With another round of labor and delivery fast approaching, I’ve been mentally reviewing my past labors.
All 8 have been at home, with a midwife.
I have a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions, so I’m never really sure when labor starts. At some point I usually just comment to hubby, “I’ve think I’ve been having contractions for 6 hours now…I wonder if I’m in labor…” and he knows it’s time.
I showed very little with our first: the day before she was born, I measured just 6 1/2 months.
Nine days before my duedate, on a Thursday, I realized at about 10PM that I had been having regular contractions since some time before dinner. When had they started? Maybe I was in labor. We were planning on spending the night at hubby’s parents’ house, but decided it might be a good idea to go on home.
We called the midwife soon after, and she arrived around midnight to find me dilated to 4 cm. and labor just getting to the point where it required my entire attention. Labor was rather typical, I think, for a first time: intense and painful. Deanna was born 7 hours later, after several hours of back-to-back contractions and 45 minutes of pushing.
She weighed 7 lbs. 6 oz. and was born on my father-in-law’s 40th birthday.
With our second, labor began and ended on a Thursday 3 days before the baby’s duedate. I had spent the evening before assembling a piece of exercise equipment for Hubby’s birthday. I guess that was the target of my nesting instinct: get the large box out of the living room.
I was having regular contractions Thursday morning when hubby left for work. This was nothing unusual, so I wasn’t about to ask him to stay home. The contractions started and stopped all day. We kept in touch and when it became apparent that labor had started in earnest, he headed home early.
We called the midwife to let her know that her services would be wanted sometime soon, and settled down to wait. 21 month-old Deanna went to Grandma & Grandpa’s house for the rest of the day.
Kaitlyn was born at 10PM, after 5 hours of real labor (the part that hurts!) and 20 minutes of pushing. She weighed 7 lbs. 4 oz. and was born just 2 days before my dad’s birthday.
Since she was born so close to Easter, we got up early the next morning and went shopping to get her an Easter/baptism dress. The midwife was much amused and a little chagrined when we entirely forgot that she would be back to check on us. She said we were the first ever to miss the 24 hour checkup, especially since it came at closer to 12 hours.
Lydia was born 19 months later. My third labor was less painful than the first two. Labor started on a Thursday, Halloween, a holiday we don’t observe. Again, hubby was at work and I think I was in labor all day – we were busy gathering the last fragments of paperwork to close the purchase of our first home, and I was on the phone all day during and between contractions. We used a smalltown bank where the tellers knew us by name, and they were tickled to know that I was in labor while on the phone with them!
Once the business day came to a close and we were ready to close on our house, I got down to business. A little before midnight I was fully dilated and enjoying a break in labor, but finally began to grow impatient. After 20 minutes of nothing, with Halloween safely past (who wants a birthday like that?) we let the midwife break my water.
Labor started again in earnest, and Little Lydia was born 20 minutes later, after about 15 minutes of pushing. She arrived on All Saints Day, November 1. She was our smallest, at 6 lbs. 12 oz., and has always been a little skinny girl
We officially closed on our house Monday morning, and moved 4 weeks later.
Megan was our first child born in the new house. Labor began on – nope, not a Thursday. Sunday. Megan was different from the start. She was our first to go past the duedate. Those 5 days felt like forever to a momma who was used to having a new baby before the duedate.
She was far more active in utero, and we were convinced she would be a boy. As it turned out, she was just a far more active girl. Still is.
My midwife retired without notice less than 2 months before Megan was born, so we scrambled for a new midwife before the baby arrived.
I’m sure it was transitional crabbiness, but my most vivid memory of the new midwife was her arrival as I struggled to maintain my composure during a particularly painful contraction. I was concentrating on relaxing, holding on by a thin thread, as she breezed into the room. “Hi!” she said brightly. She glanced in my direction. “Does she always labor this easily?”
Labor was uneventful and much like the others, though a little more painful than the last. I think I had 5 hours of the “real” stuff – the painful stuff. I delivered on hands and knees. Never again.
Megan was born on Memorial Day, around 8AM. She weighed in at 7 lbs. 8 oz.
Did I mention that I had full and instantaneous recoveries after the first three? True to tradition, I waited til the midwife wasn’t looking, hopped out of bed, trotted downstairs and ran out the back door to show the new baby to the children and neighbors. As I reached the yard, I decided that maybe the 4th was time to take things a little slower. I sat down woozily at the picnic table, chatted for a few minutes, then casually sauntered back into the house and headed for bed.
Megan’s older sisters were 4, 3, and 19 months. We now had 4 girls, 4yo and under, and no family within 1000 miles. These were busy days.