june 14, 6:55 pm
10 lb 11 oz, 22 in
it was thursday night, june 13, the day after my due date. having had my previous 3 at a week and a half overdue, I wasn't expecting anything any time soon. but sitting on the couch eating macaroni and cheese about 9 pm, I felt something ooze out of me, so I went to check. it could have just been discharge, but it was bloody show. this would mark the second time in 6 births that I had any decent amount of bloody show, so I knew it would be soon at this point. at least, I thought it would be a few days. maybe 4, like the last time? but one thing was certain: I was not mentally prepared for a baby this soon!
I called my midwife around 9:15 to report, and she said to call back in 45 minutes to update. at 10 I called again and said nothing more had come out in those 45 minutes. then the next time I went to the bathroom I noticed some more. i didn't call back right then, I thought I would wait it out and see. there was a small amount, and another small amount the next time I was up for the bathroom... as long as I was still up, I was still freaking out at the possibility of having the baby that night (or next morning) but as soon as I laid down for the night, I came to peace with it. my shortest labor had been 6 hours from first contraction to baby out. I could be done with this by morning!
1:15 am on june 14 is when the first contraction hit. they came around an hour apart at first, 2:20, 3:30.. I stopped timing for a while and tried to rest (I only noted the first 3 times because I had to pee each of those times.. the next few I got to stay in bed for). sometime around 5 I think, I woke my husband, and our 22 month old who sleeps in our room also woke up and followed him around. he got me some food, and I ate, just in case things picked up fast and I wouldn't want to later. I called the midwife and she asked if she should come right away or if she had time to sleep a bit more. I said she could sleep some more. I think it was 6:30 when we spoke again and at that point contractions were every 5-10 minutes so she said she would come out, and call when she left. she called at around 7 and was already on her way (over an hour drive) and I said I was going to get in the shower for a bit. my husband at some point called my mom to come pick up the kids, and everyone got dressed and left without me even seeing them (except of course the 22 month old).
in the shower, my contractions stopped. I didn't have one. I had put the plug in and the tub filled up so I turned off the shower and laid in the tub for a while longer. I had one contraction in that time. I hated this. after my first 4 labors pretty much picked up and were over in a timely manner, my 5th had started, stopped for the day, and didn't start up again until the middle of the next night. in my mind, this is what was happening. I got out of the tub, but stayed in the bathroom where we'd placed the toddler bed mattress on the floor. the midwife showed up and I was sitting there using the laptop and told her I was just trying to distract myself and hope things started up again. she said she was gong to run some errands and call if anything changed. I didn't have to call. I had maybe 2 more contractions while she was gone, so I got dressed and went downstairs. I'm not sure what time it was at this point, honestly I didn't not the time again until evening, so we were somewhere in late morning or early afternoon, I guess, when she came back. we talked a bit, she kept encouraging me to eat. nothing seemed very appealing but she suggested chicken noodle soup and we happened to have a can (we don't normally have canned soup around) so I ate it. then she suggested walking. she walked me to the corner and back, and my neighbor was out, and I was limping and looked pretty bad. I contracted every few minutes while walking, but I didn't count it as real labor. is it really real if it stops as soon as I sit down? I was till convinced that it wasn't going to start up again until the middle of the night, so I didn't see a point in bringing on painful contractions for the heck of it. we went back inside so I could go to the bathroom, and discussed whether she should stay or go home for a while. she must have seen the look of complete despair on my face as I said she may as well go home. she she packed her bags and said to call her at any point if things pick up. she also told us I should do some more walking, but I kind of smiled and nodded and knew I didn't plan to. if I sat still, nothing happened. if I moved, I got a painful contraction. I didn't feel like dealing with pain until we were in it for real, until it wouldn't stop no matter what, so I tried to stay still.
