It's taken a bit to figure out a name and get some pictures downloaded . . . and then to fill in some post-baby thoughts - sorry for the delay in the birth story!
Our daughter, Jade Louise, was born Sunday June 22nd (on her due date!) at 3:20am after an hour and six minutes of labor, into her Daddy's hands.
Labor started at 2:14am with the first contraction (that woke me). It had a stronger twinge than the contractions before this one did, but while it made me widen my eyes in a bit of surprise and say "hmmmmm," I just waited . . . thinking maybe that was it. Eleven minutes later I got another one . . . just as strong and had to concentrate to breathe - stronger now . . .
I flipped onto my hands and knees and sat quietly . . . 5 minutes later another . . . stronger now again . . . I rocked forward and back, breathed, quiet and serene in my heart. I remembered that these were the last sensations I would share with my baby in this way. Again, I waited . . . 3 minutes passed and another, stronger still.
Breathing was working well but I needed to brush my teeth to freshen my breath so I quickly climbed out of bed and made it about 10 steps before having another contraction . . . longer and still very strong from the start . . . I twisted my feet and swayed hanging onto the edge of the couch, not able to stand still. Finally it passed and I quickly made my way up the stairs. I quickly went to the bathroom and had a contraction on the toilet that took my breath away. I made the decision to check myself right away after washing my hands and felt at least 6 inches of slick bag (and baby behind it (oh my goshhhh!)). I stomped on the floor to get my husband to come upstairs ASAP (he needed to call our doula and back-up midwife - she is 2 hours away!). I was concentrating on our birth plan to have our back-ups here . . . never mind that there was NO possible way for our back-up midwife to get here in time. I wasn't thinking clearly; I was caught between labor-land and "the plan." As I waited for my husband to make his way upstairs, I had another contraction hanging onto the bathroom counter that absolutely made me gasp.
Ohhhhhh, things were getting intense!! I got onto my hands and knees with my head to the floor on a hand towel (whatever I could grab) and I breathed and swayed through another contraction (this is contraction #7) as best I could, but I was struggling to hold onto my sense of calm as the intensity and pressure just increased with each one. I wasn't able to keep quiet; the intensity was making my humming higher pitched. The Wave . . . the wave of intensity and "the end" was mounting and I could feel it coming . . . it wasn't anything I could escape or get away from . . . ohhhh, this was happening so fast! Evan came upstairs, washed his hands in the biggest hurry at my demand and felt the baby just 1/4 inch inside.
He called our doula (she is 15 minutes away) and called our back-up midwife immediately after. All the while I had two contractions and he pushed on my back where I told him (wow, it helped!). I started shaking uncontrollably and after the second contraction while he was on the phone with the midwife (and his pushing on my back was not helping anymore) I said the f-word a few times shaking my head. Good LORD these were just . . . mind blowing!! I told Evan while he was still on the phone with the back-up midwife, "There is no way in hel! she's going to make it Babe!!" and immediately after realizing it, expressing it, another contraction hit that no amount of pushing from him, adjusting his hands from me, or trying to (literally) crawl away from the pain did crap. Oh. My. Gosh.
I cried for a moment, told Evan I was scared (looking back, I wasn't scared of the experience, I was scared that I was absolutely, totally and completely NOT in control of this experience on any level. It was happening TO ME and I was just hanging on for the crazy, overwhelming ride). I knelt beside the bathtub realizing the pressure and intensity that I was feeling RIGHT NOW meant in minutes we would be done. OH My GOSH . . .
I told Evan to fill the bathtub and get the shower curtain up NOW. I climbed over (still on my hands and knees and STILL having not brushed my teeth ) one leg at a time and enjoyed the bit of pause I felt from the last contraction. I'd stopped shaking. The water running into the tub was so soothing; it wasn't touching me, but the noise was calming to me . . .
