First off, it’s LONG. Secondly, it’s full of details you don’t care about and would probably rather not know.

Ladies:

I had a prenatal appointment Friday and everything looked good. Including my pee test. 🙂 That always makes me happy. I did a few errands, all on my own, as my mom had arrived the night before and the girls were playing with their cousins. My dad arrived that evening, with my cousin, and it was a fairly busy evening, I think.

Dinner was late that night, like 8 or 9 pm, and I was having contractions occasionally like I tend to have when busy in the evening, but they were a little more serious, and they were causing some downward-feeling pressure.

I went to bed and they continued (usually my evening contractions would stop when I rested), so I called my midwife at about 11:30. She told me to time them; ‘real’ ones would last a minute or so, and be in the neighborhood of 5 minutes apart or so in active labor. I started timing them just before midnight. They stayed about 10 minutes apart, ranging from 8-15 minutes. Most were a minute or more, and they were not the kind you could sleep through, but required focused relaxation and breathing.

This was new for me, believe it or not. Usually if I have “serious” contractions they’re not spaced that far apart. And it’s hard to get good sleep in 10 minute intervals.

I called my midwife again at about 1:00, to give her my strange results. We agreed I must be in early labor, “serious” feeling or not, and I’d call her when they picked up.

I continued timing them until about 3:45 when I took an hour break (that is, I stopped checking my phone clock and writing the time. I still contracted. :)). I timed them again before 5 a.m. and they were a bit closer (some of them), but still not what would be “expected.” I called her again, and she told me to use some of the ginger (one of those birth supplies that they don’t use at the hospital?) and take a bath with 2 tablespoons added. This would increase circulation or something, and either they’d stop, or speed up.

It took me a while to accomplish this. Waking my husband can be a long process (it had been in the wee hours when I’d had him set up the birth pool), and I hadn’t planned on needing the bathtub, but with the grubby kids that had been bathing in it, I wasn’t going to use it as-was. And I wasn’t going to be able to scrub it out in my condition.

About daybreak (6:30 or so) I finally had him roused a bit (I hadn’t really tried terribly hard), and told him what I needed to do, and therefore what I needed him to do: scrub the tub out. Of course, he said, “how do I do that?” 🙂 I instructed him where to find the necessary supplies and he set right on it. I think I got in there about 7:00 and spent about a half hour or so.

I can’t say the ginger increased anything very dramatically, and I still had no hint of “bloody show” but they definitely weren’t subsiding at all, so about 8:15 or so I told her she should probably head this direction, but there wasn’t any terrible hurry. I think after this I saw and spoke to the kids and my mom, and did my best to get my mom to take the kids swimming, as she’d promised, or Anywhere Else Would Be Fine, Too. There was a glitch, as she’d planned to leave Organique home with Daddy for the swimming, but he was going to be busy. I offered other suggestions and ideas, and kept hearing that she was loading the kids up as soon as [fill in the blank]. My dad had left early to go look at an airport or an airplane or something, but I was growing bewildered with the delays that kept my house full of everyone else.

Shortly before 9:30 I called Gi-gi to let her know we were probably going to have a baby that day, as well as my in-laws and another friend. I would have liked to post here to ask for prayers, but I was a bit busy, I suppose. Plus, my cousin was sleeping in this room, and slept late, as the obnoxious air pump to fill that pool was enough to wake the dead the night before.

I decided it might be a good time to see if a warm pool of water is really all that helpful, so had Hubby begin filling it. I finally had a tinge of pink on the toilet paper when I used the bathroom, and figured it was about time.

The pool wasn’t to the minimum line yet, but I wanted to get in anyways. I found myself shaking quite a bit, as I think is common during transition. Hubby helped me into the pool and let me grip his hand during contractions. I was having a harder time really relaxing through them at this point, partly because the midwife hadn’t arrived and there were still people here. I suppose it would be like trying to pee in a crowded room. You just can’t relax. 🙂 I stayed on my knees in the pool, and realized the water coming from the hose was cold. Hubby jumped to adjust it, but it was still cold, so we figured that was it for the hot water. The pool wasn’t chilly, though not as warm as I would’ve liked it.

At this point I felt something… something. I gestured and said one or two words to indicate I might be quite near to having this baby, and then just requested my phone. I called my midwife to say, “how near are you?!?” and pointed Hubby to the yellow “emergency childbirth” information sheet. She was within a mile or two (I think I’d called her before this, to say the same thing, with considerably less urgency) at this point, and ‘talked me down’ and encouraged me in what to do if I needed to. I really didn’t want to push, at all. Not then, not later, not ever. She arrived with her assistant/apprentice (her other assistant, who she once apprenticed under, was en route from a farther distance, and they eventually told her to turn around and go home. :)) and began to ready their stuff. She’d been down the lane on Thursday night for a garden club meeting, and had dropped off all her supplies and equipment then. I’m quite glad she did. I continued to have contractions, grip Hubby’s hands tightly, pray hard, and *not* push for a long time. I did get out of the pool and move to the bed. I went ahead and had the first internal exam of this pregnancy. I was dilated to 10. 🙂

