mom. I lit candles and played music, creating a perfectly relaxing labor environment. Unlike my first labor, I felt no fear and simply welcomed each contraction as one step closer to having my baby.
At 4:00 I decided it was time to call Monica. My contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes, but were not quite as strong as they had been when I was laying down. She was so happy that I called and said she'd been laying there waiting for my call, hoping I wasn't trying to labor too long by myself. She was at my house within 20 minutes (with a plate of fresh chocolate chip cookies!) For the next couple of hours we just talked, walked around the house, and she made sure I was snacking. I hadn't eaten much for dinner and was so surprised at how my contractions picked up when I was able to eat even just a cracker. I labored walking around and then on my knees leaning over my birth ball. My mom also got up for a little while (she had been snuggling with Griffin since he usually wakes a couple of time each night). She and I got to hug and talk for a while, which was wonderful since I knew she and Griffin would leave as soon as he woke up. Just knowing that he was in her wonderful care made the whole experience possible.
At 6:00 I decided to wake up Steven. I was so glad that he had gotten some sleep and knew that he would be excited to wake up and find me already in active labor. It wasn't long before he once again became the world's best labor coach. We labored on the ball for a while longer and then really started relaxing on the floor. Steve was pressing a heating pad into my back and Monica massaging my hands. It was a great combination and I was so surprised at how relaxed and focused I was. But things were really picking up and I was starting to get nervous about Griffin waking up. I wanted to be able to nurse him if he wanted, as well as give him lots of love before he left for the day. God answered my prayers ten-fold. At 7:30 he woke up with Grammy right next to him and he was thrilled. She got him dressed and excited about spending a special day together and then bringing home a "birthday party" for the baby. He came out of the bedroom with his hair all ruffled and asked if I wanted to go with them. Holding back a zillion tears I snuggled him and kissed him and told him I was going to stay home and work really hard so that he could see his new baby when he got home. He was such a trooper and such a big boy! Bittersweet doesn't even describe it. My contractions didn't slow down with him around (for some reason I thought they would). While they were still getting ready to go I went in the bathroom and had a couple of really strong ones on my hands and knees. I was overwhelmed with emotions about Griffin because he just seemed so grown up as he left. I started crying pretty hard and Steve and I just held each other for a while as we listened to them drive off. We knew we had to be thankful that things went so well and move on to laboring. Now I was ready to get in the birth tub.
Ahhh. . . . it was prefect timing and felt fantastic. The water was so warm and comforting, and I was able to float and move around so easily. It was about 8:00 a.m. and things were definitely progressing. The most comfortable position was for me to be on my knees leaning over the side of the tub during a contraction. I preferred to breath in the cool air from the room during a contraction rather then having my head close to the water. Steve and Monica kept my forehead cool with a cloth dipped in ice water and during a contraction Monica would pour warm water down my back and say, "picture your baby moving down." It was a wonderful sensation and visualization that really worked. In between contractions Steve fed me crushed ice mixed with orange juice that was incredibly refreshing. By 9:00 a.m. I was moaning really low and hard with the contractions and we decided it was time to call Sharon.
I loved seeing Sharon's warm, comforting face! She arrived at about 9:30 and from that point on things really started getting intense. I got out of the tub to go to the bathroom and cool off a bit. Sharon checked me and before I could tell her that I didn't want to know how far along I was, I realized that she wasn't going to offer to tell me. She just said "what's left of your cervix is very stretchy and the baby's head is very low." She was so positive and that was good enough for me because I knew that things were really moving fast at this point and I was really working hard to stay relaxed and focused -- the number just didn't matter. I stayed out of tub and labored on my knees leaning over the couch for a while, which is where I spent transition, which I'm guessing lasted about 30-45 minutes. Sharon pressed on my hip bones, which offered incredible relief and Steve leaned over the couch in front of me for support. He and Monica had the most encouraging words and helped me keep my moans very low and focused on moving the baby down. Finally I announced that I was "done." I knew that it meant I was so close, but at the time I really just wanted it all to stop : ) At that point I was chanting 'surrender' over and over again, trying so hard to just give in. I'm amazed at how well it worked.
During the last couple of contractions on the couch I felt pressure building in my bottom and decided that I wanted to go to the bathroom. I started to get up, but realized that it would be easier for me to just crawl. I think the whole birth team smiled, knowing that crawling would be great for moving the baby down. I got halfway to the bathroom and had a killer contraction. I leaned on Steve and felt the baby completely move down. When we got to the bathroom I sat on the toilet and immediately felt the baby move again. I reached down and could feel his head just inside my body. I yelled 'I feel HER head!" Immediately, Sharon came in; looked me straight in the eyes and told me that we needed to get to the tub. She knew I wanted a water birth! I just got up, walked to the tub and got on my knees again. Leaning over the tub into Steve's arms I pushed for a total of six minutes and beautiful 9 lb. 8 oz. Simon was born. Sharon was so relaxed and her calm words kept me from pushing too fast and I felt every little inch of my baby move out of me (over intact perineum). Sharon passed him under my leg and I turned over to look at our amazing water baby. Sharon said he was wiggling before he was even completely out of me! He was so pink and alert and let out the most beautiful yelp almost immediately. Then he just relaxed and enjoyed snuggling in the water. Steven and I were simply in awe of the entire experience; it was truly overwhelming. I still can't really process the range of emotions I feel from this fantastic labor and birth.
After the cord stopped pulsating, I cut it and then handed Simon to Steven so that I could deliver the placenta in our bed. Simon nursed immediately and he and I fell asleep for a few minutes. Then after a shower for me, we were back in bed to snuggle and relish in the wonderful wonder of birth and our amazing baby boy.
That evening, my mom brought Griffin home with a birthday cake and balloons for Simon. Griffin immediately smiled and said hi to Simon, then just kept saying, "awe, a teeny-tiny baby." He was and continues to be so sweet to his brother and very patient when mommie is caring for him. We haven't even had any problems with nursing, probably because according to Griffin, mommie's new milk is "very yummie," so I guess he doesn't mind sharing.
As for Simon, he is just as relaxed as he was en utero, and already has brought us more joy and happiness than we ever imagined. All of our love and gratitude goes out to everyone who helped make this birth possible. With such wonderful friends and family, we know that God answers prayers and that we are indeed truly blessed.