I had contraction #11 and felt the pressure build - I half-way pushed and felt it increase, but I was so loud and out of control sounding I was scaring myself (sigh) so I decided that was enough of that my dear, and turned it inward . . . quiet now I felt more in control, not as scared and set to the business at hand totally silently and with much peace in my heart. I did not realize the seamlessness that my body was leading me through labor until looking back . . . no need to check myself to see if I could push, no need to question if I was 10cm. I didn't even have the though pass through my mind; my body was confident and my baby was leading the way. I just seamlessly went from transition to pushing without pause or a check point. It was beautiful, natural, and so supremely perfect. Though the water running into the tub was soothing me, it was not high enough to give much relief. Next contraction I felt the pressure move down again and knew it was soon - Evan set up the video camera and then left again (not sure what he was doing? Opening the door in case our doula made it?). Another contraction and I pushed, feeling it move from somewhat voluntary (as it relieved the uncomfortable pressure) to totally involuntary. The bag expanded in my hand to be as big as my palm - it must have been bulging out at least 4 inches - and I blew out the rest of the push. I don't want to tear . . . slow it down . . . not all at once . . .
Evan was back in the bathroom and I asked him if he could see the bag. He said yes, but the water was not high enough (well, I couldn't get low enough without being in too much pain) to have the baby all the way in the water so I told him he was going to have to catch.
Next contraction hit and I pushed - WHOA the intensity!!!!! I just pushed, and I heard him say, "The head is out!!" I'm thinking that wasn't hard or long enough to have been the head so I ask, "the WHOLE head??" "Yes! The bag is over the head still . . . (I could tell he was a little concerned - later on he said she looked like she had a tight pantyhose on her face). I told him, "We'll be ok, don't worry" . . . and while I'm waiting, I feel him push the baby up - "Don't do that Hon!!" "Don't touch the baby!" (Of all the uncomfortable feelings, having a baby part in and part out and moving them is one of the biggest ones ). He says he's not doing it . . . baby is moving.
Next contraction and not a lot of resolve, baby hasn't turned either. I lift my left leg at Evan's suggestion and I feel baby make a strong movement, contraction on top of that one and I felt something give (her shoulder moved) and the whole baby came out! I flipped over quickly and saw very obviously - LITTLE GIRL!!! Evan was crying and holding her so gently.
We lifted the bag up over her body and face so she could breathe when she was ready; she made one squeak and went to quietly breathing and pinking up in my arms and the warm water . . .
PURE BLISS . . . Oh my gosh!!!
Our doula arrived 20 minutes later . . .
She weighed 9 lbs 1 oz (the next afternoon) and was 21.5 inches long. She is nursing great and fully has her Daddy around her finger (and her Papa), well, okay, we all are if I'm going to be totally honest.
It's amazing having a little lady here (we thought it might be a little girl, but what a great surprise that we were right!!). We're totally not used to it at ALL, but she's a cutie. I'm sure we won't complain about all that a little girl brings into the family. It's said that babies born "in the caul" (or bag of water intact) are particularly blessed and girls born in the caul are supposedly going to be midwives one day - all we know is that WE are particularly blessed by this little girl. She truly is sweet and gentle in spirit and heart. She has beautiful big eyes that look so very much like my Mom (which I am blessed with as one day when my Mom is gone, I'll be able to see her in my own daughter). Jade has the adoring attention of everyone in our home; she is a blessed little one for sure.
The extra waiting time and mental anxiety going through the "what ifs" of this birth through the last few weeks of pregnancy, trying to get baby to move from posterior to a good birth position and the big responsibility of planning an unassisted birth is not something I will miss, but it's something I am so glad I/we went through (some of it again) because sometimes the more you know, the more you worry . . . but for us, the more we knew, the more responsibility we took - and we are so proud, so blessed and so GRATEFUL for the beautiful children and family we have.
Thank you for reading through our journey to the unassisted birth of our last baby, our first daughter - our blessed little girl - Jade Louise.
Blessings to you all!