Saturday was the day before my estimated due date. We had plans to take the children to a couple different outings that day. We were out as a family until midafternoon. When we came home, I ran to the library to return some books and videos, and stopped into a craft store. I bought some gender neutral baby scrapbook paper. I couldn’t find any gender neutral baby scrapbook stickers, though.
When I got home, we bathed the children, ate supper, and worked on cleaning up the house again ... just in case. I was having some crampy contractions that night. Usually my Braxton Hicks contractions are not crampy, so this was unusual. My back was also aching down low, which was unusual. We began to wonder if we’d make it to church in the morning or not. I prepared our Sunday School lesson before bed: either for us to use, or for us to have someone else come pick up to teach our class if necessary.
When we woke up Sunday morning, I was still having crampy contractions. They were uncomfortable, but obviously not active labor. We debated about whether to go to church. I was worried about being in pain during church, and about making a scene if we left early. But I knew if we didn’t go, we’d be inundated with calls that afternoon to find out why. So we went and it wasn’t as bad as I feared. Although I was told later that one of the Pastors noticed I was frowning a lot during worship service and figured I was in early labor. I didn’t realize I was that obvious.
We came home and the contractions continued. They ranged from 10-30 minutes apart, but most were 20 minutes apart. After lunch, the 2 yo I laid down to take a nap. I nursed him to sleep and laid down to see if the contractions would slow down at all after a nap. They didn’t. I dozed for awhile, but after awhile I couldn’t sleep through the contractions well enough. I got up around 4:30 and the contractions were still coming about 10-15 minutes apart. We called the midwife to talk to her and let her know what was going on. Neither of us really were sure if this was it or not, though.
I decided to see if my 2 yo would nurse around 5:50 pm -- to try to help discern if it was true labor or not. He did and immediately I had 3 very strong contractions about 5 minutes apart. Shortly after 6 pm, I convinced him to quit nursing since it was getting to be more than I could handle. The contractions continued at 4-6 minutes apart for awhile and the midwife called to check on me. We agreed that I should eat and call her back in a couple hours.
The contractions continued to be stronger, but spread out to 6-12 minutes apart over the next couple hours. We still were just not sure if it was labor or a really bad false labor or just prodromal labor that would fade away in a couple hours. I called the midwife at 9 and let her know that I thought it might be labor, but I wasn’t ready for her to come yet. She and I agreed that it would be best to take the children over to Grandma’s just in case.
We got the children gathered up and delivered to Steve’s parents house. I was worried about our 2 yo and whether he would go to sleep for Grandma (w/o nursing) and whether he would sleep all night or not. I prayed for him and the other children through the rest of the evening. At 10 pm, Steve said he wanted me to call the midwife here. I was fairly sure by then it was true labor, but was wanting to wait until it was stronger before calling. Steve said I’d waited long enough, and he thought it was labor, so I called.
For the next hour, Steve and I puttered around a bit getting the bedroom ready for the midwives to come. The contractions were still varying between 6-10 minutes apart most of that time. A few came 4 minutes apart, though. By the time the midwife arrived at 11:15 I was having to stop walking and talking during the contractions. It felt best to lean on someone then. I had begun to have chattering teeth before/during contractions, as well. This was new to me.
The midwife (K) set up the bedroom and talked with me about the labor. The midwife’s assistant (A) arrived shortly after 11:30 pm and we moved to the bedroom to take my vitals and assess the labor. My first blood pressure taking was high at 126/100. So K began to quiz me on my water intake, how I was feeling, whether I’d been taking my supplements for my blood pressure, and testing my reflexes to try to rule out pre-eclampsia.
Then A asked how far dilated I was and we realized they had not checked me yet. So K checked me at 11:54 pm and I was so relieved to hear her say I was 8 cm and totally effaced. I had been so worried I’d still only be at 3-5 cm and have hours yet to labor. We were all surprised I was that far along. They retested my blood pressure and it was 140/100, so I had to lay on my left side. I hate laboring laying down because it seems to make the contractions much more uncomfortable for me, but I knew I needed to comply.
