With any pregnancy comes excitement and longing as the days tick on by. There was no exception to this rule as my family and I waited for the birth of #4. She was "due" I put that in quotations, because I don't go off of due dates too much, I believe a baby will be born when they are ready, but anyway, she was "due" April 2nd. I couldn't ask for better timing. That was a Monday and not just any Monday, but the 1st day of Spring Break for the kids. So if she was going to be born that week, it would just simplify things greatly. It was also the week before Easter. Her due date came and went with nothing more than many contractions during the night that made me think that yes, this is it, but then they fizzled out by morning. My poor husband had to drive to work, switch schedules, and take days off, because I just wasn't sure if those contractions were the real thing. You would think by #4 you would have some idea what was real and was not, but nope, I wasn't sure until they dissipated. Those contractions could be very strong at times and very regular.
On her due date and the 1st day or so after, I was having a hard time dealing with the fact that she wasn't coming yet (mostly because I was sleep deprived due to the contractions), and I wanted her so badly. So I tried a few things to help move things along (walking, eating pineapple, and other things I think I will not mention), but nothing worked. I only tried a few of the very most common, simple acts, because I didn't want to push things too much. I really did want her to come when she was ready. Once I got to about the middle of the week I started to wrap my mind around the whole idea of her being "late". "Late" in the worlds standards. Everyone kept saying that she was going to be an Easter baby. That sounded like fun, but I didn't want to wait that much longer. I was starting to get more and more uncomfortable. I would always say how grateful I was that I could at least walk well. By the end of the week I had to admit that NO, I could not walk well anymore and that my body was feeling very pregnant.
Friday I had my Midwifes appointment and I went wondering if my body was really kicking into gear. I had had many nights of really good contractions, but the night before I hadn't had any and thought, well maybe my body is resting to go into labor tonight. My midwife checked me and told me that I was at a 5. That was great! I had never gotten that far without already being in the hospital. But at that point I wasn't contracting, so there was no point in me being at the hospital yet. My Midwife told me that when labor started to get to the hospital right away, because she thought I was going to go fast.
That evening I was having some really good, strong contractions, but there was no consistency to them, so I blew them off once more. We got the kids to bed and then went to bed ourselves. I really had a feeling that this was the night. Mostly because of the very strong, low, pressure I was feeling. I didn't know how it could go any longer. So off to bed I went, hoping to get a few good hours of sleep, in case the adventure started.
I woke up about an hour later with one very strong contraction, went to the bathroom and back to bed. An hour later, I woke up with another very strong contraction, went to the bathroom and back to bed. An hour after that I woke up with yet another very strong contraction, went to the bathroom and decided to stay awake and see if any more were going to come. Well, they did. They were coming every 10 minutes and they were STRONG! I woke my husband up and said he needed to get ready. While he was in the shower I called his parents who live 1/2 hour away and to tell them they should come. In that time that I was on the phone, my next contraction came at 8 minutes. Then when my husband got out of the shower I told him about the jump to 8 minutes and then another one hit. It was only 4 minutes from the last one. I told him and he asked if we needed to call our neighbor friend over. I just said YES! He called but no one answered, it was 2 in the morning. But then she called back and he asked if she could come over. She was a little asleep at the time and said, just bring the kids on over, but my husband asked if she could come to our house. She then woke up a little more to realize that was the more appropriate thing to do. What a great friend we have. So she was on her way.
When another contraction came so strong at 4 minutes again I said a little worried that we needed to go. But the problem was I wasn't dressed. The contractions were coming so hard and fast that I couldn't move fast enough to get ready. But eventually we got everything we needed and I was dressed. My neighbor showed up right then and we were off. I had to stop a couple of times, because I couldn't walk during the contractions, but we got in the car and were on our way.
The ride to the hospital only took 10 minutes at the very most, but by the time we got to the hospital, I knew things were getting close. We pulled up to the main hospital doors, but they were locked for the night. Thank goodness, my husband checked before I got out and to the doors. So we then quickly pulled around the side of the hospital to the emergency room doors and parked in the circle and made our way in to the front desk. They asked how far along I was and I said 40 1/2 weeks. They then said for me to come around and they would get us all checked in. I was a little worried by that, I didn't have time to do anything like that and thought that all the per-registering I did would be enough. Well, I said "Um, I need to hurry!" They then understood and got me a wheel chair and started pushing me to our destination. We just needed to wait a few seconds for my husband who ran out to move the car and grab our things.
