For weeks I had not been feeling mentally ready for this baby. I had so much else to consume me during the pregnancy, that I’d sort of been putting off really thinking about labor & the actual baby coming. Finally early in the week I just felt as ease with it all. I decided Friday would be a perfect day for baby to come, not that *I* had any say over that, of course!
Thursday morning I woke up, and felt the need to head to the grocery store. We hadn’t been in a while, and although John volunteered to go on Friday, I felt like I should get it done that day. Ethan was sick with a slight fever & a cough, so I (shh, bad mom!) gave him some Tylenol & we headed out. The trip went fine, and we stopped at Sonic on the way home for a bag of ice, since it was on my birth supply list, and I was, of course, due in 5 days.
While at the grocery store I also picked up two pineapples. I ate a whole pineapple a few hours before I went into labor with Ethan, and I’ve heard that fresh pineapple was great for after-pains, so I figured it was a good idea to grab two. John laughed when he got home and saw them both on the counter. He asked if he’d be cutting it up for me after dinner. But of course!
After dinner that night, we watched a movie, and John took Kayleigh up to read her a book & put her to bed. He ended up falling asleep with her, and I took Ethan up shortly after. When I took Ethan up, I saw John had gone into our bed, so I figured he was tired from having duty the day before, and let him sleep. Normally I’d wake him up & he’d come downstairs.
Around 10pm I walked through the kitchen & noticed a couple dishes in the sink, then I looked over & saw John’s laundry he started folding earlier, still mostly unfolded on the floor in the living room. I decided this was unacceptable, and while washing the dishes, started tearing up. How dare he leave all this work for me (as if I hadn’t been doing it the 5 years anyway, haha)?! As soon as I welled up, I realized how silly I was being, and thought to myself, “I wonder if baby will be coming tomorrow?,” since I usually have some sort of moment of “doom” the day before I birth – as opposed to my usual peachy self.
At 11:30pm I was sitting on the computer emailing some friends, when I had, what I first thought was a usual Braxton hicks contraction. I’d been getting them a lot lately, but this one was a little different. I was actually a tiny bit uncomfortable, and I couldn’t get in a position where I could actually make myself comfortable. After it was over, and had pressed on my bladder, I got up to use the bathroom. When I wiped, I noticed blood on the toilet paper. I knew immediately baby was coming. Even though I had a feeling this labor would start different, it started exactly the same as the other two.
I went back to the computer, and sent another email out to the friends I was chatting with, telling them it might be the start of labor, and I was going to go to try to get some sleep.
When I got upstairs I woke John up, and told him I was pretty sure I’d be in labor soon, and we’d have a baby by tomorrow night. He laughed, and said something about how it wasn’t the best day for him, and closed his eyes. I had another contraction, and it was definitely not as pleasant as the first. We talked for a while, probably 30-45 minutes, and then grabbed a paper & pen to start charting them, when John asked if I had any charts printed up. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I did remember hearing about a contraction timing program online. He opened up the laptop, and we found the site.
Ethan was still sick, and started crying for me. I went in there a couple times and got him back to sleep, but he was just not staying down. I tried to give him a little bit of Tylenol to bring his fever down a bit, but he ended up throwing up all over me. Eventually I just brought him in our room so we could time the contractions, and discuss our plan of action.
I finally got to time a couple, and they were over 9 minutes apart. I decided to call the midwife, Jeni, and let her know that we’d be calling her back again sometime to come. She told us to give her a call when they got closer to 5 minutes apart. We brought Ethan downstairs so we could get the birth tub out, and bring the supplies in. John turned on The Sword and the Stone for him, and put him on the couch.
After timing the next 5 or 6 contractions, they were anywhere from 3-5 minutes apart. We called Jeni again to let her know she should start to get ready. We then called Halie, the photographer, to let her know what was up. She decided to get ready & head right over so she wouldn’t miss it.
I could feel that this labor was moving a bit faster than Ethan’s (12 hours), but I had no idea just HOW fast. Every time I’d start a contraction, I’d yell out from where ever I was “SPACEBAR!!” so John could hit the spacebar on the laptop to time them. It was pretty funny, actually, and kept the mood lighter when labor wasn’t as comfortable as it was in the beginning. I’m not sure why we kept timing them when everyone was on their way … but we did.