They let me labor for a little while before they retook my blood pressure. It had dropped again to normal ranges and we were all relieved to hear it. I spent the next hour and 15 minutes on my left side vocalizing through the contractions. I drank a lot of fluids during this time and the shivering grew much worse. I wasn’t cold but I could not stop shaking and chattering my teeth.
At 1:15 I began to feel the urge to push. I moved up onto hands and knees, leaning on my birth ball, since I did not think I could push on my side. I pushed for 5 minutes before my water broke -- it was clear. Then I pushed another 16 minutes before she was born. It was frustrating because I could not get her INTO the birth canal at first. And it felt much longer than 21 minutes. As soon as she was fully born, she cried immediately w/o suctioning.
After she was out, I laid on my side and they passed her up to me. The cord was short and fat, though, so I couldn’t nurse her right away. She was calm and alert, snuggled against my tummy. After 12 minutes, the cord stopped pulsing so they clamped it and cut it. It's funny how fast those 12 minutes went in comparison to how long the 21 minutes of pushing had seemed. Then I delivered the placenta and was able to nurse her. Once again, I had a very slight 1st degree tear, but it did not need stitches. What a difference that makes in a recovery!! I'd had 4 episiotomies before our first homebirth.
I nursed her from 1:50 until about 2 am. The next 1.5 hours were spent getting a quick shower, measuring the baby and getting our vitals, and with the midwives and Steve cleaning up from the birth. Her 3 Apgars were all 9s.
Baby L weighed 8 lb. 6 oz, was 19 inches long. She had a 14 inch head circumference and a 13.5 inch body circumference. She was born at 1:36 am, Monday morning.
My blood pressure immediately dropped after the birth and was 120/68 when the midwives left at 3:30 am, but I did not stop shaking until we climbed into bed. The baby and I woke up at 6:15 am, but we let Steve sleep until 7:15. Steve went to get the children from his parents’ house at 7:30 am. They were only gone about ten hours, and thankfully they all slept well.
We are doing well now, 1 week later. My blood pressure was high again when the midwife was here at 4 days postpartum for our followup. I had to increase my calcium/magnesium and Omega 3 oil supplements again. I've got my father-in-law's blood pressure machine here at the moment and am monitoring it. It has been better the last 3 days than it was on Friday. Lower number is still a bit high for me, but it is staying within normal ranges now.
The baby weighed 8 lb. 14 oz on Friday, so she's doing well, also. She has her first well-baby appt with our doctor today so we'll see how much she weighs then. Her cord stump fell off this morning and she is a champion nurser!! We're whipping through the diapers awfully fast, too. Now that her stump is off, and we're down to 3 newborn size disposable diapers, we'll be starting to use cloth on her at home. I can't wait to start that today.
She is fussy at times. She likes her diapers changed right away, and sometimes gets gassy. We're trying the Hyland's Colic tablets for the first time with her. She does well at night, though. She usually nurses right back to sleep w/o problems.
I am also tandem nursing for the very first time. It is going well. The first night was rough with the 2 yo not wanting to wait his turn. I have figured out how to nurse both at once in my recliner, but can't in bed. With family here visiting at the moment, I do not like to nurse both at once -- it's too hard to remain modest. So, M (2 yo) has had to learn to wait. Usually he does fine waiting, but if he's tired, he gets upset. I was very worried about how tandem nursing would go, and am thankful it has not been as bad as I feared. Once again, I see that it was foolish of me to worry so much -- God knows what He is doing as He sends these blessings!
Steve was home with us all last week, and will be this week, as well. He has been a wonderful blessing to me during this time. It has been wonderful to get to enjoy our babymoon together as a family. Our fridge is overflowing with food from our church and Steve's office. We are feeling very blessed! We were all at church together yesterday, giving thanks for our newest blessing!