39 weeks 3 days. I was feeling every bit of it. I woke up that morning feeling grateful that the baby was kicking and squirming, but disappointed that he was not showing any signs of coming out.
This day was much like all the others before. Got Seth off to school, the girls and I played at home, folded laundry, and talked about what we would do when the baby was born. That morning we went to a breakfast at a friend's house with some ladies from church. They were all so surprised that I was still pregnant, and my friend Candida even took a picture of my belly because it was “so big!”. When we got home, the girls colored my belly (and their arms and legs and faces) with wet chalk and that sucked all my extra energy, so I had a small nap on the couch after.
I was feeling particularly weepy throughout the day, and just didn't think I could be pregnant one.more.day. I even sent Jeremy a text telling him that. I knew the end was coming soon, I just didn't know how soon.
When we walked to get Seth from school, I was really grateful that the temperatures had dropped a bit. Earlier in the week it had been in the high 90's and we went swimming after school. On Thursday it was in the high 70's and felt great to have a break from the heat.
All day I had been feeling really gassy, and had low back pain, so I decided that I was going to pamper myself a bit that night and go get a pedicure when Jeremy got home from work.
At 6pm, I arrived for my pedicure. The woman behind the counter looked at my belly and, without even looking at my face said, “How much longer?!”. I told her I was due on Monday and she looked frightened that I would pop right then and there.
I sat down and thoroughly enjoyed myself. After an hour, I stood up and felt more pressure than usual, but I figured all that relaxing helped him to drop down a bit further.
At 7 pm, I got in my car and immediately got a text from my friend Lisa. She was planning on coming to the birth to take pictures and knew she was on call at any moment. She asked if I was going to have the baby that night. I laughed when I read it and was going to text her right back to tell her “fat chance”, but I really had to pee, so I raced home instead.
I got home and was met at the door by Seth and Amelia. They were jumping up and down like they hadn't seen me in a week. Jeremy was reading to Liberty and I raced up the stairs to go to the bathroom.
I sat down, and when I went to push out some of that pent up gas, my water broke.
To say I was shocked is an understatement. It took me a minute to realize what had happened. When my water broke with Emma and Seth, I heard it in my head. I didn't this time. I just felt a gush of fluid coming out of my vagina, so I knew I wasn't peeing anymore. I hollered for Jeremy to “come upstairs RIGHT NOW!”, it was 7:15 pm.
I called Michele, my midwife, and let her know what was going on. I was sure that there was no hurry though. I hadn't had any labor signs before this, and was anticipating a long night. She was a bit, okay a lot, less certain about how long it was going to take and sent Genevieve, her apprentice over right away.
After I hung up with Michele, I did what anyone would do in my situation – put on my Depends and started texting family and friends and updating my facebook status. We were having a baby!
Jeremy got the kids to bed, and when Seth came into my room to see me rocking on my ball wearing a big “pull-up” he wanted to know what was going on. I told him my water had broken and that the baby was going to be born that night. He looked at me with surprise, ran over and hugged me, then ran out of the room shouting for Amelia! She was a bit more skeptical and even said, “Well, are you sure you're going to have the baby tonight? Are you sure it's not going to be like when you thought you were going to have me?” This girl. She had heard me talk about how I was in labor with her and then everything stopped only for her to be born 8 days later. I assured her that since my water had broken, the baby was coming soon.
She would continue to peek out the door of Seth's room throughout the night to see if I was still in labor.
From the time my water broke, my contractions started coming every 3 minutes, lasting for 45 seconds – 1 minute.
Genevieve arrived around 8:30ish and checked me saying I was a stretchy 2. I knew I had time, hello, I was only 2 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced. I was ready for a long night.
Jeremy was cleaning up the kitchen while I labored upstairs. I walked around my room, sat on the toilet and my ball and watched The Office.
At 9, I was ready for the TV to be off and was vocalizing a bit more during contractions. Around 9:30, Genevieve checked me again so she could call Michele to let her know what was going on. I was at a 4 and now 80% effaced. Michele knew she needed to get up here because things were going pretty quickly.
Around this time, Lisa arrived also. She started snapping photos and I got in the water. I was SO happy to be in the water.
From this point on, things become a bit of a blur, as they often do in transition. I remember throwing up right before Michele arrived. We laughed as I assured her it wasn't the last time I would do it though.
My contractions were double peaking most of the time. They would start, build up, hit the peak, go down, and then go back up again. I remember doing that when I was in labor with Seth. Maybe it is how my body handles labor when there is no fluid to cushion that cute little head.
About 10:30 or so, I remember looking at the clock and saying that he wouldn't be here for a while, I was guessing around 2 am or so. Remember, I was only at a 4 an hour earlier. There was no way that this kid was coming that fast.
I was in denial. Big time.
Michele commented at one point that I was sounding pushy. I remember thinking there is no way I am pushy, it is not time yet. But after she said that, I started to listen to my body and realized that I was getting close.
This was when I realized that the kids needed to come in if they were to see their brothers birth. Lisa went and woke them up and it was such a sweet sight to see my 2 babies crawl into my bed and wait quietly for their brother to be born. After a particularly loud (and intense) contraction, I asked if they were ok. Everyone laughed, but I really was more concerned about my kiddos than anything else at that moment.
Michele checked me and I was a really stretchy 8 and had an anterior lip of cervix. So, I went through a couple of contractions with her getting that last bit of cervix out of the way.
After about 2 contractions, I felt the urge to push. Michele told me that I can either push through this one, or just breathe, just to listen to my body. And I did.
I started breathing and then realized I really needed to push. I was in a semi-reclined position in the tub when I started to push. Immediately I remembered pushing like that with Seth and how badly I tore, and I knew I did not want to repeat that.
So, mid-push, I sat up to a squat, which took me out of the water. I pushed out the baby's head in 1 push.
Jeremy, who has never caught one of our babies, decided that this time he would put his hands in the water and catch the babe. So, he had his hand on the baby's head and was ready to catch. That is until I decided it would be more comfortable to shift a bit and stand up. Yes folks, you read that right, I stood up, with a head hanging out of me, to push out my son.
Michele looked at Genevieve and told her to catch. One push and out came our little boy.
Our slippery little baby came out so fast that his head actually got dipped in the water as Genevieve caught him!
Elliott Joseph was born on April 28, 2011 at 11:52 pm. He weighed 8 lbs. 2 oz, the same as Liberty.
As I write this, almost a week later, my heart and my head are full of emotion. I have had a hard time wrapping my head around his birth. It was SO fast, SO intense and SO chaotic (in my mind) that I sometimes have a hard time believing I actually did it.
I have shed tears that this was the last time I will give birth and it went too fast for me to really savor it. I had birth projects, plans, and a vision for his birth. However, as all of my other children have shown me, what I envision isn't what matters. They come to this world the way they need to and when they need to.
I am so grateful that I was able to give birth to another beautiful, healthy little soul and can't wait to see who he becomes.