Around the beginning of September, I noticed that I was losing a little of my plug each morning and was having more BH contractions, accompanied with cramps in my back and in my cervix. On September 4, I had an appointment where we confirmed that Baby H was head down. The midwife helped me map my belly to figure out Baby H's position, and after palpating my belly, she told me she felt Baby H would be larger than both Landon (8lb 7oz) and Kelsey (7lb 8oz) had been.
On September 5 (at 38 weeks, 2 days), I really thought it might be baby time… I started feeling very off and sick to my stomach, and was having some hard contractions that I had to concentrate through. I decided to go to bed to see what happened, and ended up sleeping soundly and waking up feeling normal (or as normal as you can feel when you are that pregnant!).
Through the next week, I started nesting like crazy. I cleaned toilets, vacuumed, mopped, kept the laundry done, dusted, kept the dishes done, and more - all in one day. I sorted through the big junk pile that had collected on our kitchen island, and cleaned off the mess. I reorganized the buffet and hutch in our dining room to improve storage and get rid of some boxes that were still sitting out from our move. The house had never looked better. When it was all done, I spent a few days relaxing and napping as much as possible.
September 11 came, and I really preferred that baby did not come that day, for a variety of reasons. I also wanted Baby H's birthday to be an even day, just because the rest of our family had even birthdays (June 4, February 4, January 10, and April 26). It was just one of my quirky wishes.
As September 11 ended, I went upstairs at nearly midnight to take a bath and go to bed. I had been having contractions all evening, but that was normal - I was getting very tired of all the practice labor! I used the bathroom and noticed some pink discharge… could it be bloody show? Maybe! I took my bath and blow dried my hair before heading to bed.
Around 4:00 AM (September 12), I woke up and was having some twingy cramps… similar to menstrual cramps, and just like the cramps I had around 8 hours before Kelsey was born. I got up and went to the bathroom and had definite bloody show. My gut told me that today was the day! I tried to go back to bed for awhile, but the cramps kept coming, so I got up. At 4:49 AM, I called the on-call midwife at the birth center (Kelly) to let her know what was happening. She took my information and confirmed a few things with me and told me to call back when I decided to head in. I figured I was pretty early still, but my gut kept telling me that Kelsey was born pretty fast after those light cramps started, and I couldn't rest.
Since I couldn't rest anyway, I went downstairs to make Landon's lunch for school. At 5:11 AM, I texted my mother and told her not to get her hopes up, but that I thought it was going to be the day, and to call me when she woke up, and I also texted our birth photographer to let her know what was happening. I alternated between walking around my house in circles, and resting on the couch. Justin had been working all night and was going to get off soon, but I was thinking I should call and get a message to him so he would come home fast instead of taking care of other things, and so he could be aware of what he was coming home to. At 5:34 AM, I called the flight chief's office to get a message to him.
At 6:07 AM, my mother texted me back and I called her. She wasn't sure if she should go to work or just start the drive to our house. At this point I was still having the cramps, but also noticeable contractions, some of which I had to stop and concentrate through. They were very sporadic, but that had been the case during Kelsey's labor, as well. Mom and I hung up and texted a few more times as she got ready for the day - she ultimately decided to call into work and just head up to our house for the weekend - if Baby H didn't end up coming that day, surely he/she would come in the next few days.
Justin got home between 6:00-6:30 AM - very early for what he had been getting home, so I was glad I called to get a message to him. He changed his clothes and laid down on the couch to get a little rest since he'd just gotten done working a 12+ hour shift. I got Landon up for the day and started getting him ready for school and fed breakfast, and I also made arrangements for Kelsey to go to Sharon's house (our babysitter), and for our neighbors to get Landon off of the bus if my mother didn't make it to the house first.
At 7:09 AM, I called Kelly back and asked her if it would be okay if we headed up to the birth center after the kids were situated. I was having contractions anywhere from 5-10 minutes apart, lasting 30 seconds to a minute… they weren't very strong, but I did have to concentrate through them a little. My gut told me it was time to head in, considering we had over an hour to drive, and I needed antibiotics for GBS.
Around 7:30 AM, I got Landon off to school on the bus and went back to the house. Justin was still napping, and I told him that I felt it was time to get Kelsey dropped off at Sharon's house and to head into the birth center. He took a few minutes to wake up. He thought it was still early to go, but we finally left the house around 8:15 AM. I felt bad waking him after he had worked all night and offered to drive since contractions weren't that strong, but he said that he could do it.
|Last belly photo at 39 weeks, 3 days.|
Taken in the Einstein Brothers bathroom.
We got to the birth center a little before 10:00 AM. I stood and held onto the wall by the desk as I had a contraction, and the ladies behind the desk smiled at me. I told them I had talked to Kelly and said I would be heading in. A few minutes later, Melissa (another midwife) came to bring me back to an exam room. We chatted and joked, and I told her what had been going on. She said that maybe I could get a dose of antibiotics and then head home for awhile. I explained that we live over an hour from the center, and she said maybe we could go to a store or the mall to walk around for awhile, then. Justin and I looked at each other - we had been hoping we could go to one of the rooms because he was exhausted and could nap in there while I walked around outside if I needed to. We decided to just go along with things, but again I was concerned I had arrived too soon.
