Born February 20, 2009 at 1:30am
7 pounds, 15 ounces
21.5 inches long
On the morning of Thursday, Feb 19, I had my 38 week prenatal visit with the midwife's assistant. She delivered the birth pool, checked baby's heartbeat and position, and spent a few kind moments playing with ds1. When she was checking Jackson's position, she said she couldn't find his head down. She said briefly -- briefly as she was unable to feel his head high either -- "Your baby's breech." Somehow I didn't feel the least bit worried, and she and I both seemed to think he was more likely vertex. She got the Doppler out and found the (strong, beautiful J) heartbeat, and its location seemed to indicate he was indeed vertex. She felt again for his head under my belly, and found it (or so she thought)…apparently, it was just very low (first indication that the birthing time was near).
I had steady, consistent cramps all day at work (second indication that the birthing time was near). I never timed them, and was very far from convinced - or even aware -- that things were actually where they were. I mean, I knew my body was doing its thing, but I always hear about labor starting and stopping, sometimes several times over, before labor becomes imminent. I honestly thought things were just 'moving around' and that I could still be days away from Jackson's arrival. I picked ds1 up from his 'sitter after work at 5:15. I talked to dh on the way home and told him that things might be happening. He was going to stay after work for a trainer ride, and would be home around 8 or so. I jokingly told him to keep his phone nearby, in case I needed to call him soon.
DS1 and I stopped by AC Moore for an errand. I made a run to the bathroom and there was the first tiny bit of my bloody show (third indication that the birthing time was near). Things were starting to point to an imminent delivery, but I still wasn't convinced. I think I truly expected my water to break to get labor started, as it did with ds1. Then ds1 and I went next door to Chipotle to grab a take-home dinner. (Ironically, this Chipotle was the last meal I had before Liam was born.) When we got home, probably around 6:30 or so, I lugged in all my stuff from the car (purse, ds1's bag, dinner, my lunch bag, etc). (There was a package that arrived by UPS on the porch…my sister had gotten us a changing table pad J Good timing, Sister!) I got most of our things put away, cooked a quesadilla for ds1 and got us both down to eat dinner together. I was really crabby, and was kind of short with ds1. Not sure if that's something women do in labor? Contractions were getting closer together, but I still didn't feel like I should be timing them. I worked on getting the birth pool (that you'll recall was delivered THAT morning!) set up as much as I could on my own, which was up to putting the permanent liner in. At 8:00, while assembling the pool, I put my watch on to time contractions. From the get-go they were 5 min apart, lasting 35-45 seconds, and stayed that way for quite a while. (The longest was just over 6 min, and there were a couple in there that were as short as 3 min apart…fourth indication that the birthing time was near.) I also was having some bloody show with each trip to the bathroom.
DH got home a little after 8:00, and when I told him things were happening, he started straightening up as well J We got the disposable liner in the birth pool and hooked up the sump pump because we couldn't get the hose to adapt to either faucet in the bathroom. It worked fantastically…thank goodness!
DH put ds1 down to sleep at around 8:30 or so. We started to put him down in our bed as we usually do. DH asked me what needed to be done to the bed, and when I realized we needed to put plastic on the bed we decided to try and put him down to sleep on the futon in the basement. DS1 was all for that idea…I guess it sounded really fun! DH got him down pretty quickly.
