This was written in December 2004.
The past few months of this pregnancy I had been worried that I would go into labor in the middle of the week during the day and Jay would miss it. We would also not be able to afford for him to take any time off from work so I was desperately hoping to go into labor late on a Friday afternoon. (I did with both of my girls) The Friday I was hoping for (the 10th) came and went. My due date(s) came and went. I made it to my last childbirth class and got a great foot rub from Jay. Friday (17th) we decided to put the girls to bed and watch a movie, eat junk food, and get a little lovin since we knew we would probably be busy with a baby soon (who am I kidding? I was convinced this kid wasn't coming. I hadn't done pregnancy pics or a belly cast!).
Olivia woke up around 4:30 and got into bed with us. We were going back to sleep when she asked for water. I got up and got the water and went back to bed. I was just falling asleep when I had a contraction. It just felt crampy and I cursed myself for eating so close to going to bed. I had another one and another and thought that maybe this was it. I decided to wait to have 2-3 more and then I would wake Jay up. (still convinced I was not having a baby). I lay in bed, snuggling Olivia and listening to Jay breathe beside me and I felt calm. The few weeks prior whenever I thought about actually going into labor I would feel a little panicked. I had 2 more contractions and by then I knew I wasn't going back to sleep and even though I wasn't super uncomfortable I needed Jay to get things ready while I rested. It was then that he mumbled something to me and I realized he wasn't asleep either. It was about 5:00 by this time. I told him the baby was coming and he said, "right on", and jumped out of bed and got dressed. He started setting the pool up and I stayed in bed hoping Olivia would stay asleep and trying to rest and relax as much as I could.
Olivia decided she was getting up so I decided to move around and try to find a comfortable position. I wanted to get in the shower and have the water spray my back but I didn't want to use all the hot water. I sat on the toilet instead and that felt good but I started to get cold. I walked around a little and then tried to lie down for a while. That didn't feel good at all so I got on my knees and leaned against my birth ball. I felt a little bit like I might throw up (again cursing the food I ate before bed) and went into the bathroom where I stayed on my knees leaning against the bathtub. Jay decided to time contractions and they were 2 minutes apart and a minute long. He called our midwife and left a message on her phone and we got back to business.
I was rocking through the contractions. They were coming fast and hard but I was still chatting nicely in between them and telling Jay how they felt and what was working and what wasn't and what I wanted to try. The pool had some water in it by this time and while I hadn't really been planning to definitely use it, I needed something else. I jumped in and even though it wasn't as hot or deep (yet) as I wanted it, it was nice. Jay started heating up more water and I just hung out. Olivia decided then to come get in the pool with me and Jay ran in to distract her and she got really upset. I wanted Jay with me and I didn't want Olivia upset so I had him call my mom to come sit with her. We gave her the video from the baby (Peanuts Christmas) and she went out to watch that.
Jay came and sat with me and pressed on my back and talked to me and held me. It was so incredible. I was feeling some weird pressure so I reached in and the baby's head was just two knuckles deep. I could feel the little head and the slipper bag of waters. I decided then that if the head were that low I was dilated enough to push. I told Jay I could feel the baby's head and asked him if he wanted to feel and he was just awestruck with it. He thought it was so awesome that he got to feel his baby before it was even born!
I was switching from being on my knees and leaning on the pool to a half kneel-squat. I pushed a little bit with a contraction to see what it did to the pressure but it didn't change a whole lot so I figured I would just wait. I was still talking to Jay and feeling like I was doing really well. My mom came sometime and I even joked with her a little bit and talked to Olivia during a contraction. Around this time whenever a contraction would end I would tell Jay how much it hurt. His arm was probably worn out pushing on my back but it felt so good. He turned on the hot water again and held the hose on my back and that felt great too. I told him I didn't want to do this right now I was tired and I wanted to go back to bed! I'd just finish later. It was then that I decided to just push the baby out. Jay felt for the baby again and it's head was only one knuckle deep this time! I was kneeling and started pushing but the pressure was just too much being that upright. I sat down and pushed a little bit but the pressure was sort of freaking me out. It was so incredibly intense and I wasn't expecting it to hurt but it was really uncomfortable. (go figure! I had a head in my vagina!) I just sat there for a minute and Jay asked if we should call the other midwife who said she would come. I told him to tell her I was pushing and he called her at about 6:30 and she got on her way. I tried a really big push then and I could feel the head trying to come out but I could also feel myself ripping apart front and back. I kind of started freaking out and thought that I could probably just claw the amniotic sac to pieces and then it would feel better. I could actually picture myself doing that and I had to just tell myself to calm down - it was going to be over soon. I laid kind of on my side and tried to slow myself down but then figured, what the heck - if I'm going to tear I'm just going to get this over with! And I did. I pushed and I could feel the pressure and my water wasn't breaking and I was pushing and the head was coming and I was pushing and my water was still not breaking and the head was still coming (how big is this head!?) and then the head was out and I expected that little relief and a rest but I was still being ripped apart and the pressure was still there and my water was still not breaking so I pushed again and the chest slipped out and the water broke and there was the baby! It was 6:35 and he was looking around and he snuggled into me and he was kind of trying to breathe and his cord was around his neck and his belly. Jay just started crying and I told him we needed to unwrap the cord so we did and while we were doing that I noticed it was a boy! I said, "hey! It's a boy!" and Jay was like, "a boy?!" and it was. It was a boy. And Jay held me and I held our boy and we all whispered to each other and smiled at each other and then he let out a loud cry and suddenly my mom was there and I just said, "ooops!" (being that there was no midwife there and she had been concerned about when one would show up) "oh, it's a boy!" and she got Olivia and Olivia saw her brother and told him she loved him and she was excited to touch his hands. My mom went to wake Anicka up but she just said, "tell mom I'll see him tomorrow", and she went back to sleep.
We snuggled and laughed and I told everyone a million times that it hurt to push him out. I had another contraction about 10 minutes later and I started to push but the placenta just kind of fell out. It was large and lovely and Jay put it in a bowl. He called our midwife then and she was on her way. We sat in the pool until it started cooling off and I handed the baby off to Jay. I was sitting in the water thinking about getting up to go into the bathroom when my midwife got there (20-30 minutes after the birth) and she helped me. That shower was wonderful and Jay and my midwife examined the placenta and it was nice and big and pretty with spots of calcification. An hour or so later after I was settled in bed I cut the (very goopy) cord, we weighed him (7 pounds 3 or 4 ounces), measured him (20.5 inches long) and dressed him. He was supposedly born 2 days after his due date but we think he was closer to 41 or 42 weeks. I'm very sure of my dates but my cycles were weird since I had just started ovulating again and then a miscarriage so that probably threw it all off.
So it was a wonderful birth and he is a wonderful baby. He sleeps well and eats well and he's calm and happy. My labor was great - easier than Olivia's but pushing was a lot harder even though it only lasted a couple minutes. I watched my video a couple of days ago and I was amazed at myself - how coherent, happy, calm, and involved I was the entire time. I'm excited and happy that I got my unassisted birth and my wonderful midwife to come take care of me afterward. All in all my labor lasted about an hour and a half and it was fun and exciting and so extremely cool to share it all alone with my husband. He was awesome, amazing, and perfectly wonderful throughout the entire thing. He makes cute babies and he says I am an amazing birth machine and it is utterly delightful that he is so proud of me.