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After a painless delivery that went from under 5 cm to in Daddy's hands in under 7 minutes, Avonlea Jane arrived on Nov. 17.

pics can be seen at

Birth story:

My early labor started around 2:00 a.m. on Sunday with my contractions 10-12 minutes apart and lasting one minute. I was able to get a couple hours of sleep through the night but it wasn't easy, not because of discomfort, but because it was exciting to think that our baby would be born in the next day. I told David around 5:00 a.m. that I was pretty sure it was going to be Baby Day either Sunday or Monday, and he set an alarm for us to get up to go see the sunrise over the ocean. We had discussed for some time both of us wanting to watch the sunrise on the day of our baby's birth. However, once the alarm went off, I was much more partial to staying in bed longer to get whatever sleep and rest I could store up.

Labor progressed over the course of the day rather slowly (taking ~7 hours to move my contractions from 7 minutes apart to 6 minutes apart), allowing us to get things done around the house. In the late evening my contractions started to take more focus, but still weren't painful, just uncomfortable. I was certainly glad to have had a yoga/birth ball, which I spent much of my time on. Prior to laboring, I had prepared a wonderful labor and birth soundtrack that contained Enya and other New Age music, African drumming and chanting, and whale song--exactly what I thought I would want for a spiritual and earthy labor. It was not to be, all I wanted to listen to were Christmas carols. I spent many of my contractions bouncing on the birth ball while singing, "Thumpety-thump-thump, thumpety-thump-thump, look at Frosty go...."

I sent David to bed around ten o'clock so that he could rest up, and at around midnight, my contractions were five minutes apart. I couldn't remember whether I supposed to call the birth center when my contractions were five minutes apart on average or when all of them were under five minutes apart. I wound up waiting until the latter, which was at two o'clock when my contractions were two and half minutes apart. I also woke up David at this point who was upset that I had waited so long, though my contractions were still pretty mellow, barely distracting me from a Grey's Anatomy rerun.

We called the birth center and the midwife on call said that we needed to come in right away. When we got there, there was another woman in labor in the other bedroom who was getting down to her last few hours. The midwife on-call, Meredith, who had been busy with the other woman, checked me after we had been there an hour or so, and I was disappointingly only three centimeters dilated. This news was especially disheartening because I had agreed to be checked the Tuesday prior and on that date was two centimeters. Advancing one centimeter in twenty-four hours was not what I had hoped for. Meredith said that if I got some sleep I would probably progress better, so she gave me a sleeping pill and said she would check on me in two hours. The sleeping pill unfortunately didn't allow me sleep, but lying down did make my contractions more laborious. (These were definitely moving into the realm of uncomfortable, proving there's a reason it's called "labor" and not "picnic," but I'm still convinced they weren't much stronger than cramps.)

After an hour, I woke David up to ring the midwife because something didn't feel right. Meredith came in the room, and when I stood up my water broke. She did a quick check and said that I was now barely five centimeters, wasn't very effaced, and the baby was still pretty high up. She said that we could fill the tub and I could get in to labor for a while, but that the birth was still probably six hours away. David put on his swim trunks as the tub started to fill, and I told Meredith and the secondary midwife, Amanda, that I had to go to the bathroom. They said that I may have to go to the bathroom and that I may not, but that I would continue to feel that way as labor progressed. They helped me to the seat, and as soon as a sat down, I told them that my uterus was pushing. Meredith said that it just felt that way, but I told her that I had nothing to do with it, but I could feel the baby being moved. She told me to pant through my contractions because it was too early and pushing would really injure my body. (This was the only slightly painful part of the labor and birth process--trying to control my uterus from pushing.) The panting was not working and I wound up sounding more like a moose sending out a mating call, for which between contractions I profusely apologized, as I was sure I was scaring the woman next door. I told Meredith that I had no control over what was happening but that the baby was coming NOW. She assured me that I had hours more to go, but David suddenly said, "The baby's crowing. I can see its head."

