Baby Girl’s birth story

Thank you everyone for your blessings, well-wishes, enthusiasm and congratulations!  I have enjoyed and deeply appreciated each and every comment and am very thankful for all of your prayers.

Now that the children are all asleep and the house is quiet, I’ll try to put together a few thoughts and details on the baby’s birth while it’s fresh in my mind.  Don’t expect a cohesive, well-written birth story; after all, I was up all night. Nonetheless, here is my account.

Picking up where my own posts left off:

I waited a few minutes for the pool to fill and when I saw that it was half full, I checked the temp and hopped carefully climbed in.  The water heater had given out at this point and the flow from the hose was cold so I tossed it on the deck and called to hubby to turn it off.  He continued to heat pots of water on the stove while we waited for the water heater to wake up and get back to work.

Once I got into the pool, my contractions continued at a good rate; they seemed to slow just a bit and the warm water took the edge off of the pain but labor didn’t threaten to stall the way it can when I get in too soon.  I was definitely ready!

It was still dark outside, and it was an uncommonly cool and breezy morning: about 70 degrees with a steady wind from the east.  I was cold at first, but it turned out to be ideal weather once we had the pool filled enough with nice hot water.  The hot water soothed my pains while the cool breeze kept me from overheating, and the cloud cover kept the weather from heating too rapidly even after sunrise.  In the midst of a drought, the cool breezy weather and cloud cover were a welcome and unexpected blessing.

Labor seemed to progress steadily; hubby ran tirelessly back and forth heating water, turning the hose on and off, bringing me ice and water and offering support and company.  As usual, he had an uncanny sense for when I needed his presence and when I felt better alone.  Like a good waiter, he was always available, anticipating my wants and needs but ever unobtrusive.  😀

The children slept on, oblivious to lights, noise, and the constant traffic – except Kaitlyn, who knew exactly what was going on but wisely pretended to sleep for as long as she could stand it.

We waited and waited for Ann, our midwife.  It seemed like hours, though she was only 70 miles away.  Maybe it was hours; I wasn’t exactly watching the clock on her account.  I was more focused on the minutes than the hours.  On a crazy impulse, I had hubby call Ann and leave a message on her cellphone asking her to stop at the last gas station for a 57-cent cup of crushed ice, my current obsession.

I felt things were going well; contractions were painful but manageable.  I was confident that labor was progressing, and though I always dread the first internal check I was also looking forward to finding out just how close we were to the end.

Ann finally got close enough that I could hear her car down the road, but she wasn’t sure of the last turn or two and called for directions.  The acoustics in the hills out here are amazing, and I could hear her driving back and forth while hubby talked her through landmarks: “Did you get to ___ Road yet? If you do, just turn around.  Wait, did the road make a hard left? No, you don’t have to make a left turn, just follow the road as it wraps to the left.  If you go straight, you’ll head into somebody’s driveway…”

I listened through 3 contractions, fantasizing about a 42 oz. styrofoam cup of crushed ice.  Finally, Ann pulled into our driveway.  No ice.  I crunched a piece of common ice and contracted on while she and hubby carried birthing supplies up the steps.

By now I think it was about 6 AM.  I had been in active labor – the stuff that hurts – for about 5 hours, with the last 2 hours or so being relatively intense.  Ann performed the much awaited and dreaded internal check.  Would it be a disappointing 5 cm?  7?  10, and you can start pushing any time?

I was at 8 cm, she said, with a big bulgy bag of water.  This was good enough for me.  Not at the finish line yet, but an end was in sight.  I could do this.

I labored on, mostly in silence, moaning a little with each contraction.  They grew more intense.  Half an hour, an hour passed.  I grew impatient and a little discouraged.  I had hoped to be done now, and the pains were still increasing.  Worse yet, the pain didn’t really let up between contractions.  I was in constant pain.  Not terrible, but constant, and I could feel myself beginning to fear the end.  I tried to push just a little with each contraction, knowing that I must be ready by now, but it just hurt too much.

Ann and hubby murmured encouraging things like “You’re doing great!  You’re almost done!” but my fearful and cynical ears heard something more like: “You’re almost at the worst part!  Ready or not, here it comes!”  The smart aleck in me wanted to say so and crack jokes about it, but my sense of humor was curled up in a fetal position somewhere far back in my head.  It didn’t come when I called it so I kept moaning instead through endless contractions.

I wanted to be funny and tell hubby that I was taking a vow of celibacy after this, but was pretty sure it wouldn’t sound funny just then.  Still, I considered it.  What was I thinking getting pregnant again?  How could I forget how much labor hurt?  This wasn’t fun, and I wanted out.  I didn’t want to finish the job; I just wanted out.

Ann asked if she could get me anything.  My traumatized sense of humor looked up.  “Not unless you have an epidural in that black bag?” I joked weakly.  Well, I was only joking if she didn’t have one in there.  She didn’t, so I was joking.

I felt a little woozy with pain and even saw stars on occasion.  I threw up once.

Finally, the continual pain and lack of progress frustrated me enough that I got up and shifted to a new position in the pool.  I tried 2 or 3 different positions and at long last, pushing past the pain and fear, I felt that welcome pop as my water broke.

After that, it all happened very quickly: with the very same contraction that broke my water, I pushed out the baby’s head.  I screamed, yelled and somehow the next moment I was turned around, sitting down, and the baby was out on my belly wrapped in a towel.  It all happened in one quick contraction. It was 8:07 AM.  One or two scared pairs of eyes peeked out the front door and were quickly reassured.

