We’re already talking about child #4. That’s how wonderful labor and delivery with Oliver was. One of the best experiences of my life. And all in about an hour and fifteen minutes. And a small disclaimer: Though mild to me, I may lose some of you after reading this. Ok then. Consider yourself warned and fully responsible from here on out. Here’s a picture of what Oliver looks like today, if you’d rather just enjoy it and move on from this post:
If you remember, I was way over waiting for Oliver to come. He had dropped almost 2 weeks prior and the suspense was killing us. We walked and walked, I stomped and “jogged”. For days. Weeks. On Saturday night at 6pm, July 25th, we were taking a family walk when my water broke. I had never experienced the gush before-love that water breaking! We said goodbye to the lakeside duckies, picked up the pace and excitedly hurried home. Tee and Catcher were all packed up and sent over to the Bruner’s house for the evening. We called our midwife to let her know; she was on standby for the night. My parents would head in early the next morn to take over older boy care and surely meet Oliver then too. Right?
Saturday, July 25th was such a fun evening. We made it a date night–headed out for thai food, then picked up ice cream for later. My last meal before Tee was born was a crappy Wendy’s chicken sandwich–we remember the crumbs hanging on to the top of my belly/baby countertop. Determined to step it up a notch in the cuisine department, Catcher was ushered in with some of my favorite indian food dishes. That was a good, pre-labor meal, really. And for Oliver, I craved thai. With the (presumed) last meal in my belly and almost a week over due, I was ready. Bring it baby O, come on out.
Sitting at dinner, no contractions. Driving to ice cream, no contractions. Getting home and eating the ice cream, no contractions. Headed to bed 6 hours after my water broke, still no contractions. We thought, “Are we being punked”? Ashton, are you hiding somewhere? Wait, Ashton doesn’t care about my baby and we certainly wouldn’t make a good episode of “Punked”. Phew, check that off the list.
I had the best night of sleep my entire pregnancy that night. Blessing, but a weird one at that. Who walks around for 2 weeks on their 3rd pregnancy with their baby dropped to station ZERO without a single contraction. Or how about leaking, no pouring, amniotic fluid out for (by morning) 13 hours without a SINGLE contractions. Who does that? Oh really? And were they sane? Thought so…
I woke up at 7:30am, July 26th and was still with child. IN MY BELLY. I shot out of bed, didn’t even pee, still pouring amnotic fluid and called that midwife of mine. She was groggy because she is a normal person and sleeping…yes, she would come over and see if she could coax baby O to come out. She took her time, seeing that we all had all the time in the world. Arriving at 10am with her assisiting midwife and a van load of birthing supplies; I have never been so happy to see anyone in my life. They set up camp in the bedroom–it’s amazing all the stuff they bring. Everyone was in good spirits from being well rested; it was time to check me and see if I was even in labor. Here it comes, the first girl to be pregnant forever is about to be revealed.
As my midwife checked me, she began to crack up, big time. I was not cracking up, nor was I letting her go back up there to check anymore. Three kids and yet all the “checking” still hurts like hell. She snapped her glove off, told me she was glad she came when she did…I was 7cm dilated. Um, well, that’s great and all, but don’t I need some contractions to PUSH HIM OUT? That was 10:30am.
At 10:45am the all familiar cramp…cramp cramp. Woohoo, it’s a contraction! Oh my goodness, a contraction!! I seriously wanted to throw a party. I wanted to go dance up and down the street, flap my arms like a chicken and yell at the top of my lungs to all my neighbors that yes, I was finally in labor! Maybe our best neighbor a few doors down would celebrate with a basket from her fabulous garden. Or our least favorite neighbors would maybe stop selling drugs and get clean (and stop mooching off their grandma…oh, and pull their pants up) in honor of me going into labor…because they would all be JUST THAT HAPPY. I envisioned the whole street turning out onto their porches, singing some song from Oklahoma in unison–hoop skirts and all. Instead our neighbor we only mildly like, no, just barely stand, drove by on his ridiculously loud motorcycle that morn…just to kick off the celebration with some guttural noise pollution. I could hear my babes 4 houses down towards the good part of our neighborhood saying, “He’s loud mommy, why is he so loud?”.