By the time we were rushing down the hall, my contractions were every 2 minutes or so. I was doing my breathing, but I couldn't believe how strong they were. Yes, I have done a natural birth before, but it was so calm and I didn't feel any pain. OK, I hate the word pain, but yes, that is what I was feeling. I wouldn't say it was horrible, but certainly not enjoyable. By the time we got to the room and I was asked to undress and put on a rob, I wanted to cry. I wasn't sure if I could take having any contractions much stronger than this. You need to realize, I thought it was going to get a whole lot worse, because I didn't realize just how far my body had gotten in such a short period of time. But I decided that crying wasn't going to do me any good, so I just needed to get over it and get ready to have this baby.
After a difficult change out of my clothes, I got into the bed and a nurse checked me and was surprised to see that I was at an 8 and fully effaced. She was confused and decided to check again just to make sure. She said, yep, you are about ready to go, we better call your midwife. So, then they started in with the needles, because I needed to have an antibiotic to protect the baby from Group B Strep when she would be born. The nurse tried to get it in, but couldn't. So she tried another spot and couldn't. She said my veins were hard. Then another nurse came in and tried and couldn't. They blamed these new needles that they had. They both said they had never had a problem until they got these new needles. Can I just tell you that wasn't fun. My husband had turned on Enya for me to try and get me relax a little and he was trying to help me do my breathing through these very difficult contractions and I have two ladies digging at my arms. But I just kept on doing my thing, trying to block out there talk and yet answer their questions in-between contractions.
Well, there came a point when it just didn't matter anymore. My water broke. And with that I realized and said aloud "my water broke" the nurse said good and I said "no, here comes the baby!" I admit, I was worried at that point because my midwife hadn't arrived and with my son, once my water broke he was born just minutes later. The nurse said they were pulling the doctor in from next door who had been working on a 1st time mom who had been pushing for a couple of hours, natural. Oh, how I felt bad for her! The doctor came in and I hoped that things would go well with him. The nurses were talking about how sad it was for the other girl. That they had to pull him away for me, who just came in and would deliver before her. The doctor said, that is one of the differences between a 1st time birth and not. It was weird to hear all the conversations going on around me. It was kind of hectic, but that was alright. It was just how this birth was going.
I felt the need to change my breathing to birth breathing. Which is short breaths that you move down through your body, instead of the long ones that I had been doing to help me through the contractions. My husband was great. I would say a count (4) and he would know I was in the middle of a contraction and would know that meant my birth breathing, so he would help me with that. Then I would say another count (8) and he would know that I was in a resting moment and needed to do my breathing to help me relax and regroup. Just then my Midwife showed up and I was so happy. This baby was coming and she had made it just in time.
She walked in all casual like and the doctor told her to suit up. He left and she was ready and at my front in what felt like just a moment. She told me that he was her doctor (she had a baby about 6 months earlier) and that he was a good doctor. I guess if you had to have a different doctor deliver you, your midwifes doctor would be a good second option.
My husband was at my side and he and I were working together to breath this baby down and my midwife in front just watching and saying practically nothing. The thought entered my head that this was very different. I was expecting her to do something. Yes, I said I wanted to do self directed breathing, but I didn't really think that is what would happen. I just figured doctors and midwifes took over leading and when that didn't happen I was surprised. Also, with my son, things were so different and I was so caught off guard by his slam dunk delivery, I was unable to focus at all, so the midwife had to tell me what to do. But this time I was doing so well. I was breathing that baby out, a little at a time, nice and slowly. (After the birth the nurse said how she had never seen that done before and asked me how I did it? She thought it was just amazing and so neat to watch.)
This birth was a whole new experience. I was very aware of what was going on and knew exactly what I needed to do to birth this baby. There was that last moment, when you can feel that you are just moments away and you think, please just come out already, but then she is is out in one very strange, wonderful feeling of relief. Then the shoulders come out and it is another one of those great sensations. She then is placed on my stomach (her cord was so short, they couldn't put her any higher on me) and I placed my hand on her little gooey body and was so happy to see my little girl with all the dark hair. She was born just 26 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. Once she decided she wanted to come, she didn't take anytime getting here.
I couldn't believe all that dark hair and I said aloud, I was right, she just wanted to cook a little longer to grow that hair. Her back was to me, but I could see a little of her face and she was beautiful! A blanket was placed on her to keep her warm, but they let her lay there for a little while before my husband cut the cord. They then wrapped her up (rubbing just a little of the birth off her) then handed her back to me so I could see the front of my baby. She was then able to nurse and she did a pretty good job. This is the first time I have had my baby right from the start and they didn't weigh her or put goop in her eyes until I said I was ready. It was such a wonderful bonding experience. We later found out that she weighed 7 lbs 7 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long. She was the same weight as our 1st and just 1/2 an inch shorter. I loved that little lady right from the start and it was so nice to get to know her from the very beginning. With all the fast pace efforts that brought her into this world, those first few hours after her birth were the most calm, peaceful moments we have ever had. It truly was a blessing to have that time with such a precious gift, our baby girl.