Now it was about 1:45am. Ethan was still watching a movie on the couch, John was filling the birth tub, and I was trying to get comfortable. The birth ball was comfortable for a while, and I was rocking back and forth for a bit, when I felt that oh-so-familiar POP. My water had broken. I looked down, and it sure had. I noticed on a towel that it was a little brown, which meant there was meconium in the water, but I didn’t feel too worried about it – besides, what could I do? I went to the bathroom and cleaned myself off a bit, and sat down on the toilet. It felt good to have the pressure offset by the seat. John started to get a little panicky at this point, and insisted on going to get the birth tub filled. I had to tell him at least three times to quit worrying about the tub. He was just trying to help, but it seemed almost laughable for him to get the tub filled. After my water had broken with the last two, they were born in less than 30 minutes.
We made our way back to the living room, and I tried to get comfortable. I couldn’t sit on the birth ball, the pressure was too intense. I looked around for somewhere to lean on my knees, and the only thing that looked to be the perfect height was the computer chair. I walked over, and kneeled, and I noticed John was setting up a little delivery station in front of the couch. I was not moving again. I yelled for John that I could feel the baby moving down quickly, and I had the urge to push. John grabbed a towel and came running.
I started to push, and realized this was it, it was just going to be the three of us. John told me to just push when I needed to, that we could do this. I pushed once, and she came right down, he could already feel her head. A couple more pushes, and her head was out. At this point, all John could see was that her head was blue, so he told me to push – now. I didn’t have a contraction to help start the push, but I pushed anyway, and there she was! At 2:25am, less than three hours after my first suspected contraction, Norah Jane entered the world into her Daddy’s hands with only big brother in attendance.
John helped me flip over into a sitting position, and grabbed some towels to keep her warm. She was beautiful, so tiny (so we thought), and so very loud! Ethan did not even peek over from the couch as she was learning to use her lungs. I wiped her down a bit while John called the midwife and told her everything was okay, and baby was here. She told us just to keep the baby warm, and leave the cord attached until she got here. She started nursing and quieted down a great deal.
About 20 minutes after Norah was born, Halie, the photographer that was going to shoot the birth, arrived. She said she knew she was going to miss it – although I was still so shocked! John helped get the couch ready for Norah and Me, and we got off of the floor. About 10 minutes later, Terri, the midwife’s apprentice got there and checked baby out. I delivered the placenta, and John cut the cord. Jeni, our midwife (who was also at Ethan’s birth), and Vanessa finally arrived shortly after. We had a full house!
John went upstairs around 4am to wake Kayleigh up, and she was a little confused. She told him that there was no baby here, yet, and she was not in the birth tub. When she got downstairs, she realized she was wrong, and immediately fell in love. I went upstairs to get a shower, and once I came down, I had a bowl of cereal & pineapple John cut up. Halie took some pictures of everyone and Norah while she had her first exam by the midwives.
Everyone started trickling out soon after, leaving us to be, our new family of five. The rest of that day is mostly a blur. I know it involved a lot of napping, picture snapping, and cuddles and kisses.
It’s as if she’s always been here, as cliché’ as that sounds. Kayleigh has adapted extremely well, and is so gentle and loving with her. Ethan is starting to realize that she’s not going anywhere anytime soon, so he may as well get in on the baby-loving too! Every day, he warms up more and more to her.
Norah’s birth was more perfect than it could have been planned out. I had been struggling on when to call the midwife when I was still pregnant. I had such an amazing labor with Ethan, with just John and Kayleigh there (midwives arrived as I was pushing), I couldn’t imagine having anyone there this time. I would have never planned to go at it alone, but if there was ever a perfect birth coach, it was my husband. He remained so calm and steady, I could not have done it (at least I wouldn’t have wanted to!) without him. He acted as if he’d done it a hundred times before, that even Jeni, our midwife remarked she was waiting for him to tell her to not even bother coming out when he called her after her birth. He is my hero.contraction timerimmediately after birthafter our first well-deserved napthe delivery manbig sisterbig brother8 days oldthe FIVE of us, 2 days old