At around 9:30 (after 90 min of very consistent 5-min pattern), I decided I'd give it another 30 min before calling the midwife. DH came up from putting ds1 down around this time, too. I talked to my mom and sister on the phone, telling them what was happening, but that I wasn't sure that this was actually IT. My mom, who was going to be catching a plane as soon as she could once we knew I was in labor, was pretty much telling me I was crazy for not thinking this was it. I called the midwife at 10, and she said she was staying the night at her house in southern MD (which was 90 min away!). I told her what was happening, and she suggested I try to get some sleep and if I wasn't able to get to sleep within the hour to give her a call back. I spent another 30 min making a couple phone calls and posting on mdc that I thought things were happening. Then I laid down with ds1 and tried to sleep. While laying there, the contractions spread to 6:15 apart, but lengthened to 60 sec or so each, and I was definitely not able to sleep through them!! After 4 or 5 of them, I decided sleep was not happening and that I should call the midwife back. She had already decided to head up our way, and was about 45 min or so away. She told me later that the reason she decided to go ahead and leave her house was because I said I had to lean over on a table for a contraction. Indeed, the further along I had gotten, the more intense the contractions became. After I got up from trying to sleep with ds1, the contractions suddenly got much closer together, every 3 min! I was now mostly laboring upstairs in our bedroom, riding each contraction out standing at the foot of our bed leaning over onto my hands. In between, I was walking around upstairs and helping dh keep an eye on the tub water. The birth ball was on the bed, too, and I would lean on it sometimes. I didn't spend as much time actually sitting on the ball as I thought I would have.
The midwife arrived a little after midnight, and our dog's barking upon her arrival woke ds1 up. She set up shop, and took over pool-filling duty. She checked baby's heartbeat, and said to let her know if I wanted her to check me (for a vaginal exam). Contractions were getting stronger and stronger, and I was becoming more vocal through them. Probably about here I stopped timing the contractions. I was now getting on the bed hands and knees to ride them out, and having my head down on a pillow helped some. I was also having some nausea toward the end of the contractions. For a short while, the midwife used a little counterpressure on my lower back during the contractions, as dh was busy with the now-awake ds1. DH had ds1 upstairs with me, and was explaining to him how ds2 and I were working together so he could be born. The water in the tub was still not quite deep enough - darned hot water heater! - but we decided it would probably help some regardless. Boy, did it help! I was hands and knees in the water for most of the contractions. But I had to have my knees pretty far apart to be much in the water. Between contractions I was talking to the midwife. I don't recall why (or even if) she suggested I feel for baby's head, or why I felt the need to, but I did, and it was only 2 knuckles deep(!), and I told her how squishy it was. She said that was the bag of water, and all I could think was 'woah…wow…how cool is that?!' I remember telling her that my water still had not broken. Just a couple minutes later it broke. I didn't think I would be able to tell, since I was in the water, but it was unmistakable when it did break. The next little bit is a blur…or maybe that is already when I started feeling like pushing. I don't recall when she said this - just after I started pushing? - but she told me he was breech*. I didn't have any kind of negative reaction at all…I just remember sort of reassuring** myself that him being breech didn't really change anything…he was still going to be here very soon.
The pushing was intense. DH and ds1 were still there with me, and ds1 was great…not freaked out at all. Thankfully, by this time the pool was a bit fuller, which was so good. No one coached me for pushing at all. In fact, when I asked what I needed to be doing, the midwife and assistant both just said to do what felt right (or something like that). It felt so wonderful to follow my own body's cues/urges. I pushed maybe 10 times before he really began to emerge much. I remember when his butt was just about out, I stopped because I could feel 3 or 4 distinct tears*** happening all at once. At the same time, I was thinking that he was coming regardless of any tears…and I distinctly recall saying over and over, 'It hurts! It hurts!' As his body emerged into the water, the midwife told me to roll over, and his head was born shortly thereafter. I guess the concern with breech babies is that their heads get stuck…but this baby had no problems there. There wasn't even any time for the midwife and assistant to talk about whether it would happen. The midwife brought him to my chest, and his color was a bit off. His apgar scores were 8 at 1 min and 9 at 5 min, and I believe it was mostly due to his color. It took just a bit to get him to say hello, but when he did, his voice was so sweet J
*she later told me that she usually offers the mom the option to go to the hospital, but she was pretty confident that this would go well. I told her that I was very thankful that she didn't mention hospital because even though knowing he was breech didn't rock my state, mention of hosp would have made me think that she wasn't sure I could do it…even if she did think I could.
**it wasn't really 'reassuring' myself, but rather keeping myself in the state I was in.
***happy to report that I only had one very small tear that didn't require any suturing…what I thought were tears happening was just stretching.