Amanda told me to quickly get in a position to birth the baby, and I got on my hands and knees on the ground. At this point, I still had not actively "pushed" or done anything voluntarily to birth the baby. I asked Meredith to describe what was happening because I couldn't see, and she told me that the baby's head was completely out. I couldn't believe it, because I had felt no discomfort in the baby crowning or coming out. Amanda told me to give a push, and I asked if it would be better to wait until a contraction, but she told me the shoulders were already on their way out. My only effort in birthing Avonlea Jane was the tiniest of pushes, taking less effort than it would to shut a car door with your hip. She was born at 5:27 a.m. into David's hands, less than seven minutes after my water broke, just in time to shut the water off in the tub. From less than five centimeters to Daddy's arms in under seven minutes! They've never had such a quick birth. (Also as a note, the last song playing when she was born was Dean Martin's "It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas." Both midwives thought it was too funny that we put on Christmas carols when we arrived.)

Her cord was a little short for the position I was in, so it was immediately clamped and cut. She was breathing but she wasn't crying, so I didn't hold her right away. She was taken to the bed to be aspirated, and when she finally cried, she was put on David's chest and not mine. Because she was birthed so quickly and spent no time in the birth canal, she didn't have the fluid squeezed out of her lungs. She was also born pink because of the quick birth and had no head molding (which was only of a detriment to me). Also because of the precipitous delivery I didn't go through the hormonal changes brought on by labor and went into shock. I was helped to the bed but was pretty out of it. I recall seeing that she had hair and after a couple minutes was informed that she was a baby girl. I don't remember really seeing her face, but David assures me that he held her up to me. While Meredith tried to help me get my dizziness and shaking under control, I was grateful that David got to have fifteen minutes of skin-to-skin contact with her. Amanda made the call that Avonlea Jane should be checked out by a neo-natalogist for her breathing, and that she and David would take her to the hospital while Meredith attended to my stitches (of which there were many because of how quickly she was born, but I was certainly surprised as her delivery was painless, and even though I had hoped for a painless delivery, not even I thought it would really be possible).

When David took Avonlea Jane to the hospital, he was allowed to stay with her in the nursery for the first twenty minutes as the doctor was examining her. However, once she was declared healthy and fine to leave the nursery, David had to leave. She was allowed to leave the nursery at this point and wait for me with David in a maternity room, but David was unable to check her out, as he didn't have photo ID on him. During this time, I was receiving my stitches, but then both midwives needed to leave to attend the other woman who getting ready to birth. I was then unfortunately left alone lying the birth center bedroom, not knowing where my baby was or what was happening with her, until the shift change at seven. This was definitely not good for my mental health, and I was quite upset by the time someone finally came in. Both David and Avonlea Jane were also alone and separated from each other during this time at the hospital.

After seven I was finally taken over the hospital nursery, where I wasn't allowed to take Avonlea Jane out either because of lack of photo ID. Meredith was allowed to check her out though as she could verify that I had indeed given birth to her. We were then all three taken to a maternity room to wait for the pediatrician on duty to release Avonlea Jane from the hospital. We had expected to leave in a few hours, but were told at one o'clock that we should wait until the evening, and we could probably leave around five. The pediatrician never came back, and we were told we could probably leave at seven a.m. Luckily, our friend Brittany brought us clothing to the hospital, as we certainly didn't expect to stay so long. Seven came and went, and we were told we could leave at noon, but we didn't wind up being checked out of the hospital until after two p.m. The hospital stay was certainly not expected and not wanted, and after being separated from my baby and my husband for two hours, all I wanted to do was go home and have the three of us get into our own bed. So, leaving on Tuesday and finally being home alone was wonderful. And, even though it wasn't the birth experience and recovery experience we had expected, we could not have asked for a more perfect little girl to come home with us.

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What a beautiful baby!!
She has a very grown up look to her face...not the newborn squished look!!

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