after the midwife left my husband called my mom to update her about what was, or wasn't, going on. when they got to whether or not the kids should come home or stay overnight there, I broke down in tears. I didn't know. I had no idea what to expect and I didn't want them to stay over if nothing was going to happen. I missed them already! but at the same time things could start up, then I'd have to wake them in the middle of the night. no, actually I'd have let them sleep. it's not like we were going anywhere, baby or not. in the end my mom heard me crying and so they got off the phone without deciding what to do. I sobbed for a while at my husband. about the pain that was coming. about being unsure whether I should try to bring it on faster or continue trying to put it off until it was inevitable. about whether or not the kids should come home. I can't remember how long it lasted but it was a while. at the end of which, I decided to get back in the bathtub, which was still full. we ran some warm water since it was getting cold.
in the tub, things did pick up but the pain was really lessened. I was just sitting there. not laying or on hands and knees. I remember the midwife called for an update and I told her I was having some contractions but not to come out yet. I guess because they weren't that painful I didn't count them. as each one came on, I scooped some water to pour over the top of my belly that wasn't under the water. I had another crying fit.. because I was contracting and it kind of hurt. my husband reassured me as much as possible. I remember with previous labors I kept saying "I can't do this". obviously I knew I could, since I did 5 times before, so this time it was "I don't want to do this."
during this time, I was really, uh, cleaning out. so I moved to the toilet now and then and then back to the tub. the weird thing about feeling anything in the rear end is it could be anything. poop, gas, baby head.. when I moved to the toilet and nothing came out, I decided it must be the baby's head moving down. now things were getting real, so I stayed on the toilet and let some contractions get painful so I could feel like they were actually doing anything. my husband stood by and held my hand through some, and I finally screamed that he should call the midwife. so he did. he said it would be really soon and she said she'd come right over. but remember.. she lives an hour away.
so I labored on the toilet until I felt the head was RIGHT THERE then decided to move back to the tub. got on my knees and put my arms up on the edge. husband sat on the other side of the tub, behind me (we have an oddly shaped tub which has seats on the inner and outer sides, so I was leaning on one and he was sitting on the other). at this point I was bearing down hard and we both knew this was it. my water broke almost as soon as I was in there. I could feel the head stretching through, and he told me I was crowing. I shot back something snarky, I remember, I think it was "no kidding." I kept pushing and telling him to pour water over my lower back, that part that wasn't under water. finally he said there's the forehead, nose.. upper lip. and with one lip out and one still in, baby decided it was time to let out his first cry. so then I told my husband to pull the plug and not let his head dip back under the water. I pushed and pushed some more. husband continued to tell me exactly how much was out after each push. and finally I felt him slip out completely. as I caught my breath, I hear husband saying "hey little guy." we didn't know what we were having up to this point so I said "oh, is it a boy?" then I turned around, sat in the little bit of water that hadn't drained yet, and took him in my arms. I noted the clock said 6:50 but my husband said his phone clock said 6:55 so we went with that as the official time of birth.
I decided to get out of the tub so I moved onto the mattress which was still in the bathroom. we'd covered it with a plastic sheet and an old sheet so I just sat there. we had chux pads, but didn't think to use them. then husband called the midwife and said "it's a boy!". she was still driving. he put his phone on speaker for a while so she could talk to both of us. placenta came out while she was on the phone, and my husband was like "oh I guess I should get a bowl for that" so he went off to find one. we tried to nurse and what not, and finally the midwife said she should get off the phone and drive. I called my mom to tell her the baby was born and was a boy but the midwife didn't get there yet so we didn't have a weight or anything yet. she probably arrived around 30-40 minutes after the birth, tied off the cord so my husband could cut it and did all the newborn assessments and stuff. she asked us when the time of birth was, and when we said 6:55, she said her phone records show that it was 6:43 when we called her to come back. oops. um, I guess we could have called sooner, though everything was fine and neither of us freaked out or anything :)
so then it was the usual, move to a real bed, check for tears (none), weigh the baby (10 lb 11 oz--second biggest of my 6) and make sure nursing was going well. then she packed up and left. I got some clothes on and we called my mom to go ahead and bring the kids over to see the baby. we hadn't really settled on a boy name yet, so we had to send them off again (the rest of the kids all slept at my parents' house for 4 nights and just came over to visit a bit each day) without knowing what their little brother's name was! by the second night we had decided.. Cyril William.