I had been having contractions for days. All the signs were there, I knew he was coming...but real labor seemed just beyond my reach. Well meaning family and friends were "checking on me" by the minute, wondering "how I was feeling." I was feeling pissed. In my entire prenatal history (doesn't that sound extensive) I had never been overdue. What was taking so long?
Wednesday morning April 28th, I asked Carl to stay home from work. My patience was wearing thin and I just needed him near. So, he made me get up and go for a walk. The girls rode their bikes, Carl carried his coffee and I waddled. Nothing. Maybe one contraction that I had to stop for. I was discouraged and resigned myself to a nap on the couch.
When I woke up I decided a bath might be nice. It was 1:00pm. When I got out I started having a few contractions with a new type of pressure. It worried me somewhat and I called my midwife. She arrived at 2:30pm and found me to be 4cm. This didn't mean much to me because I didn't feel like I was really in labor. The midwife ate some lunch in our dining room- hesitant to go too far from me. I was sort of hoping that she would just leave and that I could call her when I felt like I was in a more active pattern of labor. There is nothing worse than feeling like a "watched pot" while labor progresses slowly. Thankfully, she knew better.
While Carl was fixing her lunch, I had some time to myself in my room. The girls were busy downstairs with my friend Camille (who had been summoned to watch over them during the labor.) There is a drawback to having your 4th baby, to have witnessed several births-- that is, you know what lies ahead of you. I was no stranger to what I was about to walk through, and I had to work myself up to it. There was some serious self-talk happening. "This is real. This is happening today. You can do this. You've done it before. It's only a matter of hours and you'll be holding your baby. You are not going to die. Let's do this thing!!!" I was setting aside the fear. I think every laboring women has to do that at some point. I've learned that doing it early on, is much more pleasant than working through that emotional baggage during active labor or worse yet- transition.
After a few moments in that mental space, it was on. My contractions became much stronger and more regular. Carl swooped into his familiar role as my help. I just don't think that I could do it without him.
I was in and out of the tub (it felt wonderful, but I had to keep getting out to cool off and to pee.) I was experiencing back labor.
Time passed and around 6:30pm I realized that I was angry. Why wasn't this more fun? I talk about labor all the time. I teach people that it is this marvelous, miraculous experience. In that moment it hurt like hell.
I asked the midwife to check me again. I was hoping that she would tell me that I was 9cm with a bulging bag of water that once ruptured, my baby would simply fall out. Wrong. 7cm. Transition was right around the corner. I remember looking at the clock. 6:44pm
Then all at once the pressure set in. I knew I had to push. To the bed. I was almost 10, just an anterior lip that still had to melt away. I blew through 2 contractions, begging to push. My water began to leak, and during the next contraction my midwife used the amnihook to rupture it fully. With that release of pressure I automatically began to push. I forgot how big it felt. The first time you push a baby out, your pushes are timid. It takes a while to figure out how to do it, to figure out that you have to push right through that pain. Not the fourth time. I was going for it. I knew that it would only be a matter of minutes before I saw his sweet face. We called for the girls to come in.
Indeed it was just a few minutes. Four huge pushes later, he was there on my tummy. Like I prayed- he cried immediately. 7:27pm
We weighed him and measured him. He wasn't going to steal the size prize (which belongs to Laurel). Just 7lbs 15oz 20 inches long.
Then the after party began.
Thank you for letting me share this little journey with you. Thank you for helping us to welcome Ian. Thank you for all of your big big love over the last few days.