Easter weekend, I had loads of Braxton-Hicks contractions, so I was pleasantly surprised when I woke Tuesday morning, 4-14-09, to a different kind of contraction. Starting around 5 a.m. the contractions felt a bit more painful, lingering in the small of my back and across my entire belly, lasting for around 30-40 seconds and coming every 10-12 minutes. I went ahead and started getting the kids ready for school.
My husband called the midwife at 7 a.m. since the contractions were staying pretty regular. So the pressure was on. With him missing work and the midwife in the loop, I was determined to have a baby before the day's end. I sat on the birthing ball rocked my hips in circles and watched a movie. My husband got the birthing pool and supplies together and set the water heater up higher. We were going to need a lot of hot water.
Around 10 a.m., my sister and her boyfriend arrived to assist with the birth and take pictures. I began to get more vocal during my contractions, a low moan, and tried balling up my fists in the small of my back to help with the pressure. My husband started filling the pool at this time. The midwife called a few times, but always in between contractions, so she never heard how the contractions sounded through me. They were coming 8-9 minutes apart and lasting around 40 seconds. She kept telling me to let her know if they got to lasting 1 minute coming 5 minutes apart, so in my mind, that was my goal.
To get things moving, my husband and I went for a short walk. Then we all walked to my mom’s (a full 500 foot walk) to eat lunch. As she was cooking, Mom casually mentioned, “You know what today is, don't you? Today's your shower. We're having a surprise baby shower for you.” I laughed and said, “It figures! You guys get to wait a few hours.”
In the meantime, the contractions were about 7 minutes apart and still 45 seconds long, but seemed to grow in intensity. My mom knew from my moans that it wouldn't be too long before the baby was born. The midwife called again for an update and I reported that they were still not 5 minutes apart. We agreed that she'd wait a bit before coming out. The drive between us was about one and a half hours, but she didn't want to stall my labor by arriving too early.
My husband and I took another walk, taking pictures of the wisteria and dogwood in full bloom. We got some awesome photos, especially with the sun shining bright through the dogwood flowers, casting shadows over my pregnant belly. In between contractions, my husband sucked on my nipples to stimulate the contractions. That did the trick. Right after taking photos of the dogwood, I felt a pop and a little gush. I was sure that my water had broken. That was at 3:30 p.m. So as we started back to the house, I stopped for another contraction, looked down and found a very tiny four leaf clover.
When we got back, we called to make sure the midwife was on the way. She'd just left. I went to the bathroom, removed my underwear, then got into the birthing pool, skirt and sports bra still on. My contractions really picked up then. I was on my hands and knees in the water and my husband put his hand on the small of my back to push against the contractions. My sister's boyfriend timed the contractions while my sister took pictures. I wasn't completely aware of more than how fast the contractions seemed to pile one on top of each other. I simply knew that with each one, I could feel the baby come further and further down. I kept saying, “The midwife isn't going to make it. She isn't going to make it.” My husband just stuck with me, saying, “That's alright, we can do this.”
My main coping methods became my husband's hand on the small of my back and my face stuck in the water making motor boat bubbles and nearly drowning myself in the process. The kids came home from school and my youngest daughter declared that she wanted to get into the pool with me. I laughed and told her, “I really don't think you do, Sweetie.” My oldest girl took one look at me and headed out to the treehouse to stay out of the way.
At some point, I said,“I just want to drown.” My mom seemed to think that was transition talking and the baby was definitely almost out. She decided to go check on my nephews who'd also just gotten off the bus. So she stepped out for a bit.
Apparently, that was enough for her to miss it all. Soon enough, the baby decided to crown. I was in the middle of a contraction and my motor boat sound immediately went high pitched with the ring of fire. I struggled to bring it back down to a low moan and gasped, “Baby, Baby!” My husband lifted my skirt in time to see his face begin to emerge. I tried hard to simply relax and let the contractions do the work. He began to press against my back side and I was afraid, so I told him,“Don't push him back in!” He said he wasn't pushing him back, just trying to support him to keep me from tearing. With just a few contractions, the baby was out. My husband lifted him out of the water. It was 4:20 p.m. when Ezra Shea was born.
My sister got on the phone to check where the midwife was. She was still 40 minutes away. She informed her that I'd just had the baby. The midwife said, “You're kidding!” But then she heard the baby cry through the phone as my sister said,“Um, no, she's holding him in her arms.”
I could go on and on, because Ezra's birth was just the beginning. Lots of family arrived (even before the midwives). Everyone got to see the brand new baby. And we still had the baby shower!
No internal exams, no IVs, no tearing. And active labor was only one hour long. I didn't even push!
7 lbs. 12 oz., 20.5 inches long. I am in so much awe of him. Such a beautiful miracle. I'm so thrilled. It was the most beautiful day I could have dreamed of.