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It’s been just over 5 weeks since we welcomed our newest addition. And my, how these weeks have flown!
Our sweet little guy was born, as I correctly predicted, two weeks “early” on a Saturday (just like his older two siblings were). It was a straightforward, normal birth and if you care to know more details, please read on:
Home birth (third time around). Birth in the water (2nd time around). Physiological Birth. Attended by my two midwives and hubby.
Our Other Kids :
I was torn about whether or not they should stay or leave the house. If they were present, would they be distressed to see me in labour? Would it cause me anxiety and prevent me from focusing during labouring? I shared my thoughts with my midwife and she suggested that I borrow some children’s books on home birth from their lending library. So I did – and they were read almost every day for a week leading up to birth.
Emotions and Thoughts:
I was hoping I would have no tearing or perineal trauma. I felt confident in my body’s ability to birth but also somewhat nervous about the unknown. I mostly felt a huge sense of urgency because very few things were in place for the post partum period. So for a week before delivery, you’d find me nesting like a crazy woman, trying to cook freezer meals, line up help, find and launder newborn clothes, buying diapers and new born supplies, making a post partum kit, oh – and looking for a mini-van as my new ride (major space upgrade from my VW Rabbit). I felt excited to meet my new little one and wondered if baby would be a boy or girl.
The Day Before:
I had been having contractions on and off for about a week leading up to birth – they were nothing really, just my uterine muscle doing some practice runs. On Friday I was convinced that the baby would arrive within the next 48 hours. So we decided to inflate the birth tub that had been sitting around for a month tempting our curious toddlers. Much to our disappointment the tub began to deflate almost as soon as it was inflated. A leak. Great. So I texted a Christal Malone – a doula friend who I happened to be meeting on Saturday morning at my office – and I asked if she had a spare birth tub. Lo and behold, she did.
The Day Of:
Saturday morning arrived and contractions remained weak and irregular. I met with Christal and during that meeting, my contractions stopped completely. Afterwards, I went home and my hubby inflated the tub. The kids were obviously very excited by the possibility of going swimming in our kitchen, as evidenced by my two year old daughter going to fetch her swimsuit. In the afternoon my contractions had returned with an irregular pattern again. We put the kids down for a nap which left me and my husband some alone time during the day (which frankly is a very rare occurrence). So what did we do? We got down of course!! (Sorry if that offends your sensibilities…) In any case lets just say that being intimate flipped a switch because immediately after, my contractions became a lot more intense and definitely regular. Which was worrisome because being April Fools, I really hoped to avoid delivering so my child wouldn’t have go through life having this conversation on repeat:
Our child: Hey guys…it’s my birthday today.
Friends: Yeah yeah yeah…nice try. We know it’s April Fool’s Day. We’re not that dumb.
Our child: No, really it IS my birthday. Now get me a cupcake.
Friends: Quit trying to fool us. Seriously, you’re such a joker.
The Main Event:
My husband took the kids out so I could get some rest (we hadn’t slept much the night before because it was cook-a-thon and I was too busy cleaning and organizing random things). So I laid down but wasn’t able to sleep much due to the contractions. After about two hours, my family returned home and I finally accepted the fact that I was in active labour.
I called my midwife at around 6pm. She was attending another birth and my other midwife was off call. She sent over another midwife over who arrived really quickly. She checked me and I was 8cm dilated (shocking really)! Things got rolling pretty quickly after that. My husband started filling the pool and we called over our lovely and trustworthy nanny (because we have no family in town) who put our kids to bed.
I laboured on all 4s, on my birth ball, walking up and down my stairs, leaning on the kitchen counter, squatting a bit, and coordinated each wave of contraction with my breath, vocalizing with each surge. I finally got into the pool…which was cold. Not exactly comforting…. So my husband had four large pots of water and the kettle going at all times. The water eventually warmed up but never quite got to my ideal temperature. Regardless, the water was lovely and soothing. In the pool, I spent most of my time on all 4s, in a modified squat position, or resting with my upper body on the edge of the pool. There wasn’t much time to rest between surges.
This labour out of all three was probably the most intense….I knew I could do it, but as I reached the transition stage, I really felt like I was not managing the surges well with my breath and just a bit out of control. Apparently this is how you know you’re close to the finish line.
I don’t know how long I was in the tub but at one point I tried to stand and bingo, that’s when my water finally broke. Almost immediately, I felt the sense that I would have to push soon. I don’t think I actively “pushed” much – my uterus seemed to be doing most of the work – or so my midwife later told me. After 3 or 4 strong contractions and with many loud sounds on my part, he was out – born exactly at 8:30pm. He weighed 7Lb 4oz – my biggest and chubbiest baby to date.
My husband immediately went upstairs, woke the kids up and brought them to meet their new baby brother. They were absolutely delighted to finally meet the baby! After a short snuggle with my new guy, I came out of the water, delivered the placenta and went upstairs to my bed. The midwife checked for tearing, and hooray!!! Only one “graze”, no tearing or anything requiring stitches. So after that then it was time to try to breastfeed the rather hungry muchkin. And I’ve been feeding him ever since, literally!
So that is my birth story. I’m beyond thankful for the experience I had and for excellent care. I’m blessed to have my son and happy that he is thriving, and for the most part, so am I. I will be writing a post partum series – everything you’ll need to know to thrive in the first few weeks after having the baby. Stay tuned!