New Birth Company, Overland Park
We were taken back to our room. Justin laid down to take a nap and Melissa came in to place my hep lock and start my antibiotics. After she and the nurse left, the room was very quiet. It was nice and peaceful… Justin was sleeping on the bed, and I walked around the room, alternating between resting on the bed and sitting on the birth ball. I hated the birth ball when I was in labor with Kelsey, and that was still true. Sitting on the ball really made my contractions much stronger, and I had a hard time balancing on the ball through them, but since Baby H was still high, I forced myself to sit on it every few contractions to try to help him/her move down.
Anna, our birth photographer, arrived around 11:00 AM. We chatted a little about birth photography in between contractions. The contractions started to get more intense around this point, so when the nurse came in to disconnect my IV after the course of antibiotics, I asked if we could fill the birth tub for me to get into. Once it was full, I changed into my bathing suit and climbed in. Justin woke up at that point and came over to hold my hand, around 11:30-11:45 AM or so. This is when everything really started to pick up and I lost track of time.
As I sat in the tub, I had some strong contractions. Melissa had told me to let her know if I felt pushy or had any pain in my abdomen (I am a VBAC mama, so she wanted me to be sure to let her know if there were any signs of rupturing, as rare as it is). I never had any pain that would be associated with uterine rupture, but I did think I was starting to feel like it was time to push. I asked Justin to let Melissa or the nurse know. They came in and Melissa watched me through a few contractions. The nurse monitored me through at least one contraction, and I really wanted to tell her to leave me alone because it intensified everything to have her touching my belly with the monitor.
I started to push, and quickly realized that pushing was not pleasant this time. With Kelsey, pushing felt awesome - it took the edge off the contractions and made me feel like I was powerful and doing something awesome. This time, it hurt and made me feel like I was ripping apart. I was scared to push, but couldn't stop it… I tried not to fight my body, but it was hard to put everything into it when I knew how bad it felt. I mentioned to Melissa that I felt dizzy, and she said she was going to watch me and may ask me to get out of the water because sometimes being in the water can make the laboring mother dizzy and they didn't want me to pass out. I also mentioned that my hips hurt. The tub was pretty narrow - not much wider than the average bathtub, so even though she encouraged me to get my legs open as wide as possible, I just couldn't open them wide enough. She was worried because she knew Baby H was going to be pretty big, and that I would need more room to allow him/her to come down.
She watched for a couple more contractions and encouraged me to reach in and feel the bag of waters - so cool! At 12:07 PM (Melissa told me the time later on), my water broke in the tub. Melissa noticed that there was light meconium staining in the amniotic fluid… nothing too concerning, but it had likely been there for awhile. Not long after, she asked me to move to the bed. The water wasn't really making me feel any better, so I was okay with not birthing in the water - but I was scared to move. Justin and the nurse helped me stand up and carefully move out of the tub to the bed. As I walked across the room, Melissa told me that I was SO CLOSE… I didn't believe her. I rudely answered, "Yeah, that's what you SAY, but really!?" She told me I really was closer than I thought.
I laid on the bed and the next part is a blur. I know they had pillows underneath me to support me, but I was laying on my back and wasn't really comfortable but couldn't find the energy to voice that. At some point, Kelly (the midwife I had spoke to on the phone that morning) came in and was helping hold my right leg to give me something to push against… I think the nurse was holding my left leg. Melissa checked again and realized I still had a cervical lip, so she held it back through a contraction. Justin was behind me and he kept telling me I could do it and that I was doing great. I feel like I was vocalizing pretty loudly, but afterward I was told that I wasn't as loud as I thought I had been. In the moment, I didn't really care. Every contraction was scary for me… I felt one coming and knew my body was going to push and I felt like I was going to come apart. Melissa told me I was doing great at holding back so they could try to protect my perineum to keep me from tearing, and I remember thinking I wasn't holding back for any reason other than I was a total wimp and scared out of my mind! At the time it wasn't funny but it is now, looking back.
Finally, the baby crowned. I felt the ring of fire, and I knew I really was close. But instead of passing quickly like it did with Kelsey, the ring of fire stayed… and stayed… and stayed! Kelly helped me take off my cold, wet bathing suit top so Baby H wouldn't get cold. It took several contractions for Baby H's head to come out. Once Justin told me that the head was out, I expected the body to slide out quickly like Kelsey's had. But no - I had to push again to birth the rest of the body… I felt really ticked off about that. I was so ready to be done. Finally, at last (or so it felt to me), the baby's body slid out at 12:25 PM… only 18 minutes after my water broke, and only an hour or so after things really started getting intense!
Justin and I spent the rest of the day resting and relaxing at the birth center. We stayed longer than most people stay but Melissa wanted to monitor my bleeding due to the speed of his birth and how I tore. We used the time to eat Panera Bread and decide on a middle name for Hayden - we ended up naming him Hayden Matthew. Around 11:30 that evening, we made it home with our new little man. I had been worried about going home so soon with such a little guy, but it ended up being awesome to get home with the older kids and Mom and be able to relax and adjust in our own space. We did have to go back to the birth center for the next three days in a row since we live so far away. He needed a little extra monitoring since I only got the one dose of antibiotics for GBS.
|Photo by third avenue photography.|
8 pounds 14 ounces
20 inches long
35.5 centimeters (head circumference)