I think because a pure unadulterated birth story is so rare, I love them even more. This is an amazing planned home birth where daddy gets to catch on accident. Isn't it amazing what women can do when they are just allowed to birth on their own? No technology, no experts, just a woman, her body, and her family.
And as is tradition in this family, she arrived with quite the fanfare.
I kept joking with my midwives that I wouldn’t even recognize labor until my water broke, since that’s how things started with Ryan. They thought I’d be OK. Heck, I was really only joking. I TEACH this stuff…c’mon. Contractions 5 minutes apart, lasting a minute or more, for more than an hour, hard enough that you have to breathe through them. Well, I had those contractions, but they didn’t really hurt, and I didn’t have to breathe through them unless I was sitting down. That probably should have been clue number one.
Let’s back up a bit though…
Saturday (3/20) I decided that I was pretty much done being pregnant, and I was just about ready to do ANYTHING to get this kid out. I mean anything. I bought castor oil. But I didn’t take it. I ended up just chilling on Saturday, going to the park, napping, going to a birthday party for Ryan’s friend, falling asleep early.
Sunday (3/21) Operation Get Baby Out in full effect. We had no plans, as we’d kind of expected to have a baby by this point. So, off I went to walk, without the Peanut. She walks too slow, and I wanted a bit of time to myself. I headed to Redmond Town Center…I had a 30% off coupon for the Gap, and they had the one and only pair of jeans RE likes on sale. Got those for her, walked a LOT more, did some stairs, then got bored. Felt some cramps while I was walking, but certainly nothing that would stop me.
So, I headed to Ben Franklin, and wandered around there for a while. Stopped at a drug store to buy an enema (told you, about ready to try anything), then headed to Trader Joes. Still crampy, but not bad at all. Grocery shopped, and got everything we’d need for the week. By this point, I was tired, so I headed home. Michael and RE were still out (they’d gone to run some errands too), so I decided to get Ryan’s spring clothes all washed and ready to go. Then I facebooked (what else would I do?). Michael and Ryan got home, and we made one heck of a dinner (steak with beet and kale risotto – amazing).
After dinner, I couldn’t sit still, and my back was really sore, but of course, I chalked it up to having been out all day. So, I folded the laundry, swept the floors, vacuumed, straightened the baby’s stuff, cleaned the kitchen, then went off to do that one other thing that gets labor going…you know the one. Well, that might just have been the kicker. Contractions were a pretty consistent 5 minutes apart after that, but they still didn’t really hurt (aside from that darn sore back). I sat on the ball while we watched TV and just kind of chilled out. Around 11, we thought maybe we should call the midwives just to give them a heads up that labor would probably be happening at some point that night. We called at about 1130 and my MW suggested I try to get some sleep. I was in bed by midnight.
At 1am, I woke up to a strong contraction (argh, that sounds like one of the things I read my labor classes…so rote). I laid there through it, because this had happened before and they’d faded away. But this one was long and strong. And the next one came pretty close…I think about 3 minutes apart. I tried getting on all fours, but it was horrible, and I was alone, in the dark, stuck in an awful position. I could barely move, but knew I had to get Michael. I hollered, but he sleeps like a brick and didn’t hear me. I had to find my way out to the living room…I did, but barely. I made it to the dining room table and bent over it. I told him he had to call the MWs…we made that call at 1:37am.
I made my way back to the bedroom, since leaning over was the only comfortable position I could stand, and I’d rather lean on the bed. Michael bustled around getting the bed made up with the table cloth under it. Meanwhile I’m contracting every minute or so, lasting longer than a minute (time was pretty irrelevant at this point). My thoughts were a jumble of “ohgodthishurtsican’tbelievei’minlaborhowmuchlongerwillthislastthishurtssobadholyshit”. I really had no idea how long this would all last.
At some point, I realized I was pushing a bit…crap. The midwives weren’t there yet. I yelled to Michael (no idea where he was, probably right by my side, but I really couldn’t see anything) that I was pushing. He threw the second plastic cloth under where I was standing, which was a smart idea, as the next little push broke my water. Honestly, one of the thoughts I had at this point was something to the effect of “oh my god, I’m doing this, we’re doing this, all by ourselves, and it’s totally normal and this is birth and how it’s really meant to happen, and I’m pushing with the urge, and no one’s telling me what to do or how to do it and this is birth”.
The next push, which felt like only seconds later, really broke my water. And I mean full on huge gush of water…followed almost immediately by a little head. A head? What?! Where were the MWs?? Yeah, not there yet. Michael supported the head, and I yelled, “oh my god, is that a head? I think that’s a head!” Michael replied that yep, it’s a head, and was I ready to push out the rest of our baby? Nope, let me breathe for a second. I felt the next contraction, and with it, an amazing urge to push. I
guess Michael helped guide the baby’s shoulders out, one at a time, turning her a bit and helping her join this world. She squeaked, then cried, then really let it wail. I kept telling her to cry for mama. He handed her to me, but the cord was a little short, so we were in kind of a strange position. He had to help me up to the bed, as I started shaking from adrenaline almost immediately.
Not sure how we got up there, but we did, and I flopped over, ecstatic, amazed, awed, and completely blown away. We didn’t even really bother to check the sex, we were so overwhelmed with what we’d just done, together, alone. We were still alone. We checked – a girl! I’d known from the get-go…the moment the stick turned pink we were having another girl, but of course, I wasn’t positive until she was in my arms.
Finleigh Esther was born at 2:04am on March 22, 2010. At home. Caught by her daddy. While RE slept (yes, slept through mommy yelling and screaming and moaning). And the midwives and friends drove.
Patty arrived first…Michael greeted her at the door, and told her that the baby was here. She was disbelieving. And then, apparently, a little panicked. But upon arriving in the room, realized all was OK. It was great to have her here…she got me a pillow, found some blankets for me, and just kind of held my head until the midwives arrived.
Lindsay got here the same time as the midwives…she was also in shock that the baby was already here. Well, so were the midwives, really! Lindsay started taking pictures almost immediately, since that was her job. I’m bummed there were no pics of the birth itself, but it was such an awesome experience I wouldn’t trade it.
The midwives were a little concerned, of course, wanting to make sure the placenta came out…it was now about 20 minutes after birth and the placenta really showed no signs of wanting to separate. We gave it a few more minutes…then they had to do some manipulating to get it out, but it came out, cleanly, and without any excess bleeding, so we were all set. They checked me out, and were I think a little surprised to find that all was totally fine.
By this time, Finleigh was nursing, so we let her nurse, and chatted about what had happened, and laughed and talked until she was done and ready to be examined. We woke up Ryan at some point in here. She was super excited to meet her sister, and since she missed the whole placenta/umbilical cord thing, she was really into watching her get weighed and measured. She weighed in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and 20 inches long. A full pound and an inch and a half bigger than Ryan was. They hung around for a little while longer, and around 4am, everyone left. Patty helped get Ryan back to sleep, and Finleigh and I settled in for the rest of the morning to sleep.
Around 730, we woke up to Ryan wanting to make sure her little sister was really here. I’m sure she thought it might have been a dream. I know I was wondering the same thing myself…
At this point, I know it’s cliche, but I can’t imagine our household without Finleigh. She’s a part of us, and an amazing part. She’s certainly brought Michael and I closer together…who knew when I started dating him in high school that someday he’d be catching my babies!?
Welcome to the world Finleigh Esther. We love you.