Here is the real picture: midwife was sitting in my living room knitting Oliver’s first hat. Her assistant was sprawled out on the floor beading him a braclet. Thom and I were sitting in there too and we were all chatting. Cramp. Cramp. Still chatting, a little awkward to be cramping during social hour. I think we were on a story about Yellowstone Park. Good, I could cramp without the attention on me. Cramp. I got up to let some more fluid leak into the toilet. Thom followed me into the bathroom and asked if I had started contracting yet, he went and told the midwives. I love that my midwife already knew. No one had looked at a clock, no stopwatch was out, yet she had known every contraction, duration and length between. That was about 11:15am.
Somewhere in the next 45 minutes I made it to the side of my bed, changed into a short dress and got serious. It was a dream to labor during the day, standing up free of wires and IVs, spousal by my side and with midwives I trusted just feet away. They reminded me to keep my tone low during the hard contractions and they placed water in front of my lips between the contractions. I remember wanting Thom to rub my back in between one contraction–the pressure was low and steady, I felt my hip bones pull out and back. The contraction flared up again, all hands off–it was a bit before noon and IT WAS TIME.
Intense pressure down below. The instinctual urge to push. My whole body curled around Oliver and began to contract down and around him. I got up on the bed, did the side lie in hopes of not tearing and began to push Oliver out.
I remember being surprised that the pain of the contraction was still there at the front end, but the urge to push was at the back end. Push, push…then I stopped and looked around the room. Thom was on my left, the 2 midwives were down at the foot of the bed, a little confused why I was suddenly so chatty. I let them all know at that point that my head was telling me I couldn’t do this but that I knew I was the only one that could do this. And it had to be done. Right then. I doubt they all appreciated my little court session, but during the next contraction we were all chanting “I/you can do this, you can do this”…and out came Oliver’s head. But not all the way out, just to his ears, and the contraction ENDS.
Fire, burning, heat, burn-ing. I have got to get this kid out, oh my gosh, I have got to get this kid out. My midwife was strong and assertive. She told me to hold him there, sit through the next 45 seconds and wait for the next contraction to push him out. She told me to envision the burning as stretching. In the midst of this Thom accidentally took a 6 second video while trying to take a pic (of which none of you will ever see nor I’m sure want to) of me in disbelief that I had to hold his head there. While not all that funny to me at the time, definitely the most funny 6 seconds to me now. It goes something like, “oh my gosh, are you kidding me” over and over for 6 seconds. Anyway…
The next contraction kicks up, out with the rest of his head, then his body is out. Instant euphoria. All pain was gone, Oliver was being placed on my chest. All gunky and screaming, he was the most beautiful sight. Thom was right there and both of our hearts flooded. It was 12:06pm, Sunday, July 26th and Oliver was in our arms. I just kept saying over and over how awesome this was.
His placenta came out in the contraction following his birth and there was no stitching needed down below. Praise the Lord for no tearing! Oliver stayed on my chest for the next hour, nursed well and then had the most thorough newborn check I’ve ever seen.
About 1pm I went to clean up in the tub…Thom was with me while Oliver slept tightly swaddled on our bed. When I came back to the bedroom, the room was completely cleaned up, all the gear was packed, fresh sheets on the bed and sweet smelling baby waiting.
My midwives left about 2pm. That’s 4 hours from when they arrived! No switching rooms, no vitals checked every hour through out the night, no waiting to check out of the hospital; we were done, home and oh so happy. The older boys got to meet Oliver later that day and the whole family plopped on our bed, in awe of the littlest brother. We had the peace and quiet to enjoy the simplicity of Oliver in our arms and soak every ounce of him up. Gotta love being home.
Our entire midwife and home birth experience went way beyond my expectations. Oliver’s birth was one of the top experiences of my life. Maybe the best. And a few days after Oliver’s birth, we were talking about #4. It was that wonderful. I credit much of the experience to my prenatal care.
Oh, and on July 27th, we found out our house had sold and we would be moving in 2.5 weeks. That’s when I looked back at my newborn and held him close, kissed his tiny lips and snuggled in for a nap. I wasn’t gonna miss those early days. Packing would have to wait. And it did…all the way till the night before our move. But that’s another post for another day.