Remember what I said about the acoustics out here in the hills? I just hope the neighbors were at work, because earlier this morning I realized I could clearly hear the new neighbors out feeding their dogs, 10  or 15 acres away.  We have many other neighbors within a similar range.

The cord had been around the baby’s neck twice, loosely, but she was fine.  She came out quiet and content, alert but a little dusky.  She took a few minutes to pink up to Ann’s satisfaction, mostly because she had no inclination to cry – she only wanted to look around.  I don’t blame her; it was a beautiful morning and we have a spectacular view out on the deck.  It must have been a nice way to start life on the outside.

The children had woken up one by one over the last hour or two and were watching a movie in our bedroom.  We called them out to meet their new sister and snapped the first of many photos.

stats:

  • date: June 27th
  • time: 8:07 AM
  • weight: 7 lbs 10 oz
  • length: 20.5″ long
  • name: to be determined

Ready or not?

My present state of contentment keeps making me doubt myself. Am I near labor and just not psychologically ready? I have always loudly proclaimed that the miseries of the third trimester are God’s gracious way of making mothers ready and eager to face the pains of labor. But if I’m not miserable, that leaves two possibilities: either I’m not near labor, or I am near labor, and I’m just not ready. Gulp.

I think I’m ready. I don’t feel fearful. I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about labor and delivery, but that’s nothing unusual. I can always make myself feel apprehensive about labor if I dwell on what’s to come.   But mostly I’m just eager to have it behind me rather than before me, and to have a wriggling little babe in my arms rather than under my ribs and on top of my bladder. I’m eager to be done with it, but not in great enough physical discomfort to really, really long for it yet.

I’m just not used to feeling well-rested and generally pain-free at this point. It’s really throwing off all of my well-established psychological markers. Will this baby arrive in 3 days or 3 weeks?

Oh, the suspense. Is it killing you too?

In which I contract and ramble

I’m contracting this evening.  It doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but I thought it would be fun to keep the rest of the world guessing as much as I am.  I typically feel false labor only up high in my belly, but I am feeling these down low so maybe they’re real.

But I’ve never been more than a couple of days early, and I haven’t been early at all in nearly 12 years so it’s probably nothing.

But on the other hand, my June 28th duedate is an estimated date.  My official, by-the-book date would have been June 7 so maybe I’m already past due and really in labor.

But we had good reason to move the duedate to June 28th, since I consistently received negative results on pregnancy tests until what would have been 7 or 8 weeks, and my morning sickness also kicked in 3 weeks later than usual, so I’m probably still 9 days away from being due (ow.  contraction.  7:27 PM).

And I spent much of today in the heat and sun, not eating or drinking enough, and on my feet far too much.  All of these factors commonly contribute to false labor.

But I had 5 strong, down-low, nearly painful contractions in a row, all about 10-12 minutes apart while driving home this evening.

Does anyone want to know why I spent much of today in the heat and sun, not eating and drinking enough?  I’ll ramble on a bit longer about inconsequential things just to keep us all wondering about what really counts: those contractions.

We had 3 dentist appointments this morning, plus about 6 other errands to run.  Hubby was conveniently home today so I took his small gas-friendly car with just 3 children.  We made it 35 minutes or 35 miles into a 43 mile trip when the car died.  We were still firmly in the middle of nowhere, and could do nothing but call Hubby to come get us in the van.

It took him an hour to reach us.  I have to admit he was delayed far less by the 5 children in his entourage than by the fact that I had both sets of keys.

By the time my knight in shining armor arrived on in his great white steed, we had canceled our dentist appointments and rescheduled for July 8 (I’m hoping for a July 4th baby.  What was I thinking?).  Our other errands were in jeopardy but not yet canceled.  We were hot and thirsty and oh-so-happy to see him.

He quickly assessed the situation and we all hopped in the van for a ride to the auto parts store.  Back again to the car, 8 miles each way.

Hubby worked in the blazing sun, with his arms buried in the blazing engine.  I stood by in silent support, being present and pregnant.  It was all I could do to help, so I did my best at it.

After a long hot while, I took the van and children (ow. 7:50 PM. That was a long time, wasn’t it?) for a second trip to the parts store, with a side stop to get a nice assortment of cold drinks.  Hubby stayed behind in the south Texas sun, still hard at work.

We delivered the additional parts and drinks and then beat it back to town a third time for a time-sensitive errand that could be salvaged out of our demolished schedule.  Still, my noble knight worked on alone in the sun.

Finally, the car was running again – but it wasn’t running right.  He called me and told me to make a third stop at the auto parts store before we met up with him again.  We spent even more money this time, giving thanks that they had all the needed parts in stock, and headed out once more into the wilderness.  (little ow.  sort of.  7:58 PM.  Not at all like the big ow when I paid the bill for the 3 round of auto parts.)

With the car just barely running, we limped home.  The 35 mile trip took over an hour, and it had been 5 hours since I left the house.  I had a sunburn on the back of my neck.  I still needed to go for groceries, although 3 other errands had been aborted for the day.

I choked down a bit of lunch at 3 or 4 o’clock and left again, this time in the van.

OK, I’m bored.  Are you?  Here’s the thing: I had that string of semi-painful, good strong contractions on the way home and when I walked in the door it more or less quit.  Now it’s the same old, same old.  Braxton Hicks contractions, every 12-20 minutes, nothing significant.  Oh well.  It’ll probably be 3 more weeks.  Unless it picks up again late tonight.

Tomorrow is my next (last?) prenantal checkup.  Maybe 150 miles in the car will trigger some good contractions.