My water had not broken yet (I had wondered if that’s what I’d felt in the pool), and my midwife was content to let me push or not, as I preferred. I was pretty tired, so mostly preferred not. I had Hubby stationed behind me to give me something to lean against, and would prop myself up with my arms with each contraction. It seemed like things were taking some long time, so I supposed I should start pushing and get on with it. “No way out but through” I always figure. So far I’m always right, too. 🙂 Once I started pushing in earnest, it was only moments before my water broke, and a minute or less before baby started making an appearance. Oh, ow, I hate that part! The more I do it, the more I remember…

“Time to catch your baby!” the midwife said, as she placed it upon my belly. I breathlessly noted the head of dark hair (reminiscent more of our firstborn) and checked for gender. “Oh my gosh Daddy, I think we have another girl!” Another girl! My head spun, as I drank in the beautiful little creature who hadn’t opened her eyes but was hollering plenty to help clear her lungs.

I felt the placenta begin to move outwards, despite admonitions that I’d probably need to push for that (I didn’t!), and it was delivered with quite a gush of fluid. My first inclination was that it must be “more water,” though right about the time I decided that was unlikely, the midwife said, “Ok, we need you to stop bleeding now..”

See, this is where more savvy bloggers would stop, having written far too much already, and desiring you to return tomorrow. I, however, am not so savvy (or cruel), and will continue on, figuring if you’ve read this far I owe it to you to finish the story. 🙂

Since my midwife had left her IV and Pitocin with the Epidural Equipment, I knew Other Things would have to be done. Being well-read in Things of A Freakish Nature, medically speaking, I knew that breastfeeding or any other nipple stimulation would help contract the uterus. I had been trying to latch baby on, and began doing so with a little more urgency, though she was not really taking to it very well. I haven’t asked Hubby if he was freaked out more by the bleeding issue or the term “nipple stimulation” that was thrown out there, but I’ll try to remember to do so… The midwife directed her assistant to put some droppersful of Angelica (?) under my tongue, then later had me swallow it, followed by St. John’s Wort. And let me tell you, when they don’t have time to dilute 50% alcohol extracts and you sit with them under your tongue for a minute each, you can kiss one layer of under-tongue tissue goodbye. First it just feels burned, like your tongue might if you sip hot tea, and in a couple days it will peel off. In any case, the bleeding halted, I never felt light-headed or anything, and it was determined that I did not lose much more than would be apropriate anyhow.

I held that darling baby for some time, as after the bleeding issue my midwife got to deal with a case of “trailing membranes.” Doesn’t that sound nice? Apparently my placenta (is it “my” placenta, “the baby’s” placenta, or just “the” placenta? I really don’t know whose it is.) came out with an unusual presentation. That is, instead of the shiny, baby-and-sac side outwards, the other scrambled-looking, uterus-side showed itself. And some of the water membranes stayed stuck inside, so she had to remove those. THEN she had to carefully inspect my (the) naughty placenta and work to train her assistant in that art, and there was some concern about a tiny edge piece where the sac had torn loose, and was there any placental tissue missing or does the little finger of tissue right beside it fit down just right?

So. Me. Baby. Daddy. Time. 🙂 Perhaps if the other midwife had made it things would have moved faster, but it was nice. Baby was in no distress, and there was no reason to haul her away for a sterile, bright-lights inspection (not that that was on the agenda here anyway, just another reason I love homebirth). Eventually we thought to find the camera and make some phone calls, and let the kids and everyone (who never managed to leave) come upstairs while the midwife did her ‘baby inspection.’

I thought the baby seemed relatively small, for me, and was surprised at that. When she weighed in at exactly 8 pounds, I was quite astonished. A WEEK overdue, and only 8 pounds! A veritable miracle in this family (for reference, Baby #1: 5 days over, 9 lb 5 oz. #2: induced 5 days early, 7 lb 13 oz. #3: 4 days over, 9 lb 6 oz), and I was (am) grateful to God. Of course, while pushing I was sure s/he was 10 lbs or more. 🙂 I hate that part. I did tear (again), both towards the back and upwards (inwards?), and my midwife said I could choose whether to have stitches or not; it was right on the fence. I chose not, and when she came 2 days later, was pleased to find it healing well already. She’d given me some papery seaweed stuff (maybe like you use for sushi?), which I would tear a piece from and dampen it before applying it to the appropriate area. Seaweed is nicer than stitches!

And now, the long-awaited (though not as long as we waited for her, right?) photos. Hopefully better ones will follow. 🙂

Inspection!

Snoozin’. And please quit with that flash.

Organique is pretty interested.
But not dressed. Or combed. Where is her mother, anyway?

I have no idea what a big sister is, but you make it sound pretty important!

I love this picture. Granny says it looks like she’s plugging her ears. 🙂
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