Thursday morning I woke up the same as usual- pregnant and disappointed my water hadn't broken during the night. I shook it off, got up and went about my usual day. Got children ready for school, dressed J and C.
We had planned to go grocery shopping that morning. A big trip with hopes baby would be there (here) soon, and the visit from R that next week. Walking through Wally World had been very uncomfortable the last few times. Contractions (ctx) would come and go, with lots of pelvic pressure. This trip was like all the rest.
We made it home, had lunch, and the boys and I took our usual naps. The pressure and ctx I'd had shopping dwindled away, and were gone completely after some sleep. That afternoon went as usual.
By the time Chris was making dinner I was exhausted and fell asleep on the couch for an hour, sleeping through dinner. I woke up about 6:30 to a contraction. Stronger than what I'd been normally having. 10 minutes later I had another. I ate a bit of dinner, tired to get my head to clear. More ctx every 10 minutes, a bit stronger each time. By 7:30 it was time to get the boys into bed, but I left that to DH as I was having to concentrate on each ctx more. Almost 8 and I was feeling like we should at least call the midwife (Kate), ask her thoughts. I was afraid to say I was in labor, fearing it'd all stop and it wasn't for real.
Dh called and talked with her. The ctx were about 8 mins apart at that time, and strong. She asked us to call her back in 30 mins, let her know when they were 5 mins apart. 30 mins later they were 5 mins apart and I knew she should come. I knew she had at least an hour drive and things seemed to be moving fast.
Close to 9:30 and we needed to move C in with B, out of our bed.I was peeing every 5 mins it felt like. Still waiting for my water to break. My MW was comfortable with me delivering her in the cull, but always having my water broken before hand, I was intimidated by the thought, and what is would be like- more painful? less? I was unable to let go full with this running through my head.
After moving C, I wanted a shower, to help me try and relax. Kate still wasn't there yet and I was starting to to feel like I was loosing it. I wasn't sure I could handle the pain; I was too old; maybe I should go into the hospital; maybe I'd rather have a C-section. I tried sitting,because my legs were getting tired but the ctx seemed too intense. I laid on the bed, and felt burning with the next ctx, which scared me even more. The ctx were back to back now, not stopping, no breaks. I just wanted my MW there.
I had to pee so bad, but couldn't make it to the toilet, but got to the shower. Which where I was when Kate got there. That was somewhere between 10 and 10:30. Between ctx she and Dh helped me get out of the shower, but it was a slow and painful process, as we were working in 30 second increments. I was in a lot of pain, and nothing was seeming to help. Kate helped remind me How to breath properly and showed DH how to push on my pelvis to relieve some pain.She also checked baby's heart rate, which was good. We were trying to find better positions when I started to feel pushy, but I was still afraid (my water was still intact). My MW offered to check my dilation, which I was really ok with. For me knowing if I was close helped me to see light at the end of the tunnel.
I maneuvered onto the bed, and she checked. 10cm! I was ready to push, but how did I want to deliver?! I knew I didn't want to stand again (like with J). I thought about on all 4s but really didn't want to try moving again. So I just asked for a bunch of pillows behind me and stayed put. Dh took his position next to my MW, our wish was for him to catch baby. I pushed tentatively for awhile. Testing to see how painful it would be. With my fears abated, and courage restored I put more effort into it. On my third good push there was a POP and my water broke- spraying Kate, DH and the wall behind them. (I laughed a bit at the time and still laugh now.) But with my water breaking the ctx got harder. So I pushed harder.
Out came the head. Kate checked for the cord around the neck and then asked DH if he wanted to do the rest. He hesitated and decided to let her catch. Out came baby. We'd said we wanted DH to tell me the sex and he said "It's our girl!" She started to cry, a nice strong cry. And she was placed onto me. It was 11:45 pm March 8 2012. (International Women's Day)
Meeting my littlest girl was a moment that indescribable. But relief was (that she was a girl- hey don't get me wrong if she'd been a boy I'd love her the same. But after 3 boys, I really really wanted a girl) there. We laid there for what seemed like a long time but I was uncomfortable and ready to birth her placenta. So I let daddy meet his little girl.
Birthing the placenta always bring me relief- soothing waters on a ring of fire. Its my second favorite thing (next to meeting my little) about birth. Actually there are only 2 things about labor that are enjoyable for me. Baby and placenta.
While DH and my MW checked A over a bit, my MW's back up (her mother by the way, a labor and delivery nurse of 30 years, a wonderful addition to our birth team) helped me getting adjusted on the bed and ready for baby.
As Chris hands A over to my chest, he says "She'll be a lefty." My crazy husband making assumptions already was what passed my through my mind. But then he pulls back her blanket, and while still holding her and me, shows me her missing right hand. "She's prefect. She'll be just fine." The tears and emotion in his eyes and face mirrored my own. In those moments I loved her more and never before felt the need to protect something so much. His words and emotions were perfect. His resolve and peace held me together in that moment. I cried for it all.
We didn't not know it expect her hand to be missing. We didn't have a single ultrasound.And we firmly believe having had one would've caused her birth to be chaos, with doctors, hospitals, NICUs, and lots of poking and prodding. We are happy with our decision- this peaceful little being got the birth and first moments of her life how she (and all babies) deserved it to be- calm, full of love and support, without pain.
A's birth brought us not just another little person into our family but helped to unite this family with a common bond. The love of one who